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A Message from Fr Paul Seaman
 

Dear Friends,

One of my re-occurring bad dreams is turning up at the wrong place or at the wrong time for a wedding or funeral with all the stresses and strains associated with that situation! This is perhaps not surprising doing the work that I do. This would, in reality, not be the finest moment for any priest, to say the least!

On several occasions since I have been in Pulborough, there have been those who have turned up at the wrong church for a funeral or another important occasion. The problem has been that many of our local churches are named 'St Mary's '. There is St Mary's at Thakeham, Sullington, Petworth, Fittleworth, West Chiltington, Billingshurst, Stopham, and Storrington among others! The problem has clearly been that these people have arrived at the wrong 'St Mary's'.

The Virgin Mary has been chosen as the Patron Saint for many of our local parish churches, as is the case in other parts of the country. In Pulborough we will be celebrating our patron saint on Sunday 8th September, which is the date when the church has traditionally marked the Birthday of Mary. In a patron saint we look to someone who, among other things, can provide us with a role model for how we might live the Christian life and there can be no better example for us to emulate than Mary. It is such a pity that in the history of the Christian tradition, Mary has been seen in rather sectarian ways, representing only some parts of the church, while others have remained suspicious of any mention of her!

Mary lived her life faithfully, trusting at all times in God's loving purposes for her and for all people. For her this came to be focused in Jesus, the one to whom she gave birth. As a mother she had much to endure which was both challenging and  heart-breaking. Yet she continued to trust; to have faith.

At this time of uncertainty for us as a nation, we need to have something of Mary's outlook on life. She didn't allow fear or anxiety to overwhelm her or to allow the malice of others to colour her hopeful expectation that all will ultimately turn out well. Christians believe that her faith and hope were ultimately vindicated!

May we, like the patron of our church here in Pulborough, look forward to many good times to come despite present uncertainties!

 

With my prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Paul Seaman  (Rector of Pulborough)


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