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A Message from Fr Paul Seaman

Dear Friends,

‘The past is a foreign country and they do things differently there’

This well-known quote from L.P. Hartley comes to mind more and more as the years move on. Change is an ongoing fact of life, whether we like it or not, but what is important is how we manage these changes and how we can learn from having been in that ‘foreign place’. One of the issues of course is that not all of us have been in those ‘foreign parts’, so for younger people, their view of the world is not coloured so much by what has gone before. In contrast, the outlooks of older people are so influenced by the past, it is sometimes hard to think about things in new ways. Surely in order to see the best way forward we all need to listen to each other and learn from the insights of all age groups.

During May the Church celebrates the third of the three major Christian festivals, alongside Christmas and Easter. Older members of the church will remember celebrating ‘Whitsun’, with a holiday on Whit Monday and particular traditions and occasions associated with this time. In more recent years the Church has adopted the Jewish title ‘Pentecost’ for this festival which marks the birth of the Church as a fellowship of believers, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, who are called to continue sharing the message of Jesus and the call to follow Him.

On 23rd May Christians celebrate what happened on that first ‘Christian’  Pentecost, reflecting on what the early Christians experienced and how they understood  their mission and how God was moving among them then. As we learn from the accounts of those early days, we also recognise God at work now and how, in very different ways, he seeks to work among us, drawing us together to learn from what is both new and old.

As we all emerge slowly from the pandemic, we recognise we have gone through a lot together which will in time be seen as in a ‘foreign land’ , but we should never stop looking back and learning  from being in that place. Equally, we must always be open to new understandings and possibilities which, hitherto we could never have embraced or entertained. In the Spirit the ‘country’ where we now live will in due course also become foreign to us!

May God assure us of His unchanging presence in all places and at all times.

Fr Paul Seaman (Rector of Pulborough)


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