Dear Friends

I am so very grateful to you all for allowing me to be with you for this short time, I have been restored by you and have learnt so much from you. I am so very grateful for my time with you.

I would like to remind you why it has been such a fulfilling time. If I may I’ll do this by alliteration (using John 12 vs 1 to 8)

Three H’s; HUMILITY: HOSPITALITY; HONESTY

St Luke’s Church is in the midst of change, in a process which will take you into the future with your new Vicar, so I remind you of three amazing gifts you have to offer;

HUMILITY, the quality of having a modest or low opinion of one’s own importance, humility is a two way street. Mary, head of the house, undertook the duties of a slave by washing Jesus’ feet with massively expensive perfume estimated at £25k; Jesus for His part had to humbly accept all this adoration and publicly being touched by a woman who washed his dirty feet, socially unacceptable at the time. Sometimes to receive is humbling, to acknowledge that we have a need is humbling and sometimes we have to break common rules and polite social convention and act out of fundamental human compassion. As a church you must be seen to be humble, but NOT door mats.

HOSPITALITY is about people welcoming other people into their lives, no matter their social or financial standing. It is to influence someone else by kindness; but again it cuts two ways.

You have to accept without wanting to pay back. For both parties it has to be unconditional. Hospitality comes from the word hospice a place of refuge started by the church in the 11th Century. Its philosophy was to care for everyone who is in need or terminally ill, and in the widest sense we are all terminally ill.

I commend to you, be hospitable to all those in your community, offer refuge, a place where anyone can feel acceptable and also needed.

Your new Vicar will need to be supported and be allowed to offer healing and also to receive healing, for whoever they are, they will be damaged like all of us.

HONESTY is the quality of being open and truthful, it is a moral stance, it  comes from the Middle English to HONOUR “to be transparent, having a lack of deceit, totally trustworthy”.

May I offer the hope that your church will continue to be totally HONEST in all that you do and say.

And the greatest of these is…. HUMILITY

Rick Gates