Dear Friends,

Yesterday was St. Michael and All Angels’ Day, which is the anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood which took place in Snowdon, Manchester, Jamaica 45 years ago. That event took place a few months after I returned from a course of study in Virginia Theological Seminary following an earlier year of studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Jamaica. The earlier year of studies at Mona was in the field of education with concentration in the teaching of Mathematics and Science, and the later year at Virginia was in the field of theological studies with concentration in Systematic Theology.

There were many great differences in the way the courses were delivered. At Mona I had the time to pursue a subject of personal interest in the university library and indeed to do that was part of the overall course of studies. At Virginia there were assignments on a continuous basis and sometimes I spent much of the night writing some assignment so as to keep up with demand. I also remember incorporating some of the earlier studies at Mona into a thesis-like assignment in the later course quite successfully. 

It has occurred to me that while studies in the scientific areas have appeared (and been widely reputed) to have caused some to abandon a theological outlook on life, this has not been the case with me, and overall I have met many who have a sense of great integration of the two. Indeed, during my own early university days at Bristol University, I found many Physics students in particular who professed Christianity. It was markedly less so in the biological field and this was connected to evolutionary theory, but we will mostly leave that alone for now. Later I have found out that the “survival of the fittest” outlook has given rise to the most horrific of the twentieth century's slaughterings and there are now many who also believe that it may be connected with certain aspects of our current covid trial.

I remember rejecting the idea at Bristol that Physics was fundamentally about constructing mental models, as some taught, rather than discovering truths about physical reality. That teaching, however, caused me to look for a wider definition of what truth actually was. 

In one way or another, it is a core responsibility of Christians to manifest truth in our lives. To do so may involve considerable study and, at times, being prepared to seem to be the only one standing up for it.

The Collect for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity is

LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Withstanding "the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil” might seem to be over the top today, but it is as basic as you can get so far as “mere Christianity” is concerned. This, however worded, is nothing other than the promise made at our Baptism into Christ. The meaning of our Baptism, whether remembered or not, is that we become new people: and that new life within us invites life choices that go against the easy drift. The making of those life choices is from the gift of the answering of the prayer “grant thy people grace to withstand ...” and involves taking the road less travelled by, because in matters of truth, love and commitment - “through Jesus Christ our Lord” - this is the road of following ‘the only God”.

For directions about the services this Sunday the 3rd October the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, please see the website  . We shall be following the usual first Sunday of the month pattern and Mr. Peter will be addressing us.

In reliance upon the mighty power of the Triune God to keep us faithful to and in all truth, I am in your service 

Bishop Nicholas