Sent out as God’s kindling: Fulham parishes celebrate call of baptised
Representatives from parishes under the care of the Bishop of Fulham packed into St Alban’s Holborn on 15 September to explore together how we live out the gospel in our daily lives.
Over 200 parishioners representing the diversity of the Fulham parishes began an exhilarating day of teaching, reflection and celebration with a Bible Study on Matthew 13.
They were challenged to reflect on how to view the gift of discipleship as a great treasure: a pearl beyond price that we receive not to hoard but to share with others.
The Chief Executive of Church Army, Mark Russell, gave a keynote address in which he set out a vision of the church that is radical in its proclamation of hope through word and deed.
Fr Philip Barnes said:
“We left the conference buzzing with practical ideas to take back to our parishes. He spoke of the transformative power of the local church to bring healing and hope to our communities, and of the capacity each of us has to share the love of Christ.”
Following a joyful celebration of Mass and further opportunities for fellowship over lunch, guests heard about opportunities to share love from six members of Fulham parishes.
These included Toddy, a young mum from New Southgate who spoke about the opportunities she has at work for living out her faith through simply giving a smile and encouragement to lonely folk who visit her shop; and Sandy who in retirement has mentored a young woman going through difficulties and helped her to find a new path.
Reflecting on these, Bishop of Fulham Jonathan Baker, spoke of how we are at the heart of the continuing mission of Jesus Christ.
He used the vivid image of the baptised being like God’s kindling who, ignited by the Holy Spirit, set the world ablaze.
It is, he said, the committed disciple who can measure up to that challenge, so as the day drew to a close participants gathered around the font to renew their baptismal commitment and to be commissioned as Ambassadors of Christ in daily life.
Participants left with a renewed sense of what is possible along with a study guide for shared reflection of the theme of holiness in daily life.
One participant, a member of a parish in Kensington summed the day up:
“It’s been such a challenge and an encouragement, for me and for my parish – and I couldn’t have asked for more!”
Photographs by Mike Still