A familiar face
It was a pleasure to come across a familiar face in my new Diocese this week. As a newcomer - 25 years in ministry but just started in Oxford Diocese - I attended an orientation day on Thursday and one of the first speakers was the Diocesan Registrar, John Rees.
John is now a very distinguished lawyer indeed, with roles in the Church of England generally including legal adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Registrar to the entire Province. He was made The Times' Lawyer of the Week earlier this year. And he's looking great. I can't say he hasn't changed a bit because it's over thirty years now and I know I've aged in that time too. But he's bright, smart and twinkly-eyed. You can see him on the back of the latest Diocesan magazine, Door.
John was leading the Church Youth Group at the time I first started coming and set out on the road to following Jesus. A callow, confused, embarrassed and embarrassing young man I certainly was at the time, lonely, socially inept and silly, but I was welcomed and wanted anyway. And I was so desperate to find God and get some peace. John and that Youth Group showed me where to look for both, in Jesus, The Way.
Some years later John read me an extract from the journal he kept back then - perhaps he still does. I don't remember the exact words, but it said something like this: "a new person, Colin, came to Youth Group today. Told him about Jesus. Felt as though I was giving too much bread to a starving man."
I am so grateful that John and others took the time to share with me and nurture me. I feel I owe it to them as well as to the Lord to look out for those who may be as lonely or confused or spiritually desperate as I was back then, and to share Living Bread with them as best I can, just as I myself received it.
So Thank You John for what you did for me. I'm sorry the programme was so busy we had no time to talk. But perhaps we'll have time to rectify that as time goes on and I put down roots in the Diocese.
And as for you, reader - share a bit of bread with someone soon.
Colin x x