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Thought for the Week: Waiting for better things

I'm sure we can all remember our first time at St Mary's.

In December 2018 I first came to visit St Mary’s to see whether it would be a good place for me to serve my curacy. I had never heard of Monkseaton and the journey from Mirfield was like a little adventure. In the following January I came to a 10am Eucharist for the first time, with a vague story in-case anyone was too inquisitive. Of course it was impossible to go unnoticed, and I was very cheerfully welcomed; someone even said “Maybe you can come and be our curate one day”. A few months later I was ordained and was the new curate, working alongside Rachel, Clare and Nicola.

The first few months were all about learning the ropes of ordained life, but in March 2020 everything changed, and we had to think outside the box as we worshipped remotely and communicated via Zoom. Not what you’d call a typical curacy experience at all, but there was definitely an element of make-or-break about it.

Life at St Mary’s—as everywhere—has changed hugely in just a short time. The pandemic didn't help, but nonetheless the church will feel like a different place to when you first visited.

It’s tempting sometimes to want to relive halcyon days—whenever we think they were!—and lament how things have changed since the St Mary's heyday. We all remember a time when church was fuller, when there were more volunteers, when things were familiar, or how we liked them. We all remember first coming to St Mary's. For all of us, there will be a special feeling that first made us want to be part of this community. Trying to keep hold of that, without slipping into nostalgia is a challenge.

This Sunday we are celebrating Candlemas—when Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple as part of a ritual purification and thanksgiving. Simeon, the elderly man sees Jesus and recognises the Messiah. He has been waiting and waiting. He knew that he couldn’t die until he had seen the Lord, and he was there for years getting older and older. Not until he was very old did he finally see God, and he could depart in peace.

This story is encouraging for us all that glory days might not be in the past, but the future. We might have to wait for it, but if we have our eyes peeled, if we are realling looking for it, like Simeon, we could see the dawning of a new light if the life of the Church, and St Mary’s.

I will leave St Mary’s full of happy memories, but hopeful that there will be even better days to come; I pray that St Mary’s will go from strength to strength, and glory to glory.

Please pray for me as I move on to pastures new.


Revd Benjamin Jarvis

When did you first start coming to St Mary’s

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