Today is the set day where the Church of England acknowledged the ministry of Archbishop William Temple who, during the early part of the Second World War, served as the Archbishop of Canterbury, having formerly been our very own Bishop of Manchester. Temple had a huge concern for the state of the nation, and was integral in the founding of the NHS after the war, believing that the church had a responsibility to speak up and stand up for those around. One of his more famous sayings was based around an understanding that perhaps the church was the one society that existed for the benefit of its' non-members. Certainly this sentiment could be applied to our current Refurb plans for our own church building, whereby the choice to improve the hall and beyond, rather than focussing on the worship room first, will be, we pray, a demonstration of our desire to serve and reach out to our wider community. Last Sunday, we were able to announce that simply through the generosity of our congregation’s giving period, we were able to add another £32,000 to the development fund. Thank you indeed to everyone who has been able to contribute up to now, whatever the amount you were able to give.
This isn’t to say that church should simply be another care provider – indeed I attended a lecture yesterday evening whereby the point was well made that we should as Christians be as much concerned over issues of justice, than being agents of compassion ministering to situations where perhaps justice hasn’t been evident in the first place. And here I believe is where worship of God is then centerstage once again, and our most important duty. For our worship of and prayer with God is most crucial, providing us with our Lord’s template as to how things should be, and encouraging us to mirror His kingdom values. Here we return to William Temple, who observed that we can’t separate what goes on in church on a Sunday with what is happening in the life of the world. “The Eucharist (communion) divorced from life loses reality,” he wrote. “…life devoid of worship loses direction and power. It is the worshipping life that can transform the world.”
And he really meant it. In his radio broadcast as Archbishop of Canterbury to the nation at the outbreak of the Second World War, he stated, “This world can be saved from political chaos and collapse by one thing only, and that is worship.” In our current uncertain times, we would do well to act on his encouragement.