Revd Canon Wendy Robins- Canon Chancellor
In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Amen
Over the coming three Sundays we will be thinking together about our giving and support to the work of the Cathedral. Before we think about this I want to say – we all want to say – a huge thank you to everyone who has given to support our work especially over the last 13 months during the pandemic. Right from the very beginning of the pandemic we asked for your support and we have not been disappointed in any way. For those of you who were not at the APCM last Sunday, Toyin Tusaki our Cathedral Accountant, spoke because she wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who had given. She said that she was used to generous giving in her own church – which is of a Pentecostal tradition – but that she now thinks she needs to challenge them on their giving as a result of what she has witnessed here in the past year. So thank you. This is a real testimony to the community here in Southwark and in all those places from which people have joined us.
A huge thank you.
But, and you can always know that there is going to be a but, can’t you, we cannot think that the job is done. In the coming months and years we hope to be able to rebuild the work of Cathedral Enterprises, which help to keep the work here going. We are pleased that we are beginning to see bookings for concerts pick up again and the shop is ,open but as Matthew Knight our Comptroller said, also at the AGM it will be months, maybe years before we see conference bookings pick up again if they ever do. For we are all reviewing how we work and whether we need face-to-face meetings and conferences in the way that we used to.
So, the giving from the congregation will remain important for a long while yet as we seek to continue the work of being an inclusive Christian Community growing in orthodox faith and radical love and as we work to implement the Master plan which helps us to shape our work.
That, in and of itself is a good enough reason to ask you to consider your giving but there is a much greater imperative for our giving and that is exemplified for us in the readings that we have heard today. For in them we have heard of God’s love for us in that he sent Jesus to be born, to live an earthly life, to die and to rise again that we might be saved. We heard of the imperative to share the Good News, just as Philip does with the Ethiopian Eunuch and to know that we are branches on the vine that is Jesus and as such that if we abide in him he will abide with us.
It is these ideas; this sense of all that God has done for us and God’s love for us that should prompt us to respond with generous and open hearts. As we thank God for his love and Jesus’ salvific life we should be moved to want to respond to that love and action in our lives and actions.
This involves looking at how we live and share all that we have: our time and our resources. So many here give generously of their time as volunteers and we are very grateful for this as it helps us to welcome people and to give our visitors a good experience. Our day chaplains too are here to offer help and assistance to any one who wants to talk. I shan’t mention more of our volunteers as I shall forget some, but you get the idea.
We are grateful for all that everyone does but if we are to continue to be able to work to be a place of welcome and peace and solace and to move forward with new initiatives we need everyone to give as much as they are able to help to sustain the work of the Cathedral day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. We know that this is a tough time for many but it is also true that for others of us we have found ourselves saving money because we have not been able to go out to eat or to travel or do many of the things that we usually do. So, we know that some people will not be able to give as much as they used to but we hope that others will be able to consider giving more.
I know that during the lockdown I sat down and thought about my giving prayerfully and carefully to consider if I could increase my giving both to the Cathedral and to the Masvingo Link. It’s good to do that every so often so that we are sure that what we are giving generously to the work of the Cathedral and to other charities as well, in response to that entire God has done for us.
In considering what we can give it is good to think about giving in a proportionate way so that those who have more give more. So often it is those who have less that give proportionately more in gratitude to support God’s work. I hope that you will be encouraged to think about as what you give to the Cathedral that the leaflets, which are available at the back of the Cathedral, will prove helpful. Please consider giving regularly if you don’t already and giving by Standing Order if you don’t do so now. It helps us to plan what we can do.
The seven ‘I ams’ of Jesus are important pictures which Jesus gave to his disciples and which we can think about today as we seek to live as God would have us. The ‘I ams’: the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Door, the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, and the Life and the Vine speak to us of the all encompassing love that God has for us and our response should be to seek to live a life which shows that love to others. We hope that you can help us to work together as a community to share God’s Good News with our community here in the Cathedral and online where ever you join us from.