Services

Sunday Services

8.00 Eucharist

10.00 The Parish Eucharist

10.00 Junior Church

18.30 Evening Prayer

19.00 Benediction

Weekday Eucharists

Tuesday 10.00

Wednesday 19.00

Thursday 10.00

Friday 12.30

Saturday 18.00

Safeguarding
Contact Details
Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3JG.
01823 354800
Facebook:  Holy Trinity Taunton
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Wednesday
Aug282019

Fr Julian writes...

On the 7th September 1994, I found myself sprawled on the porch floor, with a bemused archdeacon and Rural Dean.  The occasion was my induction and collation as Vicar of the parish, and, as you have worked out, was 25 years ago.  To show my ‘taking possession’ of the parish, I had to toll the bell.  Often, people will count the number of rings, believing that each bong will equal one year, so they’ll try to guess how long the new Vicar intends to stay!

This had worried me before the service in case I were to ring too many times or too few.  I had fixed on a number roughly in line with my predecessors, but in the course of my ringing the bell, the knot connecting the rope in the porch with the one in the ringing chamber came undone.  With a mighty tug to ensure that it would be heard, I therefore found myself on my knees in the porch – not in prayer…  It appears that an incomplete tolling means an indefinite length of time!

So here I was, a young man, beginning a new ministry in a new parish.  Previously I had been a parish priest, hospital chaplain and an FE chaplain, all at the same time.  The last sermon I preached in my old parish was based, as usual, on the Sunday gospel:  ‘I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves…’ – further proof that God has a sense of humour!

My previous parish remembered me as the Vicar who actually smiled, maybe Holy Trinity will remember me as the one who brought in wine glasses!  But I’m not going anywhere, so there may be still time for me to make my mark.  The snag about the bell tradition is that it doesn’t really allow for the working of the Holy Spirit.  25 years ago, I felt a strong calling to the parish, and I still feel it today.

For some reason, I am today part of the ‘Discipleship Team’ within the diocesan Ministry4Mission group.  Recently, our work has been involved in preparing for the roll-out of ‘Everyday Faith’, which is the diocesan response to the national report, ‘Setting God’s People Free’, about which I’ve written before.  It outlines how the Church can counteract its decline, summarised by lay people taking an increasing role in the life of the Church.  This isn’t to make up for the fact that there are fewer clergy around, and will be even less in the future, but a recognition that every single person is called to serve, and hasn’t always been allowed the opportunity so to do.

The report suggests several ‘shifts’, as in changes.  The first is ‘equipping the people of God to follow Jesus confidently in every sphere of life.’  The second is ‘enriching mutual recognition and support between lay and ordained followers.’  When we cut through the perhaps unfamiliar terminology and get to what the shifts actually mean, then we can see that this is an attempt not merely to set God’s people free to serve and worship him, but also to set Jesus free from the prison of a church building.

 

Now if the ‘shifts’ were in an unusual language, then I guess that the words I’ve just deliberately used are also ones that might surprise you.  What I mean is that too often we confine our faith, and therefore God, to a time and a place – the Sunday service at church.  What then happens Monday-Saturday?  You will all go to places and people which are far more varied than any priest can manage on their own,  certainly me, no longer classed a ‘young man’!.

The days of a hierarchical leadership structure, with the parish priest at the top of a pyramid with the various lay ministries and committees spreading out below, are gone.  This is not either an effective nor appropriate model in the 21st century.  Together, priest and people, we need to ensure that we break away from these comfortable and secure conventions, in order to bring new life to the mission of the Church.

Our Parish Awayday on October 12th, will be an opportunity to begin to see how we can do this at Holy Trinity.