Newsletter March 2020

Thought for the month – Provided by Alison Heal – Congregational Worship Leader

Feeling at home…
I am a part-timer among you, sometimes worshipping at Trinity Church Lyon and
sometimes able to join you at Saint Michael’s in the Gard, while my husband works in
the area. But the first time we arrived (late) at a Saint Michael’s service last summer, we
felt at home. Partly it was your kind welcome and your generous apéros! but another
cause for that sense of instant family is the Anglican liturgy. This allows us all to worship
together, comfortable with words which are familiar, yet far from meaningless. In fact,
the words of the Anglican liturgy are so spiritually guided, Bible-based and thoughtprovoking that I wasn’t surprised to meet recently Americans, Russians, French, Italians,
Finns, Dutch, Greeks and Belgians, all of whom have joined the Anglican church within
the Diocese in Europe. Many were Christians in other traditions before discovering
Anglicanism and most retain excellent links with other churches.
The Anglican church is a great bridge between the different Christians around us here in
France – identifiably Protestant yet at home with (and ‘separated brethren’ to) the
Roman Catholic church. Global Anglicanism also provides a wonderful sense of
connection: in Lyon church we Brits are probably now a large minority, with Africans and
Asians worshipping alongside French and Americans, united by a liturgy in the English
language and the knowledge that we are all part of
the body of Christ. In fact, another reason I felt at
home at Saint Michael’s was that I quickly heard
French, Australian and American accents, as well as
British voices! I love it that we’re not here to rekindle
memories of a single lost homeland, but are linking
together to offer new worship, in our new shared
home. This kind of diversity requires compromise
and generosity on all sides. We don’t all come from
the same kinds of church background and we have
different expectations of what worship looks like,
sounds like, and feels like. In the way you have
welcomed me and the ways I have seen you support
and care for each other, I can say that once again I have experienced what Saint Paul
announced to the diverse Galatian church: we are ‘all one in Christ Jesus’.

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