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Gerry Moves On

by glynch — last modified 20 Sep, 2018 06:10 PM

Director of Communication leaves to start ordination training after five years in post

“The best job I’ve ever had!”

That’s the verdict of the outgoing Diocesan Director of Communications, Gerry Lynch, on his last day in the office after five years in post, as he prepares to start training for ordination at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, at the end of September.

“There have been many high points – big television interviews brokered and managed, successful conferences, designing and organising the printing and distribution of our Praying Together Lent booklets, getting the news out about our success bid for Rural Hope.

“The best part of the job, however, has been the hundred or so interviews with people about their journeys of faith I’ve conducted for Grapevine.

“The Diocese, like the whole Church, is full of incredible stories. It has been an extraordinary privilege to hear these stories and then share them with others. The ability to do so was also a gift I only discovered when I came to do this job – although I’d written plenty of material before then, it had tended to be either academic or polemical, often with quite a sharp edge. Finding this more affirming narrative voice has been a delightful surprise.

“It has been a privilege most of all to see how God is at work in people’s lives, in lives very different from one another and very different from one’s own.

“We are very fortunate and blessed by God to have such a diversity of backgrounds, traditions and viewpoints in the Church of England. We often find this grounds for disagreement and fallings out, but it should be a tremendous affirmation of, and source of strength in, our faith. Sometimes the only thing that unites us is the Holy Name of Christ.

“That is how it has always been, from Apostolic times – I’m sure there were some sharp disagreements around the campfire between Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Levite tax collector!

“I have found people across the Diocese and here in Church House to be so welcoming, generous, kind and supportive.

“A few months before I arrived here in 2013, I could not have imagined I would be working in a small Southern cathedral city, which is hardly what I imagined to be my natural territory. What it taught me was that God provides; we must, of course sow and water the seeds of faith and of a good Christian life. Then the Holy Spirit will provide the growth, blowing as always where He wills.

“That’s why I have confidence in the future of the Church of England in the face of what are challenging demographics. We are an ageing group of people and our cultural connection with most young adults is tenuous at best. To work in this sort of role is to be constantly exposed to a negative media narrative of impending doom for the C of E.

“We should remember that for everything there is a season. We don’t get to choose whether the Church is in a time of harvest or drought. Our job is to be faithful to the God who is Father, Son and Holy Ghost, regardless of the circumstances. If we have been called to serve the Lord in a dry season, then we should remember how great our joy shall be when the rain again falls.

“I see so many signs of growth and new life in the Church, and so many signs of decay and unreality in the dominant secular narrative of inevitable material progress, that I cannot but think that a time of abundant growth is not far away.

“Death and decay are inevitable parts of life, but for Christians also always a prelude to new life. This is a large part of what it means to be people of the Resurrection.

“And so I move into the next chapter of life, having been extraordinarily blessed in Salisbury.”

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