Vicar’s Viewpoint October 2017
There are other ways to measure our existence and the church plays its part in that. Measuring life spiritually requires us to weigh the quality of our relationships - with God and with one another. Teddington has long been a place where these ideas have found a home.
The famous 17th Century poet and theologian, Thomas Traherne, who is buried in our church, understood well the interplay between the physical and the spiritual in the human experience and wrote, "This visible world is wonderfully to be delighted in, and highly to be esteemed, because it is the theatre of God's righteous Kingdom."
As part of this 'Heritage' month of our Teddington 800 festival, on Saturday 14th October, we will celebrate this wonder and delight in creation with an afternoon of talks on Traherne's poetry, led by scholar Dr Beth Dodd and Lord Richard Harries, theologian, writer and broadcaster, followed by an evening concert by St Mary's Chamber Orchestra.
Another of our eminent and renowned forebears, also to be found buried within our church, the Rev Dr Stephen Hales, was an 18th century polymath who made a major contribution to a wide range of scientific fields with more than fifty years of dedicated service to the community as Vicar.
Again as part of our festival, on Tuesday 10th October, I look forward to chairing a lecture and discussion evening, hosted at the NPL, entitled "Measuring Existence and the Home of Measurement". This will include a talk on the work of Hales from historian Ken Howe, an outline of the NPL from Fiona Auty and theological reflections from Professor John Charmley from St Mary's University and my colleague Rev Azariah France-Williams.
Also until 8th October, it is still possible to enjoy the many varied views of living here by visiting our History, Art and Memories exhibition 'Visions of Teddington' at the Landmark Arts Centre.
The Teddington 800 festival, which has been supported and encouraged by so many local organisations, has allowed me this year to weigh the quality of our church relationships with the town. It has emphasised for me the warmth, strength and depth of our existing bonds and delighted me hugely with the openness and promise of our new connections.