The Bishop of Chichester with the Rev Kenneth Lynch, Chairman of PACT
Bishop Martin Warner on the needs of a successful society
St Mary’s Petworth, 11 June
by Gerald Gresham Cooke
PACT (Petworth Area Churches Together) is renowned for its bi-annual talks.
More than 100 people came to hear an excellent and thought-provoking talk from Bishop MartinWarner, author, cyclist and the 103rd Bishop of Chichester. Whilst his approach was from a theologically academic perspective, his use of language, especially in the anecdotes shared in the question and answer time, brought the principles he shared right home Why society needs the Church
to the essential issues of our needy society.
He based his talk on John 1:50 in which Jesus said, “You will see greater things than these!”
His focuses were a) home b) nurture and education c) church, and d) wider societies. Looking at people’s homes and schooling, the Bishop was often struck by the chaos of the complexities that people live in, and thus people’s need for stability in order to build solid
relationships that will in turn help nurture children.
Marriage is the best institution to deliver nurture and we should encourage it. Education should explore freedom of the heart and scope for the mind to reflect the glory of God. Any programme which denies society an understanding of the Spirit is failing.
What of the Church? How do we say, “You will see greater things thanthese!”? When the Bishop went on a prayer walk in Horsham through a new housing estate recently, he felt the powerful voices of the media driving its inhabitants to the aspiration of wealth. Where was this community’s soul, accountability and virtues? An estate built without a church is an estate without a soul.
As a society, we are damaging our environment. For that we will be judged, as God is the creator to whom we are indebted.