The United Benefice of Silsoe, Flitton and Pulloxhill Churches
...St James the Great, Silsoe, St John the Baptist, Flitton, and St James the Apostle, Pulloxhill.
Please click on the buttons for the individual churches above to find out more.
Welcome! to the website of three churches in Bedfordshire...
If you wanted to reduce Christianity to two principles, for me, the two you would have to choose would be freedom and equality. The Eucharist that Father Jacques was celebrating is a living symbol of the power of liberation that these people want to destroy. It is a liturgical recognition that we do not need to be constrained or driven by our fears; we can actively make a choice for love. Ultimately the universe was created for exactly this sort of freedom.
The Eucharist is also a celebration of equal worth. Notwithstanding the rules the church has put around it, it is an invitation to this liberation which is free and open to all. Relationships and mutual respect and love are made sacred and everyone no matter who they are or what they have done are welcome to be present.
Finally the Eucharist is a sacrifice. Itís a giving of ourselves, all of our efforts and even our very lives are given in the service of this freedom and equality. As a priest, Father Jacques has over 60 years of offering himself to God and his neighbour. His sacrifice must not be in vain. We must not let it add to the spiral of hate, but rather see it in the service of liberation and the sacred value of all human life. The Eucharist is primarily about the sacrifice of Christ - his life given for our freedom. Fr. Jacques' life and especially his death is given meaning only if we enable it to be for freedom from fear and hate.
Actually itís not just the sacrifice of Father Jacques itís a sacrifice for all of us. We have to take seriously our fears, our distress and our anger but we need to shape them to a positive response which reverses the spiral of violence and builds the mutual respect and regard that is all that will in the end make the change we want to see Ė what we might call love of our neighbour.
.... the sacrifice of the cross is the non-violent absorption of human violence. The offer of love in return for hate, even to the point of death. This is the horrendous price that peace is sometimes asked to pay. This is what makes the eucharistic sacrifice life-giving and not some historical death cult. And this is the sacrifice that Father Jacques was celebrating as he died. He died as a priest, doing what priests do. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Following the recent terrible events in Rouen, France, two pieces of writing have struck a chord with many of us. The first is from Paul Hackwood of the Church Urban Fund and Near Neighbours, a charity that works in bringing local people together. The second is from Giles Fraser, priest and broadcaster, and the full article can be found under 'Loose Canon' on the Guardian website.