St. Alban the Martyr

Vicar's Letter for February

4 Feb 2019 • General news

When we cleared the garden at the North side of St Albans in the Autumn, we cut back many plants including some winter flowering Jasmine. I remember the previous year that it hardly had any flowers. The had Jasmine had spread a lot and I had previously dug up a small piece and transplanted in the vicarage garden. I dug a hole, out in some chicken pellet manure and planted the Jasmine. It was a lot of work watering the garden in the summer and that included the small jasmine plant. The summer was very hot, and plants didn’t grow much because of the lack of water. Akole and I were rewarded when the small winter jasmine plant was covered in yellow flowers giving a little colour to our garden in the winter.

I am reminded of The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree In the gospel according to St Luke (13:6-9). Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So, he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’

The parable strikes me as both an encouragement and a warning for St Alban’s. The work that we have done for the Heritage Lottery Fund Grant to repair our roof, create better access and develop contacts with the community is a great opportunity. It is metaphorically digging around us and putting manure on us. We need to grasp the opportunity and work together for our church to grow and fruit. This is not the work of any individual or a small group, it is the work of the whole church.

We start off with the advantage of a church that is welcoming, and we have seen the fruit of that this year as some new people have joined us. We need to do more though, not only to get visitors to stay but to reach out and encourage others to come to our church.

I hope that by giving pruning the jasmine in the church garden, cutting back the trees that shadowed it and using fertilizer the Winter Jasmine round out church will one day brighten the cold months once again.