'A PARTNERSHIP IN THE GOSPEL'
The gospel first came to Europe when St. Paul had a dream. In that dream, he saw a man beckoning over from Macedonia (modern Greece) and heard the words ''Come over and help us.'' Well, Fr. Soon and myself received, not in a dream but in a text at the end of December, a similar request: ''Come over to Monaco and give a helping hand'' in the ministry of the Gospel for the people at St. Paul's, imminently facing a considerable time without a priest. Our response, - you have to know, somewhat reluctantly, as it was at first - involved a change of plans and hasty preparations for a move to Monaco for two months, which eventually turned out to be three months, and a little more.Furthermore, our reluctant response couched in terms of
'if and when we come' stated quite clearly that we would come but only as a team of three for what has proved to be, a truly fruitful 'partnership in the Gospel', to (use some words of St. Paul, in the last letter we have of his, to the new Christians in the fragile little church in Philippi). He wrote: 'I thank my God upon every remembrance of you all for our partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now.' (Philippians 1) And so now, as our time with you all draws to a close, Sunday 29th April, our last Sunday,we want to underscore two of Paul's sentiments.
It has been, as all ministry must always be, essentially 'a partnership in the Gospel.' Effective, fruitful and lasting ministry require a partnership, working together with God as well as together with both clergy and laity alike. Only in this way will the Body of Christ, whether in Monaco or wherever, be equipped with all the necessary, talents, gifts and graces to effectively witness to the power of the Gospel to transform the lives of men and women in an age of both great promise as well as great peril; in an age of increasing secularism and yet, also an age when many are seeking a deeper meaning and purpose to life. That partnership involves every member of the church, for to that we were all baptized - clergy and laity alike.
Bishop Michael Marshall
Reverend Soon Han Choi