Time marches on

By
Jory Fleming

As my time at St. Mary’s draws to a close, I am reminded of the classic song For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica. While the song’s tone doesn’t really apply to St. Mary’s, I have certainly had my fair share of “running through endless gray” in order to make it to the Sunday service. As I do so, I am surrounded by the tolling of church bells across the city. I’ve come to love these bells, not only for the sonorous sound they make, but also because they represent a summons to church and community.

In his book on reinventing the church, the Bishop of Oxford writes about “transforming communities” - small groups which grow together in faith as they journey through life. Over the past year I’ve had the joy of being a part of one such group, second coffee, at St Mary’s.

Being a student can be difficult, because in many ways you are transient. “Time marches on”, and sometimes it is difficult to connect with a community when everyone knows you will be gone in just a short while.

I have found just the opposite at St. Mary’s. Though the stones may sometimes appear cold, the warmth of second coffee (the people too, not just the beverage!) has been a highlight of my week and an important point of rest and reflection on my faith journey. This warmth can only come about through conversation, which represents a lot of effort on the part of each of us in the community.

While I will soon return home back to South Carolina, I take heart that the bells across Oxford will continue to toll, summoning a new group of students to St. Mary’s. My prayer for you is that you will continue having these conversations with students. While the sounds of different people’s voices may change more frequently than the city’s bells, I hope the resulting music keeps the shttps://app.getresponse.com/view.html?x=a62b&m=dHUQo&mc=JW&s=skN08r&u=pAnS&y=t&z=EEb5GJP&ame warmth of community which has made St. Mary’s a special place for me.


Best,
Jory Fleming

 

You can read the whole epistle here.