This last Sunday, as well as being the first Sunday of Christmas, was also the feast day of our patron, Saint John the Evangelist. I took as my theme the idea that culture and attitudes change over time but that Jesus never changes.
Today is, of course, a very important birthday. 134 years ago this month the foundation stone of our church was laid. And a year later, on 27th December 1882, the new parish church of Saint John the Evangelist was consecrated – 133 years old today.
And how times have changed over the years for the Church – both for St John’s and for the Church of England as a whole. We now have women bishops. We already, of course, have had women priests for much longer and that particular issue doesn’t really seem to most of us to be an issue at all, anymore. Yet even relatively recently such concepts would have baffled the people who sat in the pews at St John’s.
People’s expectations of what men and women could – and should – do, have changed so much since St. John’s was built. Let’s go back to the early days of Saint John’s, over a hundred and twenty years ago. A woman’s place was most definitely in the home, and not in the house of bishops. In 1895 the Isle of Man Times gave the following advice:
Don’t argue with your husband; do whatever he tells you and obey all his orders. Continue reading
Today is the feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, and the patron saint of our Church. Six at the mass this morning – more, of course, would be nice, but we all enjoyed it.
cast your bright beams of light upon the Church:
that, being enlightened by the teaching
of your blessed apostle and evangelist Saint John,
we may so walk in the light of your truth
that we may at last attain to the light of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ your incarnate Son our Lord.