A recent trip to the opticians has given me three new pairs of glasses and a
lighter bank balance! What a myriad of lenses and options as well as frames,
there is to choose from! 'You see those two red lines; is one directly above
the other?' 'Yes. No. The top one is moving away'. Ah! Wandering vision.
Pressure test: that's OK. Under the microscope: one eye seems to be older
than the other. how does that work? My eyes are an original pair!!! No
cataracts clouding the sight, thankfully. Glaucoma free: that's good. Eyes
are wonderful things: amazing interaction of light, cells. nerve and
brain-power to perceive images we understand and colours to delight. Not
everyone has all these attributes, sight can be marred by poor focus,
clouding lenses, colour - or non-colour - cast, better or poorer binocular
vision.
I hope I don't have to go back to the optician in the near future! What we
can see is very important to us, and delays in seeking advice can be
disastrous.
Vision is perhaps one of the most important things in life, regardless of
whether we 'see normally', have a visual impairment or are blind. Without
vision the people perish (Prov 29.18)
So never mind the optician and eyesight, what is your vision like? Can you
see where you want to be in five years' time? What vision do you have for
your own life? Is your vision clouded with a fear? Does it wander away from
your primary aim? Is what you see what you want to see? It is coloured by
things past or things feared? Do you see something happening but are unable
to see how far away it is? What do you do if you don't like or want what you
see? 
The same questions can and should be addressed to our church life.
In our Local Area Group (LAG) of nine churches the six Enfield churches are
having to ask those question urgently so they can have vacancies  'declared'
and so start advertising for ministers (two, one for each group of three
churches) and then considering applicants who will help them develop their
vision and live it out. 
Sometime in the foreseeable future our three church churches will also have
to determine and publish our vision. Let it not be coloured by events past
or feared! Let it be clear! That day is not quite upon us yet, but come it
will!
At the General Assembly 2018 issues of ministers and churches will be up for
debate as the denomination wrestles with agreeing its vision of numbers and
style of ministry that can be afforded and implemented in the URC. What are
ministers for? Is their focus to be on those who are in church, or on those
who are not yet in church? Is it to put people in the pew (as one letter in
June's 'Reform' suggests, or is it to grow the Kingdom of God regardless of
whether it adds to the number of people in church? What makes the vocation
of ministry unique? What is it that the minister can do that lay people
cannot do? These questions need to be built in to the vision that churches
have for their future.
Just as we need to keep our spectacles up to date as our eyes change, so we
need to keep our church's vision up to date as the world changes, otherwise
it will be clouded, fuzzy and coloured by all sorts of things and we will
only stumble towards some ill-defined goal. We wouldn't want to make such a
spectacle of ourselves, would we?
May God bless you richly this summer!