In our travels this year we have revisited two places from our past. In April we spent a few hours in Thirsk, where I had spent my teenage years. At that time it did not seem to have a lot going on for teenagers and you had the feeling that most of the town’s youth would have to move from there when it came to jobs or a career – there was little there for them. More recently, back in the 1980’s, we had stopped off in Alnwick and visited the Tourist Information Bureau and again, it seemed a rather sleepy little town, not much there to hold you.
How time change! Thirsk was very busy and we spent a couple of hours in the Museum remembering James Herriot. It seemed much more attractive and we had no trouble occupying our time. I found myself reflecting on what lay behind the change, for change there was, it was not just that my memory was poor. I also found myself speculating as to whether Tadcaster could be as thriving a place as Thirsk seemed to be.
The difference, I thought, was that Thirsk had prospered because one of its sons had become famous and attracted business and people and generated tourist opportunities, and I haven’t been aware that a daughter or son of Tadcaster has become internationally renowned. When you come to Alnwick, it has a castle, which to most is probably more attractive than three breweries! Both places have certain advantages that Tadcaster does not possess.
And yet, I thought, just as important has been having people who have seen the potential that could be exploited for good. People of vision have been needed and with them the wherewithal to not just sell that vision so it is caught by all, but to turn it into reality. One of the things that scripture tells us again and again is that Christians should pray and work for the well-being of the people and the town in which they live. On a number of occasions I have challenged us about our vision not just for the Church but also for the town and I would encourage you to join me in doing what scripture calls us to do. And who knows, perhaps working for that and sharing with others in positions of influence in the town, perhaps in future years others might return to Tadcaster and wonder at how it has changed for the better. What do YOU think?
Your Minister and friend