The Baptism of the Lord

This Sunday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord has the wonderful words spoken from God at that baptism, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rest on him’. John the Baptist, who immediately recognised in the person of Jesus, “…the one who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and tie’ (Mk1:7), was a vital part of the unbroken thread of God’s covenanted commitment of his continuous and enduring love for us. The first reading from Isaiah foretells the birth of Christ, “here is my servant, in whom my soul delights’ and the kind of Ministry, Jesus will have in his earthly life.

God sent his Son with a clear mission: to pass on the Good News that God’s plan for our salvation is open to all who chose to hear it. God offers us a place in his Kingdom for all those who believe in Him. Peter, in the second reading, realises that ‘God does not have favourites and all are acceptable to him’. And more than 2000 years later, these messages of God’s love and the promise of his Eternal Kingdom are still there for us.

As baptised Catholics and Christians who attend church we are privileged to be able to hear God’s words of hope. All that is happening in the world today reminds us that the only hope we have as humanity is God’s enduring covenant with us.

As we are baptised into the Body of Christ in our Community, our calling is to make our presence known and felt and ensure that all hear those words of hope. I give thanks to the many ministries we have here at St Thomas’ parish that help to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through spiritual and practical ways. Can we do more?

I would like to bring to your attention the Canterbury District Local Plan. The deadline for feedback on this plan is 16th January 2023. It is a long and detailed document but there are sections within it that, if the plan goes ahead, could have an impact on our community.

Some thoughts are here but you will have more I am sure:

(1) the proposed re-development of Burgate/Canterbury Lane/Queningate car park: will this encourage or discourage (further) how accessible our church and its services are to worshippers in Canterbury and its surrounding villages?
(2) the proposed new developments/residential areas mention new school builds but these will not be RC schools. Will further faith schools be needed?
(3) throughout the document much is made of the Cathedral as a World Heritage Site for tourism and shopping but no mention of the services that all the churches in Canterbury spiritually and practically provide every day.

This includes not only the Sunday and weekday liturgies but also the immeasurable social service that goes with the presence of faith communities including chaplaincy to the universities, hospitals and hospices.

If you have the time, I would encourage you to read the plan and give your feedback. The full draft plan and supporting evidence can be read here and you can respond to the consultation by completing the questionnaire on the same page.

Alternatively, you can email your comments to or write to the Policy & Strategy team, Canterbury City Council, Military Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1YW

I am very aware that The Plan may never happen. Even so, it would be good to remind the council that this World Heritage Site of which they make much, owes its heritage to a belief in the Body of Christ not the body of the Whitefriars Shopping Centre!

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest