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Viewpoint from Revd David Wells 23/08/2019

David WellsRevd David Wells
Rector of Caister-on-Sea


as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


My parish of Caister is up in arms over a proposed housing development of 700 or more new homes just the other side of the Caister bypass.  There are real concerns about the impact this will have on already stretched services (such as our schools and doctors) and on the environment, through the loss of countryside and increasing traffic congestion.  As well as those worries, some who live here are saying they simply do not want Caister to grow anymore, because then we will not be a village
dove leftAn outsider might be surprised that Caister still considers itself a village - one definition of village is that it is a settlement of up to 2,500 people, and with 9,000 residents here we passed that threshold a long time ago.  However, when you live here you soon discover that Caister does still have some very “village-y” characteristics.  There is a strong sense of local identity, a pride in the history of the place and all the things that make Caister Caister, and an expectation that those of us who live here have some sort of claim upon each other: we are a community, not just a group of people who happen to reside in the same place
For a vicar, it is a blessing to live and minister in a “village” like this, and it should be fruitful ground for faith to grow and spread. The story of Christianity began in the villages and small towns in which Jesus and his disciples lived and worked, and the local and the particular must always matter for Christians
Dove rightOur faith is not about abstract principles or vague generalities, but about God being revealed in a particular life, in one moment in history. The impact of that single life was spread through communities of people sharing the story of that one life and what it meant with people they knew.  In that sense, Christianity is a local faith for local people , and it can thrive in a village setting, and affirm many village values.  But it also sometimes challenges those values.  The God we discover through Jesus Christ is no local, tribal, God, but a God who is for all people and all places and all time, a God who loves the incomer looking to find a place to live, as much as the long-established local


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