Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

IT IS a fact that unless children are introduced to the Christian faith when young, the future of the church will be in jeopardy. Since World War II, congregations have diminished, churches have been put to secular use and those who still believe often keep quiet about it or find their social contacts shrink.

So it was a great joy on Father’s Day which although unconnected with formal worship having been inaugurated early in the 20th Century, to find St.Vincent’s Luz congregation under Father Haynes Hubbard putting Sunday Service into the hands of children.

Impeccably prepared, they read the Lesson, the Gospel and parts of the Liturgy with clarity and comprehension. It gave a freshness and immediacy to the well known Order of Service that we follow, and the Gospel from Luke 2: 41-52, being about the boy Jesus, his earthly Father and his heavenly Father, was spot on.

Basing his Sermon on the Gospel, Father Haynes brought alive the trials and responsibilities of fatherhood. Linking Joseph, Mary, Jesus and God together in that story told by Luke of earthly parental anxieties and the spiritual necessity of the young Christ to attend his Father’s house, its relevance remains undimmed today. In an ideal society, the father of a family provides safe haven and an anchor point from which his children may launch, having done his work with love: in Loco Parentis for their Father in heaven who is eternal and will never leave them.

Unless the shortfall of parents living and passing on the ways of Christ to their children is reversed, it seems the church will cease to have any relevance in an increasing secular society.