How are you keeping in these strange times? Is it hard keeping track of the days of the week, especially when a bank holiday Monday fell on a Friday?
Yesterday was day zero. The day when the number of new confirmed cases in London was zero for the first time. [The figures may get revised later, I guess, but for now this is what we know.] And in some ways, today is day zero for our church. As Elders, we met informally to start to plan the what and when, how to start afresh in this “new normal”. With a booklet from the URC that very much encourages us to start afresh:
“The world has changed. It cannot go back to how it was. And in many, many ways, neither should it seek so to do.”
It can be day zero in other ways too. In rethinking our habits around transport and the like – to preserve the beautifully clear air we’re now enjoying again. In redefining what’s important in local communities and putting those connections first. Day zero is a little like the start of the new year, we begin afresh. We make new resolutions. We make plans. Hopefully we make them with a light touch, content to change them as the circumstances change. And, in the church context, as the holy spirit guides us.
And so I have picked a prayer, originally written for the New Year of 1st January 2020, to help us think about the future, to imagine ourselves in that frame of mind:
I Am the New Year
I am the New Year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.
I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months.
All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination.
All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires.
All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have-these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose.
I am your opportunity to renew your allegiance to Him who said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
[Author unknown; sourced from www.xavier.edu]
Can you remember being 6 years old? I can, vividly, walking down The Grove thinking that I was now as old as my friend, and reading the book of poems by A A Milne, Now we are Six. Well, now we are six! Messy Church at Emmanuel is 6 years old and this is something … Continue reading Being 6
Someone once wrote “Totally without hope one cannot live”. To live without hope is to cease to live and I believe there is a great deal of truth in these words. In the difficult and often confusing world in which we live today, hope for many people is something that seems in short supply. In … Continue reading Live in Hope
In Matthew 6:16 – 18 we hear Jesus talking about fasting. To roughly paraphrase verses 16 to 18, he tells his disciples that when they fast they should not show it to the outside world by looking pained and being obvious about it but rather to do it discreetly and with a good demeanour. Nowadays … Continue reading Lent – A time for Commitment and Discipline
On 9th February the Housegroup will be leading worship based around some parables of Jesus. If you were asked about bits of the bible you can remember, I am fairly confident some of the words, phrases or stories would relate to parables – the sower casting seed, the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the lost … Continue reading Parables
Happy New Year! We say that to each other and we really mean it – and those good wishes come knowing that the person we are talking or writing to feels the same way towards us. So giver and receiver get a morale boost. There’s another opportunity around birthdays – and even a smile and … Continue reading Happy New Year
On the 8th December the Parade and Toy Service will be combined with Messy Church and will take the form of a Christingle Service. The idea of Christingles came from a Moravian Church in Germany in 1747. The minister, John de Watteville, gave children at the service a lighted candle with a red ribbon around … Continue reading Christingles
In my current professional guise, I get to work with quite a few charities, helping them with strategy, governance, evaluating their impact and sometimes getting stuck in as a frontline volunteer myself. Over the last year, I’ve worked with charities in areas as diverse as foodbanks, community gardens, science education in schools, prisoner rehabilitation, homelessness … Continue reading Community
A good number of people turned up in mid-August to the two discussion sessions about the ‘Scoping Document’. It was sent to the small scoping group who will come to meet us (and then Elmers End Free Church) on Monday 30 September. Reminder: ‘scoping’ means how much ministry we will get when the vacancy is … Continue reading A Time of Reflection
Our calendar year may start on 1st January but for me September always feels more like a new start as the academic year begins. I realise that for almost all of my life it has been the predominant cycle; starting with being at school myself, then university, then accountancy training. Even in the period where … Continue reading September New Start
It is a wonderful time of the year, holiday season is in full bloom. All thoughts of winter and the problems it can bring are forgotten, especially the bad weather! The sun is out (well it has been so far), Wimbledon has brought its normal excitement and surprise results, Five test matches against the old … Continue reading Friendship and comfort
Dear Friends, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:v11 It was so encouraging to attend your first Church Meeting since Bill’s retirement and to find you all in such good heart. The amazing send-off for Bill on 2nd June was still fresh in … Continue reading Encourage one another