Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our stand in Minister

Encourage one another

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 your minds and I have to congratulate you on putting together such a splendid occasion for him and Marion.

The time between Bill’s ministry and that of your next minister gives you an opportunity to reflect on the attributes you have as a church and those you will be hoping to find in a minister in the future. The time of vacancy is not to be regarded as a time in limbo, but a time to build on Bill’s legacy and accentuate the positives – of which Emmanuel has a great many!

This church has a life of its own which continues and goes forward with or without a minister. It is a worshipping, proclaiming and serving community. Each and every one of us has a ministry to perform and we all more than ever need to make our individual contributions to the life of the church and the work it does in the community and beyond. Obviously there are countless ways which will vary depending on our circumstances and our gifting but no-one is exempt. As Bryn suggested at your Church Meeting, sometimes just being present is enough! Sometimes a word of thanks and encouragement is all that’s needed. So many of you already contribute in multiple and different ways and your support is truly appreciated. Those who have been elected to leadership roles need to feel the support and appreciation of their fellow church members, particularly in the coming months. So please keep up the good work and let us all pull together to make Emmanuel a happy, vibrant, forward-looking church where everyone makes a contribution.

Emmanuel’s vacancy group is holding its first meeting on Wednesday 3rd July and consists of the following people: Ian Scott, Ian Moore, Pat Best, Pippa Dowsett, Sophie Florence, Julie Lord, Wendy Stuart and Bryn Thomas.  If you have any particular comments or suggestions, please pass them on to any member of the vacancy group.

Hilary Miles—Interim Moderator

Change

As I write this, we’re finalising preparations for the service on 2nd June when we celebrate Bill’s 13-year ministry with us.  It’s a time to look back, but also to look forward; to compare the routines of the past with the varied leadership of the future; to think of where Bill has led us, to … Continue reading Change

Welcome

I am delighted that you have agreed to my appointment as your interim moderator. As such I shall be supporting you in this time of vacancy and providing assistance in the process of seeking your next minister.  I am a member of Christ Church URC Petts Wood where I am currently church secretary having served … Continue reading Welcome

And Finally

“This will be my last pastoral letter as minister of Emmanuel URC and Elmers End Free Church. I thank every one of you most sincerely for all the love, help, support and encouragement you have given myself and Marion these past thirteen years. It has been a privilege and a joy to have ministered with … Continue reading And Finally

Easter

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people.”   (1 Corinthians 15:19)  So wrote the apostle Paul from the town of Ephesus, (which some of our number visited on our 2015 pilgrimage to Turkey) to the young church at Corinth (where again a party … Continue reading Easter

Mending Fences

In the bad weather in December a side fence at our sister church at Elmers End blew down and in the process one of the upright supports blocked a fire exit. Thanks to the excellent work carried out by our contractor, Gus Lansing and his team, EEFC now has a brand new fence and the … Continue reading Mending Fences

Fairtrade Fortnight

As I write, the country (especially Parliament!!) is divided on the ongoing issue of Brexit with no consensus of opinion seemingly in sight. The issue of trade agreements looms large in Britain’s negotiations with the EU. I think one trade issue we can all agree on regardless of political persuasion is that it is right … Continue reading Fairtrade Fortnight

New Year 2019

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will have started. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters to several kind elderly aunties who always sent me Christmas presents. I remember … Continue reading New Year 2019

Light in the World

This year the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights begins the same day as the Christian church celebrates Advent Sunday (2nd December). Hanukkah is an eight day celebration and runs to the evening of Monday, 10th December. The origins of Hanukkah go back to second century BC when the Greek … Continue reading Light in the World

Texan Talk

As I write, in a little over a week, I am off to Houston, Texas where I am officiating at the wedding of Matt and Kristen on 3rd November. I am looking forward to my visit not only for the wedding but I have always been a bit of a Western fan as well as … Continue reading Texan Talk

Spiritual Gifts

I have just returned from a few days away at a URC Ministers’ Conference at High Leigh in Hertfordshire. Among the topics we discussed were what the apostle, Paul calls, “Spiritual Gifts.” In some churches, mainly those from a Pentecostal background, the main spiritual gifts are considered to be things like prophesying and speaking in … Continue reading Spiritual Gifts