Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our stand in Minister

Happy New Year

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 a greeting at church on a Sunday have a similar effect.

Yet we all also know that one day is just like another: 1st January is no more special than any other day.  Or put it the other way round: every day IS just as special as 1st January or 25th December.  If we understand each new day as a gift from God, another opportunity to accept and pass on God’s love, a chance to be Christ to others, then the whole year becomes special.

Without mentioning names as there are so many, just think of the work, time, care, artistry, talent and love that wonderful people have put into decorating the church for Christmas, arranging and lighting candles, providing and serving refreshments, organising and staffing the Fair, preparing, singing and playing beautiful music, as well as magazine writing and editing, reading of scripture and counting of cash! It is all so much appreciated.

All that specialness has become part of us. It hasn’t disappeared – it is now within us and we carry it through into the New Year. Call it the radiance of the Star of Bethlehem, shining on and on.  Maybe we can remind ourselves of that now and then, especially at darker times when the weather is drab, health may falter and morale drops a bit. ‘Thanks, Lord, for your Star!’

A huge effort went into the Pastorate Profile. What do we do next? Pray – yes, pray.  The Advent message is: keep things going, in tip-top condition, maintaining the specialness…  So it is as we wait: let it be an active waiting, providing our own ministry to each other, undergirded with prayer. As always, the best prayer is not so much, ‘Lord, bring us a minister with the qualities of X, Y & Z’ but a prayer for ourselves: ‘Lord, help us to be an active, responsive, loving fellowship that will know how to welcome the person you will send’.

THANKS to so many for the Christmas specialness. Let it continue!

Bryn

Christingles

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

Community

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 Time of Reflection

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

September New Start

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

Friendship and comfort

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

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 … Continue reading Encourage one another

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