January 2016

Dear Friends,

I am sure you will wish to join with me in extending our congratulations and best wishes to our friend and student minister, Martin Ferris, on his call to be minister of Sanderstead United Reformed Church. We wish Martin every blessing in his ministry and we also send our good wishes to Martin’s wife Charlotte and daughter, Katie, as they move to their new surroundings.

Martin’s placement at Elmers End and Emmanuel will continue until the end of May 2016 and, subject to the agreement of the Board of Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, Martin expects to be ordained in July. (Fortunately Sanderstead is nearer than Pontypridd!!) I have asked Martin to write the pastoral letter for this month’s magazine.

At the start of 2016, Marion and I wish all members and friends of EEFC and Emmanuel a very happy, peaceful and joyful New Year!!

Shalom,

Bill

Pastoral Letter – January 2016

By the time you read this, a new calendar will be hanging up for another year to begin and the chaos of Christmas will have come to an end; a few more pounds would have been added to the waistline and the last mince pie eaten! The New Year can be a time where people review the past year, the things they did or didn’t do, and what they would like the New Year to bring. There is also a frenzy of making New Year resolutions, which if not stuck to normally end in disappointment.

The best source for guidance and wisdom, which we all should embrace as we begin 2016, is the Bible. It is here where we find all the encouragement we need to help us get started for another year or with any new beginning in our lives.

The Christmas season has been a time of preparation as we welcomed the Christ child into our midsts and remains with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is this that we should all meditate on, for it offers us a good example of new beginnings, and there’s no better place to start than with the birth of Jesus. Meditating on these can help us put things into perspective. When Mary received the good news from the Angel Gabriel, that she would be the mother of the Son of God, her response was not to say no but yes to God’s call upon her life. “I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled” Luke 1:38.

Reflecting back over the events of 2015, one of the highlights was joining you at Emmanuel and Elmer’s End where Charlotte and I received the warmest of welcomes, for which we thank you. Since being amongst you Bill has not let the grass grow under my feet! Two other highlights of the year were celebrating my graduation and the birth of our first Grandchild, for which we give thanks to God. For Charlotte and I 2016 is certainly going to be one of uncertainty, change and excitement as having received a call to Sanderstead URC to be their Minister, we will be moving in the Summer to start a new chapter in our lives. Throughout all that is to come, I will continue to seek the wisdom and grace of God knowing that he has fully equipped me for the challenges ahead.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” proverbs 16:

May God bless you in 2016!

Martin