By the time of the next edition of Emmanuel Life you will have your new minister living and serving amongst you.  What a strange year it has been with all the additional challenges which the pandemic has brought and what a strange and challenging time to be taking up a new ministry with so many restrictions on our interactions in place.

At an induction service traditionally the incoming minister is offered the right hand of fellowship by representatives of the various bodies with which he/she will interact in the course of their ministry.  This is currently no longer physically possible so how can each of us offer that “handshake” in other ways and often at a distance?  Welcome can take on many forms and each of us will be considering how best we can make David and Jan’s time with Emmanuel as enjoyable and rewarding as possible especially during the first few months as they adapt to their new home and their new churches.  Welcome is not just about a handshake and a smile but includes an anticipation of the needs of any visitor and nurture of this new or potential relationship…and this will apply not just to David and Jan but to anyone who might turn up one Sunday.  There should be no unexpected visitors!

If the last few months have taught us anything it is that we have to be open to change and Emmanuel has risen to the challenge of the pandemic fantastically already.  How refreshing it is to hear people say something like, ‘I used to think, but now…’ Or ‘I see things differently now’. Changing our mind is not a weakness, rather it is much more likely to be a sign of strength. One of the ironies of being a Christian is that we may eagerly pray for things to change in the lives of family, friends or neighbours, whilst we ourselves cling to ideas, opinions, and outlooks that may no longer be as valid as we think they are.  Perhaps with David’s arrival now is the time to be open to a re-appraisal of your worship, your mission and ministry and the suggestions David will have for helping you to do this.  It is an exciting time for you all and I wish you well on that journey.

With David’s induction my term as interim moderator will come to an end.  I would like to thank Ian Moore for making my time with you so easy – you don’t need me to remind you of just how efficient Ian is and how well he has steered the church through the lockdown making sure that everyone has continued to be involved and cared for.  Ian has been meticulous in making the church safe for people to return to worship and we are all greatly in his debt.

I  would also like to pay tribute to Bryn for the pastoral care he has offered to you all.  He has contributed so much to maintaining the life of the church, both pastorally and in worship and you have been richly blessed by his ministry. Thank you Bryn.

The trouble of singling people out for thanks is that you inevitably miss out other deserving people so I am going to stop there but we all know that there are many who have given of their best (and some more) to keep Emmanuel thriving during this time without a minister. Thank you all and well done Emmanuel!

Enjoy David’s ministry.