Minister's letter.

September 2017

Dear Friends

Happy New Year!

Isaiah 43:19a "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"

In our churches we love to talk about the past. "10, 20, 30 or 50 years ago, it was great, we did this or we did that..." is the kind of thing people say to me. Earlier this calendar year I went to preach at the church I went to as a child. Admittedly a lot of it was Parade services that I went to, but I did go at other times as well. It was a thriving church. It was a church with a building that simply wasn't big enough. There seemed to always be a building fund on the go as the building was always expanding. Without fail there were not enough seats for certain services.

I went to preach at an anniversary service having had a gap of some 30 years. Wow, it was different! From a congregation of some 150 who knew me as a youngster it was reduced to 6 (and 2 of them were my mum and dad). I think there were about 40 in the congregation in total.

The congregation had certainly gone down. I have to admit it didn't make me feel bad. The narrative I hear within our circuit is of declining congregations and it struck me that that particular congregation was also facing the same issue.

What was really encouraging though was that the congregation had people in it that weren't there all of those years ago and that the ministry and mission of that Christian community had altered.

I wonder what will change for us at our church in the next 12 months, never mind 30 years? I'm sure there will be changes, new people will come there may be new ways of serving Him and those in our community. We face the next 12 months as people of hope, looking forward ready to face the challenges of the New Year!

God Bless,