Pastoral Letters

June 2021

My dear friends,

As we continue to live with a degree of restriction in our lives, I pray that you are in good health and heart, and that if times have been particularly hard for you, that you have known God’s peace in your midst.

On Sundays, we have just begun a series of sermons using the Book of Acts as a basis. That book, as many of you will know, is the story of the early Church, when the Christian faith began to spread throughout the world. The ‘Acts Church’ was not a perfect church, for it was comprised of human beings, just like the Church of today. But there are things that we can learn from the first Christians (Acts is the first place the word ‘Christian’ is used.).
We can learn something about priorities. Acts 2: 43-47 says this:

 “Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

“All who believed were together…”
Friends, if we can start with that hope – that we would be together in our desire to see those in need really cared for, and together in our desire that those who have not begun a living, genuine relationship with the Lord would seek Him and find Him, then I believe we would see growth. Perhaps that growth would not always be numerical, in terms of the numbers of those attending our established services and activities, but ‘heart’ growth where individuals were seeing their lives changed by God’s love and power.

We learn also that the early believers responded to the needs they found. Sometimes, I fear, we in the Church are so focussed upon having our needs met (‘what will I get out of this service?’ we ask) that we forget that we exist as church primarily to meet the needs of others. The wonderful thing is that as we seek to meet those needs, we will find ourselves blessed.

As we move forward as a congregation, I pray that this would be our experience as we grasp the urgency of moving with God into a new, yet exciting future. And remember, whatever the challenges ahead, the Lord has promised: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.20).

Your Minister and Fellow-Traveller,