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A time of change (June 2018)

Dear Friends,

Well we are in quite a strange time at the moment. An in-between time.

A few weeks ago I announced that after 15 years as the Minister at Trinity-Henleaze URC it was time for me to move on. At the end of April, I was called to take up the role of Minister in a three-church pastorate in Trowbridge and Holt, part of the Wiltshire Methodist and United Reformed Church United Area.

This will be a whole new world for me. One church in a village, one in the town and the third that has sold it’s building in the centre of Trowbridge and meets in a refreshments room in the town park. And, of course, it will be quite different working in an ecumenical setting and I’ll need to learn ‘Methodist’ ways of doing things.

It will mean changes for you in this church too. Already the question ‘what next?’ has been asked. And I’ve tried to say, and will say again, that there will be some time when you are without a Minister … and that this is a special time for a church. At the moment there are a lot of things to think about and prepare for that vacancy … but it is more than just a vacancy. The time between Ministers is an opportunity for a church to remember and rediscover the strengths and gifts within the community, among its members, and rely on that spirit, the Holy Spirit, that draws and bids the church together.

It will need all of you, every one, to think about how you can get involved, volunteer and turn up to play your part in supporting the life of the Church. The Church only works when all it’s members are honoured and working together … remember that ‘body of Christ’ image that St Paul explores in his letter to the Corinthians? (1 Corinthians 12) He says “you are the body of Christ and each of you are members of it.’ This is a time when maintaining the health and well being of the ‘body’ will need the generous participation of all.      

I’ve been thinking about how we can create some pace during this ‘in-between’ time, while I am still with you, for us to reflect together on the ways we have travelled together as a Christian community in this church. And, to help do some thinking about the way forward. One Sunday recently we had a discussion after the service about the questions that had come up at the Annual Church Meeting – and we said then, ‘there’s a lot to talk about’! So, I’d like to make an offer …..

I’d like to invite you, to come for a meal and a chat at the Manse, hopefully in the garden, on one or more Tuesday evenings over the next month. This will be an informal get together, all of you are invited, there will be good food, good company and chance to talk things over. We’ll be reflecting on the journey we have shared in this church over the last decade and a half and thinking about the ways the life of this church will unfold into the future. It will be a chance to treasure the good life that we share in this place and remember the strengths we carry forward.

I do hope you’ll be able to come along to one or more of these.
They’ll be on Tuesdays : - 29th May, 5th and 12th June, not the 19th June, and finally the 26th of June, all from 7pm. And there is already a sign up sheet in the church to give me an idea about numbers for food.