April Magazine leader

From the Vicar

We had a very good PCC morning thinking through the Bishop’s questions. He challenged us to think how we pray together, how we serve and how we grow. It was a very creative time, as we told stories and reflected on where God is calling us. We took growth to mean both our own personal growth and the growth of our church. We grow as we pray, read the bible, share together and encourage one another in our house groups. Worship is also important, as are sermons and music. Growth is about seeking to walk more closely with God and welcoming Jesus into our lives. Prayer includes both what we do as individuals and how we pray together. Having time to listen to God is important, as is going on retreats. An openness to the Holy Spirit leads us to expect transformation in our lives.

Serving God, through Jesus Christ, is at the heart of what it means to live the Christian life. Serving our family and our friends spills out into serving our neighbour as ourselves. We are all servants of one another in the community and it is important that we engage in the life of the wider community, including our schools and nursing homes. The Church becomes our family, as we seek to serve one another, but we are also called to play our part in the wider life of the nation and of the world. Reaching out in service can take many forms, but will include what is done through our support of missions.

Praying for others includes our family and friends and also ourselves. Yet prayer needs to spill out to include the sick and bereaved, the poor, the lonely, the homeless and all in need. We should pray for those who cannot pray for themselves, for those who live in brokenness and for the needs of the wider world. We pray especially for the missions we support and also for the clergy and their families. We pray that God’s Kingdom might come and that we might be part of it.

A few days later some of us were praying together and reflecting on John 4.31-38, which talks about looking around and seeing the harvest ready to be gathered in. The passage speaks of one sowing and another reaping and we reflected on the fact that evangelism (which is both about sowing the seed of God’s word and gathering in the harvest) is about being faithful to God. It cannot readily be measured in terms of numbers flocking into our churches. A church may be very successful in sowing seeds, but see little harvest. A church may find itself in a position to gather in a harvest which has come from seeds sown by others. There is a warning here that we need to be faithful in lives given to Christ. It is he who is both sower and reaper. A thriving church is not something that comes from our own efforts. A successfully managed church is not necessarily a Spirit-filled one. Getting the spirituality right is the key to everything else.

As a PCC we will respond to our Bishops and seek to answer his questions. The whole exercise has helped us to find a common sense of serving Christ in this place. We affirmed the importance of having fun together, of worshipping together and of finding joy in the ways we can engage in the wider community. We celebrated what we have done, particularly in appointing a Parish Administrator and setting up Breakfast Worship. An offer was received to start a new house group

Forthcoming events of importance include the hustings we are holding on Wednesday 29th April. Engaging in the life of our community, in the name of Christ, is at the heart of our shared mission. Renewing our hope is at the heart of what it means to be Easter People, who can find and celebrate new life in the face of the worst the world can throw at us. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Nigel LLoyd

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