Pastoral Letter (September 2017)

from Revd Catherine Bowstead

Dear Friends,

I hope that you've had a good summer, that you were able to enjoy the quieter pace of August and that you're ready for the new Methodist year.

I am writing this at the end of our very successful Holiday Club "Polar Explorers". It was a success because the children who attended enjoyed it hugely and they each learned something of God's love for them and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Its success was only possible because of the excellent team – headed up by Claire Knight – who worked together to offer a really good range of activities for the children. We are very grateful to Claire and the team for all their hard work.

Our Holiday Club is probably our biggest outreach event each year, but it complements the other outreach activities of our church community which include the Coffee House, Alzheimer's café, Chaos Club, Toddlers, Theatre Club, MORS, Contact, Women's Fellowship, Railway and Transport Club, and Christmas Tree Festival, all of which give us opportunities to share God's love and our faith with others.

We offer this outreach in very challenging times.

The 2017 Methodist Conference, meeting in Birmingham earlier this summer, recorded that for the first time since Methodist Union in 1932, membership of the Methodist Church is below 200,000. Conference recognised the challenges and changes facing every community in our nation and the urgent call of God on the Methodist people to share the love of God in Jesus Christ in word and action. These challenges highlight the need for us to find fresh and relevant ways to share our message of God's love, but we cannot do this unless everything we do is undergirded by prayer.

The President of the Methodist Conference, Revd Loraine Mellor, and Vice President Jill Baker, have chosen the theme 'Day by Day – exploring the rhythm of mission and discipleship' for their presidential year. As part of the exploration of the theme they are encouraging Methodist People to take their five a day in spiritual activities and prayer. Please take a copy of the available postcard and booklet which explain these five steps:

Pray, give thanks, act, read and reflect, keep silence.

Pray Give Thanks w2I would urge you to take up this practice to reinvigorate your prayer life this autumn, and be on the lookout for ways to share your faith, so that as we continue to celebrate our 200th anniversary we might be renewed and re-energised as Christ's disciples.

With every blessing

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