Pastoral Letter (July/August 2019)
from Claire Knight
Last week I attended a lay-worker day in a retreat centre in East Molesey. 'The House of Prayer' was established in 1903 as a school and the once thriving community of Nuns has now dwindled to just two.
The house centres itself on silence and prayerfulness and is an inspirational centre for reflection and discernment.
Myself and other lay workers from the Southern and Islands Learning Network, were challenged to use our time to consider and pray about our roles within our home and works contexts. It will not be a surprise to many of you that I found some of this silent reflection a challenge as I don't 'do' quiet very well.
Martin, the leader of our group, a retired Anglican Priest, read to us some passages from the Old and New Testament where God poses questions, indeed Jesus asks 325 questions throughout the New Testament (I haven't actually counted so don't hold me to that). It was interesting to consider the questions that Jesus asks of his disciples as though he is asking us in our present context.
In Genesis 3:9 'But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?'.
I was pondering this question, where am I in the work that God has sent me to do in Wokingham Methodist Church, indeed where are we as a church? We are very blessed in our town to have a variety of churches all offering something different, how do we as a church fit into this and what is our mission within the community?
It is extremely sad that Rose Street Nursery is closing in the summer and this is down to many external factors; Tina and I have a good relationship with the current manager Gina and she has done a brilliant job of managing the Nursery since Phyllis left last year.
It is vital that we re-evaluate 'where we are' as we discern what the impact of Nursery closing will be, both good and bad.
John 1:38 'When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them 'What are you looking for?' They said to him, 'Rabbi' (which translated means Teacher), 'where are you staying?'
In the next few weeks and months as Peach Place (finally) opens properly and our beautiful mosaic is erected, we need to decide what we are looking for, what we would like to achieve as a church and vitally what our personal role is within this.
There are many opportunities open to us as a church to introduce, encourage and nurture God's love in all who cross our threshold but we all need to play our part. Over recent months the church has faced many challenges but we are still here, we have come through the worst and we should be very proud of the challenges we have overcome. This should empower us and give us the confidence to make new strides towards how we work in our community both inside and outside of Church with love and grace.
I have many thoughts as I am sure you do as to how God is working in this place and how we can fulfil his call to us, but we must all play a part however small so that the 'few' don't end up undertaking all the work.
During the summer, consider 'Where are you?' and 'What are you looking for?' as we move into a further time of change. I would hear where your prayers have led you in September.
Church & Community Outreach Team Leader