Mat’s July Letter

This is my last Vicar’s bulletin at St Matthew’s. I wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to the community at St Matthew’s. It has been a real pleasure and privilege to minister to you and amongst you for the past 8 years. St Matthew’s has changed much since I arrived in September 2006 which is good and right and we have also retained the strong community and wonderful welcome. Molly, Emma, Toby and I will really miss you all. It is hard to leave but we know that God has called us on and so we also know that God has plans for St Matthew’s.

As I move on there are three encouragements I would like to offer. The first is to pray. This may seem obvious but it is so often forgotten in the busyness of getting things done. I believe St Matthew’s has become increasingly prayerful and I’d urge you to continue in that; to pray at all times (especially together), with thanksgiving, seeking God’s ways for this church and listening for his voice and his leading. (Philippians 4:6-7Open Link in New Window)

The second is to follow the Lord. In Joshua 3Open Link in New Window Israel crosses the Jordan following the Ark of the Covenant that goes before them. The Ark represents the presence of God amongst them. They are following God. At the end of verse 3 Joshua says to the people, “Follow it [the Ark], so that you know the way that you should go, for you have not passed this way before.” In looking for a new vicar it would be very easy to seek the way forward that seems best to our way of thinking, rather than seeking the Lord for his direction in this new path being forged. Do pray for the PCC and our parish reps as they seek to discern God’s voice with our Patron and the Bishop. And do pray, listen and share insights from how God speaks with Minty, the Wardens and the PCC.

And thirdly. Ephesians 4Open Link in New Window has been very influential throughout my time at St Matthew’s. In it Paul urges the church to “maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (v3) and from v11 exhorts each person to play their part in building up the body of Christ and equipping the saints. As you know one of my passions is to see each member of the body of Christ playing its part. At this time this is all the more important. The time between vicars can be a real time of deepening for a church in its faith and ministry, and a time when people offer gifts that others perhaps never knew they had. I’d encourage you to bring forward your gifts, your time, yourself to enable the body of Christ at St Matthew’s to function and continue to grow. This is God’s church of which we are all a part.

As I have said time and time again—you are a great church, keep on praying, keep on loving, keep on serving and keep on following. God has a great next chapter in store. And it starts now. Thank you.

With our love in Christ

Mat, Emma, Molly and Toby

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