Minty’s January Letter

As I write this in the days leading up to Christmas, I’m horribly aware of terrible events that have taken place during the last few weeks and the ongoing suffering of so many people both here and in other parts of the world. What’s happened, or continues, in Peshawar, Sydney, Glasgow, East Africa and many others places speaks vividly of the darkness and pain that God chose to enter and endure as he became one with us in Jesus. By the time you read this we will have celebrated his birth, and the joy and hope that he brings and freely offers us. It is that hope that we carry within us and into 2015. It’s that hope in Jesus and the love that binds us together in him that lie at the heart of our church community.

During the coming month we’ll be exploring more about what it means to be this community in practice. We’ll be looking at how we’re called to be centred on him, to follow his commands, and to look to him as our role model; a community empowered by the Holy Spirit that shares Jesus, his love and his good news between ourselves and with others.

As a community, looking forward into the year ahead, we’ll see the advertisement for our prospective vicar going to press again this month. Again we enter a time of expectation, hoping and waiting.

Way back in August, I quoted some advice for churches in Vacancy given by Bob Jackson of CPAS. He gives 15 tips or steps to take; the final step is PRAY!!! He writes, “Prayer is placed at the end not because it is a tag-on extra but because it is the most important thing. This is the climax of the advice not the tailpiece. It is the one thing above all others that should lodge in the memory bank—pray!… Praying is the most vital thing to do because prayer works—if you want the church to thrive you have to keep talking to and listening to its head!” This is advice we must continue to heed—we need to be praying for the appointment process, for the panel, for the candidates, for our vicar-to-be and for ourselves in our ongoing ministry at St Matt’s and to those around us. So please pray!

In the light of the importance of prayer, we hope to have more special times of prayer in the coming months. Initially, on the first two Sunday evenings in January, Ann Baker is organising prayer in the chapel. Please consider joining with her and others if you can. If this isn’t possible then pray where you are! Pray in faith with hope, trust and expectation because God is able to do far more than we can ever grasp or imagine.

Minty.

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