Marcus’ September Letter

September brings a new beginning for many of us. If we have managed to get away on holidays, we are back and work, school or college will be resuming. If we are retired we will quickly feel the difference as the shops are quieter and the roads emptier as everything goes back to normality. It can feel like a long uphill climb towards Christmas, especially with all the Shauns having been taken away from around the city and life back to the grind!

It’s a new beginning for all of us as a church family at St Matthews as well. It has been a real privilege to get to know many of you and we have very much enjoyed the lunches at the Vicarage and the times to chat and share life together. I’m not sure how you feel about the future. If you are anything like me you may feel both excited and daunted by what lies ahead of us. It is so important to begin together in the right place. Where better could we start than by going back to our beginnings as a church.

Many of you will know St Matthews long and distinguished history very well. One year after the foundation stone of the Church of St Matthew, Kingsdown was laid, August 26th 1834 saw over 15,000 people gather to worship as they sang Psalm 100Open Link in New Window. We can’t just go back to the nineteenth century we have to go further. The century previous had witnessed those immortal scenes, just down the road from us at Kingswood, as the titanic George Whitfield and later John Wesley had taken to the open air and thousands of colliers wept as they heard the good news of forgiveness of sins. Travelling further back the Diocese of Bristol itself was brought into being in its own right in the early sixteenth century. This was of course part of the Province of Canterbury, which goes back much further still to mission of Augustine from Rome in about 597. Even this was not the beginning of the English church however, with bishops from this Island being present at a council in the early fourth century. Its hard to be exactly sure when and where the happy news first reached these shores, but it was probably sometime in the first century.

Ripples and shock waves had travelled across the world from a small town in the Middle East, Bethlehem. It was from there that everything would be changed forever. Nothing has ever been the same or indeed could be. Millions ever since across every country of the world have found themselves transformed by the Son of God who had become our brother. Even those who resisted what had happened and stood against it found that all their time was consumed by vainly struggling against Him. He has not only changed the world out there but our lives in here. It has been very inspiring to hear of so many wonderful testimonies to the difference that Jesus has made in the lives of our church family here at St Matthews. Starting with Jesus, where else could we begin but with the Gospel according to St Matthew!

Throughout the autumn let’s come back to Jesus Christ our Saviour and allow Him to speak to us and minister to us at all our points of need. If you get a chance try and read Matthew through a few times over coffee or some cake but I must say that I can accept no liability for any extra weight added in the pursuance of this project! I have really enjoyed reading and re-reading Matthew over the last few weeks, just enjoying the story and finding myself becoming more familiar with Jesus. We are so delighted to be with you and eager to serve you as we preach Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray for us, for health and strength and wisdom, as we continue to lay down our lives for you and minister to you in Jesus’ name.

With love and every blessing in Christ,

Marcus

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