A letter from Ian

Dear Friends

How are you? I hope and pray that you are keeping safe and well as this challenging time continues. We think of all of you regularly and pray for you. I am ‘counting my blessings’ as I read in the news of the heartache of so many, and also of the incredibly difficult decisions our national leaders have to make day by day. We are all in uncharted waters. Please have compassion for them too, and hold them in your prayers.

One particular blessing at this time is the Alpha Online course. We have two Alpha courses running at the same time this Spring—one for youth on Tuesday evenings and the other for adults on Wednesday evenings. This is really exciting, and I praise God for both courses, for our guests invited by church members and for our Alpha team, so faithfully supporting them each week.

Alpha is a wonderful gift to the Church, in offering such a friendly, accessible and well- thought-out opportunity to ask the big questions of life and faith. At the same time, participants grow in trust, confidence and relationship with each other as they travel together week by week. Often bonds of friendship grow deep.

God’s love is all about relationship—relationship with Him, through knowing Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, and relationship with each other. There is no more beautiful thing than this, and we long for others to know the beauty of this love for themselves. That is why at St Matthews we are strongly committed to Alpha and shall be encouraging, supporting and providing Alpha courses regularly every year. There will always be one coming up at some time. So, we can therefore all be confident in inviting lots of people to come along.

Remember, our role is simply to pray and invite. The rest we leave to God’s grace and the Holy Spirit. It may take time for some to think about whether they want to come. That’s fine! But let’s give as many as possible, the opportunity to choose for themselves because they have been invited.

So, as I thank God for the blessing of Alpha Online this Spring, may I encourage you to be thinking and praying about those you could invite in the future, and also to be open to God’s prompting about this? You may be surprised at what happens!

This current Alpha is being overseen by Gaby Doherty and her team, and I am very thankful for them all. God has called me to specifically pray for them during the week and also every Tuesday and Wednesday evening as they meet. Please join with me in this prayer.

This comes with love and prayer for the week ahead.

Ian

Rev Ian Tomkins, Vicar

N.B For those online, we are trying out a new live online service this Sunday 31st, at 10 am. Please do join if you can. It would be so good to worship together. The service will be recorded and put onto YouTube afterwards.

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