LETTER FROM OUR ORDINAND (Matt Gorton)
Happy New Year! It’s that wonderful time of year when we wonder where to put the Christmas presents that we received and make our homes feel twice the size by removing the tree, and our much-loved family members. We also look to the future, think about all that has happened over the past twelve months, the good and bad. The life shattering moments as well as the life changing moments. Equally we do this corporately as a nation, we still don’t (and may not in 2019) know what Brexit will bring.
On a local level Anne and the wonderful staff team, church wardens, PCCs and volunteers are working hard on the exact opposite of Brexit, as we seek to bring together six parishes to form a new mission community, which has such incredible potential to sustain, grow and flourish our parishes individually and collectively. But the inevitable factor that comes with all these things is change. Now for each of us this will elicit a different response, some good, some bad. We remember times when we were right about a change and times when we got it utterly wrong.
Regardless, the fact is that change happens. We can affect to some degree its outcome - in terms of Brexit we all had the opportunity to vote for it. In our parishes we have a choice to embrace the changes and see the potential of stronger community, new relationships, more opportunities to see God’s kingdom grow or we can focus on ourselves and what effect it will have on my church - how services will change, attendance, extra responsibilities etc. Luckily, unlike Brexit, we can still do something about our mission community. We can all play our part; it may be a new part, it may be the same part, it may be something else entirely. Having been a part of this process for the past 18 months, I can honestly say I am excited to see what will unfold and what God will do.
However we feel about all of this, it is important to remember one thing, that we have a God who not only loves us unconditionally, but who will never change. In James 1:17 (NIV) it says, ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’
What an encouragement that is! In 2019 things will change, some good, some bad, but if we keep our focus on the unchanging God who knows our heart’s desires, knows our sadness, knows our anxieties and our joys, then He is able to be our unchanging rock not only in 2019 but forever if we will allow Him. My prayer is that 2019 will be one that is memorable for each of us because we truly resolved to keep our eyes fixed on God.