Sunday 29 June 2014

One Year On…

I can hardly believe it's only a year since my induction service, on 10 July 2013! It's partly because so much has happened in that time – it feels as though Horton, Wraysbury and the Gibsons have been through a lot together already! But it's also because you have so taken Elisa and myself to your hearts that we feel like old friends already. So I'm afraid my excuses - "Sorry, I didn't know, I'm new" – are wearing a bit thin now…

For me, two particular highlights just recently have been the Village Fair and the Confirmation Course. I never expected a smallish community like ours to be able to put on such a spectacular show: so many people, such brilliant stalls and events, that amazing Noah's Ark, and a fantastic atmosphere. Well done to our members from both Wraysbury and Horton who organised our own stalls! You refreshed many people and gave away lots of lovely Bible sticker books.

The Confirmation Course was a small group of seven people but we all got such a lot from it! We laughed and sometimes cried together and learned so much from each other's knowledge of God, gained through life experiences. It's so exciting to see the Christian faith come alive for people as we go deeper with God together and receive afresh of His love. Is anyone up for another course? Please let me know and we'll see what we can do. The confirmation will take place On Sunday 12 October at St Mary's Church Langley at 6.00pm. Please support our confirmation candidates in prayer and come along on the day if you can.

I wonder what God has got in store for us in the next twelve months? I bet it's going to be exciting!

Mission Action Planning Questionnaire

We have been talking on and off about how to do our Mission Action Plan (MAP). Now is the time to start with Stage One! There is no point whatsoever in writing an MAP that none of us wants, so we are beginning with the churches' views.  Please fill in the MAP questionnaire now available in both churches and let us know what you think: what are our strengths and weaknesses? What are your hopes for our future? Who do we need to reach to achieve them?

We would prefer short bullet points as it makes it easier to analyse your points of view. But if you think you can only say what is really on your heart with an essay, feel free.  We've left your name optional in case there are things you would prefer to say anonymously, but it could be helpful to us if you do in fact choose to add your name. If you find it easier to form your views by talking them over with another member of church, you're very welcome to do so. It's not an exam!

The deadline for returning your questionnaires is Sunday 20 July. Please return your questionnaires to Anne Munday or Gina Jefcoate (St Andrew's) or to Angela Inger or Carolyn Wheeler (St Michael's).

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Running on Empty?

Last Sunday was the Day of Pentecost, celebrating the time when the Holy Spirit came explosively into the lives of Jesus' Disciples and gave birth to the infant church. Here's an article I wrote up about Pentecost for our June Newsletter...

Can we really know God?  Can it possible for us mere human beings to know his Presence with us? Or even living inside us?

According to Christian spirituality the answer is Yes.  Jesus promised before he went to the cross and rose again that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us for ever.  By his death and resurrection he made a bridge between us and God. That means we can draw near to God.  

But this bridge carries two-way traffic! If we can cross the bridge to come to God, God can also cross over to us.  And this is what he did when sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

That's why Pentecost is sometimes called the birthday of the church.  When the Spirit comes, the Christian faith comes alive!  No longer is God just an absent Father, Creator of all perhaps, but a million miles out of our league.  Because his Spirit lives in us, now he is our Father, and we are his beloved children.  No longer is Jesus just a wonderful person from the distant past.  Because his Spirit lives in us, he is now our Saviour and our friend.

So it's good news that God promises the Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Jesus his son.  We were never meant to live the Christian life on an empty tank, just going through the motions. We need the fuel of the Holy Spirit to get us out on the highway!