Monthly letter from our minister
Each month our minister Simon, or his assistant Hannah, writes the introductory letter to our Church News magazine. The latest letter is reproduced here.
Previous letters can be viewed by following the links below.
Steve Jones encouraged us to look at the culture around us, and how it has changed over the years - as part of our Study Day early in May (see a write up of the day in this month’s magazine page 14).
As part of this exploration, we also shared what we thought were the needs of the people in our society. Our consensus was: care; love which is unconditional and permanent; a sense of value, purpose and acceptance. These kept on being repeated around the room.
I’m not sure if these needs are very different from when I grew up, or indeed when many of you grew up. But probably what has changed, is knowing where we can have these needs met.
I’m going to make a bold statement; I do believe that the church, our Church, can be a place where people are cared for, loved and accepted, and can find a sense of value and purpose.
Even this week, I spoke to someone who was asking about purpose, and the value that this can to them. Now that’s not to say that someone should not be valued for ‘values’ sake’, but most people like to think that they have something to give in a relationship; that they are contributing; that there is a purpose. The church has a role to play in meeting these needs, because God can and longs to fulfil these needs in the lives of all people everywhere.
Sam was given a book from Sunday Club and the Church for his recent birthday. It is entitled “Topz: 10 things every boy needs to know”. The first three chapters are: 1] God made you; 2] God loves you; and, 3] God has good plans for you. So, within the first three chapters, Sam reads how God loves him unconditionally, and has a purpose for him. Sam has learnt that God fulfils some of the needs we identified on our Study Day – un-conditional love and acceptance, and a sense of value and purpose.
By coincidence, or, more probably Spirit-led, in our home-groups, and through a short sermon series leading up to the summer, we are exploring and celebrating the gifts we have to offer, or to have offered. We recognise that often we find our purpose through the sharing of our gifts in service to one another.
The series will ask questions such as: 'what is the difference between supernatural gifts, and natural talents?’; ‘are these gifts and talents reserved for use within the Church?’; ‘can any gifts or talents be learnt, or are they simply given?’; - and many more thought-provoking questions.
It will also give us the opportunity to explore what gifts and talents we feel are needed, at this time and place in our mission and ministry – and, excitingly, to discover new gifts and talents that God is offering us.
The series is not to lay guilt at anybody’s door, as we recognise that for all of us there will be restrictions on what we can offer. But many, if not all of us, can offer our own gifts - such as our own knowledge; our understanding; our own experience, wisdom, prayer and encouragement. These are vital gifts within the Church, and in the service we can give to one another, and to the wider world.
Above all Simon and I want you to know that God made you, and loves you, and that God has good plans for you: a purpose from the beginning of your life through to its end.
May you know his blessing, as you continue to seek him, his purpose for you, and allow his love to guide you in all that you do.