Musings from The Manse – July

On Pentecost Sunday in June at Bilton we considered the question ‘what specific day[or days] in your life do you look on that determined much of your life’s journey? We also heard some of what Teresa May spoke about in her reflections at the D Day commemorations from the Normandy beaches where she said; ‘No one could be certain what the 6th June would bring. No one would know how this – the most ambitious – amphibious and airborne assault in all of human history, would turn out.

And, as the sun rose that morning, not one of the troops on the landing craft approaching these shores, not one of the pilots in the skies above, not one of the sailors at sea – knew whether they would still be alive when it set once again.

If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come – in France, in Britain, in Europe and the world – that day was the 6th June 1944.’

It made me think about days in my life that have shaped my journey but it also challenged me to reflect that surely we can all think of days in Jesus’ life and the early church that are even more significant in determining the fate of generations to come than 6th June 1944. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not underplaying the importance and significance of that day, but surely the birth of Jesus is higher in the impact on the world, surely the death and resurrection is even higher and God’s gift to the church of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was and is vital for the existence of humankind and our purpose.

In August I start my 3 months sabbatical and this is a gift from the church given to ministers after 10 years of ministry [11 for me] as a time away from the Pastorate to take rest, to reflect and to learn under God’s guidance. I am very grateful for this opportunity to look at Church growth by reading about it and more importantly for me, being a practical person, visiting growing churches. I want to see if there are common themes and practices of why churches grow, what made newcomers come to that church, what are the challenges of a growing church and how does leadership work in that context.

Whilst I will miss walking alongside you, I know that God will continue to bless you as you serve him in his mission and I will continue to pray for you. Please pray that God will use me in this time to further bless and enhance my ministry amongst you and in the wider community.

So as we journey on may we all find days filled with the Holy Spirit that reshape us as individuals and give us the new visions and dream dreams, that Peter declared before the crowd speaking the words of the Prophet Joel in Acts 2.

‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people’

Your friend and servant

Alan

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