Newsletter - September 2011

An Anniversary - the 12th thereof!

I’ve been ministering here at Christ Church URC Rayleigh for 12 years. Birgit and I started a joint ministry on 1st September 1999 and were inducted on 18th September, full of hopes and expectations. We've seen our children go through Caley Pre-School and Sunday Clubs. Sebastian, who was born here, starts High School this September, joining Rebecca who begins year 10. Since Birgit has pursued her counselling career, I have been the sole minister here since 2008. In all that time we have ministered together as a people of God seeking to follow him in all our ways. Often there have been successes, at other times there have been problems and difficulties. We have welcomed many into fellowship both by transfer and on confession of faith and had to say goodbye to even more as some move away and others find their time on this earth is over.

One thing I come to realise that even though the situation can seem to be stable on the surface, there is constantly change. No group is the same. Services have changed. People and personalities have changed. We have to rediscover and rekindle who we are and what we do. The one constant we find is that God remains the same, whatever our circumstances and situations.

The latest challenge for me is the start of a new ministry at Bridgwater Dr. Church on the 1st September 2011. I'll be reducing my involvement in Rayleigh by 20% and somehow spending an equivalent 20% of my time in the combined URC and Anglican congregation, down the A127. I will be preaching there in a morning and evening service once a month. Other involvement is still being worked out, but unfortunately it will mean reducing what I can do in Rayleigh. Both the new ministry and the reduction in Rayleigh both have challenges, not the least trying to find a happy compromise in the splitting of my time.

We are fortunate that in Rayleigh URC we have a good team of elders, visitors, and worship leaders who not only successfully fill in for the minister, but often have skills and abilities that one person just cant have, and we are blessed because of them. There is bound to be a bit of adjustment though as a new 'normal' is established, and the people with new or increased responsibilities find their way, but overall I cant see too many downsides to that.

One thing I need to be reminded as I work the new circumstances out, is that there is a constant that is always, always with me, however I am personally struggling. That is, that God is with me. He always has been in the past. He always will be with me in the future, and even in the present whether I am making the best or worst of decisions, whether my motives are right or suspect, whether I acknowledge him or ignore him, God is the one constant in all the changing circumstances of life.

And one last thing. Because God is alongside me and alongside you, things will work out eventually for the good. As it says in Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

September 2011