Happy New Year to you!
I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas time, taking you into this new year with hope and joy.
At our Team Celebration on Sunday I made this announcement;
As I approach the 6th anniversary of being alongside you all here in Stroud, I have so much to be thankful for.
We have come to know each other across our different worshipping communities; we have shared together in all kinds of ways,
the unique personality and call of different places has, in some cases, emerged, in others strengthened and grown.
We have welcomed two curates, Helen and Steve, as well as James and Sarah, and many others.
Our ‘posts and wires’ are robust enough to fade into the background and support the fruitful mission and ministry of you wonderful followers of Christ in this place.
And that barely scratches the surface!
‘I thank my God each time I remember you’, Philippians 1:3
has been a constant through it all, as I have prayed for you, and know you have prayed for me. Thank you.
And now it is time for a new challenge. Not one I sought out, but rather sought me out!
I am taking on the brand new role of Collaborative Ministry lead for lifelong learning for the Diocese.
The remit of this role is to broaden our focus and support way beyond ordained ministries,
to include everyone in their many and varied ministries, both inside and outside Sunday services.
It has always been my call and passion to see each of us live out our calling, ‘so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known…’ Ephesians 3:10
This role will allow the opportunity, alongside all sorts of people in the diocese [which includes each of you!],
to explore what this means for us as we ensure the church continues to be a place of belonging, healing, grace, of knowing and being known, where, together,
we follow Christ and go deeper into the love God has for each and every one of us.
I will be starting in this role on 1 March. My last Sunday will be 18 February, when we will have a Team Celebration in St Matthew’s Church at 11am.
I do hope you will be able to be there.
This time last year, as I spoke to you before going off on my Sabbatical, I could not have imagined what this year would hold. Our God is most certainly a God of surprises!
For each of us, as we wonder what this new year will bring,
I pray the words of Minnie Louise Haskings:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way.’
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God,
trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills
and the breaking of day in the lone East.