Minister's Reflections for September

Goodbye and Hello!

Well here we are without Simon [Rev Simon Swailes who retired in August] . I think everyone is going to miss his calming presence and wisdom. I’ll personally miss a good colleague. We’re going to keep in touch and he has promised to come over for a visit. Elaine will also come – she is curious to see what we do with 124 Westbourne Avenue [the former Manse]!

It’s a time of endings and beginnings. As Simon, Elaine and Phillip leave; our “gappers” [gap year students] are arriving, new activities for the year are being sorted and there is a sense that we’re turning a page. We’re building on what we started last year with the Jerusalem Plan. This year we will have Anja, Rosina, Janos and Noah to help us with our films, discussion groups and activities. It’s important to remember that four young people are putting their lives on hold for a year to come and volunteer with us. Being young and with fresh perspectives they will come with all sorts of new ideas and ways of doing things that will be different to what we’re used to. I’m personally hoping to be challenged and learn that I am an old fogey on many fronts. Our responsibility to them is to help them explore what faith and
service mean. They aren’t cheap ministry, they are a way that we can help, influence and support the church of the future- they are the young people who will be in leadership in the church of 2050.

I suspect the watchword for this year will be patience. We will learn from the “gappers” and help them to learn if we take a little time with each other. Also, I ask for patience. I begin a single ministry in a team of 4 churches. Some things will have to be different now the Simon has gone.

So, we start on a very new and different year ahead. I ask for your prayers and your good thoughts as we step into this new future together.

Chris Dowd