From the Pastor’s Pen – July 2017

Dear family of St Paul’s United,

I find myself humbled and filled with such excitement at what is happening in our community at this time. The church is growing, not only in numbers attending, which in itself is exciting, but we are receiving new members into our community on an ongoing basis. However, as we have received new members we have had several people leave to move to other parts of the world. In the past couple of months we have said goodbye to Gudrun Kushke, Pom Hutchinson, Ellwyn and Alison Kent. It is always sad to say goodbye, but they go with our best wishes for the future.

To my delight, we have started a youth group and are currently running Youth Alpha with them. The Sunday School has again come to life after being dormant for most of last year. This year also has been a very busy time for us all with the various initiatives and programmes we have been running.

Following the successful mission we had at the beginning of the year we have found that there is a strong sense, amongst several people, that the development of ministries must continue at an accelerated pace. To this end a Ministries Development group has been organised and that group is looking at several areas where we need to focus into the near future.

Having just come through Ascension it is perhaps good to reflect a little on that event and what Jesus did then. In Matthew 28:16 -20 we are given a powerful description of the commission given to the disciples prior to Jesus’ departure. In Luke 24 and Acts 1 we have a somewhat different account, but an important aspect of that last interaction with the disciples is that Jesus promised to empower them through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Notwithstanding these stories are vital to us as a church. It is because the commissioning that Jesus has given to his disciples (which, incidentally, includes you and me) is not merely an instruction, but is accompanied by God’s help. Believe me, there is no way that the story of Christ would have travelled so widely and been sustained for so long had it been merely up to the efforts of a desperate group of Galilean fishermen. This was not a message that was brought to the notice of the world by force and violence. On the contrary, while there have been wars fought in the name of Christianity, the true growth of our faith over the centuries has been due to the power of God’s love manifested in believers through His Holy Spirit.

So in obedience to Jesus commission, we look to our home area to spread His love and His peace. To this end, we have joined in a worldwide call to pray for those who do not know the love of Christ in the Thy Kingdom Come season between Ascension and Pentecost. We have done prayer walks and drives all over this area as a way of being obedient to the Gospel to pray for others. But, we cannot stop here. It is vital that we continue to build on what we have begun. In the next couple of months we will be launching a season of Alpha. We would like to encourage each of you to seriously consider inviting a friend who does not attend a church to join us for this season.

Finally, one of the wonderful truisms is that we are never too young or too old to be able to share our love with each other. And principally that is what Christianity is; love for each other and love for our Lord. I trust that the preaching and worship we enjoy each Sunday will draw us ever deeper into that love affair that brings us peace beyond all understanding.

Blessings to you all

Jonathan

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