Tuesday, 15 January 2013

VP - Happy New Year

Possibly a little tardy, but nonetheless sincere HNY to all who are reading this. What kind of happiness does one wish for another human being? Certainly not unbridled joy for 12 months, because that's completely unrealistic. One thing I wish for people is 'something to hope for'. What did Robert Browning write? "A man's reach should exceed his grasp,or what's a heaven for?" In the church we certainly need hope, whether in the small local chapel or large national committees. We would do well to discern where God wants to lead us, and follow with both hope and expectation. This last week-end Isabel and I have been in the Newcastle District. The visit started in Houghton le Spring (East Durham Ct) with afternoon tea (= excellent!), worship and conversation on Friday evening. On Saturday, with the President, we shared with a goodly number in a District Study Day in the Chester-le-Street circuit on the subject of 'Being a welcoming church.'Leo Osborne then took us to see the soon-to-be-completed 'The Ark' at Crawcross. A Methodist fellowship agreed to hand over their building for a new vision - soft play area and cafe, and a completely different approach to presenting the gospel, of being Church.
This was something for the South West Tyneside circuit to be both excited by and hopeful about. In the photo with Leo, Mark and myself are Revs Paul Saunders and Liz Kent, Deacon Tracey Hume and Ruth. On Sunday morning I was in Hexham with over 40 young people for their Covenant Service, and in the evening at Ponteland for a Newcastle West gathering - and we had some wonderfully worded prayers. It was a week-end of meeting joyful, yet thoughtful, Christians. I sensed a desire to learn more and to risk things; and so my prayer is that the Church, locally and nationally, helps to give these well-grounded disciples the tools to move forward with hope.

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