Pastoral Update - 17th January 2021
There is no greater peace and no greater joy than when we make the connection between all that is worthwhile in our lives and the work of God.
Isaiah 26:12 says, ‘Lord, You will establish peace for us, for all that we have accomplished You have done for us’ (Isaiah 26:12). One of the joys of knowing you are involved in God’s work is realisation that you have or will have a story to tell. When it comes to that time when the hard work is done, when you look back, you can be absolutely sure that the joy you feel is not only the satisfaction one feels from making it through the storm, but the joy of sharing how you made it through.
Paul expresses this perfectly when he shares with the community at Philippi about his own trials. He says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” He then goes on to tell the story of his travels but as he does so he pauses to say – I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
The Church at All Saints Highertown is in the process of writing a story and also telling a story.
It is writing the story of how All Saints lived through 2020 and 2021, through lockdowns, through Covid19, through challenges and through trials. It is literally writing the story everyday, learning how the Spirit moves, how the Word of God informs, how God is working through others.
All Saints is also retelling the story of Jesus, God with us. Who himself wrote the greatest story, as the author of all.
All of what I share in this update, the activities and plans of the church, has been inspired by the latter – of Jesus’ story, whilst being, in itself work in progress, a story in the making for the glory of God. It is both His story and ours.
Let me start with an update about the church community, who have faithfully served the church and the people of Highertown, Baldhu, Malabar, Gloweth, Threemilestone and all in between for many many years. I reflect upon our life together as it was and recognise that all that was worthwhile in our life was the work of God, and more specifically, the work of the Holy Spirit through individuals and situations.
But it goes without saying that things have been different, very different over the last few months, yet, and I stress this, the foundations of our faith are still the same, they are no less important. In fact, if anything, they are more important. For some of you, it may feel as though the make up of the church has changed, the church may feel different, and quite rightly so, as we make space for others in our life. But it is also worth noting that God does not change, the work of the Holy Spirit is just as evident in times of shift, maybe even more so, as at any other time.
Over the season of Lent we will be running a series of sermons and prayer gatherings that are shaped by the foundations of our faith. We will be reflecting upon the solid rocks that we can hold fast to, that have always seen us through the storms of the past. I will be asking us to lay down these foundations afresh in readiness for a new chapter in the church’s life – As we move beyond Covid, as we push on with Transforming Mission, and as we progress the Lifehouse Project, we will need these foundations set and established corporately and individually to launch this new time.
The Lifehouse Project is particularly pertinent here since we will be literally laying down new physical foundations in the coming months. As we build the Lifehouse, we will need to build deeper foundations, and therefore go deeper into our faith.
I really want to be clear here. I don’t think this is an optional extra. This isn’t a sermon series that we can choose to dip in and out of. I believe this is a period in the church’s life when we have to take stock, to pray, to be clear about our purpose, and move forward together with the foundations of our faith firmly in place.
And as such the ministry team will be wanting to share its own prayers and thoughts for the future with the whole church family over the coming weeks. Please pray for the ministry team as it meets on the 20th January to move this conversation on, and to flesh out ideas of what God is asking of us for the future. In February, we will be facilitating a whole church meeting to share plans and to invite people to also help shape our vision and our plans for the future.
So to recap.
During Lent – starting Sunday 21st February we will be running a new series of talks and prayer activities on the topic of foundations. Encouraging the church to go deeper as we build up and out.
And Secondly, that the ministry team will be sharing its plans for the future with the wider Church community during February in order to hear from you what would serve God, and support your faith over the coming months and years.
Which brings me on to the last point.
We are yet to complete the appointments for the remaining Transforming Mission team members.
Please keep this in your prayers, keep the whole team in your prayers too.
We are writing the story as we go. But we are also retelling the story that has so richly blessed us in the past, and will continue to do so. It is in this story that we find hope, promise, life and blessing.
Remember what Paul wrote, “I can do all this through Him who gives strength.”
And please remember that you are the church. You are his people. And therefore we are on the way together. Last week I sent out a letter inviting people to reply with their thoughts and ideas, at this time. Thank you to those who have replied. Keep them coming. It is very helpful. You’ll see the link on the newsletter, and on our website.
Thanks for listen. God bless and see you soon.
Lord, You will establish peace for us, for all that we have accomplished You have done for us’ (Isaiah 26:12)