My dear friends
It hardly seems possible, summer over for another year, the start of another school year upon us, and organisations revving up for a new season, autumn has arrived, and with it, talk of harvest and preparing for the winter, and with that comes almost an almost psychological unseen moving inwards and a closing of the door behind us. In the summer we tend to go out more, be out more, go exploring more, be willing to try something different go somewhere different and so on, it’s all part of the adventure, that somehow never seems quite so appealing in the autumn and winter months we prefer the safety and security of what we know. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with any of that on one level on another as Christians maybe September and talk of harvest can bring another way of thinking.
September brings new beginnings in schools and in organisations and for us in the Border Benefice a new chapter with a new pattern of services, with new people taking a new role within the leadership of the church, why can’t it be a new beginning in other ways too?
September in the church calendar brings many saints days both major and minor, including St Matthew and St Michael and All Angels, two dates often associated with Ordinations, throw in Holy Cross Day and the ember days, when we focus on ministry and there is a common theme. Ministry and Mission.
During recent weeks and days I have been reflected a great deal on ministry and mission, firstly because of the sad but relief filled, passing of one of God’s faithful servants, Revd Ern Osman who had served God faithfully as a soldier and servant for over fifty years, during that time he always did what He considered to be God’s will, which didn’t always make him the most popular with everyone but there was no denying God’s Spirit within him, guiding and directing him, his life and his ministry, he lived for God, and God lived in and through him; secondly, because of the introduction of the new pattern of services and ministers needed and so on beginning in September; thirdly because of Diocesan in-put in the form of a proposed Growth visit by a team to look at and help us review our Mission Action Plans for each of the parishes and maybe look to developing one for the Benefice and implementing some of the outcome from our last round of CPAS training we have enrolled upon and the next trainind days coming up now this month and fourthly and lastly because I have been completing my Ministerial Development review, which happens every two years, looking at where you’ve journeyed from to now in the last two years and where you hope to go in the next two.
Ministry and Mission, where have we come from in the last five years in our parishes and churches, where are we now and where do we hope to be in five years time both realistically and also optimistically? Are we a church for the 21st Century, and if not, why not and how can we be? We live in a different world now to what our parents and grandparents lived in, our children and grandchildren live in a different world to what we lived in as children, even our world has changed so much in the last twenty years. Has the church changed, maybe it hasn’t and in some ways maybe it’s as well it hasn’t but maybe, just maybe we are in danger of being left behind at best or not being relevant anymore and so not impacting people’s lives any more at worst. Maybe we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and give ourselves a detailed but much needed appraisal or review, no matter what the results may bring.
|n some ways what better time, when we move back inside as the summer ends, of using harvest as a time when we gather in not only the harvest and fruits of the earth but seek the fruits of all our gifts and talents and offer them to God in His service, by offering them to the church in its mission for the 21st Century, here and now in the communities we serve now, taking with us some of the courage and boldness and the spirit of adventure we seem to adopt in the summer to exercise new ministries, to go out from this place, not be afraid to take on challenges, obstacles and more like St Michael to really lift high the cross and all it stands for, and take the good news to people where they are, whatever their need or circumstance and if we did that who knows what harvest we might reap for God, not just for the autumn or the winter of 2015 but way into the future.
Are you in, or out? Can we, or more to the point Cn God count on you?
Til next time…