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See, I am doing a new thing!
As I write this letter I have been preoccupied by ‘ends’.
Sometimes the ‘end’ of something is good and looked forward to – like the visit to the dentist or a difficult examination, but often we view ‘ends’ negatively with a tinge of regret. This has been the case for me over the last few days as I watched the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. As a sport lover (lover doesn’t necessarily mean participator), as a sport lover I was sad that the Olympics was all over. All that anticipation during the build up and then after 17 days it’s all over and now I’ll have to wait another 4 years for it to come around again.. Not only have the Olympics ended but so did the good weather (albeit a few short days). And, for most of us, this time of year marks the end of our summer holidays too. Then we start looking ahead for what we’ve got to look forward too; ‘Bargain Hunt’ and ‘Cash in the attic’, colder weather with the prospect of even more rain, though I think the clouds must be running short of it by now, and the return to work or school. All in all I’m not too happy with endings. That said, ‘endings’ always marks the beginning of something new. That was the case for the people of Israel towards the end of their exile. Although they didn’t have their freedom in Babylon life was generally good; now they faced leaving behind all they had known to start something new with all the uncertainty that would bring.
And for our church this is no exception, September usually marks the start of a new church year when, after the lull of the summer, our activities start again. But we start the ‘new year’ in the light of the vision day we held in May. The Elders have been collating all the feedback from the day and the subsequent conversations we have had and we are considering some ‘New Things’.
Suggestions have been for home study groups; some formal and informal times for prayer; personal devotional study material which will encourage individuals in their quiet time; the sharing of stories during worship allowing people to tell what God has been doing in their life; an alternative worship with the introduction of a Sunday evening meeting that is more fluid and less formal than our morning worship; and increase in our activity with our young adults. These are just some of the ideas being worked on at the moment so watch this space to see how they develop.
Some of the ideas may seem scary and even a little risky but if God is with us then these ideas will grow and bear fruit.
‘See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland’.
The Windermere Centre is the URC’s own residential centre which offers training courses, conference facilities and accommodation both for church fellowships and for individuals in a beautiful environment. The Centre’s programme of courses for 2012-13 has just been released – and includes an amazing variety of topics and activities covering Mission and Evangelism, Art and Craft, Bible and Theology, Outdoor, Fellowship, Administration, Worship and Preaching, Church in the Digital Age and Spirituality. All combined with a lovely, comfortable place to stay with excellent food!
Take a look for yourself – you can see the full programme and content of courses here
and the link here will take you to the full Windermere Centre website.