I pray that you are all well. As we think about worship in the weeks leading up to Pentecost, I pray that there will be new shoots growing up in the life of our congregation and that there would be new people and new opportunities in store for us. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10: 24-25).
We are not on our own, for we are a congregation in a pastorate, which is part of the East London group, and part of the wider United Reformed Church (URC), which, on Saturday15th April celebrated 50 years of being a denomination. It was a joyous event, but even as it was joyous, it has caused me to think deeply about how we want to be as a congregation, and about what we want to do going forward.
There are times when we need to focus on the day-in, day-out tasks of church life. In service to God in ministry as Elders, ministers and church members, this can be preparation for leading worship or Bible studies, administration and pastoral work, which entails being available to the congregation for advice or counsel.
I believe 2023 will see our pastorate welcome new people, new ideas, and new ways of being and doing. And as part of my personal preparation for this year, I will engage in some personal reflection about my own role within the congregation – considering both the high points and low points.
I believe personal reflection is a critically important place to get to in all aspects of ministry. And it is when we fail to reflect on what we have been doing and what we wish to achieve, that we stop moving forward and become stagnant.
In his letters to house-churches and to church leaders, it is clear that Paul’s reflections on his own ministry helped him to think of how his personal situation could be used to help others in their discipleship with Christ.
Reflection can put understanding and context into our lives, and help us to see where God has been at work. As stated in Roman 8: 28, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.
And so, may God continue to bless us all as we seek to do the work Jesus started in building up God’s kingdom.
Blessings and Grace