A new Methodist Year

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From the Manse.....

The beginning of September has always marked the start of a new Methodist Connexional Year. A time to look back and reflect on what has been but above all else, a time to look to the twelve months that lie ahead.

This year, is no exception — although it is a Methodist New year unlike any that have been before. The way ahead seems uncertain and so much remains up in the air as we seek to discern the way forward and plan for an unknown future in a constantly changing landscape. We feel all of this so keenly as we struggle to change and adapt to this new world order.

Yet, we are a people of faith and hope.

Whilst it is sad that so many of our buildings are closed, the church is nonetheless alive and kicking and doing great things as it continues to serve and minster in God's world. We have found new ways (and re-discovered old ones) to stay in touch and to reach out to one another in order to do this. From Zoom services and meetings, to sending hand written letters and cards, we proclaim and demonstrate God's love.

Many from our churches have been involved in community initiatives that have been set up to help others during this time of crisis and in doing so have modelled care and compassion.

Whilst the church in this country has lived through times of great peace and stability since 1945, perhaps that is the exception rather than the rule and those who have gone before us grappled with faith in times of great upheaval, war, disease, unrest and rapid social change.

I am reminded of some words from the hymn writer Samuel John Stone, where he says:
"In toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace for evermore"

From the laments of the Psalms to the Book of Job, we hear the cry of how can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Yet we are also a covenant people and take heart and find strength in the rainbow of God's promise. We are discovering a new song to sing as we are reminded of truths we have forgotten.

That the world is not ours to control, that the church is not committees, agendas and buildings, but is us, in homes, streets, hospitals
throughout the world, and that we only have today with those we love, today is the day to say, 'I love you', to mend an argument, to hold on tight.

God is teaching us a new song, for a new land.

May we all know that to be true.

With love and God Bless

Keith

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