Church of England Diocese of Sheffield Stannington

Thought for the week: Growth

14 May 2020, 2 p.m.
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Hello everyone, its good to be with you again for another ‘Thought for the Week’.

As the weather has improved and Tim has asked me to consider growth this week, I thought I’d come outside into the churchyard to record this thought. The grass has certainly grown during Lockdown! The trees are once again covered with vibrant green leaves, insects buzz through the air. Natural growth continues seemingly unaffected by our temporary withdrawal from the world. And as we’ve seen in many places, our withdrawal has actually helped to improve local environments and given the wildlife a chance to have a bit of a breather! I particularly enjoyed the badger at the railway station taking advantage of the empty trains as he was off to see his mates!

Our second and third Church Values are linked to growth. ‘Knowing our calling to become more like Jesus’ and ‘Knowing his calling to build His Church’. Personal and corporate growth. We are individual members of a larger body, the Church. In previous weeks we’ve considered how we might be growing as individual disciples of Jesus during these challenging times; but this week we are going to think about how we are building His Church and growing together as an interconnected body and family of Christian disciples.

You might want to reflect on the question, ‘how are we growing as a Church at this time?’ I know that this is something Tim is quite keen to explore together as we peer into an uncertain future. We don’t know for example when public worship will resume; but we need to keep growing and building His Church here in Stannington nonetheless. If you have any practical suggestions about how we can grow together as a family, please do let us know in the comments below or get in touch with Tim. Your feedback as ever, is always appreciated.

As an example, many of you know I’m moving to St Mary’s, Handsworth for my final year of curacy from the first of July. In preparation for this I’ve been added to the church WhatsApp group. All members of the congregation who are able to, have been added to this group and they chat to each other throughout the day. But there are also requests for prayer and practical support too. Very similar to our network groups but at a congregational level. Would something similar here be helpful? Do let us know?

It is very easy in these times to feel so incredibly disconnected from our church family. I know I’m not alone in missing public worship on Sundays and throughout the week. But it is important that we endeavour to remain connected with one another and to grow as a family. How has the Church been growing in these times in your opinion? Do you have a story or testimony to share? Please do, I know from speaking to some of you, that you appreciate the shared comments. Perhaps more so than the original content! That’s fine! The purpose of these weekly reflections is to stimulate conversation. Keep doing it!

As ever, if you are struggling and need support, or just someone to talk to, do let us know. You are not alone in this.

For now, I conclude with those lovely words from the book of Romans 12:5:

So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

See you next week!