Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
“One Thing I have asked of the LORD, this is what I seek, to dwell in the house of the LORD, all the days of my life.” (Psalm 27:4)
Despite the prospect of November 2020 being another lockdown month with all the additional difficulties the tighter restrictions brings to us alI, I am looking forward to this November being a richly blessed and enormously exciting month for St Michaels and St James. Traditionally this season in the Church Year between the great festivals of All Saints and Advent is known as the ´Kingdom Season, ¨ a time when churches focus on the teaching and encouragement of Jesus to his followers to become fully people of the Kingdom of God, to become fully people whose life values mirror Christ’s of love, compassion, justice and freedom.
With our Annual Parochial Church Meetings taking place for St Michaels next Sunday and for St James the following Sunday we will have an ideal opportunity to come together to share and celebrate all the wonderful work that God has been doing through church members this last momentous year and to look ahead to how we can continue that precious mission and ministry work in 2021.
One of the special ways that we have been blessed during this period of pandemic is the the way in which we have been able to keep connected with one another through technology (whether that is by internet or phone or text message) and, of course, through prayer. Our APCM meetings and the follow-up PCC meetings this month for Norton & Wollaston will be another opportunity to build upon the work of the Holy Spirit in our churches, that is, within our hearts and minds and our whole being.
One aspect of our APCM meetings and follow-up PCC meetings this month will be to discern how we are to continue to gather together in the months ahead for collective worship. Now is the time for you and I and every church member to prayerfully decide what we can offer back to God in building up our churches as peoples of praise. It was whilst they were in exile in Babylon that the people of God wrote down and sang together many of the hymns that have been handed down from generation to generation by the people of Israel and Judah. These hymns we know today as the psalms. Perhaps like me you have found comfort in some of the words of the psalms or their modern translations into music and other Spirit-filled expressions of their timeless holy power. It was when the people of God were in their own version of lockdown in the confinements of their Persian captors that they, too, found an unbreakable solidarity and togetherness with God and one another as they worshipped together, drawing with God and with each other of when they would once again dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Now is the time when we the church families of Norton and Wollaston must also prayerfully dream and carefully envision all that God is asking of us in the coming year as his ambassadors of the Gospel in our communities. How will you respond to His call to you to be part of that Good News where you are?
With my love and prayers and every Blessing