It comes as quite a surprise to realise that four years have elapsed since 2013, when Noreen & I transferred our membership and were so warmly welcomed into the Wesley family. Of course, September is the traditional "welcoming month" throughout Methodism in Britain, as it marks the start of our new church year. In particular, it is the time when circuit plans throughout the connexion reveal the names of newly appointed local ministers. In our own case it is 12 years since we have been directly involved in the ministerial stationing process which at the time marked the arrival of Rev Richard Bainbridge.
The intervening years have seen a considerable amount of progress in the life of the church, much of which can be attributed to the positive and inspirational leadership of Richard. In the past few weeks we have expressed our appreciation, paid our tributes and said our goodbyes to Richard and Rachel, as they move on to the next stage of their journey. However, as one door closes another opens, as we welcome Rev Huw Sperring as our new minister, together with his wife Hilary and children Lucy, Harrison and Elle. I am confident that they will all feature in our prayers as Huw seeks to meet the challenges involved in determining and meeting the needs of the four churches in his pastoral care.
During the summer months we experienced a four week period when preachers and church groups were invited to focus their attention on the letter of James, a work which contains detailed instructions for Christian living. I have personally found a great deal of encouragement in the realisation that many of these elements of practical Christianity are already evident within our congregation. The commitment to become involved in a variety of community needs, through support for such activities as the Food Bank, Messy Church and environmental concerns, would certainly have gained the approval of James.
Of course much remains to be achieved but in the power of the Holy Spirit, I feel certain that through the vision and leadership of Huw, there will be more positive happenings in the months and years ahead.
Yours in Christ, John Herdman