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June 2012

August 9, 2012

Minister’s Letter

Dear Friends

Being a minister brings many joys – and some sadness and frustrations. On 27th June I will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of my ordination to the ministry of the United Reformed Church. That day in 1987 was a day I remember well, it came the day after the funeral of my closest friend who had died at the age of forty, and it brought together many friends and family from across the country. Following the Congregational tradition there were two sermons, the charge to the minister was given by Rev George Williams who was Minister of Maidstone Congregational (later United Reformed) Church from 1966 to 1983 and the charge to the church was given by Rev Russ Parker, Vicar of Coalville, whom I had worked with in Egerton, Bolton from 1980 to 1984.

I had many hopes and expectations that day, some of which have been realised. Since then I have achieved more and done more than I could ever have dreamed of. God has used me in wonderful ways and continues to do so. Along the way there has been some sadness but there has been much more joy and happiness. I have ministered in some wonderful places working alongside fantastic people and I continue to do so. I have lived and worked in surburbia, the inner-city and in villages. In my first pastorate on the west side of Sheffield the church had very little contact with the surrounding community. In Liverpool and in Rubery the church was, or became, a community centre with hundreds of people coming through the doors each week but much fewer on Sundays.

It is not only in the local church I have served. I have served on District, Synod and National Committees, joined in Methodist Share Jesus Missions and Easter people. My work for the Community for Reconciliation has taken me to Romania and Croatia and led to involvement with the European wide organisation Church & Peace. On the anniversary of my ordination I will be in Hamburg on the interviewing panel hoping to appoint a new general Secretary for Church & Peace.

Serving God has been, and continues to be, an exciting journey. Whenever I have said yes to God it has been a real act of faith never really knowing where He would take me. Becoming a Christian, joining the church, becoming a youth elder, lay preacher, elder, minister, moving churches, joining committees and working parties have all required an act of faith. I have been incredibly blessed (some would say lucky) in that I have been able to use my love of travel in my ministry – or should I say that God has been able to use all my gifts, talents and my love of travel in my service of Him. I am looking forward to many more years of Christian service wherever God may take me and use me and when that is over I am looking forward to the rest of eternity with him in heaven.

Whatever stage of the Christian journey you are at. Whether you are just starting out or whether you have eighty years of service behind you God has an exciting journey in mind for you. Say yes to him, and like me, you will be happier than you could ever imagine serving the Creator of the Universe.

Ian

Weekly Offering Envelopes

We still have just a few packs of weekly offering envelopes left and available for 2012.

This is one form of giving that provides the church with a guaranteed and regular income which is most important for our regular budgeting and finance management.

If you do not already have envelopes and you feel able to help in this specific way then you can receive a pack of envelopes, each given a confidential number and week by week date.  You are then asked to put your weekly gift in the envelope ready for the offering plate!  This means that, if you are not able to be in church on any particular Sunday, your completed envelope/s can be brought on your next visit.

An added potential bonus for the church is that any of your gifts to the work of the church – not only your weekly offerings but any other donations during the year can be ‘Gift-Aided.’

Gift Aid is a system that enables churches to claim an extra 25p from the government for every £1 donated to them by a UK taxpayer.  If you pay tax then please consider Gift Aid.  It will not cost you anything but the church can benefit by a further 25% on your gifts.

A number of friends already contribute on a regular basis by a monthly standing order through their bank.  This could be a method you prefer and, again, it ensures the church of a guaranteed regular income.

If you would like a supply of weekly envelopes or details of Gift Aid or payment by Bankers  Order please slet us know.

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