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May 2012

August 9, 2012

Minister’s Letter

Dear Friends

At the end of this month we celebrate Pentecost, the Christian festival that marks the anniversary of the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers and the church was born. Unfortunately the celebrations around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee led the government to move the Spring Bank Holiday from the last Monday of May to the first Monday of June thereby thwarting the rare occurrence of Pentecost being a Bank Holiday weekend. Never mind we can celebrate two weekends in a row! For Christians the bigger celebration has to be Pentecost and we will celebrate it with a special time of worship, an infant blessing and coffee and cake.

If you wonder about the significance of Pentecost then just look at the transformation in Jesus’ family and followers from Maundy Thursday (as we call it) to Pentecost Day. The only references in the gospels to Jesus family during his ministry is when his mother and brothers come to speak him and his response suggests that they do not support him (Matthew 12:46-50). The final Passover he shares is with his disciples not with his family. That night one of the disciples betrays Jesus, one publicly denies him and the other ten simply run away. The following day at the crucifixion we are told that women, including his mother, and at least one disciple were watching from a distance. On Easter Sunday evening, after the resurrection, the disciples gathered behind locked doors.

Forty days later, Ascension Day, finds the disciples still behind locked doors but this time as part of a group of 120 including Jesus’ mother and brothers. (Acts 1 vv 14/15). Something was beginning to happen, slowly but surely. Ten days later, on the day of Pentecost all the believers were together, around 120 people, the Holy Spirit came and filled, Peter preached powerfully, they all witnessed and by the end of the day 3000 people had become Christians, that is a growth rate of 2,500% in one day! Clearly something had changed. The frightened believers had become fearless believers, far from sharing their faith secretly in homes they proclaimed it from street corners and in the synagogues. Most of the new converts had come to Jerusalem for the festival and they took the message home with them to Europe, Asia and Africa. The church continued to mushroom.

Sadly parts of the church today feel that they can exist without the Holy Spirit, they go through the motions and maybe see growth in tiny, almost negligible numbers. But when churches co-operate with the Holy Spirit, when they allow the Holy Spirit to pervade all that they say and do then the growth is much larger. However it may mean giving up a cherished way of believing, ceasing to put our trust in democracy and human powers and instead asking for discernment that we may truly know what God is calling us to do. That task may seem impossible to us but if God is asking us to do something he will equip us to do it. We must continually seek a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.

This Pentecost may our joy and excitement be as great as theirs was that first Pentecost.

Ian

CHURCH FLOWERS

If you have provided the flowers and wish them to go to someone of your choice please indicate that to Marina Trow and come and collect them at Sunday evening worship or Tuesday coffee morning.

Thank you to all at the Beacon who provide flowers for Sunday worship. They really brighten up the church and remind us of God’s love in creation. We do our best to share this ministry by taking the flowers to someone who is ill, or is missing a loved one or has a particular need – it’s a good way to remind them that the church cares.

We still have a few Sundays with no name against them and it would be great if we could fill every Sunday of the year. There is a calendar in the Concourse to which you are invited to add your name against a vacant date. You don’t have to be an expert flower arranger – just be able put the flowers in a vase! If you are nervous about this, Pam Ades has kindly agreed to help – have a word with her and she will arrange to meet you at the church.

We appreciate that some people may not be able to provide flowers; if you would still like to help, donations are welcome to cover any “blank” Sundays and special occasions like anniversaries and harvest. Please put any donations in an envelope, mark it “flower fund” and either hand it to the Treasurer or put it in the offering.

Normally flowers will be distributed after worship on Sunday evening or Tuesday during coffee morning so please let Marina Trow know of anyone who would benefit from receiving them. If you have provided the flowers and wish them to go to a particular person, please let Marina know and collect them after Sunday evening worship or at Tuesday coffee morning.

This really is a ministry in which everyone can share, either by providing flowers, making a small donation or helping us to get the flowers to those who would benefit from them.

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