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February 2017

April 9, 2017

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

Most of you will know that I have been in hospital and that I have to take things easy. Of course the doctors have used words which are great to hear but in reality could lead to difficulty. They said ‘no need to stay off work, begin picking things up slowly, don’t do everything you used to, do what you want to, leave what you do not want to do.’ And that is exactly what I am trying to do.

The problem is my heart, not my mind. I have been forced to slow down and I am awaiting a pacemaker yet my mind is very active despite getting tired quicker and sleeping more. My GP described my illness as ‘a near death experience’, the doctor I saw in MAU said ‘you are very poorly’, the consultant said that I ‘only just got to the hospital in time’. All this has led me to give thanks to God for a new lease of life and to ask what he wants me to do with it. What do I need to lay down, what do I need to pick up?

Being forced to take things easy gives a lot of time for thought. It is some of those thoughts that I want to share with you now. Firstly my stay in Worcester Royal Hospital as well as the GP Surgery in Belbroughton and the visit of the Community Heart Failure Nurse have made me immensely grateful for the NHS. The care and attention I received was exemplary and faultless. However the very existence of the NHS is being threatened by funding cuts, hospital closures, unhelpful target setting and government interference. With a rising population with an ageing profile we need more funding not less for the NHS, and that is not a political statement but a recognition of basic human rights and the Gospel of Jesus to care for one another.

I have thought about where we are going as a church, about our priorities, our hopes, our future. It is exciting times in which we live. We have just appointed Louise as our Mission and Outreach Worker, the Pastoral Support Group is functioning well, the Preaching Team is meeting regularly and the Visiting Team is getting off the ground. It all sounds very positive and it can be if we all support these initiatives practically and prayerfully and willingly embrace change as it comes. Sitting back and letting others do the work, or complaining about change is not an option. The next three years will determine the future, or otherwise, of the Beacon. Are we going to grasp or reject what God offers us?

Then, of course, there are the personal challenges for me. I need to accept my health limitations and realise that I cannot do as much as I want to or feel I need to. I must resist doing tasks simply because no-one else will and I must listen to what my body and my friends are telling me. I need to learn the art of delegation, be more rigid about regular time off and regular time away. But I do not do all this on my own, I do it in partnership with God as I discern his priorities for my time and my life.

As a church and as individuals we need to be more God-centred. Prayer and time with God needs to take an ever more important part in our life. We have to stop asking God to bless our plans. Instead we have to genuinely seek his will for us, and then do it.

Ian

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