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October 2017

January 16, 2018

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

We had a wonderful Church Anniversary celebrating our 160 years with worship led by Kevin Watson, URC National Moderator and Moderator of Yorkshire Synod. His sermons were truly inspirational and spoken from the heart. I was also encouraged by my all too brief private conversations with him. All in all it gave me real hope for the URC and strengthened my hope for the Beacon. My only sadness is that more people did not avail themselves of the opportunity to hear him and celebrate with their fellow members. Having said that I am not going to dwell on it but rather I shall focus on the positives. It was a truly wonderful day.

As a church we have an excellent infrastructure. The buildings are in good repair and are bright and attractive giving a welcoming feel. We have excellent people in key roles giving tirelessly of their time and energy. In essence we are in safe hands. We have a range of activities to invite people to which give an excellent opportunity for sharing the Gospel in both formal and informal ways. These include Sunday worship, morning and evening; Messy Church; Café Church; Coffee Morning; Tuesday Tasters; Lunch Club; Book Club. Of course there are also many more opportunities to share our faith informally through the activities we participate in, both at the Beacon and elsewhere, our leisure pursuits and our family life. We are extraordinarily fortunate and God has truly blessed us. It is up to us how we use all this.

Of course we are not perfect, we would not be human if we were. It seems to me that we and very good at structures and plans and less good at prayer and invitation. Now what I mean by this is that in our meetings, such as Church Life, Elders, Pastoral Support Group, Visiting Group etc we are very business-like but devote little time to prayer. Equally we are good at arranging events and producing publicity but poor at personally inviting people. It is as if we have lost confidence. I believe we have no option but to change the balance if we want to see God at work in our fellowship and in Rubery

I firmly believe that we should begin each meeting with an opportunity for people to share about themselves and then we should pray for each other. We should also pray for others, both in our fellowship and in the wider community, who are in particular need. Depending on the day and the meeting this could take thirty or forty minutes or more. Only then should we offer the Agenda to God and move onto the business. We will find that the business meeting flows and decisions reached. I also believe that we need to focus much more on invitation and develop a culture of personally inviting friends, neighbours and even family to our activities and special events. I can’t invite your friends, neighbours and family only you can do that.

So to return to the beginning, our 160th Anniversary was truly inspirational and gave us great hope for the future. Together we can realise that future. On the next page is a prayer we used during worship that day. Can you make it your prayer as well.

Ian

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