For my New Year article, please see the January / February edition of The Connexion magazine.
On the third of January I managed to conduct our yearly Covenant Service at Friars Green. Once the quarantine cordon was placed around the pulpit the service went well! I think it is only in my time at Friars that I have been involved in a regular Wesleyan Covenant Service and, I have to say, it has been a valuable time of rededication and refocus on serving the Saviour. The prayer that we use is particularly poignant:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty;
let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal
And now glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in Heaven. Amen.
Maybe we would do well to remember this wisdom, this promise, on a daily basis!
After the service I saw a return to bed and every time I thought I was feeling better, I would get worse. So much so that I unfortunately had to give my apologies for January’s Admin and Finance meeting and take time off work. I like to share, but sharing this virus would have gone too far!
Feeling largely recovered, on the morning of Sunday 17th January, I was preaching at our Pemberton church, while Barry Hart, their minister, had made the opposite journey to Warrington Circuit. It was the first Sunday in the church building after extensive work to remove pews, renovate the floor and bring in comfortable chairs. I understand that the £4000 from Connexion was used for this and it was a joy to see the results. Much work remains to be done in the building but their vision will see a multi-purpose space that will meet the needs of the body for many years to come.
The 24th January saw me preaching at Lymm – a small church with a deep love for the Lord Jesus and one another. It is good to see a slow and sure rise in numbers as they continue to meet in the "round”.
On the weekend of the 31st I whisk my wife Sue away for her 51st birthday – Stratford upon Avon and the Cotswold villages were the venue – Who says I’m not romantic?!? (Sue at 51- in the Cotswolds 31.01.16) It was not only a valued time together but also an opportunity for rest and recuperation, especially after the illness over Christmas and New Year.
Apart from the things listed here, I have also had meetings with officers and others. Please uphold the Connexion in prayer as we seek to discern God’s will for the future. More than anything, may we learn to love as God loves us – sacrificially and selflessly.
Please pray for me personally, and my family too. The weight of Presidency is not light but where Jesus calls, He also equips and empowers.
I leave you with some words from Martin Luther…
"This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness. Not health, but healing. Not being, but becoming. Not rest, but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it. The process is not yet finished, but it is going on. This is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but it is being purified."