We have faced a multitude of challenges recently and, as I write, we may be looking forward to what 19th July brings (This newsletter comes out the following week!) So, what has changed and where are we with it all? Lynn Green (General Secretary of the Baptist Union) recently wrote “At the start of this pandemic, we talked about us being caught up in it for the long haul, but I don’t think that we ever  imagined that we would still be in the thick of things 18 months later!

As a congregation, I think we have managed well with all the challenges and changes that we were faced with. We have done so because we pulled together, people stepped up into new roles and we kept our eyes on Jesus.

I personally want to thank you all for your prayers and support in various ways. You have done such an amazing job in hugely challenging circumstances.  I’ve no doubt that there have been times when we have felt completely exhausted and emotionally wrung out, yet the love and power of Christ has flowed through our weakness in amazing ways.  This has demonstrated perseverance and enormous adaptability in an ever changing and uncertain environment.  I have also been encouraged to see a deeper  commitment to prayer and seeking the Lord unfold as we have all had to learn what it means to depend on God in new ways.

One thing that may remain unchanged for a while is that anxiety remains high and resilience can still be low!  I would not be surprised to hear that some of you still bear anxiety; maybe about your own health and wellbeing or maybe for loved ones. So, what I really want to say at this point,  whether we are at the end of ourselves or beginning to feel ready to seize the opportunities that lie ahead, is to encourage us to move forward in sustainable ways. I believe that we need to deepen our attentiveness to God and ourselves and others around us.  We will need to keep an eye on things in order to make sure that everything and everyone is ok.  Whether that is  checking on the spiritual; emotional; physical; intellectual or relational. In effect we may need to ask: what is true about my relationship with the Lord now? How am I feeling and reacting?  What is my body telling me?  Am I getting adequate rest? What is nourishing my thinking and reflection? How are my relationships with those closest to me? With my wider community?

What areas are fine and which need attention.  Take time to reflect, rest and review over the summer period.

Well, as we move forward into the Autumn and whatever that means for you, I believe that it is a time to renew our confidence in the Lord.  Not because we are feeling super-charged after the summer break necessarily but continuing to be in the flow of God’s love, grace and strength in our weakness.  God has been incredibly faithful, and he will continue to be so.  He has called and gifted us as a body of believers.  We may not feel like we would pick us for such a challenge, but God knows what he is doing and he has called us and he is for us.  Philippians 1:6 reminds us that what the Lord has started in us, he will bring to completion.  Can we trust in that as we move forward? And, thankfully, it is not all about us anyway!  We are part of the Body of Christ and I believe that God is calling us and encouraging the Body of Christ to rise and be released in new ways at this time.

So, thank you again for all that you have given of yourself so far through this enormously demanding period.  Have confidence in the Lord and trust in his call and equipping and encourage others to do the same. For this is what the Apostle Paul states: “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 1:3-6  

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David SkeetDavid Skeet is our church team leader.
Taken from the latest edition of our bi-monthly church newsletter.