Dear Friends, A Happy New Year to you.
No, I am not running ahead of myself – I have remembered what month it is – but September is the start of the new Methodist Church year. It is the time of year when Circuit’s welcome new ministers and this year we are pleased to welcome Revd Judi Smart and her husband Rob to the Amber Valley Circuit and we pray that they will soon feel at home here.
We have also said goodbye to Marian Crawford and Susan Chambers and it was good to see many of you at the service at Belper at the end of July as we celebrated their ministry amongst us.
Now we look forward to the year ahead with all its challenges and its opportunities. The coming year is going to be one of transition on two levels. Judi & I will be working much more as a team across the whole Circuit as we seek to support churches in responding to the mission initiatives that they have identified. We will also be continue to explore with our friends from the Derbyshire Dales and Erewash Valley Circuits the way that God is calling us to work as we come together in September 2014. Meetings having been taking place involving members of the Circuit Leadership Teams and details of the discussions will be reported to the Circuit Meeting this month. You will also see elsewhere details of the Mission Shaped Intro course that is being run in Codnor during September and October. This is a chance for people to look afresh at what mission means in our particular context and it will help us to respond to the opportunities ahead.
Marian wrote last time of God’s message, through the prophet Isaiah, to not be afraid because we belong to God and we are precious in God’s sight. When I hear that message I am reminded that that is enough to sustain me on the journey of faith – that I don’t need to see every step of the way before I take it. That just as Moses was told by God after his encounter with the burning bush it is only when we have done what God asks of us that we will know that it was God who sent us. (Exodus 3:12)
With God the New Year is always full of possibilities – let us not be frightened to embrace them.
God bless Phil (Reverend Phil Taylor)