Nigel’s Letter June/July 2019
“We are pilgrims on a journey and companions on the road; we are here to help each other, walk the mile and bear the load”
So go the words of the hymn brother, sister, let me serve you …
It is with a real sense of gratitude and love for you all, that our decision to leave Radcliffe, Stand and Farnworth has been such a difficult one. Liz and I have been truly blessed, by your generous love and care of us as we have journeyed with you all during the past five and a half years. Family circumstances are such that we now need to spend some time supporting and caring for them and finding new ministry and new beginnings ourselves.
Our journey together as Minister and churches, has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. I have been truly blessed by God in accepting your offer of a “call” in 2013, to serve you and to travel with you.
In some ways it has been a roller coaster of a journey. We have not stood still in our mission and service to the God who calls us to build his Kingdom and make it a place where all can find comfort, hope and compassion, as we meet one another on the road of life.
The joining of the two churches of Radcliffe and Stand are an example of new beginnings, born out of pain and sacrificial decision making. The same can be said too of the church in Farnworth, risking the inconvenience and upheaval of selling buildings and partnering in new ways, with a situation completely unknown. You have all taken decisions that have required a real leap of faith and you have done so obediently to the Christ we serve. The strength for this has come from embedding all we have sought to achieve in prayerful acts of worship and conversation with each other and through our personal prayer lives.
New ways of receiving ministry and sharing in mission and outreach across the churches of the Synod is moving forward tentatively, if a little fearfully. But God is walking with us, encouraging us and loving us. In response to his love, we are seeking new relationships with the communities around us and it is here that God will truly bless you all, as you walk into the future with faith and confidence.
Keep your eyes open and fixed on the love of Jesus and great blessings will follow. New opportunities will present themselves for mission and you will all have the chance to share the light of Christ’s love with those well beyond the walls of the church buildings.
We are all bearers of the Christ Light. If you can’t share this light, where does Jesus go to for his hands and feet to do his work in the darkness of this world? Go forward boldly, with the love we have shared together on our journey. When the challenges seem overwhelming and the way forward not as brightly lit as you hope it might be, put your hand into the hand of God for that is better than light and safer than a known way.
I will always pray for you, you have all helped me to live out my call to ministry in ways I felt God was calling me over many years. You have and will continue to be a true blessing and enrichment of my journey with Jesus Christ and to the lives of the communities you serve.
As we part and go our separate ways, I pray you will be granted the deep peace of the love of Jesus Christ as your journey and ours leads us to new beginnings, new acts of service and new ways of being church in ever faithful obedience to the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Liz and I leave you with love in our hearts for all we have shared.