Nigel’s Letter December 2018
As I reflect on this year and look towards the future, I give thanks to God for His faithfulness, his love and his strength and for the privilege that remains mine to serve you in the three churches of Radcliffe, Stand and Farnworth. I thank God to for our shared journey together. It continues to be a time of ongoing change.
Change is both challenging and energising, particularly when prayerfully discerned as part of shaping God’s Kingdom.
The fellowship at Farnworth is on the brink of a new partnership with the wider community, a time of change that we pray will bring strength and new challenge to the church as it shapes its mission to bring the light of Christ to the community around Albert Road.
The fellowship at Stand are experiencing pain and sadness at the possible sale of the building; a church loved and cherished through many generations and served loyally by many who now “sing around the throne of grace in heaven” – those who have run the race and finished the course. But it is also a time of hope and possible new beginnings.
Supporting the Stand fellowship, Radcliffe are encouraging and helping to build “missional outreach” in Chapelfield while looking to the demands of reordering their approach to the use of the Radcliffe church building to offer a wider welcome to community groups linked to Bury Council’s “Integrated Wellness” programme. This offers an opportunity to reach out to the lonely, the socially isolated, and those who want to learn new skills and to be affirmed as loved and valued human beings.
The changes we experience remind us this Christmastime that God came in Jesus Christ, a vulnerable baby, to dwell among us. He “moved into our street.” He taught us that compassion, love and truth are values to be treasured, nurtured and encouraged in each one of us.
The changes we grapple with are real, but hopefully through prayer and conversation, they will bring us to a place that enables us to continue to proclaim a gospel message of love and hope in a world that often appears to prefer darkness to light.
We know that Jesus was born into a dark world. Many did not recognise him, but through moulding and shaping a vision for the future, we find ourselves able to respond to those who are looking for spiritual direction, hope and meaning in their lives.
So let us begin where we are, start with what we believe, watch and listen for the glimpses of God’s Kingdom breaking through into this world and bringing light and joy and hope to each other, as we continue to journey together with those we encounter “on the road.”
This Advent and Christmas time is a true blessing to all who recognise the love of God, made real to us in the birth of Jesus Christ. May we welcome Him anew in our hearts and prepare for His return.
As the year turns and we welcome 2019, may we do so in the knowledge that Jesus still walks with us and holds us in His love. Let us hold the Christ light for each other and know His peace in our hearts now and always.
Liz joins me in wishing you all a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year