January 2020

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2

I wrote to you back in August about liminal spaces, those inbetween places where the old has been left behind, but the new has not yet arrived. And the turning of a new year is certainly one of those times - an inbetween space where we are encouraged to look back on what has gone before, whilst also beginning to anticipate what lies ahead.

The year that has passed was one of change for us as a church family. You got a new full-time minister, but also said goodbye to David, as minister, at least as he began work with the NWBA as church life minister. We have lost some members of our church family, for various reasons, and have also welcomed some new faces. We have seen new initiatives begin and develop, whilst also having to end some activities that had previously run for many years.

It is a year that has, at times, been frustrating, and at others exciting. It has been filled with moments of great joy, but also with times of deep sadness. For me personally, a highlight was the day out at Thompson Park, hastily arranged after the camping weekend was flooded, where different generations ate together, played together and generally shared life together - a real picture of what it means to be called together by God as a church family.

When we then turn our eyes on the year to come, it again promises to be one of great change. We have already started to plan for building projects to make our building more accessible, and these will develop throughout the coming year (and beyond) and, as they do, they will no doubt throw up different challenges and opportunities for us. 

There is also the prospect of new initiatives and projects, new opportunities to worship to serve, and, hopefully, some new baptisms to celebrate. And, of course, there will undoubtedly be various other things that come up which we just cannot envision at the moment.

And that is why our verse for the coming year, quoted above, from Romans 12:2, is so important for us to remember. As we face the different challenges, adapt to changes and rise to the various opportunities, we must at all times be prepared to do so prayerfully, seeking to discern the will of God, asking him to transform us, so that we do not conform to the way of this world, which is to seek the best only for ourselves, but instead, in all things - in the way we act and speak to one another, in the way we make decisions, in the way we treat those outside the church - we might seek to glorify Him.

I pray that, as you look forward to 2020, you do so in hopeful anticipation of all that God wants to do with us, to us and through us over the next 12 months. And I hope that this new year will be a happy one for you all.

God bless,
Dave Bartram