Tomorrow starts a brand new year and I think we all have high hopes that 2021 will turn out to be a better year for us all – even if we will start it in Tier 4! Let us leave 2020 behind us and only take with us the valuable lessons we have learnt, as we venture into a fresh, new year.
I appreciate that I am in a tiny minority, but every year I still make at least one New Year’s Resolution. I think I just love new starts. Things like the first day of a new school year and starting a new exercise book have always given me a sense of hope and determination to make this one better: a drive to do my best, to work that little bit harder and try not to make so many mistakes. Only once in my life have I kept a resolution for the entire year without breaking it at all, but that is not what is important, it is the hope that this year can be better, that we can be better.
This ties in with John Wesley’s idea of Christian perfection – that we can all work towards being perfect. Wesley accepts that very few people will make it to perfection and certainly never claimed that title for himself, but it is a recognition that we can improve and that we should want to take steps towards making that improvement. What is it that you most need to change in your life or about yourself as we go into a new year? Surely it’s worth at least trying to be the best version of ourselves that we can?
God is certainly one who believes in new starts. So why not join me this year in making a New Year’s Resolution and let’s make this new year an improvement on the last!
In this Sunday’s online worship we are thinking about Epiphany and preparing for our online covenant service next week. Rev Phil will be preaching.
I have attached a written service from the Methodist Church. Those of you who are observant will notice that this is actually the service for 10th January, not the 3rd. This is not a mistake, but intentional. The printed service intended for this week is the covenant service and because we are not looking at the covenant in the online service until next week, I thought it would be better for us all to share in the covenant on the same day, so I have just swopped around the two weeks of the written services.
Around 60 different people joined one or more of our various services over the Christmas period. I know that for many of you who attended there was a sense of joy in just being able to worship alongside other people, back in the building. Although for others, I know it felt very strange and difficult not being able to greet and hug one another and share in fellowship together. We have learnt a lot (practically) from the experience and we are now looking at how we worship in the new year.
The decision at the church council at the beginning of December, was to start our regular mid-week bubbles in January and February. However, things have changed again and now that we are in Tier 4 there are very strong views across the circuit and the district that we should not be meeting for worship in our buildings. Every other church in the circuit has now decided not to have worship in their buildings during these early months of the year. These views are based on a desire to protect people, especially from the new, even more infectious strains of Covid 19, and also responding to the guidance that we should only be leaving our homes for essential reasons.
As a leadership team we have a range of views on this, with various possible suggestions and so we will be looking into this in greater detail at our next Leadership Team meeting on Wednesday (6th) and hoping to come up with a suggested way forward which I will share with you in next week’s update. Once again, this is ultimately a church council decision and so if you are a member of the church council and have strong views either way (or even if you are not a church council member but wish to share your opinion) then please drop me a line before Wednesday and we will include your views in our planning process.
Church Family news
I am very sorry to have to announce that Vinny M sadly passed away on Tuesday 29th December. Even though he had been in and out of hospital over the past few weeks, it was very unexpected and so please pray for Brenda and the rest of their family at this really difficult time.
Sylvie has kindly sent me some photos of her wedding to include in our newsletter this week and also a message that she and Robert: “were delighted to receive many cards and messages and extend their grateful thanks to you all.”
God Bless you this new year and throughout 2021,