Dear Church Family
It was good to gather last Tuesday in St Michael le Belfrey Church for Peter Gibson's funeral. Peter lived all his life at Precentor's Walk (across the road from church); he worked at York Minster, and he worshipped at St Michael le Belfrey Church. That means he lived, worked and worshipped in a very small geographical area - probably no bigger than an eighth of a square mile - and yet his influence was felt across the world. He was a local man with an international impact. Such is the power of focus. Like Peter, as we focus on the area to which God has called us to serve him, so his kingdom grows.
Our vision as a church is to serve God's transformation of the North. The North is the geographical region we want to see particularly impacted by God's kingdom. But it requires each of us to stay focussed on the work God has called us to do, which for most of us is very local. As we do that, faithfully and intentionally, so God will use us to impact our region.
The picture of a lighthouse is helpful. Where you place a lighthouse is very important and strategic, but it's light is meant to shine well beyond that place. Similarly God has placed us in the wonderful city of York, to shine here and influence the North. Each one of us can do that in our families, streets and workplaces. And together we can do that through the church's worship and witness - like the great Carol Service we had last Sunday evening in York Minster (with lots of guests), the recent Saturday cafes (where 4,500 came into church) and the upcoming Alpha course in February 2017.
Like Peter Gibson, and Derek Wooldridge (whose Thanksgiving Service is tomorrow - Saturday 10th December at 1pm), we're all called to shine. The words we sang to close Peter's service say it so clearly and prophetically: 'Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you' (Isaiah 60:1).
So may you have a very shiny Advent and Christmas season.