Dear Church Family
At this time of year we end up saying 'goodbye' and then 'hello' to all sorts of people in the church family.
We've just said goodbye to our New Wine Discipleship Year interns, who've had a great year with us. We'll miss them! They've given and received in so many ways this year. It's been great seeing them grow in faith, in character and in confidence. A few will be staying on in York, and volunteering beyond the year in various aspects of church life. We've also recently said goodbye to Elliemae Hammond who's been on youth team and has recently been appointed as Youth Worker at St George's Leeds. Well done Elliemae! Sam Hutchinson, who's been with us for the last four years is moving North to Durham as he marries Esther, an ordinand at Cranmer Hall. Sam has served so faithfully for the last four years on the youth team, as well as verging in church, and more recently been helping us with ChurchSuite. We've also recently prayed for Phil McKenning as he moved to Oxford, as he goes to be trained in apologetics at Wycliffe Hall and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. This week we're also sending back to south-east Asia a wonderful family of much-loved mission partners, for their next season of service on the other side of the world. We thank God for all these people, and others too, whom the Lord is sending from us, into the North and beyond, in mission. It's great to be an overflowing church!
We're also saying hello to many too! We've recently appointed Izzy Pysanczyn to head up Belfrey Doors, gathering a team to open the church to visitors in order to share the love of Christ. (If that's an area where you'd like to serve, even if for just a couple of hours twice a month, do contact Izzy on: email@example.com). We already have a good number of people signed up to the New Wine Discipleship Year, who'll be joining us ready for September. We're also about to announce a new leader for St Cuthbert's House of Prayer who will start soon, so watch out for that! This Monday we're interviewing for the Associate Minister post (to replace Greg Downes), so please be praying for Monday and that appointment. And of course the Lord will be bringing many tourists and visitors to our city and church in the coming weeks, so do look out for them and welcome them. He'll also be bringing new Christians to our city, looking for a welcoming church family to join. And also there'll be people who aren't yet followers of Jesus who are hungry for good news and seeking a Saviour. So let's be attentive to the people God puts across our path and be praying that God uses ordinary disciples like us in his extraordinary plans and purposes.
As the Lord brings people and sends people it reminds us that the life of discipleship is never dull! As Bear Grills says, "it's the greatest adventure!" It really is!! As we follow Jesus we go where Jesus goes. We say what Jesus says. And we do what Jesus does. This may involve getting up and moving out of York (even to Newcastle!) but more likely for most of us it will involve going to the garden fence and showing love and care to our neighbour. Or going to hospital to visit someone in our small group who's unwell. Or going to work and doing a great job with integrity and diligence, taking a real interest in our colleagues and opening our home in hospitality.
The life of following Jesus is rarely a static life. Of course sometimes the Lord leads us into a place of rest and refreshment - and I hope many of us can enjoy that over these coming weeks. But following Jesus is mainly an active life. It's a life of praying. Listening. Caring. Sharing. Giving. Receiving. It's fascinating and fun. Character-building and challenging. Stimulating and stretching. To join in with God's purposes in the world is a wonderful privilege.
Have a great weekend, following Jesus.
PS. Thank you to those who've been praying for me, especially as I've done quite a number of external engagements in recent weeks. We had a wonderful time at St Barnabas Middlesbrough (for a renewal day) and then in Darlington (teaching on Prayer Ministry). Many people encountered the Lord and the young team that went from The Belfrey on both these days were just excellent! I also spoke last Sunday night at a New Wine Celebration in Hull Minster on 'God opening doors through prayer', and then yesterday in Whitby to a group of clergy from Durham Diocese on Discipleship and Mission. It was good to pray with them and anoint with oil, praying for the Holy Spirit's guidance as they serve the Lord in the North East.