Dear Church Family
‘Give careful thought to your ways …’ (Haggai 1:5)
This is a favourite phrase of Haggai and appears four times in what is a short book. The first steps to renewed obedience, required a realistic assessment and appraisal of what had gone wrong for Israel. Yet self-analysis can become self-indulgent to the point of inaction, but if it doesn’t occur, our lives can easily become misdirected.
Reflecting on this and our ongoing discussions on race and racism, I know many have found the speed of engagement frustrating and I am sorry if you have felt this way. It was certainly not my intention to add to anyone’s pain in what is often a very distressing conversation. The pastoral zoom meeting we had a couple of weeks ago illustrated to me again the strength of feeling. It was important to see a significant number of the fellowship there to listen and learn. Having given careful thought to these things, I do believe now is a time to act, and so I informed the PCC of three initial things that will happen:
- Pastoral Conversation continues: it’s really important that we don’t stop listening and learning from each other’s experiences. I have been blessed by many of you and your contributions, which have often demonstrated the work of God in people’s lives. Please continue to speak with any of the pastoral team – we are here for you – we fully recognise there is a variety of stories and opinions to be heard.
- Leader’s Council: on Monday 1st February we will be meeting to pray, discuss and discern what the Lord’s will is in this area for St John’s. Many suggestions and ideas have been put forward for consideration. I ask you to pray for me and the team, mindful of what we heard in James ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault.’ (James 1:5).
- February sermon series: ‘Life Together: Ethnicity, Church and the Gospel’. As one of our core values states, ‘The Bible, as the written word of God is our supreme authority and guide in following Jesus in the whole of life’. Given the importance of this conversation at this moment I have altered the preaching plan accordingly. We will be providing small group material for this including within the children and youth setting. Please pray again that the word of God does the work of God, by the spirit of God, in our hearts and lives.
Finally, I was recently struck by Martin Luther King Junior’s insistence that each participant in the 1963 civil rights demonstrations received training and made a pledge consisting of 10 statements. They are remarkably biblical, the first four were:
– mediate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus
– remember always that the non-violent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation – not victory
– walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love
– pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free
Indeed, these are wise words for each of us as followers of Christ whatever the circumstances or challenges.
Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus,
9.15am & 11.15am morning services with the latter live-streamed via the St John’s YouTube channel.
Haggai 2:10-19 – ‘From this day on’
10.30am Zoom refreshments, do join together for some fellowship via the link:
Meeting ID: 814 2447 3923
6pm Evening Service via Zoom.
Romans 8:26-27 – ‘Enduring in Weakness’
Meeting ID: 871 3762 3729
Foodbank distribution at St Johns
Tuesdays 2pm – 4.30pm
Saturdays 10am – 12.30pm
We will be needing more helpers for this outreach. Please contact Victoria Alexander or Julia Wright if you can help.