At our recent APCM (Annual Parochial Church Meeting) as well as looking back and giving thanks for the previous year I took the opportunity to look forward to the coming year. There is so much to give thanks for and it is great to see the church engaging with the community in the Pop Up Shop, “Come and..” schools work and beyond.
Looking forward I was drawn to think about something one of the Bishops shared. I was led to think that often in church we see ourselves as protectors of the past rather than heralds of good news for now. We often seem more worried that we are the last generation defending the church than energised by being the first to share the good news today that continues to transform lives and communities. As those who seek to follow Jesus, we need to be more confident that the news we have to share is as relevant now as it has ever been.
And in doing this we must be prepared to listen to God’s direction. This may require us as a church to move from comfortable places to new ventures. This requires us to trust Him: to step out in faith.
In chapter 5 of John’s gospel Jesus talks to a lame man and asks him if he wanted to be made well. The man responds by listing all the reasons he can’t get to the pool. In churches there is a danger we respond in the same way. We can list all the reasons something might not work and risk not hearing and following God’s prompting and direction
In Old Felixstowe Parish we continue to be called to proclaim the good news of Jesus to our community. We may certainly respect where we have come from and the heritage of the church, but we need to allow that to shape us, rather than define us, as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus for “such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)