Live deliberately

10 01 2014

This time last year I looked ahead to what lay before us as a Parish in the year ahead.  It’s good to look back and see what has been achieved.

In April Steve Macbeth, and his wife Lisa, joined us as Community Minister at St Mary’s.  In the eight months since then we’ve seen our new church facilities expand their usage with Age UK setting up there, two new weekly coffee mornings for the local community, and a Payback team improving the site still further.  The two big projects go live this month – a new West Twyford Parent and Toddler Group at St Mary’s, and the long-awaited restart of a parish Christian group for teenagers, headed up by Steve and Lisa.

In October we celebrated at last the ordination of Pete Harris, officially recognising him as Minister at St Mary’s and filling the gap in our clergy team which has existed since 2010.  It’s no coincidence that with Pete taking on leadership at St Mary’s and freeing me up to concentrate again on the Ascension, we have seen growth in numbers at both churches in the past year.  Whatever you may still hear in the media about Christianity in this country being in crisis, or people saying that both our congregations are made up largely of older people, IT SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE!

Our current Alpha course is the liveliest I can remember.  One of the people on it has just taken first steps into Christian faith, having grown up with something very different.  Her personal motto is “Live deliberately,” and I believe that fits perfectly with what Christian faith is all about.

Jesus did not come to give us a spiritual insurance policy for when we die, or crutch to lean on when we feel we need a bit of help (although he does do both of those things).  Instead he came making the controversial claim in both words and actions that God is the true ruler of this world and he calls us to come and live deliberately under that rule.  Jesus knew from the start that this would involve sacrificing his own life in the most horrible way in order to take responsibility for the evils which pervade all creation including us.  Jesus assures those who follow him that their sins are forgiven by God and they are loved and accepted as they are.  He also calls them to live lives of sacrifice, dedicated to following him.  Before us lies the gift of a New Year – let’s choose to live it deliberately as Christians.

Happy New Year!




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