Pastor’s Thoughts – May 2012

Dear friends,

There are three great festivals that we celebrate in the life of the Church. Christmas and Easter are pretty well known (!) but the forgotten festival of the Church is Pentecost, known in this country as Whitsun.

27th May is Pentecost Sunday when we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. Jesus’ promise that He would not leave the disciples alone but would send them the Holy Spirit was fulfilled as the disciples came together 7 weeks after Passover and Jesus resurrection from the dead. When He ascended into heaven Jesus told them: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

Most of you will know the story of the disciples being gathered together in the upper room and the Holy Spirit falling on them with tongues of fire. That was the beginning of the Church and the beginning of the witness of the Church to the living reality of Jesus the Saviour of the world.

In the old days we used to get a Bank Holiday to celebrate this event. That has long since been moved to the last Monday in May and this year is attached to the celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June.

So what are we doing to celebrate the event? Churches Together have sought to mark the feast in various ways over the last few years. This year there will be a picnic on Sworder’s Field.

We decided that we should mark Pentecost with a call to prayer. What better day to be praying for the church as we move ahead? So we will be having an evening of prayer from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm at the Church Hall. As we were putting together a flyer to advertise this we were discussing what to call the event. I called it Prayer for Pentecost. Martin suggested it should be called Prayer at Pentecost. Grammatically he is correct but the subject of our prayer time will focus on the move from our current set up to the new centre. We want to pray through all the possibilities that will arise from this and pray about all the snags and difficult transitions that we will need to make. In that sense what we will be doing is also prayer for Pentecost – for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on the Church and on the people around us. Please join us for as long as you can.

One aspect of change that we are looking at is the format of our services. Should we continue with the existing 10.30 and 6.30 services or is there a better format to use? In particular we are concerned about the way that our children are involved in worship. The current philosophy is to have worship as a whole family which is not specifically aimed at the children but in which they are involved as part of the worshipping community. Once a month we give our Sunday Club leaders a Sunday off and have our family celebrations which seek to include everybody.

The question arises about how well we are engaging the children? Might it be better if the children didn’t come in at all but had age specific worship in their groups? Alternatively might it be better if we agreed that we would always meet from 10.30 to 12 Noon and include worship specifically designed for the children as a part of that every week?

I’m asking that with a desire to hear your views. I especially want to hear what parents think about this and how we should proceed. What I need is something written down rather than comments at the door on Sunday, so if you have something to add to the discussion please can you let me have your contribution as soon as possible.

You may use the form below to send in your thoughts – be sure to leave your name and email address so that I can be in contact with you.

Yours in Christ

John