We are halfway through the year in which we are celebrating our bicentenary. The first thing I need to say is thank you to everyone who made our Summer Celebration possible. We are very grateful, of course, to Geraldine and Carey Luce for the inspirational way that they led others and performed on the evening. I think that the way that I would sum up the whole day was to say that there was an incredible feeling of the joy of the Lord filling his people and filling the whole Baptist Church Centre. For that to happen involved a lot of effort, much of it sacrificial. So many people worked so hard to bring it all together and we have greatly benefitted from your service to us. Thank you so much.
One of the great things about the event was the way that it brought people together and it came on the back of another event that brought people together – Love Stortford. What a brilliant event that was. Our friend John Barfoot from the Community Church came up with a great idea, and people from all the churches responded. Again, we experienced the joy of serving together – and this time with people from the wider church family. Thank you to everyone who made and distributed Lonely Bouquets, picked up litter and generally got stuck into the business of serving the town.
All of the things that have gone on in the last few weeks have been covered in prayer by you. Prayer, of course, was also the subject of our first event of our bicentenary year – 40 Days of Prayer. Prayer is the bedrock of all that we do or else what we offer to God is meaningless. We are not simply asking him to bless what we do but seeking to do what he wants to bless. We should acknowledge all the ways that we have already seen him at work. Before Love Stortford we prayed for good weather for all that we sought to do. On the day of the launch it rained enough for a month but at the appointed time, when litter-pickers were going out, it stopped raining. That pattern was repeated each time. Now some might dismiss this as coincidence but as William Temple once said: ‘When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.’
So please review what we learned during our 40 Days and see if you have been keeping up with the things that God spoke to you about.
What happens next? Well we have plenty more things lined up for the rest of the year, so here are some that you need to be thinking about now:
Holiday Bible Week: 5–9 August
Youth Weekend: 18–20 October
Global Leadership Summit: 18–19 October
Bicentenary Weekend Celebration
John Archer: 23 November
Anniversary Service with Rev Peter Nodding: 24 November
Please pray for all of these events. Think about which ones you can use to encourage others and think about how you can invite people to be part of them. ‘Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ (Matthew 9:38).
Finally, on 2 July, our sister Sylvia Brewster will have been a member of this church for 80 years. Sylvia – we honour you and your faithful love for our Lord Jesus that has been an inspiration to so many of us.
Yours in Christ,