Dear Sisters and Brothers,
You may have seen the posters in your church which tell people what the core purposes of the Methodist Church are.
The calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God's love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission.
It does this through:
The Church exists to increase awareness of God's presence and to celebrate God's love.
Learning and Caring
The Church exists to help people to grow and learn as Christians, through mutual support and care.
The Church exists to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice.
The Church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ.
I believe in keeping things simple, so it seems to me that belonging together as part of the Methodist family means that churches and circuits don't need any other summary of what we believe to be God's calling. The challenge is for us to work out what putting this into practice means in our context making the best use of the resources that God has already given to us.
Doing this will make demands on us. Focussing on what is most important will mean that we must stop doing some things, other things will need to be done in different ways and we will certainly need to be willing to take the risk of doing new things.
I hope that over the next few months we will prayerfully refresh our commitment to "Our Calling." We need God to help us capture a vision of every church growing in worship, learning and caring, service and evangelism and then make plans that can turn the vision into reality.
As well as working out what Our Calling means for churches and the circuit it's also a good discipline to pray about how it might shape our personal discipleship. To do this some people have begun to think about developing a Methodist Way of Living. Worship means that we commit to praying daily, worshiping with others regularly and listen for God in the scriptures and the world. Learning and caring that we will care for ourselves and others, practice hospitality and generosity and learn more about our faith. Service that we will help people in our communities and beyond, care for the environment and challenge injustice. Evangelism that we will talk about God's love in Jesus, live in a way that attracts others to Jesus and sensitively share our faith with others. If you want to find out more about this try to get hold a copy of the latest "Connexion" magazine.
To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfil;
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master's will.
John Hellyer, Superintendent