Summer 2018 Pastoral Letter from the Superintendent

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Thankful

Dear God,

Thank you for the goodness that I see — if I am looking — on a daily basis. Thank you for the wonderful stories, and the little things, and the acts of kindness which show that people can and do care about others. Thank you for the many times that people go the extra mile, usually unnoticed, and often un-thanked. Thank you for when people are flexible and gracious in their dealings with others. Thank you for the time and energy that people put into things to help, not least in this big Circuit of ours. You know as well as we do, we live in challenging times with aging and declining numbers and people in the wider world and community often not responding, but we do give thanks for when they do: for the new person in church, for the person who has come back to church, for the person or family who is grateful for a funeral, or for the flowers when brought, or because there's a messy church or a fellowship group or something that works for them or their family. I want to say thank you to the people who run these things; and lots of 'thank you's' for the administrators in the Circuit, for the paid ones and for the numerous volunteers, and for the property and finance and 'people' people, and for the leaders of children's, youth and fellowship groups and the leaders of worship, and for the ministers, all the ministers, the lay, as well as the ordained.

When I think about this, also I want to ask your forgiveness, for times when we are not so gracious or flexible; for times when I or others only see the bit in front of our noses; for when we fail to see the big picture or think of our own position first; or for when we get stuck in views or become too parochial (in the worst not best sense); and then I want to thank you for your forgiveness, that showers upon us every day and every moment of every day, and for all your help and compassion and grace that can see us through.
I want to thank you for all the resources that you give to help us, and for myself I want to thank you for the gift of a sabbatical for the first time in 17 years. You know that I am weary and need some rest. So I thank you for the gift of this sabbatical from the Church, and I thank you for Simon Topping, and ask that you will help him as he acts as Superintendent, and for Martin Turner who will look after Bishop's Cleeve, and for others if needed. Bishop's Cleeve and the whole Circuit are full of good people, and I know that they will be alright, because you are always looking after us, so thank you for giving people to look after them for the next bit. The thing that will be hard about being away is not wondering what will be going on, for everything will be fine and work its way through; it will be not being around if sad or difficult things happen to people: I shall be sorry not to be present. Yet I know that you will take care, and you often do so through people taking care of each other, as your Spirit works its way between us. For always you are a loving and good God, who made yourself known in the one who died for us, the one who has been raised for us. As we walk each day, help us to know ever more fully your way of the Cross, your way of Resurrection. Help us to be a forgiven, forgiving, generous, and gracious people. For I thank you for all your goodness, for all your blessing, now and always, Amen.

James

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