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Ministers’ Letter

Minister’s Letter

APRIL 2021


“They’re back again!”

They’re back again! After being away for nearly a year, they’re back! Very busy, mind you. In and out; in and out; in and out! My son and I discussed what kind of birds they were. Oh dear! I’ve given the game away! Yes, we have a pair of ‘Cyanistes Caeruleus’ – otherwise known as Blue Tits – nesting in the house that Ken built. Yet, according to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) they’re early – well she is! He doesn’t have much to do with building nests and she does all the work.

So, when will you be back again?” Yes, I’m talking about church and meeting up in fellowship with each other. Face to face; without the need for masks. There are a lot of discussions taking place across the Circuit as to when the ‘best time’ will be to open our doors and get together again. We may have to practise ‘Social Distancing’ for a while and there will be fewer places in the church for people to come into – but at least we’ll be together again. And not staring at a screen filled with little boxes showing people’s faces or names. Although, for some that might be the only alternative that they’ll have to join in, so let’s keep it going if we can.

How different do YOU think YOUR church will be when the Corona-Virus no longer dominates our lives dictating to the world at large how to behave and be in society. When things will begin to return to the ‘New Normal’. Will we be eager to get out of the house and leave our homes to be IN the church? Will our practices and patterns change or will we simply slip back into the ways we did it all before? What changes would you like to see, when Covid-19 is out of the way and life resumes once again? Would you like your church to do some or many things differently? Could we find ways to work with others in our communities? To continue building on the ‘spirit of togetherness and community’ that has developed all over our country (and indeed in many other parts of the world too). There is a Zulu proverb called Ubuntu that says: “I am a person through other people” Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained it this way: “One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu — the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation.”

There’s a hymn that starts this way – When I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there? Hopefully people will be able to respond, ‘When I needed a neighbour, you were there, you were there! The early church, or ‘Acts Church’ as it’s often referred to, was known for its unity and having all things in common. Acts 4 vs 32 and 34 and Acts 2 vs 47 describes them in this way – ‘All the believers were one in heart and mind…… sharing everything they had. There were no needy persons among them. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’

As we ‘go back again’ perhaps there are some things we used to think, say or do that we could leave aside. And ‘together’ build a house where love can dwell and we can safely live.

Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
A place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

(Singing the Faith: 409; Marty Haugen)

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.
God bless you.
Bennie Harms – Lay Pastor
Addington and Shirley Methodist Churches.