Superintendent's LetterJanuary 2021
Greetings to you and your families at the beginning of this new year.
Christmas may have felt very strange since we couldn’t meet family and friends or worship together. However, hopefully we could still celebrate the wondrous mystery of the Son of God coming to dwell amongst us in the vulnerability of flesh and blood.
We begin this year in a lockdown seeing the continuing impact of Covid upon our lives, our families and our communities. We pray for one another as Covid affects us in many and varied ways. We thank God for the rollout of vaccines, from which some of us are already benefitting, which give hope of a different future, albeit with its own challenges.
In my letter last month I reported on the generosity of circuit members which enabled us to present a Christmas gift to every staff member at Hall Grange. I share below an email I received from Ms Abi Williams, the Home Manager:
I would like to say a massive thank you on behalf of myself and my colleagues at Hall Grange, for such a wonderful and thoughtful gesture of card and voucher received from yourself and the Croydon Methodist Circuit.
Each and every staff members at Hall Grange are ever so grateful and most obliged by this gesture, the thought, kind words and gift goes a long way in realising how much we are appreciated, it is also a reminder that there are wonderful people out there thinking and praying for us, during these unprecedented and uncertain times.
If we look back at this year we all remember the difficulties we faced in March and April when nobody in the world knew how to respond to the attack of the coronavirus, the lack of PPE and the endless runs to the Council and other Authorities to retrieve some tools and information, the high number of residents we lost. Still, we came together and we all helped each other at the best of our abilities. Unfortunately, we are now in the middle of the second wave of crisis.
And now, more than ever, we can only wish for the best and also work towards it: as we all stay together, believe in each other, and pray for God’s mercy and light to shine on each of us.
With all my heart, I wish you all kindness, hope and a better time to come soon.
From me and on behalf of my colleagues at Hall Grange: please extend our sincere appreciation to every partaker of this kind gesture, we wish you all a prosperous new year.
Abi’s comments connect us to the theme of Covenant. Our Covenant services provide a powerful reminder about celebrating and valuing our relationship with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and with one another. We recall the words of Christ: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). We bear fruit to God’s glory is the outworking of the life and love of Christ within our lives as we abide in him. This is a dynamic relationship: ‘My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples’ (John 15:8). We may recognise that sense of becoming disciples of Christ as we abide in his love and bear fruit. We are not the people we were because of all we have experienced during the past year. At the start of 2021, the Covenant service allows us, together, to re-commit ourselves to abiding in Christ the true vine and bear fruit to God’s glory.
We remind ourselves of the words of the Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
wherever you may place me,
in all that I do and in all that I may endure;
when there is work for me and when there is none;
when I am troubled and when I am at peace.
Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded;
when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking;
when I have all things, and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all I have and am
to serve you, as and where you choose.
Glorious and blessèd God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.