Newsletter May 1st 2022

Message from our Minister:

It’s great looking back down memory lane at some of the old photos. I am sure that most families have a drawer or a box to flick through from time to time. You may well be very ordered and have them all neatly put into albums and dated, with a title on each one and a reminder as to who is in the picture. It can be really annoying when this information is missing and you may have to resort to the detail in the picture such as the makes of cars, fashion of the day, to give a clue on the approximate date.

It’s an inescapable fact that whether we like it or not, times have changed and so have we. Change is inevitable. It is happening all around us. Try revisiting some of the places you grew up in as a child. Some of the familiar landmarks are now gone and have been replaced with shopping centres, retail parks and one way systems that will not let you access the shortcuts of your youth. This can be frustrating and very annoying, especially when you were never consulted! 

Given that change happens, we shouldn’t be surprised that similarly we have to face change within the life of the church. 

We need to ask some searching questions, looking honestly and objectively at where we are at and to look at the opportunities that we might pursue for the future together. It opens up the arena for creative ideas, imaginative thought and prayerful discussion. Let us consider together how we might do things differently so that we can be effective in our witness and mission to the community around us. We need to be bold in discovering the rich diversity of expressions of worship and to rediscover our passion for evangelism which must be at the heart of all we do. As we know, prayer changes things.

We are having an Extra-ordinary Church Council Meeting on Tuesday 17th May at 7.30pm to pray and discuss together.

God is with us in all the changes that we face and goes ahead to guide us. We give thanks for all that he has done, but let us embrace a new vision together for the future.  This vision needs to be positive and creative, God-led, and one which enables us to share in the building of his Kingdom.  In the Bible, the book of Isaiah (chapter 43:19), reminds us that God is in the business of doing new things: ‘See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.’

Let’s seize this opportunity for God to do something new amongst us!     

God’s richest blessings to you all,
Rev John Izzard      

This Week 

We are pleased to welcome Rev Dennis Lloyd as our preacher

Next Week 

Rev John is preaching and will be leading us in communion

BIBLE RHYME-TIME

For each pair of clues below, the answers rhyme with each other.
One or two initial letters are given to help you.

More Jokes from Simon

I saw this man with a wheelbarrow full of rabbits’ feet and four leaf clovers. I thought, he’s pushing his luck.

What is Forrest Gump’s password?  1forrest1

I once entered the world kleptomaniac championships. I took Gold, Silver and Bronze.

CHALLENGE AND ENCOURAGEMENT

The Current issue of “Idea”, the Evangelical Alliance magazine, has much food for thought.  Here are a few examples.

1.  The Mayors:  Andy Frost has been talking to metro mayors about the contribution the church can make to society.  They had noted the enormous impact the church had made during the pandemic, particularly tackling food poverty.  Andy says:

“There is a sense that God is doing something quite special.  It’s clear that when the church works collaboratively, there is an openness from those in the civic world to partner in ‘loving our neighbours as we love ourselves’.”

He goes on, “This is not a time to retreat back to our church comforts but to further engage with loving our places, serving our communities.  [But] we are not just another service provider.  We have a distinct message of hope that people need to hear.”

2.  The Spies:  Manoj Raithatha, Chair of the EA board, talks about spies Moses sent into Canaan.  They were amazed by the plenty in the land, but were (with two exceptions) frightened by the big inhabitants, and this led to 40 more years of wandering.  Manoj says, “At the core of this implosion was a simple error – focusing on human weaknesses over God’s capabilities.”

3.  The Lost: Steph Houston of Causeway Coast Vineyard Church in Coleraine, says that their leaders met a while ago and after prayer concluded that God was saying, “If you go after the lost, I will look after the church.”

– And Back to Gunville:

There is another application for over 100 new houses behind Forest Hills and Arthur Moody Drive.  A previous application was refused, but changes have been made.  Local people have many concerns, but the idea doesn’t seem to be going away.

Add this possibility to the 50+ new houses in Ash Lane, the 20+ in Alvington Manor View, and the 20+ further up Gunville Road, and we have the prospect of 200+ new houses in Gunville.  The neighbourhood needs a church, both to proclaim the good news and also to provide a centre for community activities.  Think and pray!

Please send any contributions that might be published by next Tuesday morning to:   andy