Dear Friends:

As we look forward to the opportunities afforded by the new beginning of a new decade, we are carrying with us a lot more baggage from one year into the next as we continue to live within the constraints imposed on us all. What I hope for you is that you can regard the circumstances of our time as an opportunity to take stock of the blessings God has given us and show a renewed appreciation of these by letting them be a blessing to others.

During these days of time for reflection as we wait with eagerness the call to receive our vaccine, we need to keep aware of the different circumstances and challenges facing our family, friends and neighbours as some will still continue to self-isolate through their concerns for themselves or close family. One gift we have all received during the past nine months is that of mindfulness for the needs of others. As we look ahead to what the new year may bring for us, I trust we will hold to what has been good and positive in nurturing our relationships and for showing our love and concern for those God has placed in our path. Even though our physical contact may continue to be restricted over coming weeks, we can still demonstrate our being present and attentive whether we are talking over the telephone or taking part in a conversation on Zoom.

It is this sense of the need for engagement which I want to encourage us all to develop. Early in 2020 we began to explore the question posed by Bishop Steven: “How are we being called to be a more Christ-like church for the sake of God’s world?”. Then the pandemic struck and we moved into survival mode, discovering new ways of worshipping through the technology of Zoom and PowerPoint. While we may still be unable to attend live meetings let us use what we have learnt to draw together to listen to God, to each other and our wider community. I hope you will want to take part in this as we seek to discover where God is already at work in our church and community, and to creatively dream abut how we can move to doing things in different and imaginative ways to answer how we can become a more Christ-like church.

We have each had space to think about God’s call on our lives and by acknowledging his blessing on our lives, I pray we will find renewed energy to continue to be a blessing to others.

May God bless you and draw you into his presence, granting you peace and purpose throughout 2021

Rev’d Paul.