Thursday 29th Aug 2019, 12:00am - Sunday 15th Sep 2019, 7:23am
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go – Joshua 1:9
It has been a year since I was installed as Vicar of Holy Trinity and hasn’t it gone quickly? It feels like only yesterday I was putting on my robes and celebrating the privilege of leading this church. What a great year we have had. The Kennaugh’s have loved getting to know the church family, the area, and settling into Stalybridge with new schools, new friends, and new places.
We really love it here, and have to thank God for his faithfulness and presence with us. We also must thank you, our church family. Your love and prayers have been so appreciated and we are so thankful for them and for you.
This year has been a blessing from the Lord. We have welcomed new staff in Beatrix and Ruth, seen many church members step into new roles and join different ministry teams, celebrated guests partaking in Alpha, people coming to faith, and many baptisms. We have held wonderful events including our Light Party and Tearfund’s Big Quiz, and launched a brand new ministry called Cascade, a weekly drop in centre which is growing and blessing people every week. Additionally, we have welcomed several new people into our church family.
As this new term begins we thought it would be a good idea to celebrate all that God has been doing with us recently and therefore our first Sunday in September we are calling ‘Celebration Sunday’ where we can share stories and offer our prayers of thanks to Him. During the summer months there has been much to celebrate: Holiday at Home, Holiday Bible Club, Wonder Day, New Wine, and the BCM Camp which some of our church family have attended. God has been so good to us.
It is lovely to celebrate and look back, and I wonder how your summer has been? Hopefully one of rest, relaxation, and fun! Perhaps a good holiday, perhaps good exam results. But now that it is over, how do you feel now that September is upon us? Do you feel ready for the new term?
We are entering a new season, and in many ways a new year. The weather is different, and we reach less for the sun cream and more for the hats and coats. We may begin to notice the changing colours on the trees as we travel to work. The school year is different, and for some this means a new beginning complete with new uniform, new bag, and new pencil case!
A new season can bring with it much change and sometimes this can be difficult and even a little daunting. Whether it's changing a habit, attitude, job, or home, change is always a challenge.
When it comes to where God is leading us, change can also feel difficult. However, in the Bible we see many examples of it. Abraham changes where he lives, Jacob changes his name, and people are repeatedly instructed to change their behaviour. Change is important for God! In fact, change is at the heart of the gospel. Mark tells us “Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.” (The Message version) God is not interested in maintaining the status quo but wants all people to come and know him, be set free from what is troubling us, and have the relationship with Jesus that we were created for. Jesus entered the world to do exactly that and it changed everything!
At Holy Trinity all of us are in the process of change, being changed from one glory to another by Gods’ grace (1 Corinthians 3:18). As a church, we are also exploring what God wants to do in and through us, and what change that will bring.
As we are preparing for what is to come, this autumn our Sunday teaching will look at Joshua with the aim of helping us to celebrate what has gone on before and prepare ourselves for the new things God has for us.
During 2019, the church leadership began exploring a new vision for 2020, and many of the church family have contributed to this through our prayer evenings and PCC away day. During September there will be the opportunity to come and hear a little about where we feel God is leading us on Monday 9th, 16, and 23rd. Please do come along and help us to shape the vision going forward, as we would love and value everybody’s input. I’m excited about how we as a church can grow to be more like Jesus, and share the Good News with our local community.
All of us at Holy Trinity all of us are in the process of change, but excitingly, we are also just the people God wants to use to transform Stalybridge. He wants us to join him in changing our homes, schools, and places of work, bringing Good News and hope to all. We are God’s change agents in these places.
We are all part of God’s team to change this area, and we need not worry about the change God brings because he is good, he loves us, and he goes with us in all we do. So as we think about change and all that brings in our lives and in the lives of those we care for, let’s remind ourselves that God knows what he is doing, and can be trusted.
We are in for an exciting autumn!
Love and prayers