From the Sanctuary
March is the month when our Church anniversary is foremost in my mind. This year, the Moravian Church has had a congregation in Dukinfield for 267 years, and our congregation has been officially on Yew Tree Lane for 49 years. Next year will be our Golden anniversary and we will need to plan an event to celebrate that with gusto.
On a personal note, it was ten years ago that I was called to serve the congregation, and ten years since my ordination at Dukinfield (the first to be held at Yew Tree Lane, I believe)! Where has that time gone?! As I reflect on those ten years, I am left with a real sense of privilege at being able to serve such an amazing congregation – YOU. I am also left with a sense of gratitude at how well you have accepted the limitations and deficiencies of my ministry as a non-stipendiary Minister who also works in secular employment, and I am not quite sure how it has all happened and been sustained – but it has – through faith. So ‘thank you’. I have been looking through my records with some sadness at all the wonderful folks whose funerals I have conducted over the ten years, but that is underpinned with happiness for them, as they are now in the loving presence of our Lord and are in higher service to Him. I have also been celebrating all the baptisms, confirmations, weddings, blessings and receptions into membership that have occurred over that decade. It amazes (and frightens) me that some of the children in our congregation have known no other Minister at Dukinfield, than me! It has been wonderful to watch them grow and flourish. During those ten years, our facilities have been transformed, new work has started and has begun to mature, and we have journeyed through the challenges that the Covid pandemic has brought us. It is quite exhausting to think on it all – but it has been a huge blessing too.
Whilst, to God, there is no ‘time’, to us mere mortals, anniversaries are a time to remember and reflect on our journey; and as we reflect, it is important to remember with gratitude all those who have been instrumental in that journey – who are significant in our spiritual journey to us as a congregation, and to us as individuals.
However, our Church faces many challenges ahead. Whilst our membership numbers have remained more constant than in many congregations, we do need to look more actively at how to bring others to Christ and to ensure the future of His Church. Do we have friends that we could invite to worship with us? Are there any who have lost contact with us that we could welcome back? I do believe that in spite of all of the social events that we hold, it is that loving welcome that people receive from us, and that relational encounter in which they meet Christ through us, that brings people into the Church and to faith. That has always been our challenge and will continue to be our challenge as we journey forth. Underpinning that will be the need for our earnest prayer and for the personal need for transformation of self (to develop holiness and engage in Christian formation) so that we reflect more something of what others want in their lives, which we have in us through Christ.
So, as we look back, let us also ask ourselves if we are up for the challenge that we need to face, because society – more than ever – needs the Christian faith, and the Church needs them to survive – and is for everyone. Please pray more actively for our congregation over the coming months and invite those around you to be blessed as we are blessed from knowing Christ in our lives.
I wish you every blessing,
2nd March – ASH WEDNESDAY, a good time to admit you are sorry
Have you done something which haunts you? Which makes you feel restless and defensive, every time you think of it? Why not deal with it this month, and put it behind you? Whatever your mistake has been, consider what the Bible has to say to you:
‘I have not come to call the virtuous but sinners to repentance’ (said Jesus). (Luke 5.32)
‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55.7)
‘Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.’ (Joel 2:12-13)
God is inviting you to come to Him this Ash Wednesday. What a wonderful offer! Make the most of it and remember how the prodigal son was welcomed back by his compassionate father.
It will be good to welcome Br Martin Smith who is taking our service on 13th of this month, and please note that on 20th, the annual Tear Fund Service will also include the presentation of the YPMA Awards for 2021. It is hoped that as many YPMA collectors as possible will be able to collect their awards in person.
|WHAT’S ON IN MARCH 2022
|Ash Wednesday – start of Lent
Family Service with Holy Communion
led by Br Peter
Congregation Council Meeting
|Church Committee on Zoom
|M.W.A. Meeting in Church
|Lancashire District Conference on Zoom
led by Br Martin Smith
|TEAR FUND SERVICE including
PRESENTATION OF YPMA AWARDS
Family Service led by Br Peter
Almighty, loving Father,
Thank you for the month of March, the month of Spring, the month when hopes are high and new things seem possible, when even coming through the pandemic seems possible.
This month we remember the day that the angel told Mary that she would bear your Son – how could that have seemed possible to her?
Help us to trust you as she did. Whatever we may face, help us to have peace and confidence, knowing, as she did, that nothing is impossible with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen By Daphne Kitching