Tiviot Dale Methodist Church



As I write, the weather has turned autumnal with the nights seeming (at least to me) to be darker earlier than usual.  Gardens are looking decidedly worse for wind and rain, and thoughts are turning to the winter.


Since writing last, many things have happened.  Richard has moved on and Ian has arrived.  Ian’s Welcome Service was another wonderful occasion that felt rather like a family party!  Now we are awaiting news from Connexion that will enable Raj to join our Circuit, and we are also preparing to say ‘Goodbye’ to Stuart who has served in this Circuit for 10 years.  So it’s ‘All Change’.  Well, nearly all change, I’m still here!


We have also been conducting the Circuit Review and the feedback meetings have begun.  It has given each Church an opportunity to take a good look at what they are doing; what is working; what is not working; what they are doing that they took for granted and there have been some surprises along the way.  To say that things will change is, I think, stating the obvious, because our resources are changing.  For some, this will be an exciting time, for others it will be a deeply disturbing time and others simply won’t be bothered one way or the other.


We have to remember that we are called to follow Christ.  We are called to go where Christ tells us to go and do what Christ wants us to do.  As in a family, where children grow up, adaptation has to happen as needs change, and in church this happens too.  As one person said (ina different Church) ‘I have been coming to this Church since I was a young girl.  It’s not the same world as it was then, so why should we expect to be the same in Church?’  As our world changes, churches need to adapt to meet the current needs; not the needs that there were 20, 30, 50 or 75 years ago. 


All this can be very difficult and unsettling.  It requires sensitivity, imagination, flexibility, gentleness with each other and many more things.


What we are promised is that God will be with us, ahead of us and encouraging us. And sometimes, I think, giving us a bit of a shove from behind!


And the other thing to remember is that all we do in Church is God’s work, not ours; it is God’s church, not ours.  If we are obedient to God’s will, the rest is God’s responsibility, not ours.  Success is hearing God’s voice, and doing what God tells us to.  The rest is up to God, and the results and rewards may not be ours to see!


A while ago, when Andy Burnham (now Mayor of Greater Manchester) was Secretary of State for Health, and austerity was beginning to kick in, some aides came to him with a proposal that would cut £50m from the health budget – closing hospital Chaplaincies.  Andy replied that was not a good idea, and he wouldn’t do it, because when his Granny was ill in hospital, the question she asked every day was ‘Has he been?’.  She meant not the doctor, physiotherapist or any other medic.  She was referring to the Chaplain – he was the only person who mattered to her.  So, in a way, Andy Burnham’s Granny saved Hospital Chaplaincy by her simple faith and witness. 


What could we achieve without ever realising it, it we spoke out about our faith, and what it means to us?


It’s not easy, but we were never promised easy; only that God would be with us each step of the way!

Yours, Lindsay