By the time you read this, you will be feeling the pace of life “cranking up” as summer comes to an end and the new term begins for children at school, young people at college and for all the groups and activities within our church community. The Autumn term is always especially busy because we have so much to prepare for: Harvest Celebrations, Remembrance Services, Advent and Christmas just for a start. (And who will be the first to spot Christmas Cards in the shops this year? And brave enough to say so…..)
It was in a short poem by W.S. Beattie that I saw the phrase “a half-way house we call ‘a church’.” Beattie was writing about the journey which is life and its destination which is God. As you will have seen, we shall be using this phrase as our theme through some of our Autumn Services as we continue to think of our journey and ask what purpose the church is called to serve in our world.
Individual Christians are called to be the people of God in the world, living their lives, sharing their faith, making a difference in the name of Jesus Christ. We know that. But what purpose does the community meeting together for work and worship serve? I find “a half-way house” a useful term, for the church is here to be a place where people can come in and rest for a while on their journey, look back at where they have been and ask for guidance as to where they should go. Such festivals as Harvest, Remembrance, Advent and Christmas are intended to offer space in which all can find meaning and inspiration wherever they are on their journey of life and that will bring them closer to God.
For many, the benefits of the “half-way house” are to be found in worship events. But for others they are found through activities or group meetings of one kind or another. At our July Church Meeting we discovered through our discussions just how many people are needed to keep the “machinery” of St John’s Church running and it is an impressive number.
So if you are looking ahead to a busy term in our church may I take this opportunity to say thank-you on behalf of all church members, friends, regular and occasional visitors. It is your work that helps to keep this “half-way house” open for weary, confused, searching and celebrating travellers. May we fulfil our mission, which is to bring people ultimately to God.
With love and good wishes,