Letter from Nick Baker

Dear Friends

It has been a busy and exciting time getting to know you. I have been greatly encouraged as I have travelled round the circuit: the vision for youth work and the development of the building at Perth; the potential and joy in the ‘room with a view’ at Blairgowrie; the upbeat monthly meeting in Montrose reflecting on where God is leading; the deep roots of our Methodist approach to Christianity in Arbroath; and the desire in Dundee to work out our calling in the quickly changing city centre. God is at work and I am delighted to be called to be part of this alongside you and I thank all the Societies for the warmth of their welcome. As we continue to grow as a Circuit, Petra and I invite you all to the Manse on 5th December (10-12) for a coffee morning.

‘The Kingdom of God is challenge and Choice’. The context in which we are called to be Church is constantly changing bringing many challenges meaning we have to make choices. A choice is a deliberate decision to go in a particular direction with the result we cannot do something else (if you choose to turn left you cannot go right). It can be hard enough sometimes to make a choice as an individual but when groups have to make choices it becomes even more complex. Paul’s letter to the Galatians reveals the Church had trouble with choices right from its earliest beginnings.

Paul reminds the ‘Circuit’ of Galatia about the fruits of the Spirit (5:22), the need to respond with Gentleness and to bear one another’s burdens. Being part of a circuit challenges us to make difficult decisions with limited resources but it also enables us to help one another as we work out together what it means to share the gospel and encourage people to discover the light of Christ in their lives and communities. 

In all our decision making we need to keep asking questions such as: Where is God in all of this? What does it mean to be the disciples of Jesus in Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose, Blairgowrie and Perth? What are the needs in our communities and what can we as ‘Methodist’ Christians offer into this?

Given the history of their early Church it is perhaps remarkable that the Church has not only survived but also flourished. As a former member of the Boys Brigade I am well acquainted with the Hymn ‘Will your anchor hold?’ and the response ‘we have an anchor…grounded firm and deep in the Saviours love’. It is that grounding with an openness to the Spirit that stimulates growth. Today the Church is very different from the Church in Galatia and the Methodist Church we know today will likewise look very different in the years to come but the same Spirit of deep generous love will continue to bear fruit.

As we travel through Advent and Christmas into the new year I encourage you to wait on God, to listen and pray for the circuit and for all the preachers who give so much every quarter, to rejoice in the light of Christ and go forward with the hope of the Word made flesh – a living reality in the world today.

With love

Nick

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