Lenten letter from Rev Nick Baker

In a frantic world with many choices Lent comes as a gift. It is a gift to the people of God encouraging us to take time reflecting on our life and choices in the light of Christ’s life and choices. This can seem somewhat daunting, but time spent in the wilderness enabled Jesus to face the trials that were to come. Lent is not about self denial or doing lots of things (although that can be part of it) but a gift, an invitation, simply to spend time in the company of God, allowing the Spirit to nudge us in God’s direction of travel. It is important that we do this, not just for ourselves but as part of the local church and community. All the churches and the Circuit are facing decisions about the next steps and it is vital that this is rooted in prayerful reflection as we seek to serve our neighbours.

At the beginning of March, Revd John Butterfield, having finished his role as a part time circuit presbyter will begin a new exploration in ministry with the Church of Scotland. We thank John for his wisdom and work in his service and I encourage you to pray for him as he begins his new role. On Easter Day as we celebrate the resurrection there will be an opportunity to say goodbye and thank you to John as we share in a Circuit Service. The service will also be an opportunity to give thanks and encourage our local preachers as Jenny Easson receives her 40 year certificate and I encourage as many of you as possible to come and share the celebration.

The organisation of the preaching plan is one of the challenges we will encounter in coming months and we will need to draw deep on the Spirit encouraging creativity and innovation. I shall have pastoral oversight of all five churches in the circuit for at least the next 18 months and would value your prayers. It is the intention of the Circuit to seek a half-time presbyter to be stationed in September 2017 (the other half being a District appointment to develop work with ‘churchless’ Christians) but there are a number of decisions we and others will have to make prior to that. In our prayerful reflection we keep on asking, where is God in all of this, what is God doing and how can we join in? In our Easter celebration we remember that there is no situation, no place or person that is beyond the reach of God’s transforming love.

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