Minister's Letter - September 2017

Dear Friends, After much prayer and reflection, I have decided that it is the right time to look for another appointment. This was announced at the Circuit Meeting in June and the Circuit Stewards are already in the process of making plans for a successor to me as minister at Chandler’s Ford and as Superintendent of the Circuit. My Circuit Farewell Service is planned for 15th July 2018. I am frequently being asked, “where are you going?” The answer is, “I don’t know”. Having submitted my personal profile, I will be provisionally matched with a Circuit and visit in November. If that is a successful visit, I will know where I am going! If not, the process moves into December and beyond as necessary. The process is the same for the Minister arriving in this Circuit.

So why leave? Methodist Ministers have traditionally moved – in the past, it was every few years! The length of stay is statistically growing longer. This is to allow long term projects to come to fruition and community to develop. It allows also for the diverse needs of the modern family. I will have been in this appointment for twelve years; in that time, the Circuit has seen two mergers which have taken considerable amounts of my time and the Church has grown in its vision of mission and in diversity of worship. As Ministers, we are ‘called’ by God to our role. This means we experience God speaking to us through prayer, scripture and fellowship, guiding our decisions. I feel called to seek a new challenge and to allow someone else to take up the reins of the Church and Circuit here. But this isn’t a goodbye letter – yet! I still have much to do. But inevitably, the next year is one of change – and of following the ‘calling’ to a place and a people God has in store for me.

The scriptures tell us of leaders God calls, moving on. Abram hears the call like this: “Leave your country, your relatives and your father’s home, and go to a land that I am going to show you”. Leaving Chandler’s Ford will feel a bit like leaving ‘home’; Helen, Dan and I have built so many relationships here. But Abram also hears this: “I will bless you … so that you will be a blessing”. I believe God will bless me on the way, wherever that may be. As I hope I have been in Chandler’s Ford, I pray that I may be a blessing to others and a means by which people come to follow Jesus.

So please pray for the three of us as God calls us to somewhere new. I will, likewise, pray for you and the Minister who will be moving here. It is a time of uncertainty as well as anticipation; a time for trust and faith in God. Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica:

We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfil by his power all your desire for goodness and complete your work of faith. In this way, the name of our Lord Jesus will receive glory from you, and you from him. (2 Thessalonians 1: 11-12)