Minister’s Letter – September 2019
September marks the beginning of a new Methodist year. Ministers who have moved to new appointments and getting to know their new surroundings whilst others will have retired and settling into a new way of life. It is a time of adjustments for many ministers and their families and for churches they serve as they settling into their new roles and situations.
Although I have not moved house this is also a time of change for me as I take on the role of Superintendent Minister for the Circuit and the additional responsibilities that this will bring. I will now be the minister in pastoral charge of all the churches in the Circuit and will need to spend time leading worship at each church in turn and getting to know people and learning how church is engaged in mission to their respective communities.
To help me settle into my new role I have been on an intensive one day induction course in London and will attend ‘part two’ of the training in a few months’ time. Clearly I am going to be on a steep ‘learning curve’ for the foreseeable future.
I am reminded that learning is part of ‘Our Calling’ in the Methodist Church. Whatever age we are and whatever stage of life we are in there is always something new to discover about the world we live in and the God who loves us. The American car manufacturer Henry Ford once said. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
The followers of Jesus were called ‘disciples’ which means ‘learner’. Jesus is the greatest teacher we know – he taught people using the common experiences of life. Jesus stood in the fields around the Sea of Galilee and he used the examples known to all his listeners – the sower sowing seed, the woman using yeast to make bread and the fisherman trawling with his nets – to talk about God. If Jesus were with us today he would probably teach us using the things of our world – cars, planes, supermarkets and social media. Jesus shows himself to be one of the best kind of teachers – one who encourages their pupils to think things out for themselves and learn through their own perception and responses. Thanks to the Gospel writers we have Jesus’ teaching recorded for us. Through reading and prayerful reflection on Jesus words we can all learn and grow as disciples.
Here is a prayer that I invite you to use:
Lord Jesus, help us to come to you as our Teacher in a spirit of humble receptiveness. Guide us by your Spirit as we ponder your teaching and show us how to apply it to our lives. Help us to remove the obstacles in our hearts and minds which prevent us from learning and growing as your disciples today. Amen.
God bless you all
Revd Tricia Williams