Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The New Chapter Poster


Yesterday as I arrived for Lunchbreak at Amersham Free Church I was struck by the poster next to the church entrance on Woodside Road.  It is beautifully produced, well-lit at night and invites the community to join the congregation in a ‘new chapter’ in our church’s life together.  I think it’s a great poster and I’m grateful to those who both thought it up and put it up!

Many ‘new’ things have come my way over the last month – something inevitable about that in any new ministry.  I chaired my first Church Meeting at AFC last night, I’m getting used to the liturgical framework of our services, I’m discovering the church’s Christmas schedule and adapting to the ‘joy’ of attending not one, but two local ministers’ meetings because our church is both URC and Baptist.

Yet the truth is that I’m also being brought up to speed with some ‘old’ issues too – and that’s something I’m also grateful for.  This week I’ve been reading a backlog of minutes, meeting with people organising a building project and listening to pastoral stories.  It sometimes feels to me as if I’m making something of an ecclesiastical jigsaw and slowly the pieces are coming together.

On Sunday those of us in church will enter another sort of new chapter – Advent.  The old Christian Year is behind us and a new one begins this week.  I know for many Advent is a special time of year – as the light fades we find great comfort and hope in the hymns, readings and prayers of this season.

So, as we turn the page – as we begin a new chapter (in more ways than one):  ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel...’

With best wishes,

Ian

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Photos Are Back!

Remember the days when you returned from a holiday and waited for the photographs to come back from the developers - well it felt a bit like that as I arrived at church this morning!  I was given a wonderful CD of images from last week's Induction - here are just a few!

Before the service



Going in as we sang all People That on Earth do Dwell

The service begins


Going out - skillfully taken so as to look as if we were coming in!

Participating ministers around The Communion Table


The Family!


Lots to talk about!



What a cake



With three Church Secretaries

After the crowds had gone - thanks to everyone at AFC who worked so hard to make the day happen

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Goings and Comings


So much has changed in the comings and goings of The Green family since last I blogged just over a month ago.

The ‘goings’ included a ‘final’ Sunday at South Street: Yeovil,  on which we were shown so much kindness and goodwill.  I will always treasure the beautiful green stole presented to me by the church family at morning service – alongside the book of photographs by Junior Church. 

The very next day Rachel and I hardly had time to catch our breath before driving up to Amersham where we spent the week settling into the Manse.  The house had been prepared for us from tip to toe and it was super to be greeted by both the church secretary and treasurer upon our arrival. 

The ‘comings’ over these last few weeks have been many and various.  We now know where to park when shopping in High Wycombe and Jonty and I can repeat by rote the order of the stations on the Tube between Amersham and Baker Street!

Two significant moments for us over the last month were being received into membership at Amersham Free Church on 28th October and my Induction as Minister last Saturday, the 17th.

The Induction service, for me, provided a unique blending of my past and present as folk from all of my previous four pastorates collided together (happily I hope!) that afternoon.  Sometimes I had to do a double take in trying to place them in churches 1, 2, 3 or 4!  It was an absolute delight to share this time together and the photograph accompanying this blog shows me with three church secretaries from some of those congregations (what do you call a collection of church secretaries? – answers on a postcard!!)

After waving off our Induction guests – and I’m grateful to friends like Ruth for preaching and Ivor for reading – what happens next?  Well in a sense it’s only then that the real work starts.  So it was a special joy to turn up to church on Sunday and see such a fine congregation and have the privilege of preaching my first sermon as Minister of Amersham Free Church.  For me Sunday was just as important as Saturday last weekend.

So – one of the biggest changes of our lives has taken place and step by step it’s felt as if God has been graciously walking beside us – making himself known, as he so often does, in the smile of friends, the support of family and the welcome offered by new companions on The Way.

With best wishes,

 
Ian

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