First Epistle from Rod Hill to AEMC

by Alderley Edge Methodist Church  |  Posted at 10:57am on 25th February 2020

The first epistle from Rod Hill to AEMC

 I have long seen Acts Chapter 10 as a pivotal chapter in the story of the developing Early Church.  In this chapter we have the story of Peter and Cornelius. 

 In a few short verses the picture is painted of a sail descending containing all sorts of animals and Peter is told to get up and eat .  “Certainly not, Lord!’ says Peter ‘I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled’.  But the voice speaks to Peter again ‘Do not consider anything unclean that God has called clean.’  Whilst Peter was pondering the meaning of this vision he was called to go and speak to some gentiles who had come looking for him.

 This was an utterly transforming encounter, both for Peter and for the gentiles who had been sent to find him,  but it is also transforming for the early church.  Now the mission turns from just being for the Jews and becomes a mission for the whole world.

 When I met with the stewards just a few days before Christmas I shared something of my life experience them and I wanted to do that (very edited highlights only) here.  My working life began as a chemistry teacher in a mission school in Zambia.  I was one of the ‘missionaries’; but it didn't take me long to recognise that actually by far the most effective missionaries were those who lived there all of their lives.  They were the ones who spoke the local language, understood the local culture, traditions etc.

As I have served as a minister in rural East Yorkshire, in south west London, Sheffield, Liverpool district, and as mission enabler in this Manchester and Stockport District I have returned again and again to that experience.  My role as a minister can, at best, be to enable you, the people who speak the local language, understand the local culture and traditions, to be the Church.  Yes, I have my gifts, skills and experience, as does Pam Butler, in her pastoral ministry, and we’re quite complimentary, but each and every one of you has gifts that you can bring to the mission of God in Alderley Edge.

 On March 1st I start a three month period of sabbatical leave (and I’ll say more about that in the future) so it means that we have until the end of February to complete the initial phase of getting to know each other and beginning to share ideas of what God might be calling us to be and do as a Christian Community here in Alderley Edge, but of one thing I am absolutely clear, this is an absolutely pivotal moment in the life of this community,

I am really looking forward to working with you all over the next few years as missionaries together in this community.  I believe that God has a future for methodism’s ministry in Alderley Edge but, just as for Peter in the Acts, following that vision from God, it will probably look very different from its past mission.

With prayerful good wishes