Minister's Letter for September 2016

by Rev Ben Clowes  |  Posted at 03:10am on 13th September 2016

Dear Friends,

'Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold,

because the LORD blessed him.' (Genesis 26:12)

And so the year rolls on. I can't believe it's two months since I last wrote a letter for Contact but as I write this we are approaching the new Connexional Year so I guess I'd better begin by saying 'Happy New Year' to you all! My prayer is that 2016/17 will be a special year amidst all the challenges and changes we are bound to face. There is a lot we already know is coming our way and much that we will only discover as the year goes on. They do say that a year is a long time in politics but I think a year is a very short amount of time in the church! Looking back over the last 12 months our church has done an incredible amount of things and the same will be true in the coming year.

This letter marks the beginning of my final year as a minister in this circuit. In late July/early August next year we will be moving on and the Circuit Invitation Committee is already well underway with putting together a profile to go to Connexion for my replacement. We hope and pray that in early November we will be matched with someone. 2016/17 also sees changes in other local churches. St Mary's in Nether Alderley have been without a vicar for a while now but Rev Jon Hales will be coming to begin work with them in November. We look forward to working with him over the coming months and years.

Down at St Philip and St James they are facing the prospect of an interregnum as Rev Jane Parry moves on to a new position in Tranmere after just over 8 years here. Jane's final service is on 18th September and as a church we have received a formal invitation for the whole congregation to attend. Over the summer months our stewards discussed this and have taken the decision to accept this kind invitation from our Christian sisters and brothers in the village. This does mean that we will not be holding an 11am service at AEMC that day so that whoever wishes to attend Jane's service at St Philip and St James' can do so. Being aware that not everyone will want to head down to St Philip and St James, the Worship Leaders have kindly agreed to hold a shorter reflective service at 3pm at AEMC,

This letter also marks the beginning of a new ministry in the circuit under Rev Scott Manning and his family Jen, Natalie, Andrew and Sean. They have moved into Wesley Cottage in Mobberley and all who have met him are excited about what he will bring to the life of the churches and this circuit. As part of this change, both Rob and I will be commissioned as Co-Superintendents from 1st September for a year and it is our prayer that this year will be a special one in the life of the circuit.

So there is much going on with our Christian friends already and we will continue to hold them in prayer but I truly believe this is a year of preparation for us for what God has for us in the future. On 10th to 11th September, we are invited once again to join in the District Day of Prayer and there will be a 24 hour prayer time at The Welcome (which you can join in physically or spiritually by committing to join with them at specific times in prayer at home). Launching to immediately follow this Day of Prayer will be a Year of Prayer for AEMC. Rob, Scott and I are to look at ways this could become circuit-wide but through the June Church Council it became apparent that God was calling us as a community to put prayer at the centre. Over the next 12 months there will be lots of different opportunities for prayer - prayer days, prayer and praise sessions, prayer encounters and the usual Time Out. I know many people treasure the Daily Prayers that Judy produces as part of Contact but my hope is that everyone will engage at least monthly in a new way of praying. The Church Council committed itself to asking every member to pray every day from 1st September that God would send us a new family. There will be more information coming out in the coming weeks but please do commit today to joining the Church Council members in praying daily for new people for our church. Each month there'll also be a new 'Prayer Focus' in Contact, providing a few specific things to pray for.

A year is a very short time when we look at it through the eyes of God's eternity. As we begin this New Year, let's make it a very special one - for God's glory!

'Yours in Christ

BEN

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    For World Refugee Day, a time when we can focus our thoughts on the refugees fleeing from their home countries because of danger, conflict, or desolation, may we ourselves take a moment to reflect on our own approach to this world-wide issue.
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    Sunday 23rd June
    11:00am - Morning Worship
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