Maybe it’s because I come from a family of teachers and that I started off originally on a career in teaching, but for me September with the start of the Academic year always seems far more of a New Year than January 1st.
In many ways the Autumn is often the most productive time of the year. Most of us have had a good holiday over the summer and there is a long stretch of time before the next holiday at Christmas. After Christmas the Spring may seem long and welcoming before us but is beset by cold and wet weather and many illnesses and tiredness that sap our energy. By Easter many are planning for the summer and people begin to go away and get out and about to many different places for weekends, short breaks and day trips.
September is a time to establish new programmes in the church with our Home Groups, Children’s Groups and Alpha and others courses,
But while I was away in the summer I was aware that there didn’t seem any specific new things to begin for our church this Autumn.
However we have been giving some thought over the last few months as a church to our planning, strategy, goals and purposes.
Many organisations have ‘Mission Statements’ and ‘Vision Statements’- terms taken from God’s people who have always been called to go out in Mission to the world and look in vision to where God is calling and leading us.
Of course the church has a general purpose and most people have some idea of what the church is about and there for, but these vary from person to person and to many the church is just there which is useful if and when you need it. But we believe Jesus called us to be part of His church that He established to encourage and support each other and also to glorify God and serve and reach out to all who live in this world that God has created. In our own culture there are church communities usually in distinctive buildings in every community – sometime quite a number – and are a group of people that many think just get together because they like that sort of thing and that’s fine if they want to. But at its heart the Church is a living organism, not just an organisation, that lives and breathes and affects the world around. Historically churches have been at the heart of establishing schools, hospitals, law, welfare and this continues.
The church continues to want to welcome people of all backgrounds and ages whoever they are and whatever they seek. The church wants to encourage its existing members to reach out and serve all those around us. But most especially we want everyone to have some opportunity of knowing themselves that God made, love and cares for them, and wants to help and guide them.
Maybe this Autumn we’re not specifically about launching great new programmes and activities. But we are about thinking how best we can welcome and reach out to all those amongst and around us. We hope that whoever you are reading this that you will want to find out more for yourself about how much God can mean to you especially in His Son Jesus Christ.
If you live locally you can join us any Sunday at 9:30am at St Marys Great Chart or 11am at St Marys in Singleton meeting in Singleton Village Hall, or call in St Marys Great Chart which is open every day. Or if you live further away you can E Mail us, or even locally there are people you can contact by phone or E mail.
The church is here not just for its members, but as one former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple famously said ‘the church is the only organisation that exists solely for the benefit of its non-members’