Minister's letter

A message for December 
 

from the Revd. Malcolm Strange


 

As we move towards Advent and our preparations to celebrate that great Christian festival of Christmas, I have been reflecting on two recent events which I believe will have a true and lasting impact on us all on the Fromeside.
 


 

The first was our pilgrimage walk to Gloucester at the end of October. A hard core of 18 pilgrims journeying literally through the wind and the rain to walk 36miles from St Peter’s Frampton Cotterell to St Peter’s Cathedral Gloucester. Almost 40 people joined the journey at some point as we explored what it means for us as Christians to be open to God’s call.  We reflected on those moments of divine encounter when we bring to the cross times when we have fallen short, when we proclaim the Incarnate Christ as our Lord and Saviour and then respond to his love in our love for each other as community, in particular our love for those on the margins. All this was achieved as we journeyed the pathways to Gloucester, stopping at numerous watering holes and pubs, encountering wonderful hospitality from the people we met, discovering the mystical interlocking of life’s physical challenge, social engagement and spiritual encounter.  All of which brought us closer together as a Christian community.
 

The second is our Benefice decision to set its priorities for the next 3 years, where we will strive together and as individual churches to focus on three key areas. Firstly, to engage with the missing generations, whom we have failed in our mission as church to truly share Christ’s love in a relevant and engaging way. We are committed to  encourage all, especially in our work with schools and families, to have a real and meaningful relationship with God’s Son Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate in a couple of weeks’ time. Secondly, we will strive to improve our ministry to and support of the lonely. A feature of modern society is that there are increasing numbers of old and younger people who feel a real sense of loneliness.  As parishes we will be looking closely at all we can do to bring people together through a number of new initiatives. Finally, we will be developing our ministry of hospitality and welcome. Whilst we are a friendly bunch on the whole, we do need to constantly look at the example of Jesus in being totally inclusive and enabling people to feel a real sense of belonging when they engage and encounter church.

 

 

At Christmas we celebrate God with us in the birth of his son Jesus, a time when love abounds in divine extravagance! It is our call today as Christians to continue, through our faith and our actions, to make this love incarnate for all, a light of hope in a world of desperate need.

 

 

Happy Christmas

Revd Malcolm Strange