Minister's Letter

Dear Friends

What did you enjoy?

The social committee started it all off with a get together on 1st December where my best memory was trying Philippino puddings for the first time. This was soon to be followed by the putting up of the Kingsdown collection of Nativity Sets. Thank you to all of those who put them up, and took them down, and also to all of those who assisted me in showing them to Infant School children on various days all week.

I was not prepared for how effective this was as an activity for youngsters. I expected them to react to the sets as though they were toys. In the event there was awe and wonderment. The children knew they were special and treated the tiny figures accordingly. It was a really good opportunity to rehearse the Christmas story with them. The extent to which they already knew it was apparent though - especially when I started asking where Joseph was - meaning my own little figure - only to be told that he isn't here, he's in a different class"!. The speaker meant the little boy who was playing Joseph in the school nativity.

We opened the church to youngsters from the community on the Saturday after schools had been in, but children did not come. Maybe we need to think again on that one next year? My husband Phil very much enjoyed making Christmas decorations with Sue and Rita though, so the art materials, at least in part, were used!

On the Sunday our very own junior church children brought the story alive to us in word, action and song. Thank you, children, and to your leaders! It was lovely to watch and definitely one of the best I have seen! You are obviously stars in the making!

Then came our carol service, midnight communion and Christmas morning services. It was a blessing to share the story of the incarnation with you, and to reflect with you in different ways.

Through all of this time the Night Shelter was taking place each Sunday evening in our hall. A meeting of people, all of us different, seeing God within one another. I will not quickly forget my discussion about prayer with one of the guests who told me "The mistake people make with prayer is to think that it is about changing God's mind. It is not about God listening to us and us changing Him, but about us listening to God and being changed by Him". Reflect on that one yourself. It has kept me going all month. What might God be trying to say to you? How might he be trying to change you? ... Both as an individual; and as a church.

In fact, that was what I challenged you to reflect upon at our annual covenant service this year. I asked you to reflect on "Why do I come to church"? and "What is the purpose of our church?".

I have been at the church a few months now and met and am beginning to know many of you. It IS an active church where people have and put ideas into practice. What Kingsdown needs now though is a group of people who are prepared to work with me to pull the church together.. To think about a way forward together. Our stewards are committed but very much in need of support. Please think prayerfully about whether you could join the team? Do not think about why you couldn't, but why you could. We can work round any difficulties you have. Now is the time to come forward, when we have at least a few years of stability ahead of us to work together as a team. Contact me and let me know what YOU can offer. Of course, the stewards are not managing to get everything done now, there are not enough of them. Only YOU can help to make that better so please do.

In the short term I would really like to hear from people who would be prepared to think about putting together an away day - or even an away day at home - for the church to focus on our life together. Be in touch if you think you can help me with this.

One last request which might appeal to somebody ...? I have been asked by the Chestnut Lodge Care Home (not far from Pitshanger Methodist Church) to provide pastoral care, and perhaps a service , for Protestant Residents in the home. These residents have dementia and tend to enjoy
relatively short visits. I also give them communion when I visit, and they want it. My time is limited though, and I would therefore love to hear from anyone who can assist me with the visiting? Please have a think and let me know.

So, a few things to think about at the beginning of this New Year. My ears are open too ... so let me know any thoughts, or ideas, or requests that you have, and we will continue to move forward together.

With Every Blessing


Rev Susn Male


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