Dear friends,

‘As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'’ (Matt 10:7)

The old hymn goes
Summer suns are glowing over land and sea;
happy light is flowing, bountiful and free.
Everything rejoices in the mellow rays;
all earth’s thousand voices swell the psalm of praise.

I guess many of you will be singing it now for the rest of the day. Despite this being well-loved by many it is one of those hymns we rarely sing. This is partly because many of us preachers have chosen it in the middle of the week before a service when the sun is blazing down, only to turn up to the church on a Sunday and find it tipping down with rain! Part of the problem of living in the UK. This summer has been an amazing one and it has been interesting hearing stories
of those who have been on journeys abroad only for the weather to have been better here!

The concept of journeying is something that as Christians is very close to our hearts. We sing ‘we are pilgrims on a journey and companions on the road’ and even ‘summer suns’ has the line ‘light of life, shine o’er us on our pilgrim way’. As a circuit we’ve been on a pilgrimage over the summer since we said farewell to Gail and David and very recently Matt and Helen. They are all going on physical journeys and we who remain are called to continue to journey ourselves.

The scripture at the top of this letter comes from a passage in Matthew’s gospel when Jesus is sending people out to share the Good News. He is reminding us to share the Good News, the ‘going’ is actually an assumed action! Yet as churches it is very easy for us to become comfortable. As Christians we need to remember that the Bible talks about Jesus being the ‘scandalon’, the rock that makes us stumble.

As we continue on our journey this summer with God and as we share in the new stages ahead of us with Gordon, Becky, Zoe and Joseph and with our new circuit Children and Family Development Worker, Jaynie, we need to remember to go and share the Good News, to not become comfortable and to be constantly reaching towards the goal that awaits us at the end of our pilgrim journey.

Yours in Christ,
Ben