Sunday 25th October, 2015

Welcome to everyone joining us for the Tate Street Community this week. We place a high value on friendship and so hope you will enjoy good coffee with us and some chat about life. In addition we will think about a passage from the bible, including some discussion, and we will pray about various concerns that reflect our involvement with Tate Street Primary School, as well as other things in the world and our lives that we know we need God to be involved with. Please feel free to join in all these elements of our gathering, including some lunch afterwards!

I think everyone had a lovely time last Sunday afternoon at the Hymn sing-a-long for Seniors week. There were a large number of volunteers who made the day happen, co-ordinated as usual by Marlene Holloway, and I’m sure you will join me in congratulating and thanking them for their herculean effort. It is a wonderful thing to be joined by so many Christians from other denominations for the afternoon. A foretaste of heaven perhaps?

At Parish Council last Monday night we spent a fair bit of time approving the church budget for next year (fairly much in line with this past year’s) although with some minor allowances for increased local mission spending, that is, spending on the outreach of our Missional Communities, for things like BBQ’s for the students at the school, hiring equipment for Playgroup events etc.

We also began to process the conversation we held recently about our current Sunday format. We continue to acknowledge the tension caused by not being able to hold more “traditional” worship (for St Matt’s at least) and the opportunity to help our Missional Communities practise how to meet and exercise hospitality, study of the scriptures and prayer in an informal context equivalent to “social space”.

Whilst we are very pleased with how the development of the new format is going, especially the growth in depth of fellowship & belonging experienced by so many, we also feel the grief of some others who would prefer the previous format. Perhaps, as Geoff Casey suggested it is a classic case of trying to put “new wine into old wine skins”, something which our Lord warned us is virtually impossible.

But bearing in mind our distinct lack of “worship resources” we remain, at this stage, unable to do much about it other than seek the Lord for a more satisfying solution. Which the Parish Council will continue to pursue. I can promise you there is much soul-searching, prayer and discussion happening behind the scenes on my part – I certainly would long for us all to be appropriately accommodated. One small immediate adjustment will be that I will commence bringing the message one extra time per month, rotating between the three Missional Community Sundays, as well as the usual 3rd & 5th Sundays.

The truth is, some of us are very happy and excited about where things are, and some of us are disappointed. Never the less I am confident that Jesus is leading us as we go and we can trust in Him to provide us with exactly what we need to get His job done. I don’t think we have arrived at our final destination in all this but I am confident we are heading in the right direction. I therefore urge all of us to keep at our prayers, persist in our contributions to the task and seek every opportunity to speak words of encouragement to those who are trying hard.

God bless,   Ian.