Kinda forgot I have a blog…
But, it has been a busy few months rounding up ministry at Homewood Road URC and preparing to move over to Hertford to be Associate Pastor at Hertford Baptist Church. Really enjoyed a lovely Induction service and preaching on the first Sunday, and am now getting into the swing of things. It was so good to have my friend James Faddes to preach at the service – our connection goes back over 20 years, and even longer with Jim’s wife, Yvonne, who I was a school with. Jim is from my home town, was a fellow student at Bible college, sang at my wedding, assisted at my baptism, was a good support in exploring ministry in baptist circles and an all round good egg. He gave a great and poignant word from Jeremiah 1. Good stuff.
The first few weeks in a new post are a bit of a test. You’re literally forced to slow right down to an almost stop. The regular patterns and purpose of a previous ministry fade away and it is new land again, new ground. There is a lot to learn and the curve can be steep with several hundred names and situations to catch up with. An almost impossible task, but not quite. So, I’m all ears. I guess these are times where discernment is particularly critical.
Hertford isn’t a million miles away from St Albans geographically, but they are completely different towns made up of quite different people. As Associate Pastor giving leadership to outreach, it’s particularly important to be listening out to the community as well as to the new church. Also, with a remit to encourage and support our work with families, lots of listening needed there too. It is important to learn the rhythms of people, their priorities and what is at the heart of things for them. So lovely to see a huge exodus of children and young people on a Sunday morning when it is time to go out to their own groups…reminds me of the very happy moments at Trinity in Gosforth.
Common questions are – ‘how are you settling in?’ Common response is – ‘yeah, doing alright.’ Reality is that there is always a lot of sadness moving away from people you’ve grown to love. Reality is that there is always a barrage of uncertainty, feelings of inadequacy, nagging anxieties about new situations that you just have to acknowledge and let pass. You have to let your heart/mind express them, acknowledge them, and call yourself forward to a new day.
But already, the Lord is just showing me a few things here and there: possibilities, perhapses, maybes. And more than anything else, I’m absolutely delighted about how welcomed and integrated my kids have felt in the plethora of youth activities and ministries. The school journey is going well and we’re relieved about that.
I’m aware, too, that lots of new blog readers will be coming along from HBC – welcome! I’ve been blogging for over 15 years here, on and off, through most of my ministry in various settings (and the blogging often reflects that fact in content). For me its a sort of log of thoughts, reflections, celebrations and questions which, for me, are useful tools in developing my own ministry, but also, hopefully, in encouraging and challenging others in theirs.
So, here’s to the new chapter in Hertford. Onward and upwards!