The United Reformed Church Chesham

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October/November 2013 Newsletter

Dear Friends

At our Harvest this year, we thought about the amazing growth that comes from a few small seeds. There was the story of the minister who planted just 360 wheat seeds and each year kept the resulting seed for the next yearís crop. After 6 years he had grown enough wheat to make over 2 000 000 loaves, which put end to end would cover 150 miles!

The Gospel message encourages us to follow Christís example, to serve God and importantly to spread the good news so that others will have the joy of sharing and becoming disciples. The decline in church numbers in the West has led to despondency that the Church is failing. The good news is that worldwide the Church is growing. Church Growth has been on the agendas of recent Area and Synod meetings I have attended and it is something that cannot be assumed will happen automatically in the local church.

It is 50 years since John Robinson wrote ĎHonest to Godí. This book became very popular in the 1960ís and caught the hope, optimism and idealism of that time. It inspired the idea that the Church could be relevant to the lives of those on the fringe of Faith or outside it. Some of you may well have read and been touched by this book. Today the style of writing seems dated, but the underlying message is not. We need this hope and optimism to be renewed today. The Gospel message needs to be our priority and then growth will come. As Paul wrote in his letters to the early churches, it is the teaching of Christ that should guide all we do.

It takes skill and energy to focus on what should be the priorities for a church. In the last year we have carefully looked at the vision of our local church and we look forward to the Revd Anne Sardeson joining us again at the end of October to continue this process with us. Chesham URC is not a declining church, but the membership numbers have been reduced sadly by recent deaths of members. It is important that we work to welcome people to join us in membership.

2013 will be a year that is remembered in our churchís life. The completion of the building redevelopment has given us new opportunities and if we are honest to God, we need to have clear priorities for Church growth. Seeds need to be sown and cared for if they are to produce crops. Thinking ahead to November 5th, when the bonfires and fireworks will light up the sky, letís take up the challenge to turn our small sparks into bright flames, that will not just light up the sky on one night, but shine into the new year.

With love

Dear Lord Shake us from our complacency and our gloomy thoughts so that we are inspired by your light to smile and share the joy of the Gospel message with those we meet. Help us to hold up all our worries for your care and to know your love and peace in our lives. We give thanks that through Jesus Christ our prayers are heard. Amen