A little while ago I wrote this for our first e-bulletin and thought I ought to include it on this blog....
I thought it was about time I shared some of my reflections regarding where we are up to at SMC especially in the light of our entry into a new pattern of gathering (consistent with) the direction we feel called to go as a church. The 9am Parish Communion service continues to develop on 3 Sunday’s per month – a traditional service with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. At 10.30am twice a month our central gatherings occur drawing together a larger group of people of all ages worshipping, encountering Jesus and responding to his word. Rachel Turner is beginning to get the measure of her task as Pioneer Children’s Leader and her creativity, openness to the Spirit and teaching gift is sure to be of great benefit to us. We have created exploration space for the development of a more significant change in the way we do church in MSC Sundays. These Sundays are the opportunity to search out the ways in which we can gather in groupings that are shaped by mission. Steadily things are taking shape for us; I expect we are going to learn an enormous amount over the months ahead.
Well done to all of you who are contributing to the process of MSC development already, to those who have ‘stepped up’ at central gatherings and have ‘stayed with’ SMC in the process of the closure of All Saints.
As we develop a new leadership structure for our new season, the leadership team has ceased to meet in favour of the creation of new structures. All those who have been involved in the leadership team will continue to serve as key leaders in this church. We all owe this group of people a big thank you for the way in which they have served and continue to serve.
One of the images I have worked with in thinking about SMC has been of this church as a tent community. Our recent and significant history as a church has been of the removal of ‘sacred’ buildings from our possession and the entry into a new way of being church that has a temporary, flexible and simple approach; a tent mentality. The way in which God’s people were organized and released to travel from Egypt to the Promised Land is of particular inspiration as well as the way in which the early church worked. Recently I have been struck by the need to make sure we have a ‘base camp’ that fulfills the purpose of supporting the missionary vision of the church. I believe that some of you will feel a call to the base to resource, pray for and support the work of those who are called to establish missional communities. Base camp, of course, is vital for the success of any expedition.
I think this is a really amazing place to live and serve and I am grateful for being with people who genuinely want to see God’s kingdom come in Harrogate. God has called us to something distinctive and special and I am looking forward to seeing what he will do in the coming months and years.
Thanks for your support and prayers,