Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year Pastoral Letter: A Call to Service

New Year, 2015

Dear Alberton Methodist and Worldwide Holey, Wholly, Holy Family

Chris and I truly hope that you have had a blessed Christmas season and that 2015 will be a blessed and prosperous (in the true Biblical meaning of that word) year for you and your loved ones.

I wrote on my blog before Christmas (read here) that Christmas isn't so much about celebrating the birth of Jesus as it is about celebrating the incarnation of God and then remembering what it means to be an incarnational people and presence in the world around us. In my New Year message (here) on Sunday 4 January, I call for us and all Christians to remember that we are called to be different and I share some frightening statistics which show that, in the West, we Christians are not very different from non-Christians. I think this means that we have forgotten what it means to be incarnational people.

Teresa of Avila sums up beautifully what it means to be an incarnational people with these words:

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
May 2015 be the year where we each discover afresh, perhaps even through our own personal epiphany, what it means to be Christ in the world around us, because it is just such a discovery that will bring us blessing and Biblical prosperity.

Chris and I really covet your prayers as we seek the Lord's will for us regarding our future as we come nearer to the end of our ministry here at AMC. 

Please remember our Annual Society Meeting on Wed 14 January. All current Society Stewards and members of the Leaders' meeting have been asked to submit reports on their work in 2014. These will be available from the church office from Friday 9 January (you can ask for a printed copy, or they can be e-mailed on request) and they will be taken as read at the ASM. Please remember that you, the congregation, determine the agenda for that meeting and I ask that any item you want included on the agenda be submitted to the secretary of the ASM ( or me ( by Tuesday 13 January at noon.

I believe AMC is going to need particularly good, Biblical leadership over the next few years, and with that in mind I include with this Pastoral Letter some devotional material that I have come across in the last few weeks regarding leadership. It is pertinent to all leaders, at work, school or home, but I ask you in particular to read and use them in the context of electing 7 Society Stewards at our ASM, bearing in mind that Biblical qualities of leadership are not always the same as worldly ideas regarding leadership.

In closing, here is the hymn that I have chosen as our “theme” song for the first few weeks of this year. It is called Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) from Hillsong United and it can be used as a prayer as we face the great unknown of a new year. You can watch it at but here are the words:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now


Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Much love,


Here are the readings for the next few weeks

4 January  Epiphany Sunday (read my sermon here)
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

11 January Baptism of the Lord
    Genesis 1:1-5
    Psalm 29
    Acts 19:1-7
    Mark 1:4-11

18 January  Old Testament and Gospel: Listening and Responding to the Call to Follow

 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)
    John 1:43-51

25 January Old Testament and Gospel: Listening and Responding to the Call to Follow

    Jonah 3:1-5, 10
        Mark 1:14-20

1 February Covenant Services
    (Cedric and Vernon will select some of these readings)

    Deuteronomy 31:9 –13;  2 Kings 23:1 –3;  2 Chronicles 34:29 –33;  Jeremiah 31:31 –34;
 Psalm 50
1 Peter 1;  Matthew 25:14 –30;  Matthew 25:31 –46;  John 15:1–8.

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