A message from Josh Thomas …
Things here in Cambridge are coming to an end, it’s a weird feeling having spent the last four years here studying for exactly this occasion. As I write this article I am preparing for my last Elders meeting in my placement church this evening, I am repainting walls, trying to declutter before the move, purchasing new home essentials and getting my head around exactly how this whole moving a family thing is going to work! By the end of this month I will no longer be just Mr Joshua Thomas but the Revd Joshua Thomas, I am so excited now to get going!
Ever since December the move has felt a long way off and almost hypothetical but as I sit writing this, my first magazine article as your (nearly) minister, it all feels very real all of a sudden.
Just last week I was privileged to be amongst around 350 other URC ministers, this was the first time in the history of our denomination that every single URC minister had been called together in the same place. The idea was to offer space for us to think through the topic of Missional Discipleship and in particular the denomination’s ‘Walking the Way’ initiative, to network with colleagues from around the country and to be refreshed by worship and workshops enabling us time and space to simply reflect on our own ministries and where they are heading. For me, (the newbie!) it was a great opportunity to meet others from within the Wessex synod having been away for a long time, firstly in Southern synod and more recently in Eastern. It was encouraging to hear so many positive stories from those ministering in the denomination. We often hear of declining churches struggling to maintain old and crumbling buildings, and yes, in some places this is the case. But all is most certainly not lost, there are some amazing people doing some brilliant things in the name of Christ not only in our synod but around the entire country. I sat there inspired and encouraged by many of the people I met and the stories they shared with me.
Matthew 28:19-20 reminds us of the importance of discipleship; ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus commissions each one of to go and do this mission. The event encouraged each one of us there to think about how we go about just this, and with your help, it is my hope that we, Petersfield and Liss United Reformed Church can think about what Missional Discipleship looks like in our context, and by doing this, we can think of new ways together of introducing people in our community to Jesus Christ and his love for each and every single one of his children.
I am very much looking forward to joining you all in this great commission and over the coming months. I hope to meet as many of you as possible, to drink tea and to chat through what church means to you and your vision for the future.
Yours in Christ, Josh.