Thank you for being part of the St Mags family this year. We are not a building or even an institution but a gathering of people who are following Jesus and learning how to live life to the full. It is a privilege to be here with you.
Last year at St Mags we have welcomed a number of new people to serve on team and others who have stepped up to more formal roles. Nathan and Brigit, Rob and Cam, John, David and Ingalill. As well as having many people join the church family. We have started some new ventures like Access, pushed deeper into others like The Living Room and even had a gift day where you gave over £7000. The heart of our mission strategy is not a program or a course, but you and me. It begins when we stand in front of another person and simply ask the Holy Spirit how today we can play our part in sharing the good news of Jesus. You have all be doing this in extraordinary ways and it is deeply moving. Thank you for helping to live the vision of, Jesus: Full Life for All.
(Image of St Mags Family locations 2016 - a church in mission)
Tough and Hopeful
In many ways, it has also been a tough year. A number of people in the church family have experienced significant loss through the death of a loved one, or things just not working out as you had hoped. Sometimes these things have been external but for others, the struggle has been in our thinking and mental health. One of the things I love about the St Mags family is that we are not afraid of these painful things. There is no need to hide away, but in fact, you can (and are specifically invited) to live with these things in the context of community. As together we make that daily choice to worship so we will begin to see things from God’s perspective.
Looking at the wider world we have also seen significant change and hardship. Brexit, Trump, continue terror attacks, Calais Jungle and Syria to name a few. How are we to handle our personal difficulties as well as society? Isaiah 9 gives us a hint.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We have hope not by ignoring the difficult things, but in the context of them. Into this world a child is born, a son is given. He is our wonderful counsellor and the prince of peace and his government is increasing daily.
So I pray that you will have a happy, peaceful and hope-filled Christmas.
God bless you loads
Mark and Meg