From the Manse April 2018

Dear Friends,

In his book ‘The Only Way Left’, Lord George McCloud tells the story of a boy who threw a stone at a stained glass window in a church. The window was of the incarnation and the stone broke a small pane of glass containing the letter ‘E’ in the text ‘GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST’. This meant, until unfortunately it was repaired, that the inscription read ‘GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGH ST.’

During May the church celebrated the feast of Pentecost when we remember the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. For them it meant a completely different way of mission. No longer behind locked doors, reminiscing about the past few years they had spent with Jesus, they went out into the bustling streets of Jerusalem. This truly was ‘Glory to God in the High St.’! (Acts 2:1-42)

This summer, the Birmingham Methodist District is encouraging us to be a Church Without Walls - not encouraging us to give up our buildings but to find some act of mission that we could do outside the building. It doesn’t have to be big or spectacular but just something different, and if we can do something once we can do it a second time, and the more we do things beyond the normal, the more like second nature they become for us.

It may not be easy; people may be suspicious of our motives (Acts 2:13!) but it will have an effect in our community. George McCloud reflected in his book that Jesus was not crucified on a cross of gold between two candles on a marble altar but on the rubbish tip outside the city walls. And if that is where salvation began, that’s where the church needs to be.

Beyond these walls of worship
In the stress and joy of life,
Can we offer you our bodies
As a living sacrifice?
Will we keep you at the centre
Far beyond the Sunday call?
Will we turn to you, be transformed by you;
Still declare you God of all?
(Singing the Faith 547)

Grace and peace to you,