Thursday, December 22, 2016

Say Yes - Mary, Joseph, the Shepherd and the Kings did!

As we start a new year it is natural to look back so we can look forward. I think God has gradually been putting in foundations over the last few years, preparing the base in the Benefice for growth. We have listened and responded, not always getting it right initially but we seemed to have arrived where God has wanted us, with weekly mission activities based at Balby and monthly alternative worship at different times and days at Wadworth. Bishop Peter is coming to take a service at 6pm on the 26th February at St John the Baptist, Wadworth to celebrate the formation of the Benefice. The service will be followed by a faith supper.

We arrive at the start of a new year having been through the wonderful celebration of the birth of Jesus. I am particularly struck this year by the response of people in the story to the call of God. Mary, apparently unprepared to be a mum yet she says yes to the call of God to be the mother of Jesus. The the rough and ready Shepherds called by God to go to Bethlehem to find a new born King.The Magi, called by God via a star to find a long promised King who will change everything, John the Baptist called by God to prepare the way for Jesus, to do something different, commences an act of repentance - water Baptism, the chance to change the direction of your life. John challenges everyone to answer God’s call to change, to respond.

Some may be asking “What about St Katherines, Loversall?” well there are some emerging ideas to do a center of pilgrimage and festivals. More will follow as more information becomes available. There are also a number of facilities improvements that need to be thought through at Loversall to make the church fit for use in the 21st century.

God calls us to participate, to be part of the body of Christ, to join in God’s mission, His plan for this Benefice. What is God calling who to do?

Perhaps you may be interested in helping at the “Cups and Cake” coffee shop where we provide free drinks and a variety of refreshments between 10 and 12 on a Tuesday. Many come who are hungry, just glad that someone will talk to them and help them. It is become a place of physical and spiritual refreshment for many.

Perhaps you may be interested in helping at St Johns Community Friendship Group on a thursday between 10am and 3pm. Its a great place where we are tackling one of the great problems of the 21st century - loneliness. Loneliness makes mental health worse, makes people feel isolated. Perhaps you have some ideas to widen what we can offer.

We need help with youth work. Both getting young people to events in Bessacar but also long term about setting up groups locally. We also have an opportunity to help Balby Carr secondary school with a mentoring program. Worth Unlimited is a Christian Youth Work charity and they offer training to enable volunteers to mentor young people in school who have problems. Can you spare 2 hours a month? Is God calling you to this work?

Perhaps you feel God is calling you to do something else, perhaps you want to start a group, well come and talk to the vicar!

Christmas is a great celebration of the birth of Jesus, and God called many to participate, we know about them because they said YES, can you say YES? God may have called others in the Christmas story, but we don’t about them because they didn’t respond. Don’t be a non responded and miss the adventure that God is calling you to - participate! Say YES to God and be part of the adventure.

Alun