I am writing this letter in early January, and inevitably I am drawn to thinking about the new year. It may seem strange reading about a new year in a February magazine, but when a year begins depends on your perspective. The church calendar begins in Advent and therefore we are already a few months into the year. If we think in terms of the academic year, we are getting close to halfway through. If you more naturally think about a calendar year, there has probably already been time for you to break your new year’s resolutions!
A new year gives us a natural opportunity to stop and look back and I don’t think many people would argue that 2016 was an unusual year with many unpredictable events and a significant number of celebrity deaths. Perhaps something more personally significant happened for you in 2016 – not something that would make the headlines, but something that you will never forget. As we look forward into 2017 and the chance for a fresh start, what are your hopes and dreams – both big and small?
As a church, we have lots be hopeful for. We’re hopeful for progress with our church building as negotiations for the land sale continue, the design develops and the grant applications are written and submitted. Alongside this, we are praying for church growth as we continue to go through the Leading Your Church into Growth process and think about how we implement these plans. As we look to the future, it is important to remember the progress that we have made so far in these areas and the hard work that has got us to this stage, but I sense that 2017 will be a significant year as we hopefully begin to see this hard work come to fruition.
With all the potential progress in 2017, it is important that we do not lose sight of the way God has been at work in and through us and acknowledge His involvement in all of this – we are not where we are because of hard work alone. Please pray with me that God will continue to guide us and be with us along the journey and that we will see just how faithful God is.
In my first year in Kirkleatham, Psalm 27.13-14 has been significant for me and I think it is appropriate to hold on to its promise as we hope and pray for God to lead us into the future:
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!