You can now read our November newsletter.
Central to the Christian faith is the idea that God is somehow revealed to humanity. Many would believe that the ultimate revelation of God was – and is – in the person of Jesus Christ. But we would also point to The Bible, to the natural world, and some of us -perhaps- to what we might describe as personal encounters with God. And in receiving this revelation of God, the Church throughout the ages has sought to make sense of God’s nature, God’s action and how we might live in the light of that.
For me, one of the strengths of the Methodist Church is that in seeking to make sense of God’s revelation to us, we have traditionally placed a great value on ‘conferring’, on conversation, on the importance of working things through and working things out together. From local churches to the annual nationwide decision-making body (the Methodist Conference), “the process of discerning revelation is communal”, as Rev Stephen Dawes has suggested. This means that each of us potentially has a say in how the life, mission, practice and theology of the Church is shaped.
Intrinsically linked to this – and something else which I value a great deal about Methodism – is the capacity to hold within our Church people with vastly differing views on all manner of issues. At its best, this means that we are a people who are willing to listen to others; not just on a superficial level but in such a way as to mean we ourselves might be enriched and transformed by that encounter.
Here at Histon Methodist, I already sense an openness on the part of many to engage in meaningful conversation about the things that matter. And it is my hope that – over the coming months – we will continue to cultivate a church culture which encourages genuine, loving conversation.
I will particularly value an ongoing conversation as we seek to develop worship and other aspects of our work with children and families, and our wider engagement with the Histon community. And we also have the opportunity coming up to shape a wider conversation in the British Methodist Church around issues of marriage and human sexuality. Our Superintendent Rev Colin Smith, and Rev Carol Irwin from Wesley House, with be hosting a special evening on Thursday 3rd December at 7:30pm to introduce the themes and encourage a conversation on these issues in the hope that we might provide some useful feedback to input into a nationwide consultation process. I do hope that many of our congregation, as well as others from around the Circuit, will be able to attend. There will be mince pies! There will be coffee! And there will be the opportunity to listen and to share with others and to – hopefully – discern something of the revelation of God on issues of real importance.