I don’t know about you – but I really need to hear what God has to say right now! Ask any CofE parish priest and we all feel pretty much the same. We know we can’t go on as things are – but what is it that God wants us to do? Covid has only accelerated the challenge – and opportunity.
I got an email this morning that someone asked me to direct to someone – else but it seemed to me yet another confirmation of ‘can’t go – so what to do?’ It came from the National Youth Evangelism Youth Officer. Apparently, under 16s in the Church of England are declining year on year at almost twice the speed of adults. Generation Z (those 18 and under) are the first ever generation in England to be non-churched rather than unchurched.
They do not have the same cultural understanding in relation to church and what it means to be a Christian. Conversely, they also don’t have any of the baggage and hang-ups over buildings and institution etc. Whilst this only reinforces what we already know about the ‘cliff-edge’ decline in institutional church attendance, it offers a huge missional opportunity for exploring faith in new ways within a post Christian culture.
‘Well,’ thought I, ‘is God trying to tell me something in an email for someone else – that sounds like God!?’.
We are looking back into the Old Testament over the Sundays of summer. This week we will hear from Bruce about Elijah and how he encountered a God whose amazing power is often discovered in the face of huge challenges. But first, like Elijah, we need to make it a priority to hear what God wants…
Please pray for me and for our life together that, in these urgent times – pregnant with potential – we may make it a priority to be listening to God and have the courage to join God in what God is doing:
‘See, I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ Is. 43.19
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
This Sunday 18th July we meet for worship outdoors at St James, Birdham @ 10am. This will be a Service of Holy Communion. We continue to offer a Covid secure 8am Holy Communion (BCP) each Sunday @ St Peter and St Paul, West Wittering and alternate weeks at St James, Birdham and St Nicholas. Itchenor – this Sunday at Birdham. Please remember to book for these services.
Birdham: Bob & Greta Price on 01243 674562 (Please note change of details for 2 weeks)
Itchenor: Jane Oundjian on 01243 512757
West wittering: Stella Pendleton 01243 673470
Jonathan will lead our main morning act of worship and Bruce will be preaching. Our bible focus this Sunday will be 1 Kings 19.11-16. We will be reflecting on the story of Elijah and how in this part of the Old Testament we encounter God’s amazing power and our share in it as we seek to respond in faith.
There will be a ‘Sofa Service’ this week and the link will be available on Saturday. Morning and Night prayer is available for anyone who wishes to join daily or just every so often.
We continue to name in our prayers:
Carrie Goddard, Charlie Gray, Johanna Morrish, Eloise and baby Elijah and Charlie
We give thanks for the life of Dickie Drysdale
The Collect for this Sunday:
Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.