I was officially welcomed as the honorary Pastor of Brightwell Free Church back in May. Many friends and all three of my grown up children came and made it a special occasion. My wife Jennie came too. I was particularly pleased she came because she was not very well and it was a great effort for her. A few days later she was diagnosed as having cancer of the liver and she died in July. This was not the start to my ministry in the village that I had expected or wanted. However, the calling has not evaporated and I intend to give the work there my best shot.
There is much I could say about the history of the Free Church and much that I could tell of my own story but I am not going to do that here. What I do want to say to you all is that the message of the church is the same as it always was. Some, perhaps many people, say the church should move with the times. Perhaps in some ways they are right, but there are some things which we are not free to change just because we might feel like it. The reality is that today many people don’t have any knowledge of what the church actually believes or why it continues to exist. If it is pure nostalgia for a bygone period of our history, then it has little justification and is an unnecessary burden on the few people who continue to support it. If, on the other hand, it has a dynamic message about the lives and eternal lives of every single person in the village, then, of course, it does matter that it should continue.
We often hear the question posed “What do you think about God?” If God is real then the more important question is “What does God think about me?” The reality of his existence or otherwise is not affected one little bit by whether or not we choose to believe in him. Whether or not he will in the end judge you is not changed one little bit by whether or not you think he will. If God is not real, then I am wasting my time. If he is real are you wasting yours? By now you should have a pretty clear idea of where I stand on this.
The handful of devoted folk who have kept things going for the last few years are keen to be relevant in the village. We don’t need the place to be filled, we don’t need your money, we would like you to come and share in the joy of knowing and worshipping our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Why, because we have a heart for people. Forget the media image, we do not spend all our time fretting over gay and/or female bishops, or having jumble sales to raise a few pounds; why not find out what it is really like, and what the church is really about.
We will keep you posted about our activities. Stop by the notice board sometime soon and see what is going on, but please don’t pull the door off its hinges as someone recently did!
May God bless you and yours.