I hope you had a good summer. It seemed to be going on well into September with the late heatwave – it was a bit of a shock this week to be plunged suddenly into autumn. If you managed to get away, even for a day trip, I hope you felt the benefit of a change of scene.
Being away can help us see the familiar with fresh eyes, and perhaps with renewed appreciation. That was the idea behind our Vision Day 3rd September. Although we didn’t actually go away, we used a different part of the church building, and took the time to look afresh at ourselves and at the community around us. We saw how we, as a church, might appear to users of the Church Centre, or to someone coming for the first time; we thought about our mission, and how we might better serve God and those around us.
There’s a report on the Vision Day later in the magazine. For now, I want to add my personal thanks to everyone who took part – in the service, in the bring-and-share lunch, and/or in the discussions. I found it a really constructive and helpful time.
I had my own chance of a break at Greenbelt, over the August bank holiday weekend. I realised that I had been at the very first Greenbelt, in 1974 – 2023 was the 50th – though I can’t remember much about it. This year I saw some fascinating speakers, including Gordon Brown and Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales (the only role of its kind in the world); I heard great music and saw some brilliant theatre; I ate amazing cake and met people I knew in the URC Café; and I slept like a log in my tent (though was glad of the extra blankets). None of that would have happened at home (apart from the sleeping). It was a joy and inspiration and, again, a time to gain fresh perspective.
So what will the autumn bring? I hope we will act on the ideas that came out of the Vision Day – many of them should be easily achievable now that we’ve thought of them. We will continue to work towards our Eco Church award – great things are happening with the Buildings aspect, but we have more work to do on the other 4 areas: Land, Worship and Teaching; Community and Global Engagement, and Lifestyle. And of course, since this magazine edition takes us through November, we will start our journey towards Advent and Christmas.
Till then, keep warm and keep praying.