Thought for the Month (February 2007)

As your ministers, we are now well into our 11th year with you and, as many of you know, that means we are entitled to a 3-month sabbatical. So from 1st March to about 15th June (including 2 weeks holiday) we will not be taking any part in the running of our churches, and the elders will be in control. The elders do have contacts with other ministers should they be needed at any time and they should be contacted if you have any need.

This time is a sabbatical and not a holiday, however, and we will be doing some serious work. Bob is doing a study on the spiritual history of Tunbridge Wells, including the growth and decline of churches and the impact of the Christian Faith on the life of Tunbridge Wells, particularly during the time of revival during the late 19th Century. The purpose is to understand better the position of the churches today so that Tunbridge Wells churches may have a greater impact on the life of our communities.

Karen will be studying intercessory prayer. This will include praying for individuals but will be primarily concerned with prayer for towns and cities and will therefore link in with Bob's study of Tunbridge Wells. The main aim is for people praying for our community to become more effective. Most of our time will be spent in Tunbridge Wells.

So we hope and pray that when we return from our sabbatical we will be more effective in our ministries, both rested and with new insights to share with you. We have enjoyed our time with you to date but during the autumn of 2005 we twice received a word of prophecy that 'the best is yet to come', and we will return in that expectation.

For many of you, we know that you will be apprehensive at a time without your own ministers, but we go in confidence that the elders in our churches are more than capable of running the churches in our absence and please do get in touch with them if you need help.

There will be visiting preachers, but many preachers will come from our own congregations and it will be a time when you all will be encouraged to take a part in church life. As Protestant Christians, we really do believe in 'the priesthood of all believers' and this sabbatical will be an excellent time to respond if you are approached to help in the life of the church. It is true that 'when God calls He also empowers.'

What's more, although we will not be working in the churches we will still be praying and one of the key commitments of our sabbatical is that we will increase our prayer time and we will continue to pray for you all each day. We are increasingly of the view that prayer is the key to all progress in the spiritual life.

May our Lord bless you all and may you discover new life and vigour as you serve Him.

With love,

Bob and Karen Street (Ministers)

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church