Thought for the Month (August 2007)

Much seems to have happened since we last wrote the pastoral letter for March. We have been back at work for over a month and are enjoying being with you all again. Our sabbatical was good and we had time to pray, to study and to spend unpressured time with each other.

My historical study of the spiritual history of Tunbridge Wells finally focussed on the impact of the 'Charismatic Renewal' in Tunbridge Wells, where the 'Come Bless the Lord' meetings were widely supported for about 15 years. I also looked at the Community Church which was formed as a result of the 'Come Bless the Lord' meetings, and then I followed the progress of this church and the other churches that were impacted by it, right up to the present day. This has been circulated in draft for comment and I am waiting for some further information from the US on a Smith Wigglesworth prophecy, before releasing the finished version.

Karen did study intercessory prayer as planned and also used the time to pray. She has extensive notes and book recommendations for anyone who wants to get deeper into the subject. She returns much more focussed on what God will do in answer to prayer and our role in prayer. As John Wesley said, 'God does nothing on earth save in answer to believing prayer.'

With the extra time and space we were able to give to the Lord, we believe He spoke to us on a number of occasions and began to show us His priorities for us and our churches. A key priority, we believe, is to enrich our worship because out of our worship all else follows. We have started our response to this by leading worship together on most occasions. We have been blessed by sharing this task and we hope that you have. Over the coming months we will be looking for other ways to enrich our worship and these may not be restricted to Sunday. We have also given a higher priority to our own private prayer and worship.

Our Lord also confirmed another priority which is very dear to the heart of the URC, that of unity, and we have returned with a renewed commitment to work together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe that united prayer and a genuine working together in our community will unlock the power of God like nothing else. A particular challenge that has been laid on Bob's heart is to build a relationship between the police and the churches and he has started to work on that.

A further priority is men! If you hadn't noticed, there are not many in our churches and we need to make a more attractive environment for them. We are not alone in this problem, but some churches are successful in this and we will be looking carefully at our care cells to see if we can develop a programme that will satisfy men's needs and aspirations.

If something we have written about here or spoken about elsewhere has caught your imagination and you would like to be involved, then please speak to us. This is a rapidly changing world and we need to be relevant. We would encourage you to step out in faith and make a difference.

It is good to be back.

With love, Bob and Karen

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church