Thought for the Month (March 2014)

So this is the final curtain of our ministry here. For those of you who can remember, it was 29th June, 1996 when we were inducted to serve in this group of churches. Tunbridge Wells URC was packed and there was hope in the air. We have been through good and difficult times together. We have known encouragement and discouragement, times of agreement and disagreement, times of celebration and sadness, and what has given meaning to all these events is that they have all been experienced under the banner of Jesus Christ. He has bound us together. We have proclaimed Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and as the years have passed we have seen that the only way to live is to keep our eyes on Jesus. We pray that this message has become deeply embedded in your hearts and that it is where your hope for the future rests. There is no other security.

As we now retire the system requires that we cut our links with the Tunbridge Wells Group of Churches and this will be hard for us and, we know, hard for many of you. It is required so that you and we can build for the future. It is our prayer that this group of churches will be stronger after we have gone than before and that the foundation we have left will pass the test of time. We pray also that you will find a minister who is just right for the next phase of your journey. Just remember that this group of churches has many features that would be attractive to a new minister. Size may not be in your favour, but a heart for mission and a generosity of outlook is. Also speak with Vale Royal Methodist Church. You may find great encouragement if you are able to share the journey with them.

Our overriding feeling at this time is to say thank you for sharing the journey. Has everything we have tried been successful? No, but some things have been and even more important than success and failure is that we have done it together in the name of Jesus. We have offered salvation for those who want life in all its fullness, healing for the sick, a bed for the homeless, hope and care for the addicted, a Christian presence on the night-time streets of Tunbridge Wells, finance and prayer for the mission field abroad. We have ministered to the young and the old and those in between, we have used Alpha courses, care cells and toddler groups, we have welcomed the evangelists from Walk Kent and distributed the Jesus Video, we have sent our ‘Love in a Box’ to Eastern Europe and elsewhere. We have done things on our own and more often we have done things together with our brothers and sisters in Christ in other churches. At other times we have simply enjoyed our worship of the living God, and time together.

Our final prayer for you is that God will “satisfy you in the morning with His unfailing love, that you may sing for joy and be glad all your days” (Psalm 90 v14). Also that as you experience His love you will “encourage one another.” (1 Thessalonians 5 v11)

With much love,

Bob and Karen Street

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church