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Aldridge Road/Birdbrook Road

Perry Beeches, Great Barr

Birmingham

B44 8RA


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Published on 25 October 2018

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Last Sunday after Trinity 2018

Dear Friends

Something we are coming to terms with these days is that not so many people come to church every Sunday.  This means that sometimes we walk into church and think “Where is everybody?”  But sometimes we think, “What a good turnout!”  I am pleased to say that last Sunday (21 Oct.) was one of those days when a lot of people came at once, both for the Parish Eucharist, and also for our (early) All Souls Vespers.  Not only did it feel as if there were lots of people, but there was that special sense of devoted worship that God does not give when we plan it (although planning can help) but that comes as a gracious surprise gift from God.  So bless you, all who were there!  And blessings too, we pray, for those could not be, but whom God loves just the same.

About a month ago, five of us attended a conference on church growth.  The conference was impressive and a great experience.  But what to do now?  At the PCC we asked ourselves,  “Are we shrinking?  Are we growing?  Are we standing still?”  Hands went up for all three, and for good reasons. Then we reflected on the danger of just carrying on without stopping to think (there are challenges we cannot ignore.)  And the danger of trying to do too much all at once (when we are already busy with many good things.)  And the danger of trying to do things that most people do not engage with.  Our next step was suggested by a PCC member who couldn’t come to the conference, but who had been reading a book which talked about trying to do things God’s way.  Often, we can come up with good ideas.  But are they God’s ideas?  This Sunday (28th) we are having a “reflective Evensong” at 5pm to address this.  We’ll keep the words to a minimum, and have plenty of silence in which to think about what God may be saying to St Matthew’s now.  We’ll end by sharing our thoughts (if we wish), and considering how to go deeper into this.

Meanwhile we are looking forward to our Remembrance Weekend, when the church will be open for prayer all day on Saturday and Sunday.  People will be able to come in and “plant a poppy,” as well as lighting a candle or just sitting in prayer.  The centenary of the 1918 armistice is proving a meaningful event for the public – no doubt because many still remember family members and friends who suffered pain and loss in the First World War and subsequent conflicts.  The same generations who remember are also conscious of having lived, during the latter part of the 20th century, in an age of much wealth and progress.  But we are also rightly fearful about what the future holds for us and our children, in a world where there are still terrible injustices, dangers, and discontent.  Remembrance-tide has the power to bring us to our senses and to our knees because of the thought of sacrifice, sacrifice we can feel.  When we human beings are at our best, we can rise to fearful challenges.  Let us not miss this opportunity with many others, to call on Christ, for salvation now and in eternity.  He is the author of all that is best in us, and uses our imperfect sacrifices (great and small) to build his Kingdom.

Your servant in Christ
Adam