Minister’s Feb 2018 Message

Rev Jeanne Roddick's February Message

Dear Friends,

Despite the fact that it is now February and Christmas 2017 is now becoming a memory, I do not want to let the opportunity pass to express my sincere thanks to everyone who made Greenbank’s Christmas services and events possible. There are too many people to name personally, but I want to thank everyone who willingly used their gifts, abilities, time and presence to strengthen the mission and ministry of this congregation. The lovely atmosphere you created was noted by many and you not only made it a happy and blessed time for this congregation but for the people and families who came through our Church doors at Christmas time.

Not much more than seven weeks after Christmas, this is one of the years when Easter falls early. This means that Lent begins this year on 14th February. Since early times Lent has been a time of preparation for Christians as they look forward to Easter. It is often a time when people ‘give things up’, often treats, such as chocolate, cakes, sweets or alcohol, but sometimes it is something. Some people give up watching television or driving the car when they can walk or buying any material possessions. The idea of giving something up for Lent is a way to identify with the fasting Jesus experienced in the wilderness for 40 days as his time of prayerful preparation before his public ministry. Giving things up in our culture of plenty is a valuable thing to do; it reminds us of what is truly necessary and it reminds us of how blessed we are to have lives with so many choices.

Alongside giving something up, some people also take the opportunity to take something on, or to do something new during Lent that helps them focus on the central event of the Christian faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus and what it means to them.

So, this year, in order to help us do that, I wondered if we might give House Groups a try here at Greenbank and to use them as a way to get close not only to the Lord who died for us, but also to one another. This would mean that in addition to the Greenbank Saturday morning group [meets in Room A at 8.45am for breakfast and a 9am start] and the Wednesday night House Groups normally associated with Greenbank, which meet at various venues [to be intimated] we would need some more volunteers to host house groups on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights during Lent. If you feel that you [or a group of people] could host one of these House Group evenings please leave your name with Jane at the Church Office [644 1841]. Please note that you don’t need to have been involved in a house group before or have any special qualifications to participate, nor do you have to have a vast bible knowledge, you just have to be yourself!!! When a list of venues is known, everyone will be invited to sign up to a particular House Group, through the Sunday Moring intimation sheet and the church Facebook page. You can also leave your name at the church office saying which night you would prefer to attend, or put your name on the sign-up sheet in the Centenary Chapel in the Church.

The bible study material being used during Lent has been compiled by ‘Churches Together in Britain and Ireland’, partnered with the HOPE organisation. This clear and accessible material will provide House Group participants with the opportunity to walk with Jesus, and with one another, through Lent, learning from Mark’s Gospel and from the lessons prisoners, ex-prisoners and chaplains have learned. There is also an accompanying booklet called ‘40 Stories Of Hope’, which is a collection of 40 remarkable testimonies from prisoners, ex-prisoners and prison chaplains who speak powerfully about life-changing encounters with Jesus. The 40 faith-inspiring stories can be read daily during Lent and, with the accompanying weekly House Groups, will offers us all the opportunity to explore how we can find hope in Jesus, no matter who we are.

In each study and story there is much to draw on to refresh and encourage faith. I hope that you will join me in taking on something new, by creating space in your life during these 6 weeks to journey through Lent in the company of others in a Greenbank House Group.


Rev. Jeanne Roddick Signature


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