From our Minister

From our Minister

Well, who can believe it? Ten years and this is my last newsletter. The years have passed and looking back I’m wondering where they have gone.

Early on in my Christian life I was so frustrated and almost beside myself knowing there was something God wanted of me but being unable to find out what it was. Finally, I did what I should have done at the beginning, I knelt and said simply, no preamble just: ‘God if you show me what you want me to do, I’ll do it.’ Within a few days he showed me, I was to be a preacher. All the time I had been struggling people had been praying for me. I didn’t know anything about it until the Sunday evening a Local Preacher ran out of the church after me and asked if I would consider becoming a Local Preacher.

Many times, I have thought I knew what I should be doing or where I should be going; being sensible I would start making arrangements and it became clear God had different plans for me. Later I was joined on that journey by Kathryn and together we have sought to obey His calling.

I was convinced my last appointment would be in the North West near family and friends or perhaps even finish and take early retirement. Eleven years later I still remember clearly the moment Kathryn came into my study with an iPad showing the service where Kath Pawlet was baptising John Garman, Beth, Elise and Abigail. As we listened to their testimonies, I had a sinking feeling God was saying something to me. Kathryn’s excitement added emphasis to what I was feeling. We’d never heard of Otford and all we knew of the SE was from travelling to Dover to catch a ferry to Calais!

When I spoke to my Chair of District he said: “John as soon as I saw that profile of the Weald of Kent and Otford I thought of you, but you were so determined to stay in the North West I didn’t bother mentioning it.’ I was sunk; I’d promised God ‘show me what you want me to do, I’ll do it.’

We learned early on that when we are where God wants us to be He gives strength, resilience, peace whatever we face. So, we came to the South East. It has been a busy ten years and looking back there are things I would have done differently but I wouldn’t change our being here. We aren’t sure what the future holds for us but I am confident God has all the arrangements in place for the next stage in our lives. Every Christian is a minister for God, the fact some are ordained and set apart for a particular role is one among many different ministries. Serving Christ doesn’t stop at retirement.

We have felt upheld and encouraged by you all and being here with you has been rewarding, fulfilling and a privilege; thank you. I am very conscious we will miss you and being part of this community, you have been a significant part of our lives and we will think of you often and with fond memories.

We will be watching the welcome service for Jane and Andy on September 8th and our prayers will be with them and you all.

With love and best wishes as we all move forward in service to Christ.
John and Kathryn