Dear friends,

Warm greetings in the name of Christ.

The summer BB camp in Dartmouth was a great success. Julia and I attended from Thursday evening until Saturday morning. We had a most enjoyable and memorable time. As Chaplain to the BB, it was good to be able to get to know the children better and to see their fantastic enthusiasm for all the activities that made up the camp, including the ones that encouraged their faith in God. The children learned so much about God’s great and good creation and experienced it through the beauty of their Dartmoor surroundings. Gordon and Di work very hard to provide a great camp experience for each child, and I congratulate them and the other leaders on all their magnificent efforts.The children are blessed to have these and other dedicated and caring leaders and helpers. We give thanks to God for such a happy and fun time together. Seeds of life and joy have been planted.

God’s good creation is something we remember and celebrate each Harvest. All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above (James 1:17).

The blessings of God’s faithfulness should inspire our thanksgiving and stir up a sense of responsibility to be good and faithful stewards of creation.Caring for creation is a calling God places on each one of us. Harvest provides a wonderful opportunity to give thanks and to dedicate ourselves afresh to being responsible stewards of all the gifts we possess and share. As we celebrate Harvest, we have the added challenge of a Gift Day which offers each of us an opportunity to make an extra special offering for the ongoing work and witness of Christchurch. May God bless and enlarge our harvest as we sow generously (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

Between now and the beginning of advent, I will be aiming to teach from Mark’s gospel. At the beginning of 2021, we spent a number of weeks being introduced to Mark and his presentation of Jesus and the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Most bible scholars agree that Mark was the first gospel to be written and you find that 90% of the contents of Mark are also in Matthew’s gospel, and 50% are in Luke. I want to consider with you some of the stories and teaching that are unique to Mark’s gospel. To some extent I began to do this when we looked at the way Mark chose to begin his gospel and present the story of Jesus’s baptism.

At Harvest we will think about the importance of the parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29), a parable which is only found in Mark’s gospel.This parable I believe, has a special relevance to us as we begin LYCIG (Leading Your Church Into Growth) with the accompanying “Start Course”. God is the creator of all life and growth. His word is the “seed of the Kingdom” (Mark 4:15). Planting seeds is our aim and mission.

Are we planting seeds?
Are you scattering the word of life?
Can we do this better as a united Church?

LYCIG aims to give us a pathway forward.

God of Mission, who alone brings growth to your Church,
send your Holy Spirit to give vision to our planning,
wisdom to our actions, and power to our witness.
Help our Church to grow in numbers, in spiritual commitment to you,
and in service to our community,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

On the subject of growth, may we all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18).

With love in Christ,

Peter