Dear friends,

Warm greetings in the name of Christ.

Our annual flower festival was a great success as we welcomed many people into Christchurch to see the beautiful flower displays and enjoy excellent lunches and afternoon teas. Well done to everyone involved in making this such a happy and unifying weekend. I felt that many in the Church had made a real effort to invite friends and neighbours to come along and enjoy this wonderful spectacle. Invitation is such an important ingredient in our strategy for outreach, alongside friendship, welcome, prayer, and conversation. Inviting people to our special events and services will sometimes lead to growth. This is now proving to be the case. We give God thanks and praise for every sign of growth and new life, and for every positive and encouraging conversation with the people entering our building.

Thank you to those who made a special effort to thank me for the Coronation acts of worship which I led recently, including the celebration service on May 7th and the BB Parade service on May 14th. It is encouraging to know that the worship I led blessed and encouraged people at such a historic point in the life of our nation. I was delighted that our new King’s coronation went so well and that we were able to offer joyful thanks within the worship life of Christchurch. The children of our BB also shared in a great party on the Bank Holiday Monday and enjoyed making crowns and flags. Their creativity was on display at the BB Parade service. Both services were very well attended!

At our recent ACM, we shared positive news about the progress and growth of Christchurch. We have a long way to go in putting our vision into practice but we have made a good start. We are going to face many challenges throughout 2023 and beyond, including financial ones. I address the subject of our Church finances in a separate article in this edition of Chronicle, but there is no doubt that if Churches like ours wish to grow their mission and remain strong in their future witness and outreach, members and friends must be prepared give both consistently and generously.

If any one would like to discuss Church membership with me, please let me know. I would like to be able to add people to the membership of Christchurch later this year. To be a member a person must be ready to confess their personal faith in God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and declare that they want to commit themselves fully to the life and fellowship of Christchurch. Members help shape the future priorities and vision of Christchurch through their active participation in Church meetings, and by using the gifts that God has given them to build up and strengthen the Church. Having a strong and united membership is the base from which we grow and reach out effectively to our community and beyond with the love of God. It is also the base from which we build team leadership and strengthen faith and discipleship amongst all who are connected to our fellowship. We are here to make and grow disciples of Jesus; to know Jesus and to make him known. The firm commitment of individuals is very important.

Our Taize style worship and prayer meeting will be held on Sunday June 4th at 6pm. If you have never experienced Taize worship – then why not give it a try. We will be focusing on the persecuted church and there will be a retiring collection for Open Doors UK. This is an ecumenical service and has been advertised widely amongst many Churches in Gloucester. I am hoping for a good response. The Taize chants are special and uplifting. There will be several silences (long and short) and helpful reflections during the service. June 4th also happens to be Trinity Sunday, and belief in the Trinity (one God in three persons) is what unites the Christian Church throughout the world.

May the Lord encourage you in faith, hope, and love. Grace and peace be yours through Jesus our Lord.