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Mike's Manse Message

February 2019
Dear friends

Methodist Ministers are under discipline to the Methodist Church which says that we can be sent to any appointment within Methodism where the Church feels there is a need.

I remember in January 2004, the week of my birthday, receiving a phone call asking me to leave an appointment where I had been supremely happy for 8 years: a joint Anglican/Methodist Church where Alison had answered the call to be a Reader in the Church of England and where our two young daughters had many friends. The, then Chair of District, Wes Blakey was then leaning on me to move to Ripley as the Superintendent Minister as attempts through the normal stationing system had failed.

It was a major shock to Alison, the girls and I as we were anticipating a few more years in that particular Circuit. We prayed, talked, shed tears and explored what we think God was asking of us. Ultimately we answered the call and went to Ripley for 6 great years. God had plans beyond my plans and I believe that when I became a Presbyteral Minister it was under his authority: after all in the Covenant service we pray “I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will…….” It was a sacrifice we felt had to be made.

Around the same time I was on retreat and came across this prayer, “Lord, forgive us the narrowness of vision that sees only the cloud and misses the rainbow” It spoke powerfully to me, but as I’ve got older I find myself asking the question “What about when you see the vision of the rainbow and nothing happens?”

You see I find myself constantly frustrated by two things 1) people who see only the clouds and don’t look for the rainbow and 2) people who see the rainbow, but don’t make the sacrifice to achieve it. I want the best (the rainbow) for this Church but in order to achieve it I need to be sacrificial: sacrificial with my time, my finances, my generosity, myself. Its no good looking at others and saying “they can improve the church” but do nothing about it myself: its no good sitting back when we’re capable of ‘mucking in’ with all that needs to be done and its no good always opting for the easy option. We must have the courage to give our time to Bible Study, prayer, and to give our finance for the poor and needy, to have a vision for achieving great improvements to our worship building (I have a vision for a coffee shop area in this Church).

In short I feel that the word is sacrifice; I hope that this Lent we can all ask ourselves questions about what sacrifices we have made already, were they the right ones, is God asking for more and are we prepared to give more of ourselves.

My life as a young 16 year old took off when I finally submitted to Jesus, saying those very words of the Covenant service, “I am no longer my own but yours” And I have to say its been a privilege to have spent the last 44 years seeking to put Him first.

There are wonderful opportunities which lie ahead. We mustn't miss them simply because we never want things to change. We continue to trust in God, delight in building His Kingdom, and in all things we continue to praise Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Saviour.

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© 2019  Reverend Michael Redshaw