Weekly Update – 28th April

Last week we had the Annual Meeting of the Parochial Church Council.  As well as a formal business meeting to receive the annual report on the many activities that have happened over the past 12 months, it was also a time to celebrate everything that has been happening in the parish.  A time to celebrate that during the last year we have seen successful teamwork taking us through the interregnum.  There has been a strong sense of the example we read in the New Testament of the early Christian churches – the sharing together in worship and service to Christ – happening here within our community.

In the meeting, I highlighted that there are many people involved in the work of the parish.  Involved in worship, prayer, pastoral work, leading or contributing to a working group (halls group or social group are just two examples) or just helping on a rota.   We are thankful for every contribution that is made – great or small. We are equally aware that there may be others who may wish to contribute and in the coming weeks we will be providing information about where help is needed and who to contact to get involved.  Watch this space.

In the Gospel of John (15.5) Jesus says “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”  The verse comes from the text of the last of the seven “I AM” phrases that Jesus used to express his relationship with God and with humanity.  There is an image of God as the ‘vine-grower’, Jesus as the vine and us as the branches that bear fruit.  It is a common theme of likening faith with agriculture, where growth and fruitfulness are the common outcomes of good stewardship.  This particular example highlights that through our faith and discipleship of Jesus we will be fruitful.  The message is clear that as branches we are connected to the vine – to Jesus.  We cannot exist and we cannot be fruitful if are not connected to Jesus.

Later in the same passage Jesus says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  The image is of us all being connected to Jesus through prayer and then we will be fruitful in our mission together.

Between Ascension Day on 9th May and Pentecost on 19th May we are being invited to join in prayer with “Thy Kingdom Come”, which is a global ecumenical prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray during this period for more people to come to know Jesus – our mission.  Every person, household and church are encouraged to pray during the 11 days in their own way.  Here at St Nicholas, there will be resources available to support and join together in this initiative.