Nicola and I have entered a strange new world as our youngest son went off to university last month. We are now ‘empty nesters’. According to Wikipedia: “All parents are susceptible to empty nest syndrome… Symptoms of empty nest syndrome can include depression, a sense of loss of purpose, feelings of rejection, or worry, stress, and anxiety over the child’s welfare. Parents who experience empty nest syndrome often question whether or not they have prepared adequately for their child to live independently.”
Some of the symptoms of ‘empty nesters’ may well apply to the church of 2019 or they can if we let them. Many churches feel a sense of loss at missing generations. In many local congregations there is a sense of loss of purpose, apart from keeping the show on the road. There is always the challenge of finding people to take on all the jobs that need to be undertaken to enable us to function.
Locally we are responding to these challenges by making a special emphasis this month on stewardship. This has been described, in its widest sense, as “… discerning needs from wants; a call to simplicity; a call to prioritise our lives so that we spend our precious time and resources on what is truly important.”
I hope, therefore, that you will respond positively to the correspondence you will receive as part of our annual TRIO (The Responsibility is Ours) campaign and Commitment for Life appeal.
However, stewardship is not just about our use of money, but also about how we most effectively use our time and talents in the service of God and the work of the Church.
On Sunday, 20th October we are hosting a special service focusing on this theme. We will hold worship in the hall to enable us to worship ‘café style’. It will enable conversations to be had during the service so we can listen and talk with one another about these important matters. These conversations will happen within an act of worship because it is important to recognise that all that we do and offer is our response to the generosity, grace and love of God to us.
I hope you will all make a special effort to attend on 20th October. We also hope that regular worshippers will be alert to visitors and newer members of the church community to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included in the conversations.
With love and prayers
Russell J Furley-Smith