Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17-36) provided him with an opportunity to tell the believers there about all God had done on his missionary journeys; he reported ‘in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.’ (Acts 21:19), reports which brought praise from his audience.

It’s important always to dwell on what God has done through our ministries rather than focussing on the ministries themselves. It has been a difficult year in the life of churches locally as we have been forced to close our doors to many things which normally make up the life of a church (including our Parent & Toddler group and youth club for much of this year) and have had to adapt to online services and to different ways of doing things. But as always, at the end of a year, it’s good to look back and to see what God has done in our area and beyond.

  • We are grateful for the technology which has enabled us to livestream services to a wider audience than would usually attend meetings. Although the passive nature of livestreamed services (particularly on Facebook Live) is not at all representative of church as it should be, we are grateful that this is a way of reaching out to people with God’s good news and are thankful that God has put it on people’s hearts to watch and listen to His good news.

  • We are grateful for every means of staying connected with people, including video calls, phone calls, text messages, social media and not forgetting Royal Mail! We have sent out countless cards and parcels of craft activities to local families and church members and believe that God uses these things as a reminder to others of His love and care.

  • We are aware that God has used local churches to bless others at these difficult times, through different means of outreach, such as gift bags, food parcels, symbols of hope (Advent angels), debt advice, counselling and support.

  • We are grateful that we have been able to support ministries at home and abroad, such as the Salvation Army food bank, local schools through the 4FrontTheatre pantomime ‘A Very Merry Covid-Cancelled Christmas’, Fredrick and Reeba’s ministries in India, the Christmas shoebox appeal and our ongoing support of Bedline, Innocent and Amshika in Haiti, Uganda and India respectively. Such support allows ministries to continue in what has been a very challenging year logistically!

We are looking to God to show us new ways of ministry, to show us how we can resume some of the areas which have seemed so fraught with difficulties because of the pandemic and to continue to work through us as we seek to bless our area and show others that we are ‘with God in the community, with God for the community.’