From our Interim Moderator
There is so much we have taken for granted in our own life times: that we will live to a ripe old age; that our children will also survive, and that we will die before they do; that our standard of living and education will be constantly rising; that more and better technology, notably better communication and transport, will allow us to do things and go places we have not been able to do in the past.
However, we know that our normal expectations are not always realised: not all of us reach our allotted ‘threescore years and ten’, and for many – too many – improvements in standards of material living have not been readily apparent. The gap between the haves and have-nots seems to have widened in recent years. At the moment, in the months before we are due to leave the European community on 29th March, doubts and controversies over BREXIT mean that even less than usual can be taken for granted. We live in a age of great uncertainty in our public affairs.
Yet, as Christians we know that there are important things we can take for granted for our lives: that God loves us; that we will find joy and fulfilment in Christ’s service in the church and in the community; that the Holy Spirit will give us the enthusiasm and hope for a better future for ourselves and for all humankind.
Despite the doubts and uncertainties at St David’s over the last two years about our future and when, or even if, we might get a new minister, we are now sure that Rev’d Louise Franklin will be coming to be our minister on a 25% basis, sharing her pastorate with her current church, West Kirby URC.
As I write, details of when her ministry at St David’s will start and when a formal induction service will take place have yet to be worked out, Some of the uncertainties remain: what will that 25% of a minister involve?; what can we ask of her and expect her to do as our Minister with these time constraints?. While these details will be worked out and agreed by us all in our Elders and Church Meetings, the principle of us having a new spiritual guide for our journey in God’s service as a congregation is now in place. It offers us a new starting point as we re-envision our future and how we offer our witness to God’s love in our community.
This new beginning will surely put a spring in our step as we contemplate the immediate future. There will still be a lot of uncertainty: there will still be lot in our church life we cannot take for granted. But we will have the faith to know that God will be travelling with us, guiding us with Louise’s support to make his kingdom come and his loving care more apparent to all in Eastham.
‘If God is with us, who can be against us’: having a faith helps us to deal with uncertainty. We live in a world where society is changing very fast. Personal and family relationships are very different to what they were only a generation ago; think of public attitudes to marriage and the place of women in the household and in the workplace. Employment patterns and job security are very different to what they were only a generation ago: think of the notion of a secure job for life and the growth of ‘zero-hours contracts’. Being a Christian and regularly attending church is now largely a matter of choice rather than habit. Many changes seem to be for the better for most people, but some changes have created or accelerated disadvantage for others.
We know that God is with us as we individually and together as a congregation negotiate these many changes. The spiritual leadership that a new minister brings will give us the confidence to face the ever-changing and ever-uncertain future positively. We can rejoice that God has given us this new opportunity to refocus our witness. We must, in Jesus name, to grasp it with the certainty of faith.
Yours in Christ, Bill Gould
From our Interim Moderator