Pastoral Letter (June 2018)

From Rosi MorganBarry

Dear Friends,

Most of us find some time in our busy lives to read bits of the Bible, often with the help of the various useful Bible notes available.  And of course we hear Bible passages read every Sunday. But some parts of the good book remain difficult to understand and to relate to our 21st century lives.

The month of June has been designated a Bible month and it offers an opportunity for everyone in our church and circuit to immerse themselves in a biblical book; focussing on the whole book and engaging with scripture over four weeks.

The book chosen is the book of Jonah – one which we all know well (or think we do) but which we may find we don't really understand.  In his introduction to the notes on Jonah, Rev Tom Stuckey (who some of us remember was superintendent in Reading before becoming President of Conference) writes:

Walt Disney gave us Pinocchio, Herman Melville gave us Moby Dick, the Old Testament gives us Jonah, who, a bit like Pinocchio, has to be taught a lesson.  Although there is humour in this absurd story, there is little to laugh about. Jonah is as obsessed as Captain Ahab, not with the whale, but with his own brand of religion.

Rather than just focussing on favourite passages in the book, we will be studying together the whole of it.

The four Sundays in June will therefore focus on:
    Jonah 1: The God who Pursues;
    Jonah 2: Out of the Depths;
    Jonah 3: Mission Accomplished?
    Jonah 4: A Mixed-up Missionary.

During the study, which it is hoped will engage and encourage everybody, we will be asked to consider Jonah and mission.  Not only God's mission to Ninevah through his reluctant prophet, but also our mission to our community.  So that in the middle of the month (June 15th to 17th) we are invited to take part in the National Weekend of Invitation whereby we are each of us encouraged to invite a friend, neighbour or work colleague to come to church with us.  Or, if it seems more appropriate to your circumstances, to share your faith them on a friendly basis.  Let us develop a culture of invitation and share God's love with our neighbours, whoever they may be.

With every blessing
Rosi MorganBarry

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