Monday, 12 December 2016


Yesterday afternoon I was at a carol service in the United Reformed Church at Mattishall, a village in Norfolk. The church was packed and we were led by the Salvation Army band as we enjoyed some traditional Christmas music and carols. It was inspiring. Ian Fosten, Norwich Team Leader for the URC, spoke briefly, reminding us of the need to move on as he pointed to the journeys contained within the Christmas story.

What was particularly significant is that it was the final service for that chapel. After a long history of witness, the remaining three members have decided that it is time for the Methodists and the Church of England to carry forward the Christian witness in that particular village.

Strangely, it is not usually easy to make such brave decisions, and we struggle on past the point of viability. It was great to end this congregation's life on such a high note - as the organ, at the end, was pressed in to service one more time and we listened to Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus'. The witness will, of course, continue in different ways and different places.

May God guide us all into the right decisions, even when they are difficult to take.

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