January 2018

With A Voice Of Singing - Sunday 14 January 2018

All are welcome to an afternoon of enjoyment, fellowship and fun on Sunday 14 January 2018 when the three choirs of Holy Trinity Fareham, Fareham United Reformed Church and Fareham Methodist Church come together for a fundraising concert.

The concert starts at 3.00pm at Fareham United Reformed Church and entry is free, with a retiring collection in aid of Christians Together in Fareham's work to support local refugees and asylum seekers.

Refreshments are available after the concert.

Walking the Way - Living the Life of Jesus in 2018

Speaking generally, the Church, the gathering of the followers of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour, are a very special bunch of people. We have been called together to form a family, a household of faith (Galations 6 v10). Usually we say you can choose your friends but you don't get to choose your family! Well that shows how different the church needs to be: we answering the call of God as we have perceived it, choose to join a particular group of Christians and, by doing so, opt to play our part in a family, a household.

In families, the dynamics change as new members are brought in by birth or loving attraction. It is the same in churches, as we live by welcoming new members who have come new to faith, or moved from elsewhere and wanted to throw their lot in with ours, while saying farewell to others - some who have moved away and others who have been 'promoted to glory'.

So churches can and should expect to change progressively as people come and go.

The Church is a very special bunch of people and also a very ordinary bunch of people. As our prayers of confession acknowledge, we are prone to sin - in what we think and say and do - and this brings me to the nub of the message "Honour and Laughter".

Talking specifically now of our church, I pray that we can laugh together more for laughter, genuinely shared, can be an antidote to taking ourselves too seriously; it can take the edge off disagreements; it can be a sharing of vulnerability; it can show our openness to one another.

I am not pretending that disagreements are not a natural occurrence in any human group but our tradition, above all things, values the chance to talk things through, honoring each other as fellow believers, fellow disciples of Jesus - be that sharing in discussion groups, committee meetings, Elders' or Church Meetings. By these means we really need to 'hear' each other's points of view and try to iron out misunderstandings, and misinterpreted motives, 'for we are members of one another' (Ephesians 4 verse 25).

Firstly, it is natural to bond in smaller groups within the household of faith - in interest groups or shared skills groups. What is most important is that we stress that these groups are open to new members, honouring what new members may bring to the group and being willing to change thanks to their input, and hearing reports of what they have been engaged in, as we all try to advance Christ's Kingdom.

The second point is to guard against tittle-tattle. I have stressed above the importance of talking things through in open forums. If you find yourself caught up in conversation that is less than wholesome, the Lord urges you to see what you can do to correct the direction in which it is going.

I look forward to serving with you as teaching Elder, minister, friend and pastor this year, in a church that is strong on honouring and laughing together!

Yours, in Christ's love, Paul