Take off !!!!!!

Well, we launched the new Borders Mission Circuit in fine style tonight, with lots of fun, laughter, good music (traditional and modern), keyboards, band, candle lighting, commissioning and a powerful sermon.

The welcome banner at the entrance

 The evening was held at the Post Mill Centre in South Normanton; an excellent venue. We had over 230 people came along and just about every circuit church was represented. The two Superintendents (Jim and I) were commissioned, the staff and stewards were then commissioned and the whole Circuit was launched with a very moving candlelit ceremony where two people from each of the previous four circuits brought a candle and then lit a single candle together to symbolise the four becoming one. As each added their light to the new candle they extinguished the old candle to symbolise the closure of their previous circuit. Powerful stuff.

The band from Pilsley Church played well and Lenna played the more traditional hymns on the keyboards with gusto. Good strong singing and I even managed to hold the signing together with relatively few mistakes (I think).

Loraine peruses the order of service prior to the worship

 Our new Chair of District, Rev Loraine Mellor, preached a powerful sermon about putting new wine into old wineskins, and challenged us all to be new wine in new wineskins; to be missional people and to grow as a Circuit by winning new people for Christ. I was particularly impressed by her knowledge of our mission statement and the way in which she affirmed it. Loraine seems to have prepared well for this and it wasn’t `just another service` to her. I feel honoured that she preached so personally for us.  Very challenging and I pray that we can ALL rise to the challenge and seriously advance the Kingdom of Christ in this area.

Over refreshments afterwards there was a tremendous buzz as people shared with old and new friends; a real sense of excitement about the evening but also about the future. People seem to have come together with a sense of purpose.

I’m still on a high over it all. Praise God.

Rev Jim raises a glass to the new circuit

 As you can see from the two photos of Jim and I there was plenty of fun throughout the evening. Jim and I are shaping up to have a tremendous relationship, based on trust, friendship and a real sense of brotherliness between us. We hope and pray that the new Circuit will grasp hold of the closeness between us and model itself to have a similar closeness.

The new circuit is warned about Rev Mike

Pray for us all as we journey together that God may be glorified in all that we do in His name.

Borders Mission, up and running

Well, after all the waiting, preparation, worry, hard work and emotion the new Borders Mission Circuit officially came into being yesterday. It felt very strange waking up in the morning to think that I was now in a brand new circuit, but still in the same old house. That’s not to say that I’m ungrateful that the Amber Valley Circuit have allowed me to stay here until the new Manse is sorted out but it is a strange feeling to be a Minister in an area but not living there. Still, that’ll get sorted out I have no doubt.

The last few days have been both hectic and extremely emotional. Last Friday I said farewell to the folk at Maple Leaf House (MHA care home) where I’ve been Chaplain for the last 6 years. Lots of tears  over leaving, laughter as I introduced the new Chaplain (Alison) and said she wouldn’t be as good as the old one (!) and joy over the chocolate cake they had baked for me. Combined with a framed photograph and boxes of chocolates, bookmarks and other presents it was quite an occasion.

Saturday was spent buying and setting up my new computer. I used the cheque that the four Churches who are moving into Amber Valley gave me to buy it. They were very generous.

Sunday brought emotion again as the time came to leave Codnor. Every member of the congregation had turned up dressed head to foot in black and white; what a marvellous gesture. A family came along who I have supported and helped over the years and they were pleased that I had been given a Derby County shirt. They gave me a hand painted picture. Again many tears and laughter. It was a moving, heart wrenching occasion. We shared in Holy Communion and it felt right that we should do so, not just because of my farewell but in many ways it felt like closing the entire Ripley Circuit with that most sacred of acts.

And so I’ve now left the Ripley Circuit. It’s been a good 6 years and I’m pleased to have been a part of it. God has been good and I give him thanks.

Borders Mission Methodist Circuit

Yesterday morning (Wed) I woke up in the Borders Mission circuit, to a day of two funerals, paperwork, a visit to a coffee morning in one of our new circuit Chapels and the feeling of “What have I done ?” In many ways it really did feel like ‘business as usual’. However there was a strong sense of new friends to be made, new family to be involved with and new opportunities to creatively build Gods Kingdom. Throughout it all I had a sense that we have done the right thing, the thing that God has asked of us however painful that has been and, because this is Gods will, it will be blessed by Him.

Please continue to pray for us, and for the Amber Valley Circuit, as we make these early steps with all our mistakes and hesitance; please pray that we will glorify God.