August 2021

Central Church Newsletter August 2021

We are now well into summer and recently the weather has been absolutely glorious.  With restrictions being lifted those of us that are of a certain age will probably not be throwing caution to the wind but hopefully, we will still be able to enjoy what is left of the summer.

Sports fans will be looking forward to the Olympics and we wish Team GB every success.  We will be proud of their achievements no matter where we come in the final table.

Take care and stay safe.

Regards

Linda and Malcolm Johnson

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YOUR CONTRIBUTION IS VITAL

Dear Friends,

Some weeks ago we were all looking forward to Freedom Day on 19th July, daring to believe that we would be able to throw off all the limitations of the past 17 months.  Now life looks a good deal less certain.  There can be no doubt that for some while to come Covid is going to shape our lives to a huge extent.  And that is bound to impact on us as a church.  We recognise and respect the fact that some people are going to want to be more cautious than others, and I am sure that we are going to have many challenging issues to navigate over the coming months.

I spend a good deal of my life reflecting on the Bible.  I find that a constantly stimulating and encouraging activity, and what truly amazes me is that so much of the Bible applies so directly to our world today.  Given that it was all written in the context of completely different cultures, you might well have thought that its writings would be impossible to understand let alone to apply to life in Swindon in 2021.  However, I believe that it has some very powerful things to say to us as we slowly emerge from the pandemic.

I believe that we need to listen carefully to Paul’s teaching about the Body of Christ.  As it happens this wasn’t a new figure of speech.  Plato wrote about the life of a city being like a body.  However, Paul uses it in a wonderful way to speak of the dynamic life of the local church.  His key point is that absolutely everyone belongs to it.  Just as a body is made up of incredibly different parts, so too is the church.  There are parts of the body that are prominent, and parts that are hidden.  But every part of the body is absolutely vital.  So too in the church.  There are no spectators!  Every member of the church has a vital role to fulfil.

I wonder what your role is in the life of the church.  I know that many of you have very specific responsibilities and I thank you for what you do.  I pray that God will give you wisdom and strength so that you are able to give your best to God.  Remember that your role is of crucial importance.  It doesn’t matter how big the role is, it is a vital part of the body of Christ.  When I was a teenager I was asked to be a sidesman in my home church in Essex.  We don’t use the expression these days but a sidesman was basically a welcomer and I served alongside a Mr Powling, an elderly gentlemen, who showed me how to hand out the books and make people feel welcome.  It seemed a very basic job to me, but over the years I have learnt how vital the role of welcomers is.  If someone is made welcome as they enter the church building it will affect the way in which they enjoy the whole experience of worship. I know of many people who have kept going back to the same church because of the quality of the welcome.

If you can’t readily identify what part of the body of Christ you are then let me encourage you.  You have a vital role to play.  It may be through the way in which you care for others, or the way in which you pray for the church, or through the way in which you contribute money to the life of the church.  Paul spotted the fact that there were people in the church in Corinth who looked down on their gift.  They thought they didn’t belong to the body of Christ because their role wasn’t as significant as others.  He totally rejects their thinking, protesting that every single person had a vital role to play. 

Paul’s teaching about the body of Christ is so crucial for us as we emerge from the pandemic.  Life is challenging and different from anything we have known before and Central Church will rely on us all contributing our own unique gift.  May God bless you in all that you do.

Your brother in Christ,

Rev. Jonathan Edwards

Transitional Minister

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Preachers

1st August- Revd Jonathan Edwards (Communion)

8th August – Mr Neil Marshall

15th August – Mr Bryan Elkington

22th August – Mr Kevin Penfold

29th August – Revd Gerald England (Communion)

Diary date:

Wednesday 22nd September:  We will be holding a Welcome Service for Revd Jonathan Edwards at 7 p.m.  Revd Alisdair Longwill will be preaching and invitations will be sent to other churches to share the service with us.

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Thought for the day

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way!

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Deadline for September Newsletter: 25 August 2021.