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Currently our minister is Rev Anne Smith. If you want to contact Anne her telephone number is 01527-570437 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is a new beginning for us as we come to the Bromsgrove and Redditch Circuit and particularly to Catshill and Bournheath so I thought I would write a little about us. Although born in a Birmingham hospital I regard myself as a Black Country girl as I was brought up in Netherton, Dudley. I attended Dudley Girls’ High School before going off to Southlands Training College. It was on teaching practise that I met my first husband, Paul.?>
We married in 1975 and settled in Leatherhead, Surrey and I taught in Epsom and later Leatherhead. We had two boys, John, now working in the theatre and married to Gemma, and David resident in Grimsby with his wife Inga and son Paul born in January 2013.
It was in my mid thirties that the call to presbyteral ministry became acute and I candidated. We all went off to Wesley College, Bristol for 2 years after which we were sent to the Elland and Greetland Circuit in West Yorkshire. It was there that Paul died of a heart complaint just before I was ordained. My mother spent much time with us in Elland thus enabling me to continue my ministry.
I went to Worcester in 2000 and the friendship between Jim and I developed. We had known each other for many years as we were brought up in the same Methodist church. We married in April 2004. He is a great blessing to me, not just personally but in my role as minister. He is a Local Preacher looks forward to getting to know the churches in a new Circuit. Jim is retired having worked for Lucas in research into batteries and fuel cells for the automotive and aerospace industries. Not only did I gain a husband but another son, Richard, who now lives in Halesowen and works for the Probation Service.
I believe it is a great privilege to serve in ministry in the Methodist Church. As to hobbies we both enjoy music, reading, films and for myself I would add cooking and knitting. I’m hoping to get back to swimming regularly, which I have failed to do in recent years.
I also dabble with writing, from dialogues to be used in drama (with my son John then casting his dramatic eye over them), to the occasional hymn, to imaginary thoughts of Bible characters. Maybe one day I’ll gather some of them together.
We do look forward to our new Circuit. I hope that we can grow together, learn from one another and share our strengths in order that we may better serve the Kingdom.
I write this on the eve of Ascension Day and with 10 days to Pentecost. These two have become the beginning and end of 9 days of prayer (though if you include the 2 festivals it’s 11) an initiative first by the Archbishop of Canterbury and entitled “Thy Kingdom Come” but then taken up ecumenically. More information can be found on the web and there are some booklets available.
Over the past few weeks I have been struck by some of the accounts of the early church in the book of Acts. As the big festivals of the Christian year – Christmas, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost – come to an end we spend our time continuing the discovery of what it means to be followers of Jesus in fellowship with each other – what it means to be church. The accounts of the growth of the early church challenge us to be outward looking while recognising that we are not perfect but nevertheless we are called to go out. That involves taking risks, being disappointed, seeking direction and trusting in God. The early church was by no means perfect, as is shown by the forceful letters that Paul wrote, but it did grow because people trusted in God, took risks and told of what God was doing in their lives.
Looking for something in my notebook I came across my notes from the Reimagine Church day. They included a word Ubuntu. I don’t know if that is the right spelling and I don’t know what African language it is but I did make a note of what it means – it means ‘I am because we are’. We live in a time which is very individualistic, job, status and self seem very important but this word ubuntu serves to remind us of what the early church knew – fellowship, community and supporting one another are very important. As I come towards the end of the time when as a minister I have had pastoral charge of churches I recognise that I have been dependant in one way or another on the churches I have served. ‘I am because we are’. Last night as a group talked about journeys we decided that as we travel we need the support of those around us, who travel with us. Journeys are best made with travelling companions.
Of course, we have the God we know in Jesus with us always – Jesus promised that as he left his disciples. Wherever we travel God is there before us and with us.