Ministers’ Page

From Rev. Anna Bishop

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Your elected Circuit reps have recently attended the representative session of the Southampton District Synod, where our keynote speaker was Rev’d. Tim Swindell, the Connexional Treasurer. Tim challenged us to think about the way we use all our resources, not only money, but also buildings, time, energy and people.

He was refreshingly honest in telling it like it is: the reality is that we have falling numbers of members, ministers and buildings and he said that we cannot continue doing the things we have been doing and expect the outcome to change. If we want to see a different trend, then we need to do different things.

That’s all very well, I thought, but what things? And how do we work out what things to do? But Tim suggested two questions for every church, which might help: first, what are our priorities as a church? And second, does our use of all our resources (not just our money) match with what we say our priorities are?
So what are our priorities here at SMc? I wonder whether we know what our priorities are? I am pretty certain we would not all agree, but I am also confident that we could reach a comfortable consensus.

For me personally, it’s not about any exciting initiatives that come with glossy brochures and snazzy videos, but the values by which we daily live out our faith,
often quite unremarkably, but in a way that expresses God’s love.

When we read Micah in the Bible book club, we noted how clearly his famous words cut through all the wordiness that surrounds them: “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” It’s as simple as that!

But it’s also as difficult as that. Which is why I think we need ‘A Methodist Way of Life’, as a way of supporting and encouraging one another in our daily efforts to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

And you know what? Seeking justice and meeting in small groups to live the MWoL together doesn’t actually require large numbers – of money, of buildings or of people. It’s a way of being church that is faithful and sustainable, no matter what circumstances might arise. But it might just also be a quiet little powerhouse of the love of God in action through us.

With love,
Anna.