Message from the Minister, as published in our Church magazine, The Survey, Harvest 2017

Dear Friends,

This is the last time that I will put fingers to keyboard to offer my thoughts in “The Survey”. I have been doing this for sixteen years now, even though it doesn't seem that long; maybe that's a sign of the advancing years!

I recognise that during this time much has happened and things are not as they once were - for better or worse. I have spent some time in recent weeks working through my filing system and recycling those records and information that I will no longer need to keep and so the green bags have been filling rapidly. It's incredible to look back on all that has happened in a decade and a half: things that were once considered crucial are no longer happening and things which were once pipe dreams have become a reality. But then that is a sign of something living, and hopefully growing and maturing. A stone stays relatively stable over the centuries but that is because it is not alive!

I have been looking through past copies of “The Survey” and it was intriguing to reread the ones produced just before I arrived.  One that stood out was when Norman Lempriere (of blessed memory) wrote this opening article. The emphasis was on the need for us to pray for the future ahead of us all. Those who remember Norman will recognise that this was a common theme of his life and a very necessary one. We lost a great pair of Prayer Warriors here on earth in his and Doris’s passing to higher service, although I am sure he still in some way intercedes for us –  as it was his very nature to share with his heavenly Father the concerns on his heart.

In this last missive I would like to echo that concern. I may no longer be your full-time paid minister in a few weeks’ time, but I will continue to pray for you individually and as a fellowship. We have made many friends here over the years and been blessed in so many ways; I am so grateful for the opportunity to have exercised part of my Christian ministry alongside you.

At the moment there is no obvious candidate to be your minister and we all need to pray for the will of the Master to become known. Prayer is the main means to help us to discover that.  Without prayer, the church as an institution will die because if it is not in touch with the source of its power and its reason to exist, how can it continue? Perhaps in retrospect, I should have placed more emphasis on calling us together to pray more frequently and fervently, but the old phrase about “taking horses to water” does come to mind.

However, I believe that these are the final three things I need to share with you: Prayer, Prayer and Prayer.

One of my favourite quotes comes from a former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple:

           When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don't, they don't.

Over the years I have found this to be true in my experience, I hope you will as well.

    Yours gratefully

Robert Bebb


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