Newsletter 8th September 2023
September often feels like a time of new beginnings, simply by the virtue of being when the children go back to school and also, of course by the change in light that speaks of dark and cold days ahead (even during this week’s warm spell the light feels different!). I enjoy it, even though I find the time somewhat bittersweet; I like the gathering dark and the feeling of chill first thing in the morning – of course by November I am generally ready for summer again!
As we look at what the Bible says about the divisions of the year known as the seasons, we find assurance for the seasons of our lives as they change and transition. Here are four ways to encourage you.
1. Look to God’s Sovereignty and Faithfulness
The regularity of the seasons reminds us of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. The Bible states that the seasons are fixed and managed by God. “It was you,” says Psalm 74:17, “who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”
The patterns of weather, governed by God, also supply crops for physical nourishment: “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call” (Psalm 147:8).
Like the Psalmist, use these words as your prayer to trust in God’s faithfulness: “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15-16).
2. Look to God’s Otherness
Not only is God sovereign over the seasons, but He is transcendent over time. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night” says Psalm 90:4.
The Bible also tells us God’s knowledge and purposes prevail regardless of time: “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish” (Isaiah 46:10). Yet, God is not indifferent to our times and seasons.
Most significantly, God has chosen to reveal Himself, to show His love and compassion to the world at the perfect time. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
On an individual level, God directs our times and seasons: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 ESV). This verse is not meant to discourage us from planning, but to reassure us that God has good intentions for us.
Like the Psalmist, praise God that your seasons are safely in His hands for His good purposes: “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11).
3. Look to God’s Compassion and Guidance
God’s compassion and guidance is often portrayed in terms of agricultural seasons.
When God redeemed His people out of exile and forgave their rebellion, Isaiah described God’s compassion and guidance like the seasons that allow for growth and harvest: “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.”
Use the words of Isaiah 58:11 to acknowledge your thankfulness to God: “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
4. Look to God’s Wisdom
God’s wisdom is seen in the earth he has made (Proverbs 3:19). In His wisdom God controls the seasons, the weather and its patterns: “Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?” (Job 38:37-38).
Just as God’s wisdom created spring, summer, autumn, and winter, we should recognize His wisdom extends to the seasons of our lives.
Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, …” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).
Just as Paul encouraged the Galatians to persevere in their faith at all times, we are to do the same: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).
Whatever season you may be in, remember that God is sovereign over it, and He is faithful. God is attentive and His purposes are good. God is compassionate and leads you in righteousness. God is wise and can be trusted.
There will be a joint service with the Congregationalists and Methodists this Sunday September 10th at 3 p.m. at Pontesbury Congregational Church. This is a garden service, but we will be seated in the shade! Many thanks to Ruth and Barbara for their kind contribution to this service.
St George’s PCC has agreed to launch Children’s Church after the October half-term to provide Christian teaching and fun activity for children attending church on Sunday mornings. We are therefore looking to recruit volunteers to form two teams, as well as a coordinator for this new ministry. Job descriptions are available for both roles, along with an application form. Please contact Krys Rodgers at email@example.com to request these. If you have any questions about either role, please contact Greg.
Derek’s funeral will take place at Holy Trinity Minsterley on Thursday September 14th at 2 p.m. followed by a celebration at Minsterley Parish Hall. All are welcome to attend and are encouraged to wear bright colours.
The Wellbeing Bus operated by Shropshire Mental Health Support came to Pontesbury on Monday. The bus functions as a mobile drop-in centre for those with any questions about mental health. Its visit was widely regarded as a great success. The next visit will be to Minsterley in the Parish Hall car park on Tuesday Oct 10th from 10-2
Singing new songs
There is a second opportunity to sing new songs, written over the last twenty years or so, this time at Holy Trinity Minsterley on Thursday September 28th at 7 p.m. We would encourage everyone to come along whether you are familiar with the songs or not. You will be by the end of the evening!
This year we are making the focus of our harvest celebrations support for the farming community. Our harvest appeal is for RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) who support farmers through difficult times.
St George’s Open Day
St George’s will be holding an Open Day on Saturday Sept 30th from 10-4. The programme will include a presentation entitled Our Vision Your Gifts, guided tours of the church, the choir singing your favourite hymns, refreshments including a light lunch, culminating with a communion service at 3.30 p.m. The day is the climax of our stewardship campaign, which is being launched this Sunday and is encouraging members of St George’s to consider prayerfully what gifts they may have to offer.
A number of us are undertaking a sponsored walk on Saturday September 23rd of approximately 17 miles beginning in Leighton and entailing 2,500 feet of ascent before eventually finishing in Westbury. Please contact Greg or David Young if you would like to join us. It is perfectly possible to do just a few miles of relatively flat walking rather than the whole course. There are sponsor forms in each church. 50% of funds raised will go to the church of your choice, while 50% will go to Shropshire Historic Churches Trust. You can also use the following Just Giving link to sponsor Minsterley. https://www.justgiving.com/page/sarah-edwards-1692548711712
Autumn tidy up at HTM
The annual autumn tidy up will be taking place at HTM on Saturday 7th October from 10am. We’ll be tidying inside the church and outside in the churchyard so all skills will be needed – there’ll be plenty of coffee and cake to keep us motivated and fuelled! If you’re able to help can you let Sarah Edwards know or just turn up on the day.
Minsterley Congregational Church welcomes you to join us at our monthly COFFEE MORNING from 10.00 am – 12.00 noon on Saturday 23rd September. In aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Cakes very welcome for Bring or Buy table”
A prayer evening for the Parish of Minsterley will be held on Monday 25th September at 7 p.m. More details to follow, but please put this date in your diary and come along.
Barn Dance and Supper
This will be taking place on Saturday 30 September at 7pm in Minsterley Parish Hall.
The ‘Priory Stompers’ band will be providing the music. There will be a two course supper, but bring your own drinks.
Tickets cost £12 for adults and £5 for children and are available from Richard Lonsdale 07922 830488
Safeguarding Officer for Stiperstones
As of 1st September, Erin Hawkin is the new Parish Safeguarding Officer for the Stiperstones benefice. Erin may be contacted with any concerns or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are incredibly grateful to Pam who has so wonderfully fulfilled this role over many years. She has well earned her retirement from this role (although not yet from others!)
Calendar for the Week
Prayer at Holy Trinity Minsterley at 9 a.m.
Coffee at St George’s 10-12
Repair Shop at St George’s from 10-12
Recycling Event at Pontesbury Congs 10-12
Habberley Produce Show at Village Hall 2-4 p.m.
Holy Communion at Hope at 9 a.m.
Holy Communion at Minsterley & Pontesbury at 10.30
Morning Praise at Habberley at 10.30 a.m.
Garden Service at Pontesbury Congs at 3 p.m.
Foodbank at HTM 10-12
Little Dragons 10-11.30
St George’s Safeguarding meeting at 11.30 a.m.
Church Council at 2 p.m. at HTM
Meeting for Coffee people at 6.30 p.m. in WER
Café at HTM 10-12
Minsterley Standing Committee at 7 p.m.
Foodbank at Pontesbury 10-12
Derek Ditchfield’s Funeral at 2 p.m.
Morning Prayer at Shelve at 9 a.m.
Holy Communion at Pontesbury at 10.30 a.m.
Morning Praise at Minsterley at 10.30 a.m.
Shrewsbury Youth for Christ AGM at Crowmoor Baptist Church at 3 p.m.