Stephen and his wife Linda live in Kirkham and for 13 years Stephen managed the Face To Face Homelessness Charity merging it into Fylde Coast YMCA some ten years ago. As Housing Director at the YMCA, Stephen was responsible for developing various community projects including The Credit Union and Fylde Counselling Service.
Reflecting on his former appointments in East London and Newcastle-on-Tyne of working as Methodist Minister, Hospital Chaplain and part time tutor with the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, Stephen is clearly committed to encouraging individuals and communities to be honest about their hopes and needs and finding how faith in God can help them be met in Body, Mind and Spirit.
|Stephen is our Minister but is already known to us and well known on the Fylde Coast having lived and worked in Fylde for 18 years and prior to that he was a Minister in Blackpool.|
Recently I had to smile when some of the family, now in their forties, had to admit that they couldn’t cope with staying out late like they did in their twenties. I also smiled as I looked at pictures of our grandchildren in their new school uniforms ready for their first day at school and commented ‘It doesn’t seem five minutes since they were babies.’
On Saturday I will join family members on the North York Moors to scatter our Mum’s ashes and, while thankful for all we have received from and shared with Mum, we will be acutely aware that once we were four generations but are now three.
I am reminded that over Mum’s 97 years, life changed beyond all recognition - travel, communication, hospitals, homes ……. life now is very different to when she spent her first day at school.
On Sunday, in our Harvest Festival Service, we will give thanks to God for the provision of food and raise awareness of those in need in developing countries. When I was little, living in a rural area, the Harvest Festival was local - what farmers had grown in their fields and us in our gardens. We had battled with frost, heat, drought, slugs and caterpillars and rejoiced in the fruit of our labours.
On Monday the political party conference season gets underway as party delegates gather to debate, speech writers work late editing words, sowing new policies, making or breaking careers, while seasoned correspondents make judgements as to what will wither and die and what will grow.
As the years pass our perspective on life changes, but some things don’t. Life is a gift and time can only be spent once. Harvest focuses on reaping but then we only reap what we sow. Jesus sowed love changing lives and history.