Our new Minister
FROM OUR NEW MINISTER…..
REVEREND STEPHEN HEATH
As I sit down to write my first letter for the newsletter it feels somewhat different to the normal new minister / congregation relationship, we know each other already. I feel you have an advantage in that some of you know far more about me than I of you. I hope that is something that will quickly change as I believe pastoral care is at the heart of our care of each other and the community in which we live. I have always liked that image of 'scratching people where they itch' to be a powerful one.
As many who read this will know I come with grey hair and a lot of experience of life! While I have worked down the road at Face to Face YMCA for the last thirteen years and lived most of that time in Kirkham, previously I have worked and studied in East London, Bristol, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sheffield and Blackpool - lots of different experiences of ministry, scratching people where they itch.
Now I find God has called me to be Minister in the South Fylde Circuit and Minister at Church Road. I realise that I arrive as the church has asked some deep questions about the future. In responding to the call to return to being a full time Presbyteral, Minister as we used to say, in the Methodist Church, I have had to reflect on what gifts God has given me and where he is leading and what I should do with my time. That brings me to here, today, to being with you and so I feel I must ask you what do you bring?
You see it is forty six years since I stood in Helmsley Market Place and declared my faith, how God was at work in my life and could be in the lives of all who heard me. I stood and preached as part of a group of people who believed the same. That day and ever since I have seen a response to the Christian message, I have learnt we can do so much more together than alone and that the light of God disperses the deepest gloom. God speaks if we listen, gives direction when we are lost and strength when we are weak. Being a Christian is not easy, it is hard work but it brings fulfillment and peace.
At Church Road we have our challenges as stewards of these premises and so many people around us who are still to discover what faith offers. There is work to be done, scratches to be itched, hurts to be healed, lost to be found, old lives to be exchanged for new. I look forward to playing my role alongside you in ministry and mission to St Anne's.