2011 Letter No 05
Each month Bill writes a pastor's letter for our monthly church magazine called 'The Messenger'. Here is the letter for May 2011:
And so my sabbatical is here. A time of rest and refocusing on God. These coming weeks will be much more relaxing and helpful now that I know what will be happening afterwards. In July I will return for one month’s active ministry in West Bromwich before moving down to Kent to take up the pastorate of Maidstone Baptist Church.
During the weeks ahead I will be focussing especially on prayer. I have identified several books on the subject, some of which were written over the past few years and others of which were written many years before I was born. But just reading books is not my intention. The reading of books on prayer is supposed to act as a springboard from which I can dive into prayer itself, which is one reason why I have also arranged to go away “on retreat” on a couple of occasions during the sabbatical period to spend time with God. The books I have chosen to read are written from a variety of different perspectives – some looking at the nature of prayer, others at the activity of praying, still others emphasising a contemplative and wordless mode of communing with God and another focussing specifically on biblical meditation. I may not end up reading them all, because I would far rather read less and pray more. Reading about prayer can so often be a substitute for prayer itself, but the first book on my list looks at the prayer life of Jesus, and that has to be a good place to start.
Also during this sabbatical period I will be attending a week-long training course on approaches to resolving conflicts in church life. I hasten to add that this is no reflection on either my experience in West Bromwich or my expectations of Maidstone, but I am sure that it will be useful.
And as a family we will also be taking a week’s holiday together, which is all part of the relaxation and refreshment appropriate in a Sabbath rest from active ministry.
So please do remember us in prayer, that God will refresh and reinvigorate us during this time for the next seven years of ministry.
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