A happy New Year to you. For Methodists this is the beginning of our New Year and I pray that it will turn out to be a truly Happy New Year for all who read this blog.
For many this marks the beginning of new ventures in faith with new colleagues and new surroundings, and for all these I offer my supporting prayer that God will richly bless all their work for Him. This especially applies to our new President and Vice-President and the new Connexional Team - this includes the new Secretary of Conference - who will carry the responsibility of inspiring and directing all our work as a church - a connexion - this year. They will need all the prayer support that we can give them, so we pray that God will strengthen and empower them all in this coming year. Our prayers are also needed for all who are involved in Fresh Expressions of church, as well as for those who 'holding the fort' in difficult situations.
Yet there are others for whom this New Year begins with tears and disappointment, with hopes and plans in ruins, and an unknown future to face as they embark on the difficult task of finding a new station or a new job. In the midst of our joy at the begiining of a New Year, I plead for you to offer up fervent prayers for all who are picking themselves up, putting their hands into the hand of God and stepping uncertainly, fearfully yet trustingly into the future as God wills it.
This is the strength of the family of Methodism - the connexion - that when one part of the family is in distress, our hearts bleed with them and we close ranks to hold them up to the Father who cares for each and every one.
This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
Whose love is as great as His power,
And neither knows measure nor end.
'Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We'll praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that's to come.