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From the Curate - February 2022


 I cannot believe that I have been with you for 17 months, it doesn’t seem that long. I think we can all agree that we have lived through some very strange times and that we are not yet fully out of the woods. I am sure that if we continue to stay safe and look after ourselves and others, that we will all come to terms with living with, what some describe as the new flu.
This year we are all hoping for new beginnings, and for myself and my family this will be a reality. Christmas 2021 was the last one for us in our family home. Our youngest son is moving into his own home this month and our third child will begin life as a foundation year 1 doctor in a hospital somewhere within England. (We find out in April where this will be).
For Mr Hines and I, we will be moving to wherever I obtain my first position of responsibility. I am currently looking for a post that God is calling me too and if you have a spare minute, I would appreciate your prayers as I discern where this will be.

Am I excited? Yes, but along with the excitement comes a sense of fear. Fear that I get it wrong, and I don’t hear God guiding me into my first post. Fear that I do not have the gifts to lead a parish and that I will let everyone down, when they realise that I am not the person they thought that they were looking for. These are all natural responses, not just for clergy but for anyone moving into a new role, or even a new school.

 When any of us are called by God to any form of ministry, it is natural to look at others within our congregations and think that they can do it so much better. We wonder how we will fit in the work we are being called to do by God with everything else we have to do, and so we begin to find reasons for why we can’t do what is being asked of us.

God is a persistent God and if it is his will then it will be done. God equips us for all that he calls us to do. He never calls us so that we will fail, but as examples to those who do not yet know God, that he has a purpose for all of us when we accept him into our lives. When we do except God and begin to use the gifts that he has given us then amazing things can happen; not just for us but for others as well. If anyone had told me that one day, I would have a degree and be leading worship and ministering to others I would not have believed them! I come from a working-class background and currently live on the edge of a council estate and yet God called me to this role. If that is not a sign of how God calls and encourages all his people, then I don’t know what is!
So, as I continue to discern where God is taking me next, I pray that you will all listen to God and ask where he wants to lead you. Will it be scary? Probably. Will you be surprised? Yes. But saying yes to God will lead you to meet some amazing people and share in their journeys.
There are two passages of scripture that encourage me, and I hope they will encourage you as you journey on.
The first is: Isaiah 41: 10 'do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand '.
The second is from Paul’s letters to the Romans: 12:2. 'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect.'
There will always be those who think you can’t do what you believe God is calling you to do, they may even try to discourage you. Do not let them! Listen to God, go with God and be amazed by his awesomeness as he calls you to minister in his name to his people.
                                                                                                   Rev. Ashley

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