Dear Friends                

“God has already shown all you people what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  (Micah 6 v 8)


This verse was the basis of a Church Army Conference held a few years ago, where the theme was “Walking humbly with God.”  We were each given a key ring with those four words to remind us of the importance of humility in our own daily walk with God, in whatever task he has called us to do, and the absolute necessity of staying close to him, to help us to see the world from his perspective and not just our own.


Those words of Micah, written long before the days when Jesus lived on earth, are incredibly relevant today, and, if acted upon by the majority of people, would make a much more caring, peaceful and loving world.  And they are so easy to remember!  Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.


In our society today, it is so easy to overlook people who don’t fit our mould, who don’t do the things like we do, or think about things the way we do.  Church Army’s purpose, throughout its 134 year history, has been to go to people who don’t fit the mould, to tell God’s story in places other than church.  And why?  To help those people to hear about God, to experience his love through our words and actions, to come to faith in him, or at least to take a few steps closer to him.   


I would want to encourage all of you reading this magazine to think about the words of Micah.  What difference does belonging to God make to you in the way you lead your life?  Or as someone said, if being a Christian were a criminal offence, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  OK, you go to church, you meet with your Christian friends socially, but what about others around you?  Your neighbours, family, work colleagues, the people you meet in the shops, or on the bus?  Only you know the answer. 


St John’s Church stands out like a beacon in the community.  A beacon is a good image for a church – a sign to draw us in.  People come to us for many reasons, and we do try to welcome them.  But a beacon doesn’t move.  It is a light to draw people in.  I would want to see all of us doing our bit to take out the light of Christ, to go where others are with Christ’s light and love, not to encourage them to come to church to boost our numbers, but to show them by our words and actions that being a Christian makes a difference to our lives, that God loves them deeply, and longs for them to love him. 


We do this in Messy Church, our work in schools and care homes, and as a PCC we often look at further ways to serve our community.  But there is something we can all do – we can be ourselves, as children of a loving heavenly Father, proud to belong to him, willing to share his love wherever we go, whatever we do.  With God’s help – you can do it!


I close with a modern paraphrase of the words from Micah – think about them, and see what God might be saying to you through them.      


“But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love.  And don't take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.”

                                                                                 Sister Dorothy Needham