Monday 21 September 2009

Good news in Gerrards Cross

Delighted to be in Gerrard's Cross for their 150th anniversary celebrations yesterday. It’s one of our very few large UK churches that have broken through what one could call the 400 barrier, with two or three times that number of regulars. It remains very much a parish Church, serving its locality more than hoovering in people from far and wide.

The Crown jewels of St James’ parish, are
  1. enabling servant leadership at all levels, rather than fat controller indoor games. Martin Williams, ministry team and lay leaders are very mutual and focussed.
  2. passion to foster people in varying styles of discipleship, traditional, Charismatic, Conservative and open (to use current jargon). The characteristic virtues of these expressions of faith become cumulative and shared, rather than being played off against each other, wittingly or unwittingly.
  3. Commitment to clear and charitable attitudes that are good news across the board. Evangelical values are very much more important than -isms — politics or labels.
  4. A general culture of excellence in all things. People work as hard, and in as focussed a way, as a commercial concern would at its operation.
Using Ephesians 3, we explored the uncertainties of the world around, in 1859 as much as today, and what it means to be called by a faithful God to be rooted and grounded in love.

The height, depth and breadth of that reality inspires not optimism, but a firm hope. Just for the record, and because some asked, the Credit Cruncher of 1859 I quoted was a gentleman called D. Morier Evans, and this was what he learnt from the string of financial crises in his day:
Each separate panic has its own distinctive features, but all have resembled each other in occurring immediately after a period of apparent prosperity, the hollowness of which it has exposed.
So, what goes around comes around. It’s a standing invitation not to take ourselves, or the news of the moment too seriously, and to fix our hearts where true joys are to be found.


eddie said...

It's also worth noting their excellent mission support program. I've always been encouraged in my contact with them.

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

I had indeed forgotten GX's major programmes like Love Africa and their great support for the new Church in Britwell, down the road, among other giving and mission involvement. It strikes me as a very outward looking congregation.

Jane said...

Years ago - almost in another life - I was student minister in Gerards Cross - at the URC - but there was good local ecuemnical work
Fun to read abou that part of the world and remember that part of the world. ONe of my favourite things was to cycle to the Friends meeting house and just sit there listening to centuries of silence coming back to me - I believe it has unfortunately suffered fire damage since.
An interesting part of the world

Andrew said...

Your talks at St James are now online at the St James podcast website...

9:00am service and 10:30am service.

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