image_printClick here to print from the link on next page.

Dear Friends,

The Easter season continues: Jesus is Alive! He is the living Word who was with God in the beginning, and voluntarily stepped from eternity, giving up his all to die and rise again to reconcile us with God our Father. Indeed, it is remarkable that even though Christ: always had the nature of God, …of his own free will gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant and became a human being Philippians 2: 6-7. Jesus is one of a kind, his selfless service is the ultimate example of volunteering.

Jesus’ model of selfless service is in part demonstrated by the countless number of individuals who make a difference to others, and their communities, through volunteering. On fixed dates from April to June, each year, certain countries around the world observe Volunteers’ Week; In the UK it takes place from 1-7 June, when organisations acknowledge, and celebrate volunteers for the good, they do for others. For us as Christians, volunteering is a way of copying Jesus’s best example of sacrificial love and selfless service by lending a helping hand to those in need. A good example of the act of volunteering has been this year’s successful Christians Together in Garstang (CTiG) ecumenical Lent lunches – This is an annual fund-raising event for Christian Aid, held in the Garstang URC Church Hall for 6 weeks, beginning on Ash Wednesday, with each church hosting one Wednesday. Not only was this a visible sign of the unity of the CTiG, but also an amazing display of selfless, sacrificial, loving and kind deeds, with teams of volunteers involved every week in all aspects of the lunches. The attendees from the various churches and the community, not only made generous donations, but they also enjoyed the rich fellowship over soup, bread, and cheese. The act of volunteering would continue during Christian Aid Week, May 14th to 20th, when churches would be involved with fund-raising events.

Continuing with the theme of volunteering, I am sure John agrees with me that this is an opportunity to acknowledge and register thanks to all those who volunteer in the churches within the Lancashire North Missional Partnership (LNMP). The churches are not the buildings but the faithful individuals; elders, members, and adherents, who make things happen within and without of those buildings. Involvement is wide-ranging: organising fund raising events, setting up and tidying up on Sundays and during weekday activities, buildings, and grounds maintenance, serving tea and coffee, pastoral visitations, nursing home fellowship, school assemblies, and so much more. No doubt without volunteers and team effort, no church would continue to exit and function. So, thank God for gifting individuals with the skills and resources for use in Christ’ mission and in the encouragement of others. Secondly, to all those who have, and those who continue to volunteer within the LNMP churches; no matter how big or small, be it from upfront or behind the scenes, I extend heartfelt gratitude. I also want to acknowledge all those who though unable to attend physically, keep the churches in their thoughts and prayers, and support them financially.

Friends, you are all equally valued, and your contribution matters – as you continue to play your part in the building of God’s kingdom, may you find encouragement, inspiration, and joy in your act of Christian service; for work is devout and service is divine: We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence.

God bless you


image_printClick here to print from the link on next page.