Dear friends,

My name is John Woodhouse. As you may know I have been asked to serve as Acting Rector at St Thomas for the next little while. I am delighted to help as best I can. My wife Moya and I look forward to sharing with you all in serving our Lord Jesus Christ and the building of his kingdom.

We are all deeply thankful to God for the many years of Simon and Kathy’s faithful and careful service, friendship and example. We pray for them as they begin a new and different time, trusting that they will know the Lord’s faithful grace in the years ahead as much as in the years now past.

I am expecting my involvement with you to be largely ‘behind the scenes,’ supporting the ministry staff, wardens and parish council in their excellent work. However, I hope there will be plenty of opportunities to meet many of you in the coming weeks.

I know that many of you love this church. Rightly so. It is a very great privilege to be the people who meet together here because we have come to Jesus Christ. That is what ‘church’ is. And it is brilliant.

Our Lord Jesus Christ calls together people from every level, kind and condition of human beings. Nowhere else are the natural barriers that separate people (age, class, race, status, personality, and so on) so powerfully broken down as in a Christian church.

We must not take this for granted. We enjoy peace with each other only because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us one body through his death. Reconciled to him, we are reconciled to one another. Forgiven, we can forgive. Loved, we can love.

And so church is a very special place – not the physical place, but the spiritual reality of people coming together because they have come to Jesus (see 1 Peter 2:4-5). We come closer to each other by coming closer to him.

I hope you have a great time in church today!

Your brother in the Lord Jesus Christ
John Woodhouse