Dear Friends,

  1. Tuesday – Mike Clark
    This Tuesday Mike (and Caroline) Clark begin with us at St Thomas’. They have found a house (to rent) in Riverview – the children are at St Andrew’s Cathedral School. Mike’s job is to help with preaching and pastoring, to specially develop leaders of discipleship groups and we are looking at the business ministry getting started again with a vengeance. I know you will make them all very welcome.
  2. Christians engaging culture
    How many people at St Thomas’ could say something that is winsome and wise on the gender issues today? Or on immigration from a biblical position? We have decided to set up a committee at St Thomas’ (with about 8 – 10 members) to consider the issues that need wisdom – and then to consider how to pull together the best resources and disseminate them within the church. More details soon.
  3. Parish Council matters
    We had our first Parish Council meeting for 2018 with new councillors David Glen (8am) and Mark McCowan (10am) present. Some things we were considering were –
    a The great privilege of (together) renovating our church for the next generation or more.
    b The challenge of finding a rectory for the new rector from late 2019. If you have an idea (or a suitable house for sale!) let us know.
    c We studied (in our book) the need for grace to wake us spiritually, we heard how the children’s ministries are progressing and we prayed for people and property.
  4. David Robertson – 1 May and 5 May
    One of David’s fine gifts is working out how to interact with non-Christians in a helpful way.
    This Tuesday night at 7pm he is answering questions for men in the Union Hotel and this is an excellent opportunity to learn and grow – and take a friend. (Tell them a Scotsman is answering hard questions). Then next Saturday (5 May at 8am in Parkview) David will help men think about how faith impacts work and ‘Monday to Friday’. Please let the office know (8908 4800) if you want to come to the breakfast.
  5. Richard and Judy James
    Richard has taken some long service leave and he and Judy will be away for ten weeks from April 26.
  6. Keep the grieving in mind
    Those who lose loved ones have a long (and sometime lonely) road ahead so please keep them in your prayers. Last week Karin Elliott farewelled Peter, this week Pearl Chanmugan farewelled Nithi. And for those who remember (or know) Rick Smith – former assistant here and Rector at Naremburn – he farewelled his brother Fred in a sequence of trials and griefs Rick has been through.
  7. The cross of Christ will never be fully fathomed
    Paul tells us that the love of Christ ‘surpasses knowledge’ (Eph 3:19) and I suspect that means that heaven will not be dull as we continue to grow in understanding – as well as have the joy of God’s new creation. But I was struck this week to realise (freshly) that when Jesus died He took the shamefulness of our sin (it’s embarrassment) as well as the guilt. It was not just the crucifixion that was shameful but all that our sin makes disgraceful – He bore.
  8. When do we fight together?
    We meet to fellowship and feed on God’s word but we rarely battle together. If we embarked on a local mission we might feel the teamwork more than we do – but we specially fight together in prayer. That’s why you must keep the date of the next ‘Prayer Battle’ on June 27 (when the Brownings will join us) in your diary. Come and fight like a good soldier.
  9. Scotland
    In a few weeks I will speak at the Scottish Keswick and Scottish Evangelical Minister’s Assembly – leaving 21 May. Mike will take the wheel.
  10. It was Jill MacLeod’s last day in our office on Tuesday and I know you will join me in thanking the Lord – and her – for such wonderful ministry among us. Jill has brought great faithfulness and integrity and skill and wisdom and humour to the work for six years. She has handled the office, the people, the dilemmas and the delights with uncommon gifts and we will miss her enormously – but thankfully keep her at St Thomas’. I especially am grateful – she has deciphered my handwriting and juggled my diary and even typed this! May the Lord keep her in His service and love.
    (Thank you Simon – working at St Thomas’, and with you, has been a huge privilege and a very special six years! Jill)

In glad fellowship,
Simon Manchester