Experiments in faith and life - Pastors pen for Christmas week 2020

Dear friends, I sigh as I once again realize Christmas has caught me by surprise as it always does. My family chide me for being an unlovely, mutated combination of the Grinch and Uncle Scrooge. However, sensibly I did last minute shopping this morning before Milford became a vision of 'traffic hell'. I'm not sure what the cure is for me, I really don't even like Christmas music. I promise to do better next year, I think I need intercessory prayer regarding this unfortunate matter.

On a positive note, I'm of the opinion (and the missional theologians might join me in this) that Christian outreach in the early-mid 21st century requires experimentation. In this Covid year, nothing is certain, and well-worn methodologies emerging from the late 20th century are often no longer valid. Mind-set change is needed.

I experimented with a 'Blue Christmas' service last Sunday evening. This is typically a remembrance service for those having suffered loss in that particular year. No takers except for one, who was well prepared and committed to the concept. Yet it's good to try new stuff. I have extra tea light candles if you have need of such inflammable items...

John Graham, with the backing of session, headed up a pre-Christmas mince pie delivery to the neighbourhood, requiring volunteers to go door to door and give a packet of Christmas fruit mince pies and an invite to Christmas services to all who were willing (and at home). This 'experiment' has resulted in really positive humour and connections, some faith-sharing conversations, a raised profile for FHPC, and possibly some Christmas service attendance from locals. So I would call that a successful experiment in community outreach. Well done to all volunteers and those prepared to share their experiences.

As we plunge into Christmas and summer plans, may you be of good heart, travel safe, and experience the love of God, family and friends in this season. And may 2021 see us attempt optimistic experiments in life and faith with God. M

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