Last week we spoke about, and gave you thanks for, the welcome we received here.
We are all called to be welcomers and welcoming, especially welcomers for Christ in the knowledge that he welcomes us with open arms.

As we continue to welcome one another, as well as newcomers that we come into contact with and to give hospitality to strangers, we rely on him to be our strength and guide.  Sometimes this takes us away from something else we’ve been planning or we have to put on hold a job, task or conversation we wanted to complete.  Some of us naturally find it harder than others to approach new folk whilst others of us relish the thought. How did somebody else welcome you?  Remembering that could be a great way to help you find ways to welcome when you are unsure how to go about it.

We also, in life, have many goodbyes that have been said and will be said in our future.  As you can imagine  Matthew and I said many as we prepared to come to be here with you. And we thank you for your ongoing prayers as we adapt to a new life away from our families and old friends.  Goodbyes are difficult.  When we know we will see someone again this takes away much of the pain and sting of leaving people.  We have this too when we say our final earthly goodbyes to those we love who we also now loved Jesus.  This is a great comfort to us when we say goodbye because of death.  Billy Graham, who died yesterday, once said:
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! I shall be more alive then than I am now. . . . I will have gone into the presence of God.”
This can be of great encouragement to us.

This week we said goodbye to two amazing ladies, Lorraine and Pat,  who have gone to be with their Lord.  We give God thanks and praise for all they did for God and His church, the way they welcomed people in his name and the way their lives inspire us.  We pray for their families as they say goodbye and ask for God’s comfort and peace.

THIS Sunday (Feb 25th) it’s the church picnic – and as the weather is good we look forward to sharing that with you if you are able.  Also in the newsletter Alan has provided an update on the building works – its good to see it started and the excitement of new beginnings!

Blessings, Claire