The minister writes… for the May 2021 newsletter

Dear friends,

The Repair Shop’ or ‘Saved and Remade’?

I’m sure that many of you are, like me, a fan of BBC 1’s The Repair Shop. There is such a feel-good factor in watching expert crafters lovingly and painstakingly restoring an item to its former glory. Often the back stories are very moving and seeing the joy on a person’s face when their treasured possession is returned to them makes the programme very watchable. No wonder it has risen in popularity since its start in March 2017.

There is another more recent BBC programme, BBC 2 this time entitled, Saved and Remade. In some ways it is similar to The Repair Shop; in others very different from it. Here, too, owners part with their loved possessions, but these are treasures which are no longer used but too precious just to throw away. In this programme they are not restored but transformed by experts into contemporary and useful items.

Saved and Remade doesn’t have the same nostalgic element as The Repair Shop but I wonder it if carries a message for us in the church?

Without question, the pandemic has been a challenging time for people. It’s not just individuals or families who have been affected. We all know of businesses which have failed during these tough months and there have been many changes for churches, too. We have had to find new ways of worshipping and creative means of serving our communities. It would be a great shame if some of the newly acquired skills were to be lost or left unused.

As we come out of the pandemic, we need to be attentive to what God is calling us. There have been elements of worship, fellowship and mission which have been sorely missed and we cannot wait to restart. There are others, like Bible study and meetings, which have been delivered in a different way and have flourished. There are some things which we have had to lay down and we need to ask ourselves if perhaps the time has come to lay them down permanently.

Whilst no one would say the pandemic was a blessing, there have been lessons learned because of it and there have been blessings contained within it. As it says in Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. We have had time and opportunity to stop, to think, to pray.

The time for change is ripe, some may say over-ripe. The Church as we know it is in decline. Not everywhere and not every church but certainly in the UK many traditional churches are struggling to survive (and by traditional, I’m not referring to the type of music sung!). I am sure we would all love for our church to be restored to its former glory a la The Repair Shop – but what if God is saying that what is needed is to be Saved and Remade?

So, I leave you with these questions:

What are the lessons that we, as a church, have learned from this last year?

What are the changes we are prepared to make?

What do we believe God might be saying to us as Sandhurst & Yateley Methodist Church?

How does he want to take us forward?

There will be opportunities to discuss these over the next couple of months but, meanwhile, I would urge you to please pray about these questions, bring them before God and wait on his voice and seek his will.

With every blessing,