When you celebrate anniversaries, do you use the time to look back to what happened on the day that you are remembering, and perhaps look forward to what might happen in the future? My husband Tim often says, ?last year at this time.....? or ?can you believe it its ? years since......? or ?it was only last week when we were....? And, last Saturday, a number of people, reminiscing about a previous Garden Party, remembered the occasion when we had a massive hail storm.
Well, the 12th June 2016 was the fifth anniversary of me becoming Rector of Belton and Burgh Castle; the service took place in the evening of Pentecost Sunday that year. Both churches came together, joining with members of the community and clergy from the Great Yarmouth Deanery to welcome Tim and me, and our family to Belton and Burgh Castle. It was a great evening and I remember scattering Celebration chocolates in the congregation as a symbol of the generosity of God and the fruitfulness of the churches that I hoped to see in the coming years.
Looking back, I can see many occasions when this has come to pass. In the past five years, Belton church has raised funds to completely re-order the church so that the church is now well used, often four or five days in the week, including a weekly assembly for Moorlands Academy in the church, youth groups, and the Young at Heart who have outgrown the Church Lounge.
As a church we have served the community in a variety of ways, including developing the work with the young people, setting up The Pantry project, even litter picking! Burgh Castle church has tackled a massive project costing over ?250,000, making the church watertight and the structure stronger; working hard at social events which have provided the means for this work in a wonderfully sociable and fun way.
There are many occasions in the Bible that God?s people are told to remember: remember experiences during which God has provided what was needed, remember his love for his people, remember to pass on to each generation the principles by which God?s people live, remember to say thank you and remember the past, but look forward to the future. Looking to the future, there is still much more to do! Burgh Castle church building still has at least another ?250,000 that needs to be spent on it; and we have hopes for a small kitchen and toilet extension that will complement the work we are doing and encourage visits by school children to the Roman Fort and the church. For Belton there is the continuance and development of the work with Moorlands School and the young people, improvements and maintenance to the church building and the continuance or work being carried out in the churchyard. All this will mean hard work, raising significant funds and trusting God for his direction and encouragement.
For me, this phrase comes to mind:
For all that has been, Thanks!
For all that is to come. Yes!