God’s big house

Dear Friends,

One door leads to another in Gods big house….

John 14: 1-7

I feel as though God opened a front door and let us into a house where there was a warm welcome, but more doors to open before we could find the purpose of the invitation. I am so grateful, and privileged, that the front door opened and we have been able to spend time in the hallway before being shown to the next door to a room where we will find something new!

We know that God has a big house with many rooms and are now convinced that Jesus goes ahead of us to prepare a place for us to be in ministry on earth or in heaven. I think Shirley Caddy summed it up with notes for her own funeral service in which she said that she was “off to another place to start a new job!So am I, but, unlike Shirley, my place is still on earth not in heaven.

As we go through one door we find more doors with new opportunities behind them and we have been invited from the hallway into a new place of ministry in Lymington. We are so grateful that Broadway opened the front door to let us back into ministry and it is now as if the door to another room has been opened in Gods great big house. We are not sure what we will find as we follow Jesus and it could be into the kitchen with Martha or the sitting room with Mary or an upper room with the disciples or one of many more rooms where Jesus has already been.

When we walked through Broadways front door, with the help of Synod, we knew we had the keys for three years with an extension until the end of the year. They say that all good things come to an end, but that doesnt mean that bad things will follow. If you have work to do in heaven, like Shirley, things can be much better — but that door hasnt been opened for us yet! Lymington will be good, we are sure, but we are not making any plans beyond that.

To be honest we thought Broadway would be our last ministry, but they say that if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. God is having a hoot and it is a privilege that God can have a laugh at our expense. There is a lot to make God weep in the world, but he has a great sense of humour with a laugh like thunder!

The move is unlikely to happen before October and Broadway United Reformed Church will continue the amazing ministry for years to come with the addition of a new Outreach Worker to be employed in partnership with the Methodist Church in the next few months.

… so thank you for opening the first door! Richard and Virginia

As far as she was concerned her death was a graduation and how can anyone be sad at such an occasion? She had qualified for some other work and was off to another place to start a new job! That was how Shirley Caddy regarded her funeral service — as a graduation ceremony to celebrate! An inspiring way to leave earth for a new life in heaven. Her son, Victor, shared some of what Shirley wrote, including her belief that there are things for her to do after death. If not, I will be most put out, she said. Can you imagine me sitting on a cloud playing a harp all day (and night if there is no sleep there) Not likely!

Shirley said that she was looking forward to meeting her old friends and relations and all the wonderful animals she has known — her rabbits, her dogs and cat, the pets of her friends, her wonderful fish and beautiful budgies. Shirley was blessed with a wonderful imagination, but it doesnt have to be stretched too far to believe that where there are green pastures there will be sheep, and more! Wolves with the sheep; leopards and goats; calves and lions with some bears all living together at peace! (Isaiah 11: 6-7) Who needs imagination when there is such prophesy in scripture?

I would like a happy funeral, full of smiling faces and flowers that smell good, Shirley wrote. The sort of goodbye you would give me if I were boarding a space ship for a tour of duty on the moon or some other exotic planet. Now she is inviting us to have some imagination!

It was a privilege to conduct a service celebrating the life of such a special person who could speak so positively of her own death. Thank you Shirley!

Lela Burbridge, who was our guest speaker on a Friday evening Zoom service recently, has written to say thank you: “Thank you so much for your encouraging and challenging messages, I find the words you write a really lift up to think about where I am at in my journey of faith and todays unmute the muted massage has really spoken to me. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you and members in your church for the support given to my initiative to keep the library in Uganda running. Thank you to M and N in your church who gave so generously to this good course. We have been able to buy more books and employ an extra person to help with the growing number of children who are so desperate for the opportunity to read.

Colin Hollies, from the Methodist Church, has learned from Jo, David Savage’s daughter, that plans are now being brought together to hold a celebratory service on Friday 6th August at around 3pm at Broadway Methodist Church. The service to be followed by light refreshments and as David was well known outside the walls of the Methodist church we are welcome to attend the service – and they will all be (subject to appropriate COVID guidelines). It will help hugely in planning the service if you could each kindly ascertain for me what the possible level of interest within your respective congregations is and let me know asap, so the information can be fed back to the family.

We invite you to walk and dropfor Christian Aid next week. Dont worry, we dont expect you to walk so far that you drop with exhaustion, but we do want people who will walk down a few streets and drop envelopes inviting people to support Christian Aid. You wont have to go back to collect envelopes because they will be ‘Deliver-Only Envelopes’. These will have attached to them a note indicating where locally the householder may drop off any filled envelope or how they can donate on line. This would be in addition to posters and notices in the front Church garden giving details of on-line giving, plus the usual banner and bunting.

So far we have six or seven folk prepared to deliver envelopes and three have offered their letterboxes as drop-off points . If there are other Church members who are happy to walk and just deliver envelopes during the week Monday 10th May – Sunday 16th May, please let Ann know asap. Because of Covid we have left things rather late before deciding what action to take.

For the Christian Aid Week Service on 9th May we are looking for a free-standing globe. If you have one roughly 9-12 inches in diameter that we can borrow for the day, please let Chris know. Thank you.

Sunday’s service from the URC Daily Devotions is led by the Revd. Andy Braunston. We will be thinking about one of the earliest evangelists who helped someone on the edge of Jewish life and faith find his place in the Kingdom.Hymns include Marty Haugen’s Let us build a house, a sung Psalm of Psalm 22: 1-5, The love burning deep, and Terry Butler’s It is the cry of my heart.

After celebrating the life of Shirley Caddy on Wednesday afternoon we learned of the death of Mavis Payne one year after her husband, John, died. Please pray for her family.