On the eve of an induction
It is now 11 months since I first began negotiations with Newbury Baptist Church about the prospect of becoming their new minister. In between then and now a river has flowed under the bridge. In its flow it has carried the challenges of relinquishing a 19-year long pastorate, the upheaval of moving house, the joys of a new home and the exciting possibilities of a new calling. I have been welcomed in my new church by the youngest and the oldest, and other local church leaders have embraced a new colleague with warmth and faith.
Tomorrow, the whole thing becomes official. Of course, I am the Minister of Newbury Baptist Church already. However, tomorrow at 3 pm, witnessed by members of former churches and of this new one, I shall take my solemn vows. I shall answer questions about what I believe, about my willingness to serve this new church, and about my charge to lead it. Like the vows at a wedding service – they change everything and nothing. All these things are true already. Vowing to keep them before witnesses, though, is an important acknowledgement of the hand of God in all that has been and all that will be. Keeping these vows is impossible without God’s help. With it, though, they are just the beginning.
The young people and children will be asking me to make vows too. They involve stories, questions and an olive tree. More about that next week on the blog.
In the meantime I leave you with a beautiful banner which will gaze down on tomorrow’s events. I pray that they, like the banner itself, might reflect a little of God’s beauty. If praying is what you like to do – then your prayers tomorrow would be hugely appreciated. Thank you.