New Challenges

St Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

I am writing this letter as I await the arrival of the removal men bringing Jane’s goods and chattels from Monkseaton. I hope that their arrival will be closely followed by Jane herself – so that, after nine months of marriage, we will eventually begin our life together in earnest by living in the same house!

Then, next Monday, Jane begins her new job as Developing Discipleship Officer for the Diocese.

And all of this hard on the heels of my being recently licensed (in a joyful and memorable service at St Michael’s) as Area Dean of Alnwick – with the added responsibilities which that post brings.

All these events mean that there is much change and upheaval in our lives at the moment – but also many occasions to embrace the opportunities and see new ways of being the people we have been called by God to be.

Calling – vocation – is something that each of us (not just clergy!) is given by God and, at different stages of our lives, we may be called to other – perhaps even extra – things to do in his service.

Interestingly, when Jane and I had a discussion with the Archdeacon of Northumberland a few months ago about how our future ministries might take shape, he reminded us that, at this particular juncture in our lives, we have, primarily, been called by God to be married.

So, there is much excitement – and not a little trepidation – in the Vicarage at the moment. Adjustments will need to be made as Jane and I learn to ‘be’ in new ways and as we settle in to new challenges and opportunities.

But, isn’t it the same for all of us?

Each day brings something different. Things which may be exciting, challenging – or, if we will allow it, both!

And, in all of this, we have that gentle certainty that God is always with us. Indeed, as the children sing every week at Mini Michaels:

“Oh, God is always with us.
That’s why we sing and shout!”

Or, if that sentiment is a little too ‘direct’ for you, remember the lovely words of a hymn we often sing:

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not,
as thou hast been thou for ever shalt be!

May you, and all those whom you love, know God’s great faithfulness and compassion in your lives as you pursue, in his name, whatever he has called you to do.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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