Dear Friends,

The Book of Proverbs (Chapter 6) tells us to consider the ways of the ant. Or at least, it gives that advice to those people (including me) who sometimes have trouble getting up in the morning. I have to say I'm reluctant. After all, as Ogden Nash has mused:

Hello Friends,

I hope that 2017 has begun well for you but if not I hope and pray that you know that God is with you through the fellowship of your church family. In our group of churches the SWHG ministry team are meeting regularly to exchange news and pray together which is bringing us closer and helping us to be more aware of the joys and challenges in each fellowship. We are learning from each other and swapping worship and outreach ideas and are growing in our appreciation of each other - growing in our relationship together. It is interesting to note how we each respond differently and learn differently.

Dear Friends,
Barriers and boundaries define our lives. There are physical boundaries: geographical features that form natural limits, such as the Rivers Test and Itchen that divide and limit Southampton. At a larger scale we are an island nation with distinct coasts defined by the sea. This can affect our attitudes as result, including towards others abroad. Speaking of which, I daresay that you are continuing to lap up the coverage of the forthcoming referendum! Actually, it is a serious issue that we should all vote on, although as a member of the ministry team I do not wish to prejudice things by saying which way you should vote, except to say that I have an independent streak and also believe in consensus and working with others. And with an evasive answer like that perhaps I should be a politician!

Dear Friends,

                   Happy New Year! Is a fairly safe thing to wish one another at the beginning of a new calendar year. But the word “new”, when it is not wrapped up in celebration – and the novelty behind it – is one that people either love or hate.

     If the adverts are anything to go by, the people who market goods and services to us seem to think we all believe that “new” has to mean an improvement on the “old” – even if the only difference in a product is a change in colour, its desirability and price go up accordingly!

Dear Friends,
During Lent this year we were reminded in a reading from Genesis 15 of God’s promise to Abram. In fact there are two promises here, that Abram will have a son (and through him descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky), and secondly that his descendants will inherit the land of Canaan. Through the ensuing books of the Bible we see how God comes good on these promises, despite the seeming unlikelihood of their being achieved at the time they were made. After all Abram and his wife Sarai (later Abraham and Sarah) did not seem to be a force to be reckoned with, being but two people, and as the passages make clear, no longer in their youth. However when God is determined to do something it will be done. In the children’s song “Can you be sure that the rain will fall?” by Geoffrey Marshall-Taylor there is a wonderful chorus:- “God has promised. He never breaks a promise He makes, His word is always true.” So we find promises made to other Biblical figures coming true also, despite the odds against their being achieved.