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Who do you associate with?
As an individual, family or Christian community, this is a good question because it can affect how we see ourselves, how others see us and, most importantly, this can impact the way we are influenced and can influence others...

One church I visited recognised its relationship with the local housing association ( responsible for the 14,000 homes in the parish). The housing association staff are all ( from the CEO down) made to walk around the estates in their care and formally share their findings. ( Imagine if a county council made that happen!)

The housing association also produces a regular bulletin to all its residents and offers a free space for community groups to meet.

By recognising the need to build up its relationship with the housing association the church has enriched its ministry and enlarged its impact.
Local priests regularly join housing association staff on their walkabouts thus building up personal relationships.
When a priest is concerned about a household they can contact the housing association staff member directly rather than refer to an (already overburdened ) council social services employee.
When the church is doing stuff ( hosting a school uniform 'swap' day, starting a community choir, offering free singing lessons) such activities are listed in the monthly housing association bulletin and reaching 14,000 homes for free...

Another church produces its own community bulletin (conveniently coming out just before Christmas, Easter and the summer holidays) and, a month or so before publication, invites all the local community associations ( housing agencies, health professionals, councillors, sports centre reps, school heads etc. etc.) to a community lunch with a speaker.
As well as hearing from the speaker about a topic of interest to the community and informally networking, community groups can share upcoming news to be featured in the next edition of the community bulletin.

Relationships develop, the church serves the wider community ( rather than being perceived as being 'closed' or "self serving") and God is at work in the midst of all these associations.....

SO - who do (or should) we associate with in Ruthin.....?


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Sabbatical in summary...

My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’ 
Oh God, can those words be for me too?
How I long to hear them!
I’m not Moses, but I’m also on a journey – trying to follow Jesus.Some days, life seems like an unmarked wilderness,
and I’m not sure which way to go.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to trust.Other days, I’m so busy that I don’t stop to listen.
I’m stressed and distracted and frazzled.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to pause and take time for you.Then there are the days when I do remember.
I walk restfully in your presence.
How different those days are.‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I believe you Lord. Those words are for me. 
Your presence does go with me and give me rest.
Thank you Lord!Amen
Richard England

Sabbath rest....

As I reflect on my sabbath rest - my sabbatical - these questions from Peter Mead ( Scripture Union daily bible study) got me thinking....When you stop to think about what is on your to-do list, what are the first things that come to mind? Do you trust God with these things?
Do you trust God enough to take a day off?Are you striving to please God for salvation? Rest in what Christ has done.
Are you stressed as you strive in your work, even in your work for God?
Resting can be the ultimate declaration of trust! Let rest remind you of God’s goodness towards you and trust God's faithful provision!Peter Mead


A journey begins with one step and (with some trepidation) I start my sabbatical.
The hope?
To rest, have time out to reflect on calling,  ministry and what it might look like in the future - personally and within the context of Ruthin....
So, a prayer:
Loving God, in my journeying and my resting, in my listening and or reflecting please guide me and lead me afresh to the light of your truth, Jesus.
For I ask in His name...