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We'll keep a welcome....!

I am aware that practising hospitality is one of my big 'things' when it comes to church, so you won't be surprised to discover my sadness on recently attending two different Sunday services, in two different places where, on arrival and departure I received not one single greeting from another church member...!

Arriving as a 'stranger' ( in one place, complete with 'wheelie' suitcase) you would have thought that people might have noticed me ( if only because of recent news stories of supicious luggage items having defastating effects!) but not one church member came and said "hello", "welcome", "Are you new to church?" (Even in one place where, after the service, I spent 20 minutes sipping my glass of champagne to celebrate someone's engagement!!!)

You can imagine the contrast, therefore, when later in the day I visited another church (seeking to grow its engagement with young people, families and all ages) where, between walking through the door and sitting down (2 mins max) no fewer than 3 people SMILED, said "HELLO!" or "WELCOME" and / or SHOOK MY HAND and INTRODUCED THEMSELVES!

God's loving acceptance of all ( even a sinner like me!) flowed through these people and I immediately felt 'at home'.....

You also don't need me to tell you, if I was a visitor looking for a church to belong to, which one I would return to....!?!

The delicate but precious art of welcome is SO important and its effects (for good or ill) ENORMOUS!


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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!
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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
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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?
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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.
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