Change is challenging, whether in ways that energise us or in ways that sadden us or sometimes both. It is a privilege as a Vicar to be able to share with people events that mark life, like baptisms, marriages and funerals, beginnings and endings. It makes sense to ask for God’s help and blessing at such times, as we seek his guidance to take on something new, like nurturing a child, or as we say farewell.

Of course we have times of change ahead as a nation. I wonder, do we pause as often as we might to pray to seek God’s help and guidance, especially for those with the responsibility of government and leadership in our nation. It is certainly part of our prayer, Sunday by Sunday, as we pray, in the words of the Book of Common Prayer, for our Queen and her ‘whole Council’ and that we may be ‘godly and quietly governed’. We read in the bible, in a letter from the apostle Paul to his young colleague Timothy, that we should pray for those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. As we leave the European Union, whether we are eager for the change and new opportunities or disturbed by the change and fear lost opportunities, may we be prayerful and seek the common good.

We have changes ahead closer to home too. From this month, All Saints Birling, which has had an 8am service every Sunday and an 11am service just twice a month, is going to try, for a six month period, having an 11am service every Sunday. The 11am services at All Saints are very family-friendly; we have a growing number of children and there is provision for them every week, often in their own special groups during the service. We would love to see this Sunday service grow and serve our community more, so please come along any Sunday. You will no longer have to remember which Sunday has a service at 11am in Birling.

A change we made last year was the introduction of Messy Church. It proved popular, so we are continuing this year. Our first Messy Church for 2020 is on February 15th in Ryarsh Church Hall and there are details in this issue of Pilgrims. Other Messy Church events will be 4th April in Trottiscliffe and 23rd May in Birling; so please put those dates in your diaries. Messy Church is church with fun activities, for families and all ages. We are making plans for more Messy Church later in the year, as well, so please look out for invitations.

As we face or embrace change in our lives, from the personal, to our communities, to the national, we can seek God’s guidance and presence with us and your church is here to do that with you. Drop in to All Saints, Birling or St Peter & St Paul Trottiscliffe, at any time during the day, for a time of quiet or prayer and, if you like, leave a prayer request on the prayer notice board or in the prayer box and we will offer your prayer on your behalf in our Sunday worship.

Blessings in Christ, Linda