Thought for the Month July 2024, by Rev. Joy Rutlon

I wonder how many newsletters I’ve written over the last 25 years. I don’t think I’ll attempt to try and count!

Moving always brings to mind some of the people in scripture who had to leave everything that they knew, that was familiar to them and move on. There were the Israelites who left Egypt, Abraham, Jacob, and in the New Testament, there were the disciples, Paul, Barnabas and so on.

We are called to be a pilgrim people, to journey on, in faith, and, for some of us, in place. Any journey has its difficulties. Life certainly wasn’t easy for any of the people I’ve already mentioned.  Fear and apathy may stop us from setting out in the first place. There are pitfalls along the way. Some pitfalls may be things that happen to us, about which we can do nothing. Other pitfalls may come from disagreement about directions or dissension among travellers, as  with  the  Israelites wandering the desert.

Bryan and I have moved up and down the country. I’ve worked in very rural places and in the  inner  city,  from  the  more  remote areas of Cumbria  to  the  centre  of  Bradford, from  farming  communities  to interfaith, from areas of real poverty to more affluent places. Whenever we’ve moved it’s been to a different district, with different colleagues and people to get to know and love. It has been an incredible privilege and, even through some places have been difficult, I thank God for them all.

In uprooting, we are again going to find ourselves in a different district, Sheffield. There will more  new  people  to  come  to  know  and  love, although not as their minister this time. We are going to miss you all. Thank you for the last eight years. My prayer is that we will all, wherever we are, continue to move and grow in faith, and continue to seek new, creative ways of sharing the love and joy of Jesus.

Grace and peace,