Rev. Andrew Dart

Dear Friends,

I am writing this whilst still on Sabbatical but as August draws to a close I will be preparing to come back into Circuit life and looking forward to a busy Autumn as we begin a new Methodist year.  No doubt this will include reading through many emails and hearing from my colleagues about what had happened whilst I have been away.  I am conscious that this is a time of preparation for many people – I know young people who are getting ready to start university and even younger people (my youngest daughter included) who are very excited by the prospect of starting school.

In the Methodist Church this is the time when Ministers prepare for new appointments and Circuits get busy preparing to welcome them.  In our Circuit we are looking forward to welcoming the Rev’d Dr Andy Lyons who is joining the staff team and who will have Pastoral oversight of Lambeth Mission St Mary’s as well as of Vauxhall Mission.  Andy comes with a lot of experience of Ministry and with a good knowledge of South London (he is coming to us from the Croydon Circuit). He also has many gifts and passions and we look forward to working with him.  His Welcome Service is on Tuesday 5th September (6.30 p.m. at LMSM) which will also be our opportunity to welcome our new Chair of District, the Rev’d Dr Jongikaya Zihle, to our Circuit.  I do hope you can join us and make it a very happy occasion.

So I wonder what you are preparing yourself for?  Are you ready?  One of the things I discovered on Sabbatical was the practice of preparing to meet with God.  I have written about a retreat I went on elsewhere in this newsletter but one of the things my Spiritual Guide suggested to me was that before each time I prayed I spent a few minutes getting ready.  He pointed out that when we have meetings (and we have a lot of meetings in the Church) we prepare for them – someone writes an agenda, others prepare reports or business to present.  And so it should be with our times with God.  So it is good to read through the Scripture passage we might be using in our prayers and think about it before we offer it to God.  We might want to ask ourselves what we want to say to God.  What do we want to ask for?  After my prayer times I was encouraged to spend a further few minutes reflecting on what happened.  What was God saying to me?

As I learnt to do this several times a day on my retreat I found that my encounters with God deepened.  As I approached the Chapel I felt ready, expectant, certain that I was going to meet with God and that he would make time to be with me. And every time, I felt God speaking to me.

My prayer is that as we begin another new year together in our Circuit we are more prepared to meet God.  And to meet God not just in Church, not just in our prayer times, but also at work, at school, at college and in fact anywhere in the whole of life.  For God is always eager to meet with us – are we ready to hear what He might be saying to us?  Are we ready for the next stage of the journey with Him?

With my love and good wishes,