It’s great to be here in Byker and I am looking forward to an exciting year in the life of St Michael’s.
I like to think of myself as someone who is passionate about what I do. It’s such a privilege to be serving and ministering in the church and to get paid for it is perhaps an overwhelming bonus. I am passionate about the way of Jesus even though I fail miserably at following him. I am passionate for his church even though the church is a messy, complicated and highly fallible institution and I am passionate about the God of surprises who has the power to transform people’s lives and turn hopeless causes around.
But (there’s always a but) I know the task is hard and sometimes in my less passionate moments I wonder how on earth the Church can survive? Are people really interested in the church anymore? The evidence suggests that we are struggling to convince people, that the church is battling for it’s very survival and could implode at any minute. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed at times with the enormity of our task and the cynicism about the church from both outside and within that looms large.
It’s the less quantifiable evidence of God refusing to go away and of Christians being salt and light in their communities that continues to inspire me and gives me hope. In an age of austerity and baffling inequality and poverty this is more crucial than ever. The church has to change and will change because God calls us to be creative, risk taking disciples bringing the good news to our communities wherever they are.
I am going to use this blog as a journal of my experiences, struggles and reflections on ministry in the particular context of Byker in East Newcastle upon Tyne. Byker is an amazing place to be, an iconic and endlessly fascinating inner city area, where the most wonderful people live and where God is working in exciting ways (as he tends to do in all places and communities).
I don’t always find writing easy ( and I have to explain I am writing this mostly for myself) but I hope that this will be an honest expression of how I attempt to join in and collaborate with God’s work and his kingdom in Byker. It will no doubt explain how I get it wrong from time to time and the endless lessons I am learning. But I know it will be jam packed full of God’s goodness and faithfulness.