Dear Friends,
I write this at the end of Open Churches Weekend. As I have written elsewhere in the newsletter, it was a tremendous weekend and we welcomed lots of visitors to our churches - and I hope raised a bob or two for church funds!
Whilst raising money was an important part of the weekend, it wasn't the be all and end all of the events.
A very important part of the weekend was to welcome the visitors and to show off! We are indeed blessed with some magnificent buildings - be they big like Caistor or small like Cabourne, Rothwell, Clixby and Cuxwold.
And many people haven't been in them before. So "Open Churches" is an opportunity to show them off to the visitors.
Some visitors came from far afield whilst others were from just down the road.
But it's not just about showing off our buildings - it's also about showing off ourselves.
Open Churches is an opportunity to show the world what Christians are really like.
Watch television programmes and you might be forgiven for thinking that Church-goers are all like Dot Cotton in Eastenders, ready to quote scripture passages (even being able to name the book, chapter and verse) and to cast judgement on anyone and everyone. "Dot Cotton Christians" (and some do exist in real life, sadly) do nothing to further the kingdom of God and may work against it.
But the Church-goers that folk will have met over the weekend will, I am sure, have been welcoming, amusing, caring and willing to offer refreshment to the weary traveller.
In the Bible, people of faith are called welcome the alien and the traveller, to care to the needy and to protect the vulnerable.
I am sure that visitors to our churches will have seen those sorts of qualities in action - exhibited by amazing people.
And they will have had a glimpse of what people of faith are really like.
It's those interactions which promote the kingdom of God and proclaim the gospel anew in each generation. And may God bless all our endeavours in his name.
Ian R