Deacon Marcianne’s blog – Advent, Christmas ’23 and into the New Year

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Once again, this year on 17th November, we had another amazing event at Syke Methodist Church. While the President and the Vice-President of the Methodist Church in Great Britain, and the Chair of the Bolton and Rochdale District practiced the Presence Ministry; our Rochdale Mayor switched on the Christmas Lights. There were so many beautiful activities in the church building, facilitated by a wonderful team (the Chapel & the Base) and more than 500 people from the community turned up to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season. The children from Healey Primary School were accompanied by the Syke Community Choir in singing wonderful carols and hymns.

It was so encouraging and inspiring to have members of Good News for Everyone (GNfE), bravely initiating some good conversations about the real meaning of Christmas, life, and faith; 61 New Testaments were willingly received. Reflecting on other recent distribution opportunities attended by other GNfE members at the Eurovision Song Contest and the Rugby League World Cup where some 2000 scriptures and New Testaments were given out, one of the GNfE members mentioned that “people were never coerced, and many were hungry for God’s Word”. For some, opportunities like this one allow them to take the first steps on their personal journey of discovering a greater understanding of Jesus, the Light of the World, and start to cultivate the friendship with and of Jesus.

This testimony reminded me of what Janet Bracegirdle shared with the over 50’s group at Syke Community Base, a few weeks ago, from her book entitled: “Memories”. Janet spoke about how people saw and understood God in 1950’s. She said, “When you were sick, you were always taught that God knew everything, and he perched on the end of the bed helping you get better. God was everywhere, even when you hid under the table he knew and saw everything and heard every word you said, the best safeguard was to cultivate the friendship with and of Jesus.

Without any fear or apology, as we end 2023 and start 2024, perhaps this can continue to be our focus: taking every possible opportunity to initiate good conversations about life and faith with those we meet and interact with. Boldly encourage, enable, and inspire them to start a journey of discovery into their own friendship with Jesus, the Light of the World. Surely, how would they know if we don’t share with them. After social actions, there is a need of leading others to Christ, the only way, the truth, and life. When God is with us, there is always hope in His word to break through to hearts and minds, shining Heaven’s light into lives that might be clouded with confusion and despair.

Let me take this opportunity to THANK YOU all and wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours in His service,

Probationer Minister, Deacon Marcianne Uwimana.