Memories have a way of taking us back. Christmas memories in particular have a way of transporting us right back into our childhood. Memories of Church services are for me,  powerful. Church was a family, a place where others noticed if you were missing.

The Matchett clan were often late so it was quite a challenge to find an empty pew in church and inevitably we all had to walk up to the very front of the church.

It was tough getting 10 of us out with one bathroom, but we made it. We went to church, we were present. As I grew up I still attended church even at times when my faith in God was deeply challenged and very fragile as our faith can be from time to time for us all.  I knew and still know that I belong in the family of God, that I was meant to be there regardless of what others did, and even when it was hard, discouraging and yes, frustrating. This does not make me a wonderful person, on the contrary it is because I know my deep need of God.  That is why I cannot stay away.

I know that many who read our magazine are regular attendees at worship or there are those who are ill and housebound and would love to attend but simply cannot, but this does not account for over 25% of empty pews. There are those who claim to belong to this Parish and never or rarely attend and a further percentage attend on the very odd occasion. This actually breaks my heart, it really does. I am not content with this situation, I’m not happy with the empty seats. Yes, sadly some of those seats are empty because people we have known and loved have passed away in the past year and this has been very difficult, but they would want you to take your place in our churches. There is plenty of room.  Room for you, your family and your gifts.

I genuinely want to know what your reasons for not attending church are. I believe it may be a bunch of different things:  get out of the habit, feel that Church is not relevant, not convenient, not welcoming or perhaps you are just not that bothered. Adam and I welcome honest conversations about your reasons.  The season of Advent and Christmas affords us a unique opportunity to engage again with the living God. With God nothing is impossible.

With love and gratitude,