Life is full of things to do and we know this from experience. Busy, busy, busy. Although we are a society with labour-saving devices, we still struggle to have enough time to rest and to enjoy the good things we have.

It is with interest and joy that I recall the words of Jesus, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. This invitation in the gospel of Matthew came from the lips of one who was in the middle of a hectic time in his ministry. The Lord still issued words of peace and rest to his followers then and now. Jesus goes on to say “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy ad my burden is light.”

When we take up the invitation to rest in Jesus we find strength and direction for the next part of the journey. It has been so good to be off on holidays and I am deeply grateful to Adam and my Ministry Team for their support, hard work and friendship. We are a great team and it is teams that bring life to the Church. No one can carry the burden, challenges and (it has to be said) rewards and joys of ministry alone.

Mark, Bob and I travelled nearly 2000 miles from when we left home; visiting places in Devon (where I was reminded Torquay isn’t pronounced ‘Turkey’), Cornwall, The Lake District & the Republic of Ireland. We visited an Otter Sanctuary and a Butterfly farm – we even visited Buckfast Abbey the home of the (in)famous Buckfast Tonic Wine. We saw Penguins and Birds of Prey but the highlight was a visit to the Eden Project – home to 4,000 different plants and the worlds largest conservatory which housed a tropical rainforest! It was relaxing, wonderful, inspirational, challenging and sorbet for the mind and soul .

Camping too had lots of fun moments, it was so good to unwind, to rest, read and laugh lots. The wonderful thing is that no matter where we are, God is present and He cares and wants to touch our hearts and minds. It has been good to have the space to reflect on almost a year in the Parish. We have shared many things and there is more to come. We are moving into a new time in our Parish with lots of exciting opportunities and challenges, and it is my prayer that every member of the parish feels part of the bigger picture – that we are humbled and proud to be part of our Church here on the North Coast.

The sea is a common feature of all our lives and it is vast, but it begins in a little spring that becomes a pool, that becomes a stream and a river until it flows into the vastness of the ocean. Gravity pulls it down, the obstacles in its path only serving to making it more powerful. From humble beginnings, from faith the size of a mustard seed, from pieces of hope in the midst of bends and turns, nothing can stand in the way. Spend time with God, rest in Him and allow Him to fuel your life so that the love of God will find its way through us to the broken hearted, the lonely, the bereaved and the lost. We have come so far so lets move forward with God to the next chapter in our Parish life, so that we can look back and see God at work, not only in our Parish but individual hearts.

With love and prayers