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This month’s Pastoral letter comes from

Rev. James Taylor,Interim Moderator for CURC


Dear Friends

As I write, Lent is almost here, that special time when the days lengthen, and we journey towards Easter. Perhaps you are doing something special in the run up to Easter. Maybe you have ‘given something up’ for Lent, and if you have, remember that Sundays don’t count, hence the 40 days. I remember one Lent, some years ago when I asked my children to name something that I should give up. Now, this is a dangerous suggestion! Had they said ‘cheese’ then I would have been very challenged, and had they said ‘tea’ then I would have been in deep trouble! In the end, they chose ‘chocolate’, as I don’t suppose that at their age they could think of anything more extreme that any human should want to sacrifice. I was relieved.


These days I tend to do something for Lent rather than give something up. In the past couple of years, for example, I’ve read a book that I wouldn’t normally read. Last year it was ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ by Julian of Norwich, who was a Christian mystic and theologian writing in the 14th century. As I said, not normally something I would read, but that’s the point, I think; to move ourselves out of our comfort zones, to see someone else’s viewpoint, and as a result, hopefully get a fuller understanding of Jesus.


As churches of the Cheltenham URC, you have also been living outside your comfort zone, after some years of stability. Working with the pastorate profile group it has been my privilege to help them to present a fair but positive reflection of the kind of place this is to minister in, and to explore some probing questions about the kind of person you would like to lead you in the future. I’m guessing something between superman/superwoman, and Mother Theresa! Yet whoever God calls will, no doubt, have their strengths and weaknesses, their talents and their frailties. They will be human, in other words, just like the rest of us.


Christ on Cross

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