The Superintendent’s Letter
23rd May is Pentecost Sunday (Whitsun). It is always seven weeks after Easter and is a festival where we celebrate the birth of the worldwide church.
The origin of the Christian Pentecost is to be found in the Jewish festival of the same name which is celebrated fifty days after the Passover. In the bible, in Acts 2, we find that Jesus' followers were in Jerusalem at this time, praying together with the doors locked, because they were scared of persecution. Suddenly there was a sound like a stormy wind. Something that looked like flames appeared and settled on each of the believers. They became aware of God's presence and power in a new way and were 'filled with the Holy Spirit’ of God. Miraculously they began speaking in languages they had not known before. They went outside and talked to the crowds of festival pilgrims in many different languages so that everyone could understand what was said. Then Peter stood up and talked boldly about Jesus. Three thousand people believed what Peter said about Jesus, and were baptised. After that day, the Christian Church spread steadily throughout the known world.
It is a remarkable story of how God gives himself to ordinary human beings. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a person, 'he' - not ‘it'! We believe that God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, and that he helps us to live out the Christian life. The Church would not have been born, it would not have spread and it would certainly not exist today were it not for God’s Holy Spirit. To this day he is God with us in the world
This year we celebrate Pentecost on 23rd May after 14 months of pandemic. We have been locked down in our homes, not for fear of persecution, but for fear of the virus. If ever the church needed rebirth, replanting and renewal then it is now. Pentecost reminds us that this work of renewal does not rest on human shoulders alone and certainly not on some kind of superhuman endeavour. The work is God’s. We are his co workers, but it is he who births the church and breathes new life into it. This is an encouraging truth for those who are concerned about the church and its future after the pandemic. It is reassuring to know that God is with us, directing and empowering our work.
With every blessing,
Rev. David Godfrey
An introductory booklet