Letter from the Minister for May 2008

Railways
As you are probably aware, we have had another change on our local trains. When I first came to East Anglia it was Anglia Rail, for some time it has been One Trains, and now of course we are part of National Express.

I am an infrequent traveller to London by train and one of the reasons is the amount of exasperation I have had trying to order tickets either by ‘phone and on line or going to my station and buying them. The second exasperation has been buying tickets for trains that never appear at the station because they shouldn’t be on the timetable. That is not counting all the frequent delays, engineering breakdowns, overcrowding, non-reserved seats, which I have taken as a matter of course. Many is the happy hour I have spent catching up on my reading or my typing while stuck between stations somewhere in the midlands.

Imagine my delight therefore when having to return to London for a business trip I ‘phoned up the direct line and got straight through to a helpful, efficient operative. He sold me a ticket which was £30 less than the one they were trying to sell me on-line. When a problem arose with the ticket, much to my amazement, I got straight through again to correct the mistake.

When it came to my journey I found the ticket machine worked very well indeed and the trains were on time to within ten seconds of their stated time. I could hardly believe I was travelling the same journey that I had done so often before. Suffice to say, all the carriages were clean and while there were some people standing on some services, it was also good to see the every seat was taken which means that other people are finding this experience quite good too.

It did seem to me that the food tasted better and certainly the coffee was much improved, but that might have been my imagination. On the return journey my luck did not hold. We were delayed outside Stowmarket for ten minutes or so while the train before us encountered some engineering problems. Nonetheless one has to say “Well done” to National Express for improving our local service out of all recognition. Even the ticket collectors seemed cheerful and the sort of people you would like to actually talk to.

So, as I was gliding towards Bury St. Edmunds at a steady 49 mph, the thought that came to me was how with just a little bit more effort and slightly better organisation. the experience of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people can be improved beyond all recognition. It was not long after that I thought that in some way or another we all serve one another as human beings in the work we do. If we all made an effort to be polite, courteous, caring and do the best job we could, how much better our world and our collective experiences would be.

This led to a final thought about the church. So many people I meet say that when they went to church it was cold, forbidding, and the services were not on time and when they did attend them they were certainly not efficient and well presented. I am very pleased that at Christ Church we have so many people involved in our services who make such an effort to make them fun, exciting and time sensitive. Over the last few months, the number of grateful “thank yous” we have received for our All Age Worship and other services..

So my finally question is this. What can you do to make a difference to those around you and to improve the quality of life and service to those with whom you come into contact? We should know that Jesus gave His entire life to this and that is what the church is here to do.

Three Year Plan

Those of you who have lived on this estate for over twenty years will know that Christ Church, Moreton Hall, began as a small worshipping community in the old wooden community centre, which used to be situated on what is now the children’s play area on Heldhaw Road. In 1987 we had our first Minister, Capt. Pat Mottram, and in 1990 Revd. Jonathan Ford came. In 1994 we built our church building and in 1998 we extended. In 1999 we had our first two curates and in 2004 we had our first Youth Worker and in 2007 we welcomed David and Eliza Grantham, our next curate.

2008 is going to prove a very important year for us. We are beginning to work on a three year plan. At the moment we have made a video which we hope to link to our website so that everyone can see it. We are showing the video to everyone of our home groups as well as a regular showing in our church services over the month of April and early May.

We are actively considering how to improve on our excellent youth-work and provide enough leaders for our Delta+ Club for senior teens, Kool Krowd Club for Middle School children our Sunday School, Parent and Toddler and a whole range of other activities we are doing.

We are also trying to raise up a new generation of Godly leaders to help adults grow in their faith and to do all the tasks of cleaning and cooking that the church needs.

And, finally, because our building is full most days and there are so many groups that come to us, we are actively considering whether or not the time is right to put a second extension on your church.

If you would like to be involved in this, or want to find our more details, why not contact us at the Christ Church, Moreton Hall office, (Tel: 725391), go on the website, or ask for a copy of the dvd which has ten minute presentation of what we are trying to achieve.

Councillor Pat Warby

We would like to take this opportunity of congratulating Pat Warby on her recent victory in being elected to the Town Council. Well done, Pat. It is good to have such a prominent community leader representing our interests on the Moreton Hall estate.

We would also like to give a big thank you to Councillor Warby for the purchase of the large lawnmower. Our Church Warden, David Howard and I, took it out for a spin the other day and managed to get the church lawn cut in less than an hour. This is a wonderful community resource which I hope all the groups on the Moreton Hall estate will be able to use and a big thank you to Frank for purchasing it on our behalf.

Forty
It was a joy to be part of the fortieth issue of the Moreton Hall Directory. When it started over three years ago the Directory was a largely black and white production Today it is a colour magazine which touches every household on the Moreton Hall estate. Well done to all involved.

Forty is, of course, a very important number in the Bible. Moses had to hide in the desert for forty years tending flocks until God called him back to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses then spent forty days on Mount Sinai listening to God and receiving the law. When Israel disobeyed the law they spent forty years wandering in the desert until they got to their promised land.
Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness waiting on God before he began his public ministry and where he was tempted by the devil. The church remembers all those forties, by keeping the forty days of Lent. And for those of you who are puzzled why it is more than forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day, the answer is the seven Sundays in Lent do not count as penitential days but as Holy Days. So if you are fasting, abstaining from smoking or chocolate, during that period, you can have a quick smoke or a quick chocolate cake on the Sunday if you like.

One of the real and lasting significances of forty is that if you do something continually for forty days, all the experts say it becomes a regular habit. So if you take exercise, or stop smoking, by the end of that time you should be able to continue easily. But perhaps the best significance of all is that you can get into the habit of saying your prayers, reading your Bible every day for forty days you will find that you will encounter God powerfully and it will have a transforming influence on your life. My question to you is, what are you going to do for the next forty days in your life and I wonder if you change your habit, what will happen to the next forty years of your life?