Words from our minister, REV PETER FAIRBROTHER, derived from those spoken at the AGM 24 June

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Being in community

Today is about celebrating our community, reflecting on the work undertaken in the past year, and giving thanks.

As a community one of our great strengths is our diversity, with each of us bringing something unique to the table. Today we give thanks for the diverse contributions, for all that has been so lovingly given and shared.

For me community, and indeed this thing we call ministry; our shared sense of ministry, starts from within us, within each and every one of us. It is made in our hearts and grows into the wider world - in all that we are, say, and do.

I'm aware that the past year (and longer) without a minister has been in a difficult time for many, and it has taken considerable strength, courage, and resilience to hold together throughout. And hold together you have done, beautifully. I think this too is worth acknowledging and celebrating.

Being in community requires enormous amounts of dedication, grit, and grace. Ministering to each other requires enormous amounts of dedication, grit, and grace. It also requires much tenderness, compassion, care, and forgiveness not just in attending to the needs of others, but also in recognising and attending to one's own needs. Community is the ground we share, the space we hold, the care we give to ourselves and each other. I look forward to exploring it with you in the time ahead.

An honouring of our community:

For those who feel nurtured by our community, and for those who give nurture - I honour you.

For those who feel held and connected by the values of our community - I honour you.

For those who have felt at times disconnected, underappreciated, undervalued, or simply uncomfortable within our community - I honour you and I pray that we can build a bridge to healing.

For those who may have found the conversations held today [about how we are as a community] difficult or challenging - I honour you.

And for those with a sense of new possibilities, new beginnings at this time - I honour you.