On Sunday 28 August we said farewell to our minister, Stephen Thornton. The time from his Induction Service on 4 September 2004 has flown. Stephen has done so much to guide us in so many ways: into appreciation of the wonderful poetry and stories in the Bible; music and the background of so many hymns; pastoral care, and how important it is to share the joys as well as the downs of life; awareness of the need to go out of church to bring the Good News to everyone; the World church we all belong to.
Stephen has left us with the basics of being church. Worship which is creative, imaginative, crafted in love and care week by week, engaging of body, mind and spirit, is still the hub of our life. We must not let ourselves become too busy, but remain contrite people, hungry for the bread of life, eager to reflect on the Word, ready for silence so that in prayer the Spirit can speak to our deepest selves. We must strive to be a Christian community seeking to offer a quality of friendship which is extraordinary, drawing newcomers into the fellowship.
We have been trained for the next phase in the life of Fleet United Reformed Church. It places the continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ in the hands not of an elite group, but all of us. We are disciples of the whole community of faith.
I am sure you would all wish to join me in saying Thank you, Stephen, for all your teaching and guidance, your love and friendship; and we wish you joy in your continued service and ministry.