Firstly, it’s good to be back writing the Pastoral Letter after the enforced absence over the summer. As a family we appreciate your prayerfulness for us over what has been a difficult few months since New Life was last published in July. Thank you for your support and encouragement!
Comparing this edition of the magazine with the edition for the same month last year, one cannot but help noticing the similarities. Not just because we are entering autumn again and the church calendar is rolling, with increasing speed every year it seems, towards Christmas; not just because every month has the usual pattern of meetings which make up the continuity of church life. No, this month as with last October there are a number of pictures from Loughor highlighted in the central pages. Last year it was as a result of the men’s trip to the famous little chapel between Swansea and Llanelli, and this year we have recorded the visit the ladies made last month. It is good to know that those who went this year were equally blessed, challenged and stimulated in their thinking as we men who went twelve months ago.
Moriah Chapel, Loughor was one of the centres of the 1904 Revival, perhaps the most recent of the many times when God has outpoured His Spirit on the Principality here. Though there were other centres, like Rhos in North Wales, because of Loughor’s connection with Evan Roberts, it is there that has become most famous. That makes it of interest to us today over a century later. As evangelical Christians we should always be interested in our history, not because we are old-fashioned, always living in the past, or because we feel we need to make pilgrimages to such centres to please God, but because we recognise when God works we should sit up and take notice. Though God is the God of new things as well as old, we also are aware that there are patterns of how He acts as well, patterns we see in the Bible as well as in church history.
God does work through the ‘ordinary’ programme of church life. That is why we have one and why our church magazine does have a similarity month by month. But there are times when God suddenly breaks into normal church life and does the extraordinary. When that occurs, suddenly the church is gripped by a sense of God in a new way. People within the church seek God in a new real way and deal with the things in their life that they know displease Him. People outside the church suddenly feel themselves inexplicably drawn to God and to the place and people where He is worshipped. Many people are saved by God’s grace. As a result whole communities are transformed, and the effects last for years, decades even, not just here but in the places around the world where the Gospel is taken as a result. That was what happened in Wales in 1904 and many times before.
As we look at our own lives today, at the life of our fellowship, and, indeed, of the state of the nation of which we are a part, we must confess we need God to come again. Will you join us in praying for it? Gordon