The verse is taken from a letter written by the prophet Jeremiah in the sixth century before the birth of Jesus. He wrote to the
people of Judea who had been taken by army of Nebuchadnezzar to exile in Babylon.

The letter begins by making the exiles face reality: they are in exile and they will remain in exile. But God is with them and even
though they themselves will never see their homeland again, God has a plan and a purpose for them. They have a hopeful future,
and so does the nation of Judea. God will bring their descendants back to the land from which they have been taken.

Although Christians in Britain today are not exiles it is hard to contemplate the future of the Church in this land with hope. Like
those Judean exiles the future fills us with dread and we think that the best times were in the past.

As we read Jeremiah, we see that with God no situation is hopeless, for God is a God of new life, a God of resurrection, and
therefore with God there is always hope.

I believe that God has a plan and purpose for the Church of Christ in Western Europe. And I believe that St Mary’s will be part of
that purpose.

Can I encourage you in your prayers in 2020, to ask God to show us His vision for our Church, to show us His plan and purpose
for us. As we look to the future we may feel apprehensive, we may worry about who will continue to worship after us.

Most of us realise that we will have to make changes in how we fulfil our calling as Christ’s Church. We know that if we simply
keep on doing what we have always done, then we will get the same results.

In 2020 I want to encourage every one of us to pray for St Mary’s: to pray that we will grow in number; that we will grow in our
knowledge of God; that we will grow in deeper fellowship, and, most importantly that we will grow in vision.

We are not looking for our own good ideas, we are not seeking to follow the latest trendy gimmick. Instead we are asking God to
reveal to us His plans for St Mary’s in the coming years.

We know that if God is for us then nothing and no one can stand against us. We know that if God is leading is then our future is
filled with hope.

I pray that the future of St Mary’s will eclipse the greatest days of its past as we faithfully seek God’s vision and together follow
God’s call.

May God richly bless you and all those that you love in the coming year.

God bless,
Prayer for the Month
Instead of a prayer for this month I have chosen a verse of Scripture which will be a focus for our prayers
throughout 2020:

Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give
you a future with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11