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Minister's Letter

Link Letter


Dear Friends,
As I write this letter Advent and then Christmas is only just around the corner. This is a time of great activity for the churches I serve. There are carol services and events lined up throughout December as well as the New Year which brings our January Covenant services. Yet among the busyness of the season it is also crucial that we have time to think and reflect on what it means for Christ to enter into our world as a tiny vulnerable baby.
Mary, chosen to bear the saviour of the world, knew well what the coming of the messiah meant. Her song of praise, known to us as the Magnificat, echoes the long established hopes of the Jewish people bound up with the promises of God.

"He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
And lifted up the lowly,
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
In remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever,." Lukel: 52-55

This canticle expresses the radical hope that through Christ, God will institute justice by raising up the lowly and by feeding the hungry.

This December you may be aware that the government will be rolling out its Universal Credit Scheme in Hull, a new social security system that is currently being rolled out across the country. The Methodist Church, in partnership with other denominations through the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT),has expressed deep concerns about the impact of the new benefits system on the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities.
Concerns have centred on the accuracy and timeliness of payments, with some families waiting over five to six weeks to receive their benefits, payments as well as how the scheme has been designed and implemented. The church also believes that the sanctions that accompany may be unnecessarily harsh and punitive. Some additional funding from the most recent UK Budget has not alayed these concerns, with the Church expressing the opinion that the Universal Credit charge could still lead to greater debt, poverty and exclusion.

The Methodist Church's campaigning, through JPIT, on Universal Credit is part of our prophetic task as Christians to call and seek justice for the poor. As we focus ourselves on Christ, we see the one who demonstrated the reality of God's Kingdom; one marked by grace, love, hope, justice and peace.

There are many ways that we at Christmas can help the vulnerable in this Christmas period. By donating to food banks, providing meals, pastoral support, and by echoing God's call for justice. Christ enters into our world as the bearer of light and hope for all people and asks us to carry this light. During this busy Christmas time I encourage you to take the time to share that Christmas hope in real and practical
ways with your neighbours. May our prayers for the poor and vulnerable lead us in to action and see a world transformed by Christ's love.

A very merry Christmas to all

Revd David Speirs

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