“A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)

by Rev. Ben Clowes
Posted at 10:30am on 19th September 2019
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They do say what goes around comes around but I don’t think when it was coined back in the mists of time they were thinking about the UCI World Road Cycling Championships!  There will certainly be a lot of going around and around.  Over the next month Trinity (along with our friends at 10 other circuit churches) are going to have normal service interrupted when the world comes to Harrogate.  I have spoken to friends around the country saying about the major sporting event coming to our town and the general consensus is why would anyone choose to cycle up and down some of those ridiculous hills!  And I have to say after a trial run cycling from home to Trinity and back the other week to see how it felt, I am in agreement!  Leeds Road, although only a gentle incline goes on forever!

In a sense church can be a similar thing - what goes around comes around.  I’m sure you have seen churches over the years who have become very internal focused, worried about money, about numbers of people attending on Sundays and I have even heard stories of churches who lock their doors after everyone has arrived (everyone in this case being the usual 10 people!).  Those churches quickly wither despite their best attempts to keep on keeping on.  I am so pleased to note that Trinity isn’t like this.  Whilst we have our own problems and concerns, Trinity is a warm, welcoming church.  We seek to reach out to others.  A good example of this is our readiness to reach out to the cycling community who will be coming to Harrogate in their droves during September.  During the cycling we will be holding regular Cyclists Services every day; an opportunity to reach out to share the love of God.

The cycling is going to interrupt normal service.  There is no way we can just ‘keep calm and carry on’.  Access is going to be ‘interesting’ but rather than seeing this as an inconvenience I am so excited to see how Trinity folk have stepped up to the plate and have agreed that for a week or so life will be different but we still have a job to do to reach out and share God’s love with all we meet and I know that this will continue on beyond the cycling extravaganza. 

As a church we are reaching out in so many new ways.  Our 140th birthday Silver Service at the beginning of September was the biggest we’ve ever had (and I had lots of apologies from some who have regularly come!).  People are always so appreciative of the space to sing the traditional hymns (and to share in lovely cake!).  We have now begun our new monthly ‘The First at 8’ - a contemporary service on the first Sunday of the month at 8pm.  A brilliant beginning and, again, people appreciative of something that meets their needs too.  Our Messy Church begins again on the second Sunday of the month at 4pm - another opportunity to reach out in new ways to people who want a fresh encounter of church. 

The cycling championships do mean that things will be different for a little while.  Our church doors will be open 9am-7pm every day throughout the 9 days.  We are expecting somewhere in the region of 140 cakes to be consumed and lots of bacon and sausage butties!  We will be showing live coverage every day and yes this does mean that some of the normal things can’t happen like Luncheon Club.  After the event we know that everyone will be exhausted and I know that people are disappointed that we have decided as a Church Council not to hold a Harvest Festival this year but I have promised to make Harvest 2020 an extra special event!

Trinity is a church poised to take so many great opportunities, with all age groups and all people.  We have some great events coming up in the autumn after the cycling and it won’t be long before we’re preparing ourselves for an amazing Christmas celebration (the early plans for which include an evening carol service with hopefully some choral items).  My prayer as we enter this special season is that we do seek to reach out to everyone we meet, that we take the opportunities God is giving us and that we also all are truly blessed by God.  We have just begun a new Connexional Year - may this year be truly special for everyone at Trinity Methodist Church.  A very Happy New Year to you all!

Yours in Christ

Ben