Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will have an added poignancy for Carla and me this year. As many people are aware we had to make an unexpected visit to Northern Wisconsin because of the death of Carla’s father at the beginning of November.

Mincoqua in winter

Mincoqua in winter

Thanksgiving traditionally is a time for families to gather and to share the blessings of life. When death casts its shadow it takes a little more effort to see the blessings, there is an emptiness that memories only partially fill. Like many other families we will draw strength from each other and look for words of comfort and encouragement.

Into my Thanksgiving will be the blessings of being part of the family of the United Reformed Church. Having missed Mission Council it was business as usual with visits to Cwmbran and Knaresborough. It was good to share in the

Ebenezer Centre Pontnewynydd

Ebenezer Centre Pontnewynydd

laughter and the joy of congregations gathered for worship and to hear a little more of their story. Cwmbran United features in the Guinness Book of Records because the couple who laid claim to the longest marriage in Britain lie buried in their graveyard! A Saturday evening Hymnathon to raise money for the Street Pastors was followed by a united service on the Sunday morning. Ebenezer, at Pontnewyndd, is the other congregation in the Torfaen Pastorate where the new centre is set to serve the local community through offering IT training as well as café, drama club, gardening and a range of activities waiting to be rolled out.

Knaresborough URC

Knaresborough URC

A visit to Knaresborough was a return to a congregation I served as an Interim Moderator in the late 1980’s. The world has changed a great deal since then but the commitment to living out the gospel remains undiminished. We shared some anxieties about the future as well as memories of the past and reminded each other that faith is about trusting God and one another. As the church continues to wrestle its way to a fresh understanding of the future we count our blessings, give thanks that we are part of a family of faith and look for new ways to encourage and support one another.

David Grosch-Miller

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