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New Minister's Letter

Revd Dr Langley Mackrell-Hey (simply known as Rev Langley) has been our minister since September 2019.  Langley is a Methodist Minisiter who also serves as the supertindendent for the Peterborough Circuit of Churches. He has ministered previously in Lincoln, and Louth, Lincolnshire, and has focused on youth work and planting new forms of churches. He arrived in Peterborough six years ago and worked initially with the Northampton District to encourage churches in their outreach. Her serves nationally on the New Places for New People Advisory Group. Langley joined us following the retirement of Rev Lesley Moseley. He writes:       

 

It has been a delight to join you. The wonderful thing about working in partnership with other denominations is the fact that we can learn from each other and take the best of each others traditions as we move forward. One of the principles behind the Methodist Church is that whilst ordained ministers have responsibility for leading congregations, much of this work is supported by Local Preachers and Worship Leaders. Historically the ministers have been spread across multiple churches, and their role is to enable. In addition, the Circuit of Churches is able to appoint lay people from across the region to provide additional support in the churches, and with this in mind it is a delight to be working with Nigel Lightfoot, who is helping co-ordinate how we support Westgate New Church in their worship. Meanwhile, this frees me up to focus on discussions on how we develop as a church - how we recognise and respond to the needs that are around us (and how we resource meeting this), and how we continue to develop our partnership with the United Reformed Church. 

 

Sometimes it is helpful to be the new person because you see things with fresh eyes, and are able to encourage people in churches, perhaps those even who have been there for a long time, in the good things that you see. There is much good to be seen at Westgate New Church. We are blessed with a committed and skilled group of trustees, and a wider church that has a deep maturity of faith. Moving from one church to another is always a challenge (as the congregation found out recently), but in the process we learn much about ourselves and discover what is truly important. These are the kinds of people that I see at Westgate New Church. I can honestly say that I felt at ease very quickly once I arrived; there is a good feel about the place, a real sense of empathy and care. This morning I noticed that we had moved rapidly from the brief 'How are you?....I'm OK' exchanges at the door to something which was deeper. The good news is that this kind of merry, well-meaning - but lacking in any real meaning - kind of exchange does not exist at Westgate New Church. It can't. Whilst people's privacy is respected, this is not a community where you feel you have to, or you would want to say that everything is ok, when in reality you may not have had the best week, because you don't feel comfortable sharing. It is a space where people are doing life together, and where the process of listening to others, and being listened to yourself, is infectious because it brings such peace and healing. 

 

As for what the future might hold - to be honest, I don't know. I don't see myself as the kind of minister who discerns the way ahead and directs everyone else. I see my role as enabling others to discern the way forward - it is something we do together. What I do know however, is that the foundations are sound. There is an old joke that says, 'Do you know how to make God laugh?' The answer is 'Tell him your plans!' Ultimately this is not our church but God's church. Yet there is such joy and priviledge in joining God for the ride. I can say something about my hopes for the future - these are that we can encourage more people to join us not because like most churches we need people to do jobs, but because there is something profoundly moving in being able to bless others, and see God at work in them. So if you are interested in returning to Church or learning more about the Christian faith; if you long for friendship that is more than that which is offered on a Facebook page; if you are searching for a space for peace and healing in the broadest sense, why not join us. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. Not because of anything that we offer. More because God is simply present and at work in this place. 

 

Langley

 

If you want to know more about Langley, he has an online photo exhibition, compiled following his sabbatical earlier this year. The website fro this is www.thywillbedone.today