From the Desk of the SEC President
As we end a very challenging year, we pause to express our appreciation to the Lord for seeing us through. In retrospect, the Lord has been very good to us. We have come out of a pandemic and lockdown, witnessing Russia invade Ukraine and war breaking out. Many lives have been lost as a result.
This year, we have lost our beloved Queen Elizabeth II, who has ruled our nation for the past 70 years. Today, we have a king ruling over the UK and Ireland, King Charles III. We have also witnessed 3 prime ministers governing our nation this year.
As a Church, the Lord has blessed the South England Conference. Our membership continues to grow numerically, and I want to express my appreciation to all our members who faithfully contribute financially to the Conference through tithes and offerings.
I want to thank all our cleaners, support staff, volunteers, pastors, Bible workers, departmental directors, executive committee members and administrators for their dedicated service to God and loyalty to the South England Conference.
As we eagerly anticipate what the Lord will do in 2023, I hope you will make time to share some quality time with your loved ones. Let me encourage you to share a meal or do some acts of kindness to someone less fortunate.
I wish you compliments of the season and every blessing in the new year.
Emmanuel Osei, South England Conference President
To all our members and friends in Scotland and beyond
Our strategic plan tells us that we are to empathise, empower and engage as we share the gospel in a broken world. As I ponder the advent, I realise that God has done this. Jesus becoming a human means that God used this method to empathise with humans, understanding our plight and empowering us to see the outcome. It is on this foundation that God wants us to engage.
I am impressed by the words of Dr Daniel Duda, the Trans-European Division President: "God when Jesus comes as a baby, puts a seal of approval on a slow process." [https://ted.adventist.org/news/seasons-of-waiting/] Dr Duda says that "the process is perhaps more important for God than the end result."
I wish you all God's blessing during this Christmas period as you also consider how God empathises with us by bringing Jesus to this earth to become one of us. May you also have a successful 2023.
Jimmy Botha, Scottish Mission President
From the Irish Mission
"Life's a journey." This sentence could be taken as a cliché or a bit more seriously. All journeys are different. The route we take, the scenery, or the company we keep make journeys unique. But more than anything else, our uniqueness gives each journey the one-in-the-world quality.
The year that's ending soon was like no other. We learned new lessons, cried fresh tears, and made new strides towards eternity. And in the process, we became even more unique. Speaking of journeys, the nature of our work as administrators involves a lot of travelling. I have always been fascinated by the creative slogans one can read in airports. For example, "Who are you if there are no labels?" which I found in Heathrow. Quite a deep question.
Alongside the sincerest thanks to those who made our journey in the Irish Mission memorable this year, allow me to wish you all always to seek to enrich others' lives, the mission of the Church with your one-in-the-world way of loving, forgiving, and affirming.
May 2023 be the year we live out the blessed paradox of being one in Christ while being unique in our walk of faith! Psalm 139:13-14
Dan Serb, Irish Mission President
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere I go, I know it's the Christmas season.
Whether driving through Birmingham city centre or in Sheffield, I see lights and tinsel and all the symbols that remind you that Christmas is almost here.
I can sit and complain about what's wrong with the season, or I can look to hope, comfort, and encouragement.
Isaiah 9 and verse 6 are excellent passages for drawing my mind heavenward.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
After the 'Hallelujah Chorus', the most well-known aria of Handel's Messiah is based upon this verse or this Vocal − Wonderful, Merciful Saviour.
The beauty of birth.
The special blessing of having a son to carry on the family name.
The responsibility to run the business of salvation on behalf of His Father.
And the naming ceremony – Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He chose the names for His Son that provide comfort and reassurance to us today.
Most of us will have some time off from work over the next few weeks. And even if you are not going to celebrate Christmas as everyone else does, why not take some time out to reflect on the special gift given to us by the Father?
On behalf of the North England Conference officers, executive committee, directors and staff, I wish you God's special blessings and protection during this festive season.
George Kumi, North England Conference President
New Year message from the Welsh Mission President
This year has been packed and busy in the Welsh Mission. At our Session in June, the delegates voted on a new strategic plan with the theme 'Revived, Empowered, Disciple-makers'. As Pauline and I visited the churches in our territory, talking with pastors and members, we felt encouraged by how God has used them to reach those in their communities. We have been even more amazed at how God is bringing people into our churches with no previous Christian background who suddenly felt inspired to read the Bible and convicted by its message.
Our members have been very faithful in returning their tithes and offerings and committing their time and talents to faithful service to our Heavenly Father. We look forward with anticipation as to how God will grow the Welsh Mission during 2023.
As we remember Jesus' birth and the reason for His appearance, I pray He will fill everyone with joy and peace. May God bless and prosper His kingdom in the year ahead.
Graham Allcock, Welsh Mission President