West Baptist Church

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Thalia’s Top Five #4: How to be Friends

March 26th, 2010 by Thalia Kehoe Rowden

Each year I write a ‘Pastor’s Top Five’ for our Annual Report.  This year I thought I’d serialise it on the blog, so here is number 4: one of the 5 things I am most grateful for in 2009 at West.

Don’t tell numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5, but this is my favourite!  Especially the last paragraph which I’ve put in bold cos I feel so strongly about it.

How to be Friends

I have been tremendously encouraged in 2009 by lots of things the rest of you don’t see.

Human beings are complicated, and our relationships even more so.  I have been so proud of many of you who have done hard things this year that lead to healthier relationships and the ‘life in all its fullness’ that Jesus promised his disciples.

Thank you, all of you who:

• apologised to someone

• talked to someone about something that had gone wrong in your relationship

• chose to be a better friend or partner

• bravely started seeing a counsellor

• shared a secret for the first time

• prioritised your time better

• shared something with us all on a Sunday

• told someone how much you appreciated them or

• offered new parts of your life to God this year.

There’s a special kind of hospitable maturity that we foster at West with our all-age, all-stage style of service.  Last year I reflected on that in these words, and they still stand today:

Our all-age-all-stage, inclusive approach to community life is courageous and inspiring.  It takes heaps of work, and lots of personal generosity, to make our gatherings accessible to anyone and everyone.  I’d like to thank each one of you who has ever spent a few minutes on a Sunday morning saying to yourself ‘I really don’t like this part, but I know someone else does, so that’s fine with me.’

This kind of generosity and grace to each other is the blood in the veins of this Body of Christ.  We would wither and die without it.  It is a gift to God and to each other every time you choose not to mind when some other group is engaged.  Our hope, of course, is that you all get some time in the sun, where part of a service really connects you to God.  Some of you love singing, others love listening to the Four Questions interviews; some love collecting the offering, others love praying aloud. And our generosity in allowing other people to be who they are is just as much an act of worship as whichever part we love most.

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