Revd. David Gillman
Revd. David Gillman is the Minister at Orpington Methodist Church and the Superintendent Minister for the Orpington & Chislehurst Circuit
David joined us in September 2009. He has served the Methodist Church in Maidstone, Hornsey, New Malden and Battersea. He has also worked as a prison chaplain for over 20 years with both men and women. Brought up in London and having lived for long periods in London he is not fed up with it! The city is constantly changing with the possibility of new experiences every day. Its people and places offer a lens to what it means to live in an interconnected world.
David is married to Gillian and they have two daughters and grandchildren Freddie and Evie. The hills of Orpington continue to be a challenge to his cycling!
Assisting David in the life and work of the church:
Vestry Stewards : Janet Haley : Peter Hibble : Kate Kwafo-Akoto : Osei Kwafo-Akoto
Office Administrator: Nic Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
This month’s church magazine 'The Link' is a double issue! – a marathon! There is information about what’s happening during May and June – and the short answer is ‘lots’. The better weather and longer days mean that we often can be outside. Some of the uniformed groups take this opportunity and make use of the green spaces that are all around us.
On the 13th May there is the 50th VYP Walk with many people sharing in this historic occasion. Read up about its history and the continuing work it is doing in supporting volunteering and projects both local and further afield. I don’t normally walk as many steps as I will on that day. I try to walk wherever I can, though time restraints often mean using the motorbike or car. You often see more when you are walking; you can often get into conversations with others; you notice things in greater detail and perhaps you arrive with less stress! There are clear benefits.
In the resurrection story about the walk to Emmaus there are features that relate not only to that occasion, but also to our walk through life. Walking is a metaphor. The story tells of walking and talking, it reminds us how through talking (and listening) we can work and re-work things in our minds until they find a different perspective. It reminds us of the importance of companions, people who share the journey with us including Jesus who for much of the story is ‘unrecognised’ – with us but not known. The walk is not a race – the journey takes a day and when there is time for rest and a meal there is a realisation of Christ’s living presence that somehow gives the energy for the next journey.
This story speaks to our experience, and it is our discovery of faith all these years later. We have celebrated Easter again and reminded ourselves that one man’s ministry does not end with a few half-hearted followers but continues to find expression through our lives and witness. The journey continues; the walk is not over. So today we work out how to make the love of Christ real in all that we do. Like Jesus’ first followers we can be a bit dense; we can be short-sighted; we can miss the truths that are before our eyes – but the joy is that God still wants to work through us and gives us the daily strength to make a difference.
In the weeks leading up to Pentecost (June 4th) and beyond we are remember the life of the early church. The disciples, renewed in confidence, fulfil their calling by continuing the journey to live and speak the gospel. The book of Acts tells of ‘thousands’ being added to their number. Once the church became bigger than the homes of its people, finding somewhere to worship and gather became more urgent. It took a few centuries for the word ‘church’ to be more associated with buildings than people. Over the centuries, churches and cathedrals have sprung up in all shapes and sizes. In whatever ways these buildings are used the purpose of the church is still best expressed in the life and ministry of God’s people. Our buildings are the tools or resources to further our work. The church is at its weakest when it is about conserving its past without being alive to the present opportunities. Each generation has to find a language with which to share the gospel with the people around it. The words of a hymn by Fred Pratt Green (StF 415) are relevant to this situation.
The Church of Christ, in every age
beset by change but Spirit-led,
must claim and test its heritage
and keep on rising from the dead.
Across the world, across the street,
the victims of injustice cry
for shelter and for bread to eat,
and never live until they die.
Then let the servant Church arise,
a caring Church that longs to be
a partner in Christ’s sacrifice,
and clothed in Christ’s humanity.
For he alone, whose blood was shed,
can cure the fever in our blood,
and teach us how to share our bread
and feed the starving multitude.
We have no mission but to serve
in full obedience to our Lord:
to care for all, without reserve,
and spread his liberating Word.
Our prayers and energy, like those of the first friends of Jesus, need to catch the wind of God’s Spirit to be effective and faithful in the work we are doing. The ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is not a story that has completed its course, it still needs to be told in the work we are doing today. We continue the journey – we walk in the Spirit, there is still much to do.
Love and prayers,