Dear Friends,

‘Vocation emerges from a dynamic relationship between the Caller and the called.’ (Walter Brueggeman)

In my Methodist Diary it says that May 1st is Vocations Sunday. The Methodist website says the 8th May! Whatever the date, May is the time to think about vocation. The Methodist church offers these thoughts for us to ponder – “Maybe there are promptings in your prayer life to pay attention to. Maybe there are people around you encouraging you to explore some kind of new ministry or opportunity or role in your church or community. Maybe you are wondering if you have the skills and gifting to join in with something in church, or to change something. If you can say yes to one, two or all three of these, maybe God is calling you to something.”

I also remember attending a day on vocations. One of the speakers suggested that the call comes in the need. Where are there needs in church and/or in the wider community that we could respond to? I’ve been grateful throughout my life for those who have encouraged me to see something that I often couldn’t see. This is Biblical and clearly a gift from God. Listen to how the Methodist church describes some of the characteristics of an encourager:

“They take time to listen to what others say and affirm it. They thank people regularly, recognising the small things as well as the big things. They see opportunities to let people have a go at doing something. They recognise gifts in others and seek to help people grow them. They affirm people by using kind words and framing things positively. They pray for people and let them know they're being prayed for. They are often in the background, but are vital in people growing their gifts and using them for God. They make links between people's gifts and roles in the Church. They take time to find out possible learning opportunities and encourage people to get involved. They look for ways to celebrate what people do and the gifts they bring. They take time to get to know others, what their passions are, what they're interested in and what motivates them. They focus on the things that are going well, not on the things that need improving. They carefully give feedback so as to build others up and not embarrass them or crush them.”

I invite you to join me in sharing in this Prayer of Thanksgiving:

God of all people, Light beyond the cosmos, who shines into this world with love and acceptance, we give you thanks for all the people who have responded to your calling. We give thanks for people who have been called to ordained ministry and devote their lives to serving the Church, putting others first. We give thanks for people who have been called to different Church roles: pioneers, preachers, evangelists, administrators, cleaners, worship leaders, musicians, trustees, stewards, secretaries, chaplains, lay workers, local lay-pastors, children and youth workers... We give thanks for people who have been called to serve you with their gifts in many different places: hospitality, teaching, encouraging, administration, singing, caring, giving, helping, listening, leading, reading, gentleness, cooking, baking, serving, creativity. We particularly give you thanks for the people who, having responded to God's calling, were able to inspire us and help us in our faith journey. We particularly give you thanks for people who encourage and enable others in their discipleship and vocation, recognising and affirming the gifts you have given and enabling others to respond and follow you. We give thanks for all God's people. Amen.

Your sister in Christ, Juliet