My first home was a village near Whitby where from a few weeks old my parents took me to the Methodist Chapel.
I was joined later by my sister and brother. I did lots of jobs as our three sons grew up - from farming with my father to working in a post office and becoming a County Youth Leader. I began leading worship at the tender age of fourteen and felt God calling me to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. By the time my youngest son was born I had started to Candidate for the Methodist Ministry. I trained at the Wesley Study Centre in Durham as one of a group of ' Guinea Pigs' training non-residentially and alongside our full -time work. During this time I became a Lay-Pastoral Assistant, working for three years in the Whitby Circuit. I served for ten years in the Ryedale Circuit at Helmsley and then a further five years as Superintendant. I came to serve in the Middlesbrough and Eston Circuit seven years ago. It is my honour to work with the people of Stainton, Marton and Nunthorpe as well as being Chaplin to the Methodist Asylum Project.
A week or so ago, my younger sister and brother and I had to go to the solicitors about some farm business. We don't often get the chance to be together, just the three of us, it was really lovely, and even better when on the beautiful sunny afternoon in Whitby my brother bought us all an ice-cream!
One of the things that struck me as we walked to the office, was how all three of us were limping - our friend, 'Arthr - itis,' I suspect passed down from our parents as a sort of legacy!
This limping made me think of the incident in the Old Testament of how Jacob, after years of estrangement from his brother Esau, was on his way to be reconciled with him. During this journey Jacob has an encounter with God. The account has him wrestling with 'a being', variously described as a man, an angel, or God. It's a story of real struggle - with faith, conscience, self-doubt, fear, and who knows what else? But it is significant for Jacob for two reasons: first, his name is changed - Jacob becomes Israel; and, second, he walks away from the encounter with a limp. He is struck in 'the hollow of his thigh'. Whatever the interpretation of that might be, Jacob leaves this momentous event marked for life.
Nothing in life is wasted. Whatever we go through - success or pleasure, tribulation or pain - we are formed a little differently because of it. We are changed, 'marked' by life's events.
As my siblings and I limped to the solicitors, I was reminded how each of us had been 'marked by and for life'. Our parents shared their love of Jesus with us from the time we were born and pointed us to him. The Lord Jesus put his mark of ownership on us - each one - many years ago. As well as all the struggles, challenges, failures and many joys we have experienced, God's loving purposes have helped to shape us.
I pray that as you look back over your lives, you will also see how different people and various events in your lives have helped you become the person you are today - and that you will acknowledge how God has called you by name, loved you, and made you his own.
No life is free from influence.
Every life can have a positive influence on another.
Sincerely and with Love,
I am Susan Greenwood, minister of Nunthorpe Methodist church for the last 9 years.
I feel it's been a privilege to be part of the loving and caring church family here at Nunthorpe.
The family is made up of women and men, boys and girls of all ages who worship, witness and enjoy the Christian life together. Every one is welcome to be part of our church family.
Please come along and share with us as we all grow closer to Jesus as his followers. We have many activities in addition to worship including House Groups, Bible Studies, Prayer and Singing groups. So please come along either to worship or to one of our groups or if you prefer you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.