Recently, I went to London on the train, the first time since March 2020. My world has been my office and occasional car journeys for seventeen months, it was a milestone. There were some mildly anxious moments as the carriage became more crowded, but people were warm and kind to each other.

In May, Ben Harding and I did a Zoom session for ICS Chaplains where we used the metaphor of stones picked crossing the river, drawing on the narrative of the people of Israel crossing the Red Sea. As we have journeyed through the pandemic we asked: ‘What three stones (experiences, learning, challenges, joys etc.) have you picked up through the river?’ We then asked: ‘What stones are you going to leave behind as we move beyond the pandemic?’

It is now time to ask: ‘What stones have we picked up through the pandemic that we do not want to put down again?’ What will stay with us and propel us into ministry post pandemic? I know it is not over yet, but there are milestone moments when we draw on the reserves of energy we have built up and with the knowledge of Christ in us, the hope of glory, we move forward with confidence.

September is a milestone moment, the rentrée, holidays over, new academic years, new jobs. My hope for you, and for me, is that having survived a tremendously tough time, we strive to be leaders who thrive in the new place God has delivered us to.

I am drawn to the quote from Julian of Norwich, writing from a position of fragility in the aftermath of the bubonic plague, ‘but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’.

I found this stained glass in the chapel of the Mothers Union office in London.

I look forward to flourishing with you in the ministry we share!


Below are some snippets that we hope you will find helpful. (Compiled by Richard Bromley and Adriänne Strengholt)

Nourish your mind
Two books that caught Adriänne’s attention recently are:
Chris Wright’s 2006 book, The Mission of God, revealed that the typical Christian understanding of 'missions' encompasses only a small part of God’s overarching mission for the world. God is relentlessly reclaiming the entire world for himself. In The Mission of God’s People, Wright shows how God’s big-picture plan directs the purpose of God’s people, the church.

You can hear Wright teach on 'Reading the Whole Bible for Missions' The Biblical Basis for Missions and the Missional Basis of the Bible.

Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition

Adriänne has also been thinking about hospitality... we have not been able to do that for a long time now, building community. So many good things happen over shared meals and having people over and we have not had any of that. Welcoming the stranger is part of that too and that applies to all of our churches. Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Making Room revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today.

Nourish your Soul
Olive Tree Counselling provide intensive Christian counselling for cross-cultural workers. Always good to know about these services. The webinar on transition and resilience is a good resource to be aware of.

Finally, this website has some helpful short articles on it. I particularly thought the one on Pandemic Burnout was valuable.

My (Richard) favourite book from the last few months was, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. This is a great little book with some current research and new insights. Well worth a read.