The end of January is a funny time of the year. School resumes and for many children this involves a new class, a new teacher and new friends. Older students receive their university offers and critical decisions are made about future careers.

At the end of January people often commence new jobs. Industries and institutions hold special days to gather and motivate their staff. Executives hold meetings to map out the coming year.

On television and radio our favourite programs come back. On the roads the traffic nightmare returns. Easter Eggs and hot cross buns appear on our supermarket shelves while for many enthusiasts the pre-season footy looms.

Here in West Epping lots of activities recommence – mainly music, playgroup, Ladies Fellowship, Men’s Fellowship, Friday Discovery, West Epping Women, Missionary Fellowship and much more.

This coming week marks a major transition. After 26 years of ordained ministry and many more years of lay ministry I shall be retiring. This means my placement at West Epping will conclude. It will do so this Thursday 31st January.

Endings are never easy. Finishing up here in West Epping is a little scary. But it’s a decision that needed to be made as you wait upon God to offer you new leadership that takes you into the future.

Endings also offer opportunities. I believe God has other things in store for me. Meanwhile you will discover this time of transition offers West Epping new ways forward. Here you can re-evaluate yourselves and revisit what God is calling you to be here in this rapidly changing part of Sydney.

It’s been a pure privilege and an absolute joy to minister with you over the past six years. Sometimes it’s been hard. I am aware many of us feel weighed down by the pressures, challenges and controversies that surround us. But the Christian life was never meant to be easy. We must persist. We must hold fast to the promises of God that offers renewal and fullness of life.

With these things in mind I see 31st January as not being an ending. Rather it’s a new beginning – both for myself and for you – as we continue our journey with God into the future!

God bless.

Rev John Barr