For the past five weeks I have taken time away from ministry to deal with and receive help for clinical depression. The teams and Friends & Partners of newLife were told at the start of this period and have been wonderful in their support and expressions of love.
On Sunday October 27th a notice was read out to the whole congregation on my behalf. I have since begun easing my way back into ministry. I have had requests from people for a copy of the public notice, some from people who were unable to be present, others from those who found it helpful in its transparency.
Here is the text of the notice:
Dear family at newLife. I am missing you greatly and will be back worshipping with you next week. In the meantime perhaps a word of explanation and a word of encouragment will help you.
I have battled with depression for many years and by God’s grace have always come out on top. However , recent months have brought compounded pressures my lifestyle has not been able to cope with. I am indeed just a jar of clay.
I am clear that in this season, though often dark and mysterious for me, God is doing something deep for His glory, for His Kingdom and for newLife. The leadership & staff teams around me at newLife have stepped up and allowed me the space to do this. I am proud of them and particularly of Sarah who along with me carries a deep and longstanding burden for you, our church family.
Finally an encouragement. Words can not express how uplifted I feel when I receive your messages of love and support. Your cards, gifts and prayers are a sign that church family matters and each of you have been a genuine blessing to me.
Our belief at newLife is that we never stop growing and each of us however flawed can become an Oak of Righteousness. As I am being urged to dig deeper I pray that you in turn will reach higher, spread your branches and display God’s splendour in your life and in your worship.
With great love.