So here we are, at our 100th edition of the 'Contact' leaflet. We never dreamed, back in 1990 when we distributed the first edition to a few hundred homes, that we would reach this milestone, and be distributing every six weeks to the area bounded by Broadwater Road, Kenlor Road, Havelock Road, Siward Road and Aboyne Road, a total of over 3,000 homes.
Our thanks go especially to the very helpful staff at Seagull Print; to Lydia and John who sort the leaflets into roads and blocks; and to the team of eighteen or so who do the delivering. Also we thank you, our readers. We know that for some people, 'Contact' is just another piece of unwanted junk mail. But if you have read this far we thank you for your interest and invite you to carry on! We hope this Anniversary edition will be an encouragement to you.
Anniversaries always mark two things. The passage of time with the changes that have taken place, and the unchanging nature of the event being celebrated. Although I am not the same as I was a year ago, the events that particularly mark my life, my birthday and wedding anniversary, still declare the unchanging facts that I was born and that I am married!
So it is as we produce this edition of 'Contact'. The passing of the last thirteen years has brought about numerous changes in our world, some to be welcomed, but sadly most to be lamented. In our personal lives too, we have experienced times of great joy and endured, with Shakespeare's Hamlet, 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune'. I am sure we would have no difficulty in identifying particular events and circumstances that have left an indelible mark on our memories and have greatly influenced our outlook on life. In our writing during the past thirteen years we have sought to draw upon some of these life-experiences as the starting point for 'Contact'. But although the themes have been diverse, from Anger to Waste-disposal, from Art to the Weakest Link, the Christian message has been at the heart of every leaflet.
Which brings us to the unchanging nature of the message which is central to every 'Contact'.
We really have only one message to tell. And it is one which spans thousands of years of history, and has penetrated every continent on the globe. Although to some people the message of the 'Contact' may seem to be largely irrelevant, it is in fact the most dynamic, far-reaching and relevant news that can ever be given. Although the devoutly religious people of the first century were offended by it and the deep thinkers thought it was folly, Paul describes the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, in his letter to the church at Rome, as dynamite: "the power (Greek 'dunamis') of God for the salvation of everyone who believes", including the devoutly religious and the deep thinkers! It is still the same today.
Now I know that some have expressed appreciation to those who have written 'Contact' and say they have been helped by its message. For this we are thankful. But what about the central theme? Has this touched the hearts and minds of any of its readers? Our greatest wish is that men and women, boys and girls will hear about the wonderful salvation that is found through the cross of Christ, and will respond in an expression of sorrow for sin and of faith in the Saviour. In the 'Lord's Prayer' there is the phrase "Thy kingdom come". God's kingdom comes when people respond to the good news of the gospel and enter into new life. Has that been your experience? We hope and pray that it has.
Thank you for reading this through. May the Lord himself enrich and bless you.
Colin H Paris
"Congratulations on reaching the 100th Edition of 'Contact'. I have found it very interesting, and I agree with many of your thoughts. I look forward to its arrival through my letter box. Many thanks and very best wishes." - Betty
"About four years ago my friend and I moved into the area after university, and it was the 'Contact' leaflet that introduced us to Summerstown MEC, where we later became fully committed members. The 'Contact' is an open invitation to church - it is the door that a number have come through." - Matt
"Although I was already a believer, it was through receiving the 'Contact' that I first became curious about Summerstown Church, and I have attended regularly since I first visited about two years ago. I've always found the 'Contact' leaflets to be an encouragement, and relevant to me in some way, and I still look forward to receiving them." - Jackie
"Several editions have struck a note. The Pastor appears to be a thoughtful man with a sense of humour!" - Muriel
"Very topical and relevant. Life seen through God's eyes." - Valerie
What do you think of the Summerstown 'Contact' leaflets? Do they make you think, or are they just a pleasant read for you? Do you agree with what is written in them? Do you disagree? Would you like to find out more about what a particular edition covers? Are there issues that you would like to discuss further? Does the 'Contact' leaflet in any way raise questions in your mind?
If you would like to have a chat concerning anything relating to what is written in the 'Contact' leaflet, then look out for my visit, as every four or five months I call on many of the homes where 'Contact' is delivered. Alternatively, and in particular as I cannot reach the homes which are accessed by the entry-phone system, you may find it best to give me a call to arrange a time when I can come to see you. More generally, I and other members of the Church are available to discuss with you questions about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, what it means to be a Christian, or any other topics of concern.
If you do have something that worries you - it's good to talk! We will be happy to listen and offer support as we are able. To contact me just call me and we can then arrange a mutually convenient time for a visit to be made.
(London City Missionary attached to Summerstown MEC)