Zetland Park Methodist Church - A History
What follows is an extract from a booklet issued in 2004
to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Church at Zetland Park in
Some items have been updated since the publication of the anniversary booklet. These are indicated *
You can also read about The Methodist Church History and Global Outreach in a document created by Thomas Battles
It seems only yesterday but it's now 10 years since the refurbishment in 2006. We have some 'before' and 'after' images to give you a feel for what was done. Better still come and look for yourself.
A MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER IN 2004 REV MALCOLM NEWMAN *
My dear friend
Welcome, to a time of celebration!
Welcome, to a time of celebration of God's love and understanding.
Despite the awful weather that was around on the day of the stone-laying, and the many 'storms' endured since, Zetland Park Methodist Church has stood the test of both time and its people. We have sung our faith; we have argued our case; we have encouraged others to 'come and see'; and then we have put them off with this or that 'demand'. There's nowt as funny as folk ---especially chapel folk!'
But here we are - scars and all - celebrating God's love and persistence for some 75 years. We really do need to thank Him for that wonderful generosity, which would have long since tested the patience of a mere human!
So, let the 'celebration' begin! For we have such a lot to celebrate and give thanks for:
- Those who lead us here and shared their faith
- Those who have sustained the 'witness' in good times and bad
- For the faithfulness of the preachers in sharing the powerful 'Word of the Lord' : in and out of season
- For the love shared through pastoral care: seen and unseen
- For those faithful souls now in God's presence who laid the foundation of faith and witness
- For the future, with God, in love: the power of His ever-present Spirit: the challenge of the 'Good news'
For today, and the impact we make with our lives and witness. We may not have much in the bank account; purse or wallet, but we have untold wealth through our knowledge of God in Christ, in the power of His Spirit. Let's declare that through witness and service, and ensure that God is found, worshipped and celebrated in this part of the town called Redcar.
Thanks be to God.
Malcolm A. Newman
MINISTERS WHO HAVE HAD RESPONSIBILITY FOR ZETLAND PARK
- Rev T Shaw 1928 – 1932
- Rev W M Daw 1932 – 1936
- Rev W H Dixon 1936 - 1941
- Rev F H Jowett 1941 – 1944
- Rev F W Capewell 1944 - 1947
- Rev Sidney Markham 1947 – 1952
- Rev H Rushworth 1952 – 1958
- Rev R McClure 1958 – 1961
- Rev Frank Bramhall 1961 – 1966
- Rev Harold Holt 1966 – 1970
- Rev Geoffrey Bruce 1970 – 1978
- Rev Martin Amery 1978 – 1982
- Rev David Burton 1982 – 1985
- Rev Arthur Hallworth 1985 – 1990
- Rev Bryan Ewin 1990 – 1995
- Rev Roy Stent 1995 – 1996
- Rev Dr Jonathan Hustler 1996 – 2001
- Rev Malcolm Newman 2001 – 2011 *
- Rev W Arthur Harbottle 2011 to date *
A SHORT HISTORY
This is a true story of an idea which developed into a vision and which became a reality for the Methodist people of Redcar. In the 1920’s the Primitive Methodists of Station Road, Redcar had been looking to improve their own premises, but unfortunately this was not to be and eventually they started a ‘New Church Fund’. At that time Redcar had a population of 23,000 people and the east end of Redcar particularly was growing at a considerable rate.
Efforts were made to secure a suitable site and in July of 1928 the Society were successful in obtaining one at Zetland Park. The site was secured by the Trustees of Station Road and a grant of £500 was promised from the Home Missions Committee if the Circuit would respond with a further grant of £1,000. However, the Trustees of Station Road Methodist Church themselves agreed that they would offer this grant of £1,000. Owing to the imminence of Methodist union it was also decided at that time that some Wesleyans would be invited to join the new Trust and seven were appointed on to the Board of Trustees. At a special meeting at Station Road Methodist Church on 5 October 1928 the following men were asked by the Rev T Shaw to form the first Trust for Zetland Park Methodist Church. A full list of Trustees appointed were:
Mr J T Myers, Mr H S Bean, Mr T Croskell,
Mr W H Swales, Mr Dubbing, Mr Lambert,
Mr E Talbot, Mr E Yuill, Mr J Thompson,
Mr J Tillotson, Mr W H Dixon, Mr C Kettley,
Mr J Tweedy, Mr Mayhall
The Architect appointed to the scheme was Mr H B Richardson of Darlington, who was the son of the late Rev H O H Richardson and the builder was Mr W G Haswell of Guisborough. Work commenced early in 1929 and eventually the stone laying took place on 10 June. A report from the North Eastern Evening Gazette states that there was a terrible storm during the stone laying, but this did not deter a large number of Primitive Methodists and friends from gathering on that Saturday. It is reported that 25 stones were laid by adult benefactors of the Church and a further 32 bricks, which were to have been laid by children, that was postponed until the evening because of the bad weather. The stone laying was by Mr A W Newell on behalf of Station Road Trustees, by the Rev W J Ward on behalf of the Missionary Committee and by Mrs E Robinson on behalf of the Women’s Guild.
A clause was inserted in the Trust Deed stipulating that the church would automatically become Methodist when the imminent union between the Primitive Methodist and the Wesleyan Methodist churches took place. The Trust secretary appointed at this time was Mr W H Swales and the Trust Treasurer Mr W Dixon. The new church was built of red pressed brick with portland stone dressings in the romanesque style, with double transepts and would accommodate 475 adults. At the rear of the church there was also to be a large hall, a kitchen and offices. Sufficient land was also purchased at the side of the church so that at some future time Sunday School accommodation could be built.
Eventually the church was completed and the opening ceremony was fixed for Saturday, 9 November 1929. At that time 90 members were transferred from the old Station Road Society and it opened with a membership of 130. In addition to the Sunday School which had a membership of 20 teachers and 175 scholars and were meeting in temporary accommodation loaned by the North Riding County Council Education Department. At the time of opening the financial situation was that the cost of the church and furnishings, land, architect fees and building was £4,050 and the furnishings and organ £345, a total cost of £4,395. £1,800 of that figure had been raised at the opening of the church and a £1,000 grant had been received from Station Road Methodist Church and £500 was received as a gift from the Home Missions Committee.
The opening ceremony was performed by Lady Starmer at 2.45 pm supported by Mr Charles W Starmer and there was an address given by the Rev A E Guile, who was Chairman of the Whitby and District Wesleyan Circuit. Members of the Redcar Corporation also attended. The opening ceremony was followed by a public tea, price 1/-, and then there was a public meeting at 6.30 pm, addressed by the Rev A E Guile, R Laidler and T A Brown. On the Sunday the services in the morning at 10.30 am and in the evening at 6.30 pm were preached by the Rev G J Lane of Stockton.
It is believed that Zetland Park Methodist Church was one of the last churches completed prior to the union of the Primitives and the Wesleyans. When it was first opened in November 1929 it initially went on to the Primitive Methodist Circuit Plan.
Following the opening of the Church there was a growth of young people’s activities and it soon became apparent that it would be essential to add to the existing premises and so plans were started for a second building, a large hall alongside the existing church. In 1937 plans were put forward for a temporary building to be put up, but although these were started the planning permission was not allowed and therefore the work had to stop. In 1938, with a church membership of 195 and 200 Sunday School scholars, work did commence on a new school hall and this was opened on Wednesday, 26 May 1938. On the 25 the opening ceremony at
4.30 pm was conducted by the Rev E Cook, the Superintendent Minister and it was followed at 5.00 pm by a public tea, tickets 1/- each. There was a public meeting of thanksgiving at 7.30 pm and on the following day, the 26th, there was a scholars tea in the new hall at 5.00 pm and then a scholars meeting in the church at 7.00 pm. The cost of the church hall and furnishings was £1,300 and £700 of this amount was given to the church as a Connexional gift. Down the years further alterations and improvements have been made.
In 1959 the Trustees agreed that work should start, among other things, on joining the church premises with the large hall premises and also on improving the kitchen accommodation. This started in late 1959 and the cost was approximately £4,100, but it was believed that a grant would be received from the Joseph Rank Benevolent Fund. Since that time even further work has been undertaken and as members will now appreciate, alterations and improvements have been made recently to the kitchen and toilet facilities.
In December 2003 a new organ was purchased and the area where the old organ was will be made into a prayer chapel. In the near future we will be purchasing chairs for the church, extending the dais in order to make the worship area more flexible, installing new lighting and carpet. We also plan to carry out extensive work in the large hall, getting rid of the stage and having a small meeting room and store room in its place. The entrance porch will be made larger to accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs and the ceiling lowered, with new lighting.
MESSAGES AND GREETINGS FROM FORMER MINISTERS
REV F H JOWETT – 1941-1944
On behalf of the Church I wrote to the Rev Jowett after an article appeared in the Methodist Recorder.
He was not able to respond himself but when his son visited he asked him to call me and we spoke on the phone. What a lively gentleman he is. He was in Recar during the war and remembers 177 Redcar Lane being set on fire by an incendiary bomb and all the windows being blown out, there being no bedroom floor and a stirrup pump in the bath. He remembered 15 people, mostly councillors being killed together. His son John was born in Redcar, delivered at home by a tiny, bright lady who was a Baptist, named Nurse Cummins who arrived on her bycyle. Mrs Jowett ran the Primary department of the Sunday School and at the time there was a thriving youth club.
Rev Jowett thanked us for writing to him and extends his best wishes to us in our 75th year and for our future witness.
REV GEOFFREY T BRUCE – 1970-1978
Living by the sea can be very pleasant, and can bring to life some of the stories in the Gospels. It can also be cold, and one of my memories is of standing in the front porch at Zetland Park waiting to shake hands with people after a service and wondering how to cope with the cold wind coming from the east passing over or near to Pacitto’s Ices.
This symbolises one or two things: There was a warmth of fellowship and life in much of Zetland Park’s activities in the 70’s, but there was also a cold blast coming from a time of transition. Older people, stalwarts of the church with traditional Methodist values were having to cope with younger people not steeped in the old ways and wanting to try different ideas. The affluent, secular culture of those years was like a cold blast from outside. People in general were want less and less to do with the Church, and like Redcar itself, Zetland Park seemed to be on the edge of things rather than at the centre of people’s lives.
But the warmth of fellowship was real enough. Work was going on among children and young people locally and within the Circuit. I particularly valued the link with Marske Cheshire Home. The “Young” Wives of the church could be relied on to arrange exciting meetings. Always present was a living Lord, who would come with love, guidance, challenge and strength, just when the wind seemed to be coldest. I am grateful for the help I, and our family, received among you.
As you move forward, no doubt the cold winds will keep coming, but so will the power, presence and love of God.
REV MARTIN AMERY – 1978-1982
We have fond memories of our years at Zetland Park: they were important family years: Jonathan was 10 months when we arrived and Katherine was born during our time in Redcar. It is daunting to realise that both are now married and Katherine has two daughters of her own: Esther aged 2 and Grace born in December 2003.
Inevitably time has passed as we remember clearly Zetland Park’s 50th anniversary and now it is the 75th! We remember how the church was turned into a dining room for the great celebration and Martin said grace with Jonathan in his arms, because he wanted to be with his Dad. We still have the booklet produced then somewhere in the study.
Felicity remembers the beginning of the Mother and Toddlers’ Group and also the 20/04 Club and the tremendous care of the church for a young minister and his family in their first circuit appointment.
Martin remembers many special services and many new sermons (over 160 services in 4 years): many social occasions, sponsored walks and autumn fayres. He remembers working with young people and older ones: deepening relationships with the parish Church and the setting-up of services together in the Durham Road Community Centre. He also remembers the wind off the sea and the damage it caused and the time thieves broke in two days running and walked off with the church safe.
Above all, we remember many very special people who worked so hard together for God’s kingdom, often in those quiet unobtrusive ways which make such an impact, but are rarely highlighted.
We are sorry that additional responsibilities here in Newark probably make it impossible for us to share in the celebrations to make the 75th anniversary, but we do want to wish you all every good wish for those celebrations and for the next 25 years and more at Zetland Park.
BRYAN AND MARY EWIN – 1990-1995
We send greetings to our Friends at ZETLAND PARK, and congratulate you on the achievement of your seventy-fifth Church Anniversary! You have planned an ambitious programme for the year – both socially and devotional, and we trust that you will experience much joy and encouragement. I look forward to leading your morning worship on Sunday, 4 July and we hope to join you on other occasions.
We recall happy memories of our ten years in Redcar (five at Zetland Park). One significant memory is of a Circuit Conference led by Rev John Platts, the District Chairman, who challenged us to think about the future. This led us to appoint welcomers, then the Church Singing Group, and a Senior Citizens’ Luncheon Club. The Church Fellowship was reorganised and the East Cross was introduced. Also during our last year we decided to install the new Church entrance, which has been an asset to our Church family.
We remember all our friends with affection, remembering that some have joined the Church Triumphant. We continue to remember you in prayer.
REV DR JONATHAN HUSTLER – 1996-2001
One way of looking back on a period of ministry in a church is to remember and to celebrate the things that were changed or the new practices that were begun. 1996-2001 saw a number of such things – the alterations to the kitchen and entrance in the last months that I was there, the arrival of Judith Wray and the beginnings of a pattern of team ministry, the aptly named Chaos of Chris Stephens’ after school club, the rapid integration of members from West Dyke following its closure in 200.
But perhaps more important than these are my memories of being part of a church that was doing what it was called to do. My first service there was a wedding, and my last was a funeral
– each a case of the church being able to serve those who need it at important moments. But my most abiding memory of Zetland Park will be the coastline and the noise of the sea, and the custom that we revived of holding a service on the Stray with the silver band to accompany the hymns. I hope and pray that Zetland Park will continue to be a church that is always there, not only for its own but for those who not entered its capacious vestibule.
THE CHURCH TODAY
The following are the organisations within the church today, with details of their activities:
THE SUNDAY SQUAD (FORMERLY ZETLAND PARK METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL)
Building with Jesus
The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple., The church is not a resting place, the church is the people. I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together All who follow Jesus, all around the world, yes we are the church together
Gone are the days of large numbers of children filling our departments – Beginners, Primary, Juniors and Seniors. Yes, our numbers have declined dramatically over the years. There are so many other activities on a Sunday now, parents are so busy, no time for worship. Last year we were at the point of "“here do we go now?"” Do we, as so many other Sunday Schools have done, call it a day. We felt that as long as there are children coming along on a Sunday morning either with parent or grandparents, we must provide lessons and teaching appropriate for younger people. So now we all meet together – no more departments, where ages range from 6 to 15. We feel it is working extremely well. There are a variety of activities and teachers who bring along different skills and ways of presenting lessons. Each week is a surprise and we all enjoy our worship together.
Despite only having ten children they take part and contribute to morning worship. Taking small parts in the services and larger roles in the Anniversary Sunday and Family Christmas Services. The children work hard raising money for children less fortunate than themselves, eg Jar of Grace UNICEF Appeal, Smarties, Shoe Boxes, JMA. Of course these are well supported by our adult friends in the Church, without their help these projects would not be so successful.
So, although we would like to see more young people each Sunday morning we will enjoy working with those we have. We will enjoy our friendship and happy times together and with the support and prayers of the church family we will carry on our work.
Please note that the Junior Club is currently not meeting. Zetland Sea Cadets meet in the Hall on Tuesday and Thursday. *
‘Teach a child how he should live, and he will remember it all his life.. Proverbs 22 : 6
God who created me, nimble and light of limb, In three elements free, to run, to ride to swim; Not when the sense is dim, but now from the heart of joy, I would remember Him: Take the thanks of a boy. From The Sunday School Hymnary, H C Beeching
Junior Club meets fortnightly on Tuesday from 6.15 to 7.15 pm and also continues through the school holidays. The club takes children of junior school age, 6 – 11 years old. The pay 20p and this includes a drink and a biscuit, occasionally a hot dog or 99.
The club was previously called ‘Chaos’ but that sent out the wrong vibes, though it is still pretty chaotic! We have about 10 to 12 children who attend. We play games such as tiggy off the ground, stuck in the mud and dodge ball. We have a ‘parachute’ which the children hold the edges off and waff it up into the air, they change places under it as it is in the air when a leaders calls, say, “anyone who had chips for tea” or “anyone wearing trainers”. Also different games can be played using the parachute, ie crocodile or cat and mouse. If it is good weather we may go to the park or the beach park. Occasionally the children play a pairing game. Picture are put round the room (usually cut from 2 Argos catalogues) ie two mobile phones, two toy cars etc, the child with the most pairs wins a little prize. Also pairing king with queen, shoe with sock, etc. The children tend to help each other with this, which is very nice. The leaders are Sarah Dixon who is also a church Steward and Paula Lowe who also runs a girl’s football team and Margaret Rayson who also teaches in the Sunday Squad.
LUNCHEON CLUB – by Mrs Daisy Turner
(Mrs Daisy Turner)
‘Jesus saith unto them “Come and dine”. John 21 : 12
Come and dine, the master calleth come and dine., You may feast at Jesus table all the time. He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine, To the hungry now he calleth, come and dine..
The Luncheon Club was formed in October 1991 when the Women’s Guild closed because of age and failing numbers. Mary Ewin called together four of us, Daisy, Thelma, Mary and Brenda to see if we could start a Luncheon Club. We soon found more volunteers to help us. Rowland and Bryan took the Devotions and Arthur formed a group of drivers to take people to and from Church.
Our numbers soon increased and we found people of our Church who were housebound, bereaved, who need friendship and support and a meal served to them was a great highlight.
In 1992 we were given a donation from “Horizon Trust” to help us in our work, we were able to have alterations in the kitchen and more appliances, and we were able to expand.
When West Dyke Church closed we invited several of their people and had extra help with Joan and Arthur and our numbers grew to an average of 30 people.
In the beginning we charged £1 for a two course lunch, tea and biscuits and today we still only charge £1.50 and manage to make a small profit so that we are able to make a gift to the Church and the Flower Fund and keep on top of our expenses in the kitchen.
After our lunch we have half an hour of Fellowship together in the form of a short service, hymns, prayers and various talks from a number of different people from our own Church and other churches in the circuit, and we have our own Minister once a month and Judith Wray, our Deacon.
As the ladies birthdays come along we give them some flowers and the men a free lunch.
Mary and Marion make cakes and scones each week and Brenda provides the birthday cards etc. for them to buy. It is a very happy time for all of us who help and give this service to all those in need.
Rowland and I have had a very happy 12 years working in the Luncheon Club but it has been made happier by those we have worked with, and I would like to say a very sincere thank you to all the people who have helped us in any way over the years. It is a wonderful service to people and I hope and pray it may continue.
THE WEDNESDAY FELLOWSHIP
(Mr Bert Bamford)
‘We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.’ 1 John 1 : 3
Blest be the tie that binds our heart in Jesu’s love; The fellowship of Christian minds is like to that above.. From HP 754 – John Fawcett
“And do you remember” is a phrase we become more accustomed to hearing, and indeed to use, as time goes on at a seemingly continually increasing pace. It has not been found possible to reach back in memory to the origins of the Fellowship, but there are still a few around who can recall the membership and meetings back to the early 1960’s, and the time of the arrival of Rev Frank Bramhall. This was a time when church attendance was a part of the weekly life of many families, with well attended services, a flourishing Sunday School and youth groups. Fathers were often the sole wage earners and the mothers role was devoted to her family’s well being, including walking to school to collect the first born whilst pushing the pram with junior it waiting his turn to be “educated in the three R’s”. The car culture had not developed!
Each Wednesday afternoon was set aside for the Women’s Guild. This was a time of fellowship (or was it Grandma-ship?) Essentially for the older age group, and in contrast alternate Wednesday evenings provided a fortnightly meeting place for the “Young Wives Group”.
“Young Wives” were considered to have reached their membership age limit by forty, but it must be said that the state of the marriage was never an essential condition of membership. Eventually, and in recognition of the unmarried members, the title of “Young Wives Group” was dropped in favour of “The Ladies Fellowship”. The age gap between “the Guild” and “The Young Wives” was never breached, nor was it a source of rivalry. The evening meetings attracted attendances reportedly approaching one hundred, for many of which the Fellowship was their only link with a church. The meetings were filling a strong social need as well as a religious contact, and the enjoyment of members and their participation in events set up lasting bonds of friendship.
In due course, as shift working became more common, it was decided by popular demand to have weekly meetings in order that clashes between meetings and shift patterns would be reduced.
The next significant change was in the relaxation and subsequent abandonment of the age limit. Members were not prepared to jump the age gap to the Guild, and in any case their pattern of life was changing. Part time or even full time working became more common for married women so that day hours remained occupied, even though children were generally getting older and less in need of direct supervision. Following on from this, together with a dearth of new younger members, the average age of the Fellowship has increased directly with the passage of time. The afternoon Guild gradually faded away as its members became less mobile and the meetings finally ceased during the time of Rev Bryan Ewing. Perhaps the introduction of the Luncheon Club went some way as a substitute for that age group at about the same time.
Attempts have been made to start meetings for the “under forty” age group, but without success.
Men were still only permitted to attend on special occasions such as the annual concern and Fellowship weekend, so that over the year attempts have been made to start up meetings for men, but with no success. However in the last ten or twelve years men have been invited to joint the Wednesday Fellowship meetings, and there has been an encouraging response, mainly from the husbands of some members, so that now there is a male representation of about one third at meetings attracting some thirty or more in total. The title has again changed in recognition to simply “The Wednesday Fellowship”.
Over the years the programme pattern has retained its basic structure of a blend of simple worship with talks or slide shows of a secular or social nature with each month, from September through to May, including a devotional night. The meetings rely heavily on visiting speakers, although some members also contribute. The leadership and committee are lay members of the church, with the incumbent invited a president.
Membership as such does not exist, it is just another name for those who come along. All are welcome to come and they please and all can be assured of a most friendly reception.
Please note that the Singing Group are not currently meeting.*
‘O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Praise ye the Lord! ‘tis good to raise our hearts and voices in his praise; His nature and his works invite to make this duty our delight. Sing to the Lord! Exalt him high, who spreads his clouds along the sky; There he prepares the fruitful rain, Nor lets the drops descend in vain.
HP 338 Vs 1 & 3, Isaac Watts
Early in 1991 a group of interest people met to discuss ways in which worship could be enhanced at Zetland Park.
As a result of that discussion, the Singing Group was formed, meeting for the first time on 14 February 1991. Now in its fourteenth year, the original emphasis of singing the gospel message with enjoyment and enthusiasm has hopefully been maintained.
In addition to participating in Sunday services, the group has assisted in special events in the church calendar and has presented programmes at Church Fellowship meetings and the Luncheon Club.
Further afield, occasional visits have been made to other churches in the area to take part in mid-week meetings.
This is an open group, which any members with a desire to praise God are welcome to join.
‘And every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they continued to teach and preach the Good News about Jesus the Messiah.’
Acts 5 : 42
For our holy book we thank you, and for those who work today That all peoples hear its witness, heed, and follow in your way, Learn your love and tender care, for your people everywhere.
For you holy book we thank you; may its message be our guide; May we understand its wisdom, and the laws it can provide In your love and tender care, for your people everywhere..
HP 471 vs 2 & 3, Ruth Carter
The Zetland Park house group meets fortnightly. We decide our own programme, although we sometimes follow ready published materials, we frequently create our own. A number of people lead house groups and although leaders usually give some input the majority of the time is spent in discussion. In the last year we have discussed:
Themes with a television link -Ethical issues -Bible studies.
We are just starting a series on prayer and action. The house group meets in different homes and venues are published in the notices. Membership of the house group has changes over time, and we always welcome new members.
FRIDAY MORNING MEDITATIONPlease note that the Friday prayer group is meeting monthly.*
‘I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people and his friends and those who turn to him in their hears. Psalm 85 : 8
So we may know God better, and feel his quiet power, let us keep in silence a meditation hour For to understand God’s greatness, and to use his gifts each day, The soul must learn to meet Him in a meditative way. By Helen Steiner Rice
Friday Meditation is an important time of the week. We listen to suitable, varied music and then a short reading from the bible and a talk on what the reading is telling us. Following this we pray for the needs of our church and people, the wider community in the town and any issues that are prevalent in the news. We then have a period of silent prayer followed by music. This service is only half an hour long but is a valued part of our church week.
Whose love brought us here to serve You, We thank you for our 75 years of witness.
Faltering though it may have been many times You have encouraged us to 'keep going' through good as well as the not-so-good, so that this day, we can 'shout and sing our praise'.
Yet we ask your guidance in not seeking comfort from merely looking back, but to grasp Your vision for us for the days ahead which You have granted to us in Your loving generosity. Help us to see beyond the 'immediate', and look to the horizon where shines that 'light of opportunity' that both guides us and beckons us onward.
With grateful hearts we come excited for the future, for we know that with faith, that 'future' is ours.
Thanks be to God.