What is the Spirit doing?
Brian Harley shares stories of encounter and renewal in the churches
The Holy Spirit is God living and working among us – not some scary ghost but the very presence of God in our lives just as Jesus promised: “He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). Over the last year, all of us in the United Reformed Church have been asked to consider what the Spirit might be saying to the churches – but it is also good to share what he is doing in the churches. Here are three stories from around the URC that illustrate something of the Spirit’s work today across the generations that make up our diverse spiritual family.
Rose Wakeman moved from London to the Isle of Wight when she and her husband Maurice retired in 1987, not long before her 70th birthday. They soon discovered a fresh dimension to the Christian faith as they encountered renewal in the Holy Spirit for the first time under the Revd Bob Duncan’s ministry. “At first I was dumbstruck,” commented Rose, “but it was not long before I realised that I wanted what these people had. So began a journey of discovery and wonder. I’m quite in awe of it all.”
It was in her 90s that Rose first had a personal experience of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in her life, when she asked for prayer that she would really know God’s love after a service I led. Then, last spring, at the Group for Evangelism And Renewal Conference at Swanwick, she experienced the warmth of God’s loving presence again in a tangible way at the evening celebration. “The whole evening was wonderful and Jesus met with me in my chair in the front row. I was shaking but was at total peace and I felt I was going to burst. When I came out of it, people were really concerned if I was OK!”..
Brian Harley is chair of the United Reformed Church Group for Evangelism And Renewal
This is an extract from the February 2016 edition of Reform.