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A letter from our new curate, Andy Cowan

Dear Trinity at Four family,

First, let me express a heartfelt thanks for your warm welcome, for all the delicious meals delivered to our door, and the genuine feeling of gospel fellowship that you have extended to us.

For those who haven’t met us yet, I am here with my wife Heather and our three children, Evie (7), Jamie (5), and Hal (2). Heather and I are both originally from Northern Ireland, but are long-term exiles in England. We previously lived in London and Oxford, and have served in various ministry contexts while raising our children (distressingly, with English accents!). Over the next four years, God-willing, I will be serving on your staff team as a curate, in a role that is split part-time between Trinity at Four in Henley, and Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, where I am finishing my doctorate and teaching New Testament Greek.

You might be wondering what a curate is. While it sounds a bit like a piece of chemistry apparatus, nestled in between the Bunsen burner and the pipette, it is just Church of England jargon for a trainee minister sent to work alongside the senior minister, to learn the ropes of gospel ministry while (and through) helping them serve their congregation and community. As I take up this role, I am looking forward to the ways I will be stretched beyond my comfort zone, encouraged to grow in my own walk with the Lord, all while (I pray) being a blessing to you all as well.

As you know, the vision statement of the church family is to exalt Jesus as we engage Henley with His good news and equip disciples of every age to follow Him. It is thrilling to join a ministry that is so unashamedly Jesus-centred, outward looking, and committed to spurring one another on in godliness and sharing in each other’s diverse gifts and experience. While Henley feels to us as we arrive like such a beautiful and prosperous community, the Bible tells us that underneath all the outward contentment and security there are deep and urgent needs. Many around us will be struggling with all sorts of unseen fears and pressures, whether from work, relationships, loneliness, or the rising cost of living. However, beyond and behind all of that is the ultimate universal need for a Saviour; for forgiveness and restoration to a new relationship of loving service to God. We have committed to join you in the task of reaching our friends and neighbours with the joyful news of the gospel.

As many will know, moving home, job, and school are all big upheavals for a family, especially as they are all coming at once, and so we would value your prayers at this time. Pray that we would continue to settle and build encouraging relationships, perhaps especially for Heather and the kids who aren’t arriving with a particular role in quite the way I am. Please pray also for me as I juggle my two roles here in Henley and in Oxford, that I would use my time wisely, and be disciplined and keep sensible boundaries, so that I can be a loving husband and father, as well as an effective servant. Above all, pray that we would be faithful disciples of the Lord, growing in love and knowledge of him day by day.

I am very thankful that the Lord has opened the door for us to join you for this next step in our lives and ministry, we are looking forward to getting to know you all over the coming weeks and months.


Blessings,

Andy

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