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23 10, 2017

When the nights are drawing in

October 23rd, 2017|

It is easy to understand why in some cultures, it is this season, when nights draw in and nature seems to be going into shut-down, that was considered to be the turn of the year. Fruitfulness had come to an end, stores had been laid in and now it was time to hunker down and hope that the storms would not be too damaging, and that people and animals would last through the cold and dark of winter until the season of new life in the spring. It was a time of gathering in, of story-telling and fellowship, and of [...]

14 09, 2017

United for what?

September 14th, 2017|

I was unable to attend Revd Martin Camroux reading party on his book ‘Ecumenism in Retreat: How the United Reformed Church Failed to Break the Mould’, due to an ecumenical engagement, attending the Induction of a Baptist colleague in Headingley. I must admit, I have not read the book, only a synopsis of it by Rev’d Dr David Peel I found on the Amazon website. The ideal of Christian unity, thinking about Jesus’ prayer in John 17.20-23, was what drew me to the United Reformed Church. Jesus prays for believers to be one, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17.21b NIV) Despite all, we remain a visible sign of that, at least to other denominations, even if not to the world. Yet as the synopsis of Rev’d Camroux’s book suggests, concerns within our denomination and ecumenical partners seemed to overtake the main responsibility of the Church, to be this witness to faith which Jesus envisages. It seems nationally we became bogged down in our structures, and with keeping them going, rather than working together to share the gospel message. […]

7 09, 2017

‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’

September 7th, 2017|

‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’                                                                                                                 Hebrews 13:8       We are living in a world that seems to change at phenomenal speed. Things we couldn’t have even dreamt about are now happening before our very eyes. Things we used to be able to have an opinion about, it seems that we are no longer able to air our voices in case we might offend someone. And so in this ever-changing world we hold on to that with which we are familiar, and yet chase the world so as to help us to keep the whole thing [...]

31 08, 2017

Expect the Unexpected

August 31st, 2017|

Apparently, the first appearance of the quote above is by Heraclitus (c535 BC – 475 BC): “if you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult”. Oscar Wilde famously re-quoted it as: “to expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” (from An Ideal Husband) ‘Expect the unexpected’ - as a Christian I have often thought this should be one of life’s rules for me. After all the Gospels are full of examples, Jesus knowing someone had touched the hem of his robe even when pressed on all [...]

21 08, 2017

Constant Companion

August 21st, 2017|

Some time ago, I heard something about the meaning of the word ‘companion’ on the radio which raised my interest, so I investigated! Apparently, the word ‘companion’ dates from about the 1300’s. It comes from the Latin word "Companionem”, meaning, "one with whom you would eat bread" - "Com", meaning with, and "Pan", meaning bread. Presumably then, your "companion" is someone with whom you "break bread” or ‘share your bread’. So, describing Jesus (as I often do) as our companion, the one who is always walking alongside us whether we realise it or not, is more appropriate than I ever [...]

10 08, 2017

Yorkshire Day

August 10th, 2017|

This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Yorkshire Day is celebrated on the 1st of August to promote the historic English county.  The date is linked to the Battle of Minden. The Battle of Minden was an engagement between the Anglo-German army against the French to capture Hanover. The 1st of August is also to the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire (1834) for which Yorkshire MP William Wilberforce along with others had campaigned. Yorkshire Day 2017 was celebrated in Sheffield Cathedral. To mark the day, the [...]

3 08, 2017

Baking a Devil’s Food cake

August 3rd, 2017|

It’s Elders tonight and I always bake a cake or biscuits. It’s hard to know how it started but it’s become part of my relationship with them- of saying “thank you” for giving up an evening to sit in a meeting room often talking about drains or some other matter of church governance. I often look for odd and interesting recipes to try out and to date they have all been polite enough to eat them- even though we agreed that kiwi fruit in a cake is something that there should be biblical injunctions about. There is something magical in [...]

31 07, 2017

Rejoice always

July 31st, 2017|

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. The above scripture encourages us to rejoice always but sometimes in difficult times it may not be easy to rejoice. In the light of all the situations in London and Manchester recently we have so much to pray about and seek the comfort of the Holy Spirit for all those who cannot understand why they have found themselves in situations beyond control. We can give thanks for all the service men who helped those in need and the [...]

24 07, 2017

Wheat and Weeds

July 24th, 2017|

Given the fact that it is the beginning of the school holidays we might hope to have a bit of light relief on Sundays, but many of us will have been hearing in church a section of teaching from Matthew’s Gospel that has to do with how we hear and how we listen. In Matthew chapter 13 verses 24-30 we have the parable of the wheat and weeds. The owner of a field sows the wheat, but an enemy comes not to trash the crop overnight but to do something more subtle – to scatter grain that looks just like [...]

17 07, 2017

How do you tell the difference between a crow and a rook?

July 17th, 2017|

… or should it be a crow and a raven … because several large black birds have been frequenting our garden recently. And no, they are not blackbirds! We know what they look like. Consulting various websites set me thinking. How do people know we are Christians? I found my ornithological enquiries illuminating. The name "crow" is used for an entire family of birds, Corvidae, which includes different species, like magpies, ravens, rooks, jays and other birds. The name “Christian” is used for an entire family of people which includes Anglican, Methodist, Evangelical, Pentecostal and other “species”. Though both crows [...]