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15 05, 2017

‘God so loved the world…’

May 15th, 2017|

‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3: 16 is one of the best known verses in the Bible, but it is worth pausing to think about what it says to us today, both about the world and our God who loves it in his particular way. It speaks to me about the magnitude of God’s love for the world. I have recently returned from a post Easter break in North Norfolk, the first time I have been there. It is [...]

10 05, 2017

How will you vote?

May 10th, 2017|

In churches across Britain as 8th June approaches congregations will be exhorted to vote. It’s uncontroversial; I will hear that people have died for my right to vote so I need to exercise that right. Democracy: it’s what made Britain Great! Vote! It may be a safe election message to proclaim, but it is not enough. As a child, when there were elections of any kind at school someone would always ask - can you vote for yourself? Yes, you could then, and too many of us do now. Will you vote for yourself on 8th June? Many of us [...]

26 04, 2017


April 26th, 2017|

During the last 24 hours of his life Jesus taught his disciples many things. He warned them to expect persecution in the future. As the servants and friends of Christ, they were told to expect to be treated in the same way as their Master (John 15:20). Whatever Christ faced, be it insult, mockery, false accusations, torture or death – his disciples must expect similar treatment from a hostile and fallen world. And so it has come to pass. The Church of Jesus Christ has regularly faced persecution throughout the running centuries, but at this moment in time, there is [...]

20 04, 2017

Life after Death

April 20th, 2017|

What happens to us when we die? It would be easy to give the smart answer, ‘I don’t know. I have never died before and no-one who has ever died has told me’. But actually we do know something. Many who maintain that there is life after death believe that our bodies die but it is our souls that live on. The body is just a container of the really important part of us which is our soul. Death, then, is actually a release, as though the door of the cage were opened to let the bird fly away into [...]

18 04, 2017

New Life, New Hope

April 18th, 2017|

Moving in to our new home as we did in the depth of last winter, I am discovering only by degrees what our new garden has to offer.   As the seasons have changed, there have been ever new delights.  Alongside the expected spring bulbs are other more exotic plants, the naming of which is way beyond my limited horticultural knowledge.  Gardening, therefore, has to be for me a careful balance between making plans and forming projects on the one hand, and on the other, patient watching and waiting. In my experience, spiritual growth, like that of a garden, needs a [...]

6 04, 2017

“It was only banter”

April 6th, 2017|

“It was only banter.” But a teenager has taken his or her own life, and it’s something to do with the way this ‘banter’ has undermined them, hurt them, made them nothing, despised. “It was only a bit of banter.” We don’t always know the effects of our actions on others. Sometimes those effects can be far more profound, more hurtful than we ever dreamed.  What one person considers just a bit of banter, not intended to hurt, does in fact hurt, and more deeply than anyone had imagined.  Sometimes, when we think what we do is harmless, the effect [...]

30 03, 2017

People who live in glass houses

March 30th, 2017|

After years of living in Harrogate, the time has come to move house and we have chosen a village in Nidderdale called Glasshouses. Apparently the name originated in medieval times when the area provided materials for manufacturing glass that was required for installation at nearby Fountains Abbey.  Just to finish off the blend of history and geography, a short distance from Glasshouses is Smelthouses where local ore was smelted to produce lead required that pieced together the stained glass in the windows. Ever since I have been telling friends we shall be living in Glasshouses, they inevitably come back with [...]

27 03, 2017

New Life and Fresh Hope

March 27th, 2017|

Many see the Church and Christianity as irrelevant. There is no doubt that the Church does not always keep up with the things that people think are important. However in this season of Lent, there is much that the Church and Jesus can teach us that can bring light and hope to our lives. On Mothering Sunday, people used to travel back to their Mother Church, and celebrate it being the centre of their community and the centre of their lives. On this day, many mothers will be swamped with chocolates; restaurants will be full of families giving their mother [...]

20 03, 2017

The Season of Lent

March 20th, 2017|

Once a month the United Reformed Church in Burley-in-Wharfedale becomes a cinema for the community and recently our film was ‘Eddie the Eagle’. Eddie Edwards famously came 73rd out of 73 competitors in the Ski Jump at the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary.  I remember this event because at the time Eddie’s failure caused a media sensation but as the film progressed we saw that he was anything but a failure.  Eddie Edwards had a dream and he gave his all to achieving that dream.  He competed in the Winter Olympics because he had determination, commitment, courage and, seemingly [...]

6 03, 2017

Time flies like an arrow …

March 6th, 2017|

Recently I was driving back to the synod office from the Bradford direction when I saw these words painted on a roadside fence: ‘Time is precious, so use it wisely.’ At least, that’s what I think it said … I was in too much of a hurry to take much notice! Time … it’s an amazing thing. We take it, give it, waste it, spend it, have none of it, have plenty of it, beat it, set it, mark it, manage it – or try to!  For those of a more scientific persuasion we measure it in anything from milliseconds [...]