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30 07, 2018

Do we show the compassion of Jesus?

July 30th, 2018|

Jesus once saw a great crowd. ‘He had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd’ (Mark 6: 34). Compassion is ‘pity inclining one to be merciful’ (Oxford English Dictionary). It is an active desire to help, to show kindness and generosity, to make things better. I am sure Jesus looks with similar compassion at our world today; on our country with its apparently irreconcilable divisions over Brexit and the difficulties people have coping with the persistent heat; and on countries whose problems are much more serious, Greece coping with the aftermath of a lethal fire, Pakistan [...]

23 07, 2018

Remaining in Christ

July 23rd, 2018|

During my sabbatical I have had the opportunity to reflect and pray about our Moderator’s prophetic word to the URC; Come back to my Son…. After seeking to respond to this call through repentance and rededication, I then asked God, now what? The word that then came to me was; Now remain in my Son. And so began a prayerful study of John 15 and the passage we know so well concerning Christ the true vine, and his disciples - the branches that must remain in him and draw on his life. Jesus says “remain in me” 5 times in [...]

16 07, 2018

Encourage one-another daily

July 16th, 2018|

Sunday by Sunday at St Paul’s Church, Harrogate we work through a book of the Bible starting at the beginning and finishing at the end, just as God intended scripture to be read. At the moment we are working our way through the Letter to the Hebrews. We all will have favourite verses from Hebrews like ‘entertaining angels unawares’, ‘Jesus the same yesterday, today, and for ever’, and, if you were ever in the Boys’ Brigade, ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, steadfast and sure’. But what is the letter all about? Well, we are told [...]

9 07, 2018

A Score of Wrongs

July 9th, 2018|

In their last World Cup group-stage match against Belgium, I was most disappointed that England lost one-nil. My reason for being disappointed, though, was not the obvious one. I have to point out that I’m saying all this as someone with only a passing interest in football in general, and in the World Cup in particular. As a rather detached observer I have been taken aback by the level of bad behaviour by world-class players.  It seems that, despite the close focus of the world’s media and even Video Assistant Refereeing, pushing, shoving and manhandling on and off the ball [...]

2 07, 2018

Jesus – living water

July 2nd, 2018|

I was going to write about the World Cup, and how we cope with the inevitable disappointment: but we can’t be sure of disappointment any more, so I’ll go with something a bit more predictable – the weather. We all know in our heads that water is important stuff. But Yorkshire people don’t know it in our guts until a warm dry spell comes along, and we get thirsty, and gardens get thirsty, and you come in at the end of the day wiping the salt crystals off your forehead. Until the weather gives us one of these little intimations, [...]

25 06, 2018

You are wonderfully made

June 25th, 2018|

On Saturday 9th June people from United Reformed Churches across Yorkshire headed for The Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a Big Day Out.  The sun shone upon us as we gathered, chatted, prayed, walked and enjoyed the company of others as well as the amazing sculptures set in the most beautiful of surroundings.  This was my first visit to the Sculpture Park and I found it fascinating; some sculptures left a powerful impression on me, some were stunningly beautiful, some were thoughtfully challenging and some I simply did not understand at all!  As lunchtime approached I sought out a good place [...]

20 06, 2018

IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS…

June 20th, 2018|

Simon Loveitt has been a Church Related Community Work Minister (CRCWm) since 1989. Here he recalls four stories of when things didn’t quite go according to plan…..   ‘Friendly Club’ Pensioners Trip To the Lake District This group met weekly for entertainment and fellowship in the church in Hulme in Manchester. As the CRCW, I was invited to go along.  The trip, to Keswick for lunch and Windermere for afternoon tea was an offer too good to miss.  We arrived at lunchtime in Keswick at the coach park and dispersed to find a place to eat.  After a good lunch and a wander around the market town, everyone returned to the coach park – except one person.  After an hour, no sign of Raymond, (an elderly gentleman on crutches) everyone else in the coach was becoming restless. After two hours, no sign of Raymond, people were becoming concerned.  It was decided to phone the police.  To everyone’s surprise, the police came straight around in a police car.  (photo in Reform at the time)  I jumped in and we searched for the ‘lost sheep’ of the Friendly Club around the town of Keswick.  No luck.  Now three hours late, it was decided to make our way home. The police had my home telephone number and I spent a sleepless night expecting the phone call to say they had found Raymond.  The phone call eventually came at 6am. The police had found Raymond several miles from Keswick walking down the A66 (on crutches) thumbing a lift home.  He had apparently been in a pub, had too much to drink and had spent the night under a bridge sleeping it off.  He eventually made his own way back by coach later that same day. […]

11 06, 2018

Be an encourager!

June 11th, 2018|

When did you last receive some kind of encouragement? It might have been an email, or a letter; a phone call, or a conversation which took an unexpected turn; or even just a casual remark, kindly meant and which moved you more deeply than either you or the speaker could have expected. Although we all know how delighted we can feel whenever such encouragement comes our way, we also know the pain of the ‘Yes, but …’ comment; the ‘Why didn’t you …’ question, the ‘You should have …’ challenge. Of course there is a time and place for such [...]

31 05, 2018

How ‘woke’ are you?

May 31st, 2018|

Interesting, isn’t it, how new words creep up on you and you suddenly find they fit the moment? Or is that just me? A new word becomes embedded in the consciousness and refuses to go away. A word that seems to fit the moment. So forgive me if I refer back to ‘the Wedding’ for just a moment. Whatever our feelings about the monarchy, I am sure that few of us can fail to be delighted that Harry has found, what appears to be, deep and genuine happiness. Reading about it (yet again!) I caught the phrase ‘… they are [...]

29 05, 2018

Praying without ceasing…

May 29th, 2018|

When my children were young, I made a conscious decision to spend some time in prayer, long before the busyness of the day began. Prayer soon became an important part of my life, and over the years my understanding of the ways in which we can communicate with God in prayer has shifted, evolved and changed. I no longer feel the need to always use words in prayer, and often I sit quietly, focus on a situation, or concentrate on one person, and I pray. There are certain places that feel spiritual to me for all kinds of reasons, and [...]