St Cuthbert’s weekly – 2nd July 2017

"

Hello my friends

Many of us are getting ready for our holidays. I know that the Morris family are really in need of a holiday – especially having survived exams. I thought I’d just round-up where we are as a church.

The new kitchen is splendid and will be a real boost to our ministry here. Next stage on the renewal of the building will be the lighting which will happen over the summer.

We have a new projector which makes life a lot clearer! And we have done some more renovation on the hall. The gardens look wonderful – thanks to the team and Margaret and David.

My feeling is that improving the building honours God and aids the renewal of this wonderful church and parish.

Our revived prayer ministry is up and running – PLEASE chat to Dotun about getting involved. I have found it very heartening to be joined by a hardy bunch of folk as I conduct morning and evening prayer. Do come along – prayer is a beautiful way to start and finish the day.

Our men’s ministry is getting going again and the breakfast is a winner.

Lynn is coordinating our new Christian toddlers’ group which will start after the summer break.

There are opportunities to get involved on all-fronts. Memory café goes from strength-to-strength. The picture is of the community choir which we now run every Thursday. Thank you to the team who volunteer.

God has great things in store for St Cuthbert’s. We just need to keep coming every Sunday, praying each day and inviting our friends and colleagues. Take courage.

Go well. Steve

Coming up

Bring and Share Sunday.  16 July. Just one service at 11.
Please text Dotun to join the prayer chain.

Please pray for: Hazel and Terry, Valerie Waterman, Tyrone and Pat.

St Cuthbert’s weekly – Father’s day

"

Hello my friends

Today we celebrate Father’s Day. Some of you, like me, may find the whole thing a bit manufactured. Ad a father myself I am happy to forego the card and present. I need no extra thanks for being a dad. Each day as a father brings its own trials and rewards.

But I am passionate about the role fathers can play. You may think this odd, but I think fatherhood is about a role and not about gender or bloodline. Many women play the father’s role in a household and many friends and relations also take on the role – as spiritual and practical fathers.

One of the things we rarely think about is Jesus and his earthly father. Jesus’ ministry didn’t start till he was about 30. By that time it is likely that he had lost his father and was head of the household.

But many things about Jesus the man must have been shaped by Joseph. Jesus would have worked with his dad in the family business – seeing him interact with people. He would have learned from Joseph’s honesty and ethics. In short he would have seen what it was to be a man from his dad –especially in the way to treat women.

So if God among us was influenced by a father-figure, how much are we influenced too?

So today perhaps we can get away from the cards and the razzmatazz and simply be grateful for those who have been our father-figures. No father is perfect and for some the relationship was, and is, painful. But perhaps we can all see some way in which we have been influenced by those who fathered us.

Mark Twain said “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Go well dear friends.

Steve

The Collect

God of truth, help us to keep your laws of love and to walk in ways of wisdom, that we may find true life in Jesus Christ your Son.

Please pray for: Hazel and Terry, Valerie Waterman, Tyrone and Pat, Christine Lawton and Lukey and family as they prepare to move.

Pray for our new prayer ministry and Dotun and Penny who are leading it.

Pray for our church and community. Pray that new folk will attend and make a spiritual home here.

St Cuthbert’s weekly – Trinity Sunday

"

Hello my friends

I hope that you have had a lovely week and that you felt encouraged and sustained by Sunday’s service. It was very special for us to be together, especially after the tragic events in London.

This Sunday we move to another major day in our calendar – Trinity Sunday. The Trinity has been one of the most difficult aspects of Christian Theology for people to understand. And yet at its heart is a very simple and revealing truth.

God is, and always has been, about community. The Christian God is no lonely god stuck in heaven. The trinity attests to the power of a community of love at the very heart of the world for all time, and it is a community that all are invited to join.

We made friendship bands last week in church and the Trinity is perhaps the greatest sign of friendship that we have.

………………………………………

Last week we also launched our prayer ministry. I just want to reiterate that we do it because we are excited about doing something new and at being creative about the way we pray with, and for, each other.

There are different strands. If you have a prayer emergency both Penny and Dotun are there to take your call, and I am there too. We want to be always here if you have an emergency or simply have someone on your heart. We also want to pray about our joy and thankfulness.

We’d love it if you make use of our little prayer space in church.  And we will be having a few chances a year for us to get together as a church and pray.

And of course we will continue to meet in an impromptu way to pray for any world or national emergencies that come our way.

You are very welcome to get involved. And of course we honour all the prayer you already offer at home on your own each week. God listens. The angels sing when we pray. We want to build on all the praying that’s already going on.

Go well dear friends.

Steve

The Collect

Holy God, faithful and unchanging: enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth, and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love, that we may truly worship you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

Coming up

Next week’s Cuths Codgers at 12pm on Monday at The Preston.

Please pray for: Hazel and Terry, Valerie Waterman, Tyrone and Pat, Christine Lawton and Lukey and family as they prepare to move.

St Cuthbert’s weekly – 4th June 2017

"

Hello all.

I was very much struck by the story of Richard Nixon I told last week. Here it is again.

Nixon arrives back for an event at the White House filled with ex-presidents and the great and the good. Nixon is an outcast and he is left alone at the side of the room. It is as though tumble-weed blows around whenever he is thought of.

Carter walks into the room. Carter is from a different party and is known as a true man of integrity – rather than the rather grubby and soiled Nixon.

As Carter moves to his seat he sees Nixon, alone and humiliated. Carter changes direction and goes over to Nixon. He holds out his hand and smiles at Nixon.

Welcome home Mr President! Welcome home!

And so begins the slow rehabilitation of an American president – Nixon. It comes as a result of the grace of a fellow sinner and the desire to bring a fallen human out of the wilderness.

I know few better stories of grace. I think this is the kind of grace we all need and we are all called to show.

The Cross is where death and hatred and violence are redeemed by grace. And every life, however genteel has its fair share of sin, even if it in our thoughts more than our deeds.

Grace is what attracted me to Jesus. It still does. It is the currency of the faith and with grace comes something we can’t buy or be born into – peace.

May the peace of the Lord be always with you. Amen.

Go well dear friends.

Steve

The Collect

Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice in your triumph, fill you Church on earth with power and compassion, may we find forgiveness and know your peace, to the Glory of God the father.

Coming up

Next week’s café church. Pentecost Sunday.

St Cuthbert’s weekly – 21st May 2017

"

Hello all.

I hope that my weekly bulletin finds you well.

I very much enjoyed Jon Jones’ talk last week. He spoke about gratitude. He spoke about the beautiful world we live in and being grateful to God for all the nature we see around us.

I love my garden here. I may somehow kill every new plant I put in, but I do love to watch the birds and enjoy the plants left here by Fraser and Sarah.

St Cuthbert was a Celtic Christian. Celtic Christianity is marked by a love of nature and a way of seeing God in the natural world. If any of you have visited Holy island you will understand how Cuthbert felt.

I have just put together a Celtic Communion Service which we will be using on some Thursdays and we may use it one Sunday a month.

Here is the ancient blessing we will be using.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields. Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
I think that this is rather beautiful. I am also sure that many people get a real sense of God by watching the birds and the clouds and the trees and reflecting on how awesome is the planet we live on.

Go well dear friends.

Steve

The Collect

Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call tp your disciples: help your church to obey your command and draw the nations to the fire of your love, to the glory of God the Father.

Coming up

Next week’s services are at 10.30 and 11.30.

St Cuthbert’s weekly – 14th May 2017

"

Hello all.

I hope that my weekly bulletin finds you well. We had many people with us at café church last Sunday. Plus we had a wonderful band. I have asked them to come back after the summer break.

I was struck by something at one point in the service. The band were hammering out a glorious and loud worship song and everyone was singing and getting really into it. It was wonderful and very uplifting.

But then my eye drifted a bit and I spotted Slim’s lovely dog, Darcy. Darcy had been very well behaved, as is our other dog visitor Buster.

And with all that worship and song going on, dear old Darcy was fast asleep. He was relaxed and felt completely safe among all these humans singing and worshipping God.

I personally love having creatures in with us at services (although I would draw the line at snakes and rats). Seeing Darcy so cool and relaxed, reminded me of the calm we can all feel when in God’s presence.

Somewhere in all of us is that calm, safe centre. Life gets tough. Days are busy and we do a lot of stuff to keep the silence at bay. But I often think that God is not in a hurry. He is relaxed, whatever is going on in the world.

So perhaps we can learn from our animal friends and take some time to chill out with God. I certainly aim to take time each day to be quiet and rest and know that god is good. I can’t vouch that’s what our little doggie friend was doing.

Go well dear friends

Steve

The Collect

Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us courage and compassion to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father.

Coming up

Next week’s services are at 10.30 and 11.30.

 

St Cuthbert’s weekly – 7th May 2017

"

Hello all.

This week’s talk was prompted by a teapot! It was the teapot that prompted a family feud that lasted for more than 20 years which is very sad. I am glad to report that by God’s grace that the feud is over and the world looks a much better place. It always does when conflict is ended and we are reconciled – to God, to ourselves and to each other.

Our Saint had a particular ministry – peace-making. His gentle ways kept the church together and helped it in a ferocious period of strife and change.

Myrtle Kerr had a rare insight to the centrality of peace in the Christian life.

This is not an easy peace I would give you my children. It cost me the cross to reconcile you to my father. You must humble yourselves to each other, listen to each other’s pain, share your brother and sisters burden, and seek their forgiveness, if you really want to be reconciled in my love and my way.

The following short prayers may help you as you pray this week.=

Deep peace of the Spirit to you
Peace of the air flowing out of you
Peace of the Son growing strong in you.

And the international peace prayer is also helpful. It has been adapted a bit from the original.

Lead us from fear to trust
Lead us from despair to hope
Lead us from hate to love
Lead us from war to pace
Deep peace of the Son of peace
Fill our hearts, our workplace, our world.
And
In the whirling wheels of the world you are with us
When the day takes its toll you are with us
In the clamour of strife you are with us
When the world turns sour you are with us
When we go to our rest you are with us.

Go well dear friends. Steve

Coming up

Next Sunday we meet at 9.30 and 11am
PCC 8pm on the 8 May
Monday 8th Cuth’s Codgers at The Preston

St Cuthbert’s weekly – Annual Meeting

Hello all.

It seems like only yesterday that I started here – but just over 2 years have passed.

I chose Luke 24 13-32 as the reading for my induction service. It features Jesus walking besides two demoralised followers on the road to Emmaus. At first they don’t know that it is him. But he walks with them and then goes into their home and eats with them.

I had no idea when I chose that reading how prophetic it would be – for me and for this church.

We have become a church that walks besides people – yes, people who are demoralised as well as those who are joyful. We offer hospitality to all.

I had no idea that this would be where God would lead us, but I am glad that he has. I am also glad that as a church we have listened to God and taken part in this great and ongoing adventure.

Someone emailed me some great encouragement last week. It was so appreciated. They said that we have a great team here. I agree. I look around me and feel supported and I learn new things about how to be a priest every day. I like to think that I will continue to be teachable!

Church is teamwork. We support each other and own the failures and successes together.

I was also very happy to hear that our community payback folk threw a barbeque for us. To me, this says everything about what we have become. We have welcomed and valued the payback folk – led in this by David, Margaret and Chevon. To me this says more about where we are heading than any fancy mission statement or plan.

So all I want to say really is thank you. Thank you for your faith, hope and love. Thank you for your sense of humour and hard work. And thank you for hanging in there as we found our feet.

Go well dear friends.

Steve

Coming up

Cath Lawton has died and her funeral is at Brakspear Crematorium on Tuesday 2nd at 12.15. There will be a thanksgiving service for her in church on Wednesday the 3rd at 11am.

Next Sunday’s service is café church at 10am

St Cuthbert’s weekly – Easter day

Hello all.

Five hundred years ago Edmund Spenser, the great Elizabethan poet wrote about Easter. He wrote his poem as a gift to his beloved wife.

The poem captures the sacrifice of Easter and the call for lives to be turned around.

Above all it is about love. The divine love for us and our love for Him and each other.

MOST glorious Lord of Life! that, on this day,
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin;
And, having harrowed hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin;
And grant that we, for whom thou did die,
Being with Thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
May live for ever in felicity!

And that Thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same again;
And for Thy sake, that all like dear did buy,
With love may one another entertain!
So let us love, dear Love, as we ought,
–Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

As many of you know, about once a month I review the papers on Radio London. I can’t fail to notice how the content of the news have changed.

When I started I was reviewing both serious and silly stories. These days the stories are remorselessly bleak. Terrorism, violence and geo-politics seem to be the order of the day.

But is it the real story? And what is there to be done about it?

Christ came into a world full of geo-politics and violence. The news seemed to be remorselessly grim. And Good Friday was, of course, the height of grimness. The mission seemed to have failed and violence won.

But there was a bigger and better story to be told. In the midst of that violence God was there. He was there healing people, teaching them, inspiring them and walking with them. The Cross says that violence cannot win in the long-run and that Jesus’ story counters any narrative of nihilism and destruction.

It has been a pleasure sharing the Easter journey with you. We go forward as Easter people – full of hope and faith.

God is never finished with us.

Happy Easter week. Steve

Coming up

Next Sunday’s services are at 9.30am and 11am.

St Cuthbert’s weekly – 9th April 2017

Hello all.

The above is a picture of Welsh poet and priest R S Thomas. Thomas was a complicated character, whose faith never came easy.

The poem below is by him and is called The Coming.

It is sombre and perhaps best picks up the shadow hanging over Palm Sunday. The joy of Palm Sunday is short-lived and the acclamation soon becomes condemnation. The poem picks up on the intense love of God for us and the sacrifice He makes.

It contrasts the majesty of the heavens and the smallness of our world. In doing so it really brings home the enormity of what we celebrate at Easter and in Lent.

Above all it shows that Jesus did what he did freely. I find it very moving and rather wonderful.

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows; a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

Go well dear friends

Steve

Coming up

Friday. Film and food.

Monday April 10th Codger’s at 12.30.

Holy Week Monday 10th-Wednesday 12th 7.30pm evening services

Maundy Thursday 8pm service

Good Friday 1-2pm Hour at the cross

Easter Day at 10am.