Lent Lunches start on Monday February 19th.
Every week from 12.00pm to 1.30pm in the Silverstone Church Rooms.
The winners of the January draw were Tina and Darren Emerton.
As we begin this New Year, the year of our Lord 2018, we have the wonder of new opportunities.
We have taken time through Advent, through the build up to New Year in the last days of 2017 to reflect and look back.
Now, let us look forward.
We always look ahead with the lessons of the past to guide us, but the past is not to restrict us or to stop us from moving on.
I am often asked the history of our churches, when were they built, etc. I have to say, my answer is usually that I am not really overly interested in these facts, my interest is in the people today and how we can work together for tomorrow, for the Kingdom of God which is for us, today and into the future.
Please be assured, this is not to be disrespectful to the heritage of our churches, our church communities from the years, many years, before us. There is much to learn and to be helped with from the past. However, we do not live in the past, we live in the present and we can only make any difference for God’s mission if we work today, with people who live today, with a view to tomorrow.
And our tomorrow now is the year that is to come, these 12 months.
The question then is: What can we do for the Kingdom of Heaven in the time we have?
In the coming year we shall have many opportunities to worship God, to learn about our relationship with God and share the Good News of Jesus Christ in our communities, with our neighbours and the many visitors that will come amongst us in the time ahead.
It is in the way we live, as people who have the light of Christ in our lives, filling us with hope and with love that matters; that will make a difference and that should draw more and more people to share in the worship of God and the joy of being Church.
Some of the highlights to look ahead for in our churches will be 14 weddings and one Renewal of Vows service. Hopefully we shall have Baptism Services to enjoy too.
We are going to follow through the churches year, with Epiphany, the Baptism of Christ, Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, leading us onwards with Mothering Sunday, Palm Sunday [more about that Sunday elsewhere in this edition of ‘Praise Be!’] Holy Week and Easter! Then to Ascension and Pentecost, this period in which we shall observe the Global Wave of Prayer entitled, Thy Kingdom Come, hopefully with events in our Benefice.
We move through to Trinity Sunday and then the Sundays after Trinity, during which time we shall celebrate our Patronal Festivals, celebrating the life of our five individual parishes.
It would be good this year if a little more effort was made to support one another on these occasions, this is a reflection on the last couple of years, it seems that, for many, Benefice Services are an excuse for an extra Sunday ‘off’, though why any Christian would not want to make the effort to attend worship on the day of Resurrection is beyond me!
We will have the events of the motor racing world affecting us through the summer, the Grand Prix, World Endurance Championship, MotoGp [the bikes], Rally Cross World Championship event for the first time, along with Silverstone Classic and many other race meetings. These are opportunities for us, we can show hospitality, share Good News; show that the Church, that Jesus is present and relevant in all aspects of life.
We will continue on through 2018 with Rogationtide, with Harvest, All Saints and All Souls before we come to the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Great War, when we come to Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday [they are the same day this year, the 11th November falling on a Sunday], although it continues to be a logistical challenge, it is going to be important to make a big effort this year in particular as we mark Remembrance. I know that plans are already being put in place for these events.
And then, we shall come around to Christ the King, Advent and the run up to Christmas once again.
What else can we do as Church though?
I wonder if, when events happen in the world and fund raising is required, should we, the churches not be at the forefront of this work, these activities? The community outside the church often sees us and all they see is that we are raising money for ourselves. This is needed, but we should also be those who respond speedily when there are issues to be addressed.
We are all created in the image of God, how much do we reflect the wonder, the beauty; the awesome power of this truth in the way we live?
As we look ahead, as we think on how we can be Christ’s Body in the world today, let us look out for the opportunities to be compassionate, generous and loving, for this is the image of God we see in Jesus, and this is how, when we are being those who follow Jesus, we should live.
I have every confidence that we can and will be the people of God, Christians worthy of the title and so I wish everyone a truly Happy New Year, a year that may be filled with the power and wonder of the love of God.