The latest July/August edition of our newsletter Praise Be! is out.
Winner of the June draw was Tricia Holmes
The winners of the May draw were.....
Mike and Jill Greenhalgh
The winners of the April draw were.....
Tony and Peta Travis
From Revd Paul
This is a continuing time to celebrate.
As I write we are in the Easter Season, time for the Easter People of God to rejoice as we acknowledge the saving Grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ, who, though He died on that first Good Friday, rose again to life on the third day, the first Easter Day.
This magazine is about this story, and so much more, all that we can discover in the Love of God that is the reason for the season, the meaning of life, and the truth of hope and of Love.
In Jesus death, sin, wrongdoing, all that we do that may be called bad or evil, all of this Jesus took to the cross. The eternal effects of all this that would be harmful is taken, crushed and abolished so that we may live our lives through this earthly time without that burden, but with hope and light.
Although in the time period covered by this edition of ‘Praise Be!’ we move from the Easter Season through Pentecost and on into the Sunday’s after Trinity, we continue to be those who are celebrating, for as I said at the outset of this piece, and as I have said in many sermons since Easter, we are the Easter People of God.
At Taizé, where I go for Spiritual Refreshing, each weekend there is the acknowledgement of the Passion as on the Friday, there are prayers around the Cross, where everyone is invited to lay at the feet of the cross their burdens, all that is damaging them and stopping them from being fully obedient to Jesus Christ. And then, each Sunday is a repeat of the Easter Celebration, following a service of Light on the Saturday night.
I believe that this is how we should be living out our worshipping, community life as Churches here too, each Sunday being a time of celebration of the wonder of Christ’s victory won at Easter, and time for us all to rejoice as the Easter People of God.
Our lives should be centred on the Easter truth; that is that Death has lost its power over us, we have the wonder of life immortal; our sins are removed from our record.
And then, as people who are inspired by the wonder that we are amongst the redeemed, surely our response is to be to share this Good News, this blessing?
We are called upon to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world today.
How we do this is up to us, in prayerful consideration of all that God has done for us, of all the Christ calls on us to continue and all that the early churches writers and witnesses teach us as we find in the Bible.
I mention elsewhere in this edition of ‘Praise Be!’ about Outreach, I encourage you to look at this and to take your faith seriously.
One thing that comes up often as I go to meet people in our Churches, to talk about upcoming services or to discuss other items, is that the Churches generally have to be unlocked when we meet!
I know that this matter has been discussed in the PCC’s and by many in the Churches; however, I would like this to be thought of again. Can the Church buildings be left open during the daytime?
I think that this is important that these buildings that are wonderful in themselves are more if they are places of Christian Spirituality and Prayerfulness.
A closed church suggests a closed faith and community.
Some of you may know that I also prefer the gates to a churchyard to be open, physically open so that they indicate that the space is open for people to enjoy.
The same goes for the church buildings, they should, wherever and whenever possible, be open, unlocked and available for people, locals and visitors alike to be able to access the space.
This comes with a risk, of course. Therefore we must minimise the risk be put away all things of value to ensure that these are not stolen, also to remove the temptation from the weak.
This comes with work, of course. There will need to be a degree of volunteering to unlock and then lock again the buildings, morning and evening.
I ask that you think about what it is saying to the world when our churches are locked, to consider the wonder of the churches being opened, [just ask our sisters and brothers at Abthorpe], to pray and listen to what Jesus would have us do with buildings and the opportunity these give us to make safe, peaceful and spiritual space available in and for our communities.
Jesus took a risk, suffered for it, and then won the most amazing victory, for us, for you and me, as I reflect on this I think about this wonderful generosity and sign of the love of God and am inspired to see how best to respond by the way of living today, myself and for us all as the Church, the body of Christ in the world today.