5th February 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 5th February 2012

Repent O Sinner


Once upon a time, there was a painter named Smokey who was very interested in making a penny where he could,
so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further.

As it happened, he got away with this for some time, but eventually a Baptist Church decided to do a big restoration job on the outside of one of their biggest buildings.

Smokey put in a bid, and, because his price was so low, he got the job.

So he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks,
 and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with water...

Well, Smokey was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Smokey clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded  by puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

Smokey thought maybe this was a judgment from Almighty God, so he got down on his knees and cried out:

"Oh, God, Oh God, forgive me; what should I do?"

And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke. . . "Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!"


29th January 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 29th January 2012

Moving forwards

Last Saturday some of us attended a day conference sponsored by the diocese on the future Work of the Church in the Diocese (Transforming Presence). The week before we held our own meeting at  Barts to discuss our future ministry and, of course,  we still await the Parish Review; so  I feel as if I am being peppered by meetings, all on much the same subject.

A number of parallel themes have emerged from these meetings.  One was  Mission in the Community  and here the work of Bart’s Centre was highlighted. The Centre is a major bridge between ourselves and the community, and Centre users are seen as stakeholders in the “joint enterprise” of the Centre, rather than simply as tenants or visitors.

A second theme was the importance of Children’s and Youth work. This is always a major issue and much good work goes on, including our Sunday schools and “Stubbers” weekend, but there is scope for more and this could be an area of closer co-operation with other local Churches, and not necessarily C of E churches.

Worship was stressed and we felt open to the possibility of greater variety of worship, perhaps reflecting our own diverse backgrounds. Finally, good and sympathetic pastoral care is essential: we will be looking for a “people person”!

Some of these themes will be discussed further at the Deanery Synod meeting at Barts this Monday and all are welcome to the meeting – not just Synod members.  All will be taken on board at DCC and PCC levels over the next weeks, as  we prepare the Parish Profile, and I hope each of you will continue to help us with your input into the process.


22nd January 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 22nd January 2012

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 

The theme for this week of Prayer for Christian Unity is Change. You can find daily acts of worship and prayers on this theme on the Churches Together for Britain and Ireland website.  www.cbti.org.uk.

As the CBTI says: ‘Change is at the heart of our Christian faith. Saint Paul said that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, and we are called to live as children in the light. Change is at the heart of human life.

Change is also at the heart of the ecumenical movement. When we pray for the unity of the church we are praying that the churches that we know and which are so familiar to us will change as they conform more closely to Christ. This is an exciting vision, but also a challenging one. Furthermore, when we pray for this transforming unity we are also praying for change in the world.’ So let us pray this week:

Almighty God,

Through Jesus you say to us that whoever wishes to be first must become the least and the servant of all.

We know that your victory is won through the powerlessness of the cross. We pray that your church may be one.

Teach us to accept humbly that this unity is a gift of your Spirit;

Through this gift, change and transform us and make us more like your Son Jesus Christ.    Amen.


15th January 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 15th January 2012

God’s Call to You Us

What do you say when God calls on you?  How do you know God is calling you?  How do you know this voice comes from God?

How do you know what God is calling you to do?

The above partially describes the confusion Samuel faced and indeed the confusion many Christians find themselves in as they try to respond to their faith.

To be created is to be called by God. We are called in love to participate in God’s creative power and in the immense and infinite opportunities this entails.

Discernment — ie fine-tuning-in and listening to God’s call, prayerfully reflecting on that call, clarifying what that call is, and responding to what you feel and hear is a daily and an ongoing task. For Abraham, openness to God’s call was unconditional.

The “motto” of the Secondary School I went to as a teenager was in Latin:

Domine ad sum” ……..which translates: “Here I am Lord”.

Like Samuel “Here I am, Lord” is our frail response to the call we hear/feel coming to us. The “Domine ad sum” has to be repeated everyday and allowed to echo and permeate all we do.

Think of the words in this old Baptist hymn:

Hark the voice of Jesus calling………..

If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus; You can say he died for all.

It is also good to remember that whenever God  calls, and this call is responded to, unconditionally and in truthfulness, God in turn reveals himself to the respondent and says: “Here I am”.

                             Fr Fred

8th January 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 8th January 2012

Epiphany Season

The Epiphany season calls us to ‘wake up’ and open all our senses to God’s reflection of the Light, in the birth of Jesus.  ‘Arise, Shine for your Light has come’, the revealing of Jesus Christ as Light to the Gentiles has come. This heavenly light was the one the magi, spiritual leaders from the East, followed to a humble place of a child’s home.  Paul confirms that the mystery of God is in this child.

In Him, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of God, revelation experienced by the magi also.

The magi’s role in the Epiphany story reminds us that God’s revelation come to all people and nations. As spiritual leaders from another faith, Zoroastrians, they believed all moments can reveal God’s wonder.

But the magi story is marked with tragedy and threat, as the story unfolds, they were warned in a dream to return home by another route as the king sees Jesus as a threat and will do anything to destroy Him. For Christians in Jos, Nigeria, this tragedy and threat came to pass, when their place of worship was burnt to the ground on Christmas Day, by a militant group, Boko Haram,a modern day King Herod, bound to destroy the Light of Christ.

As we reflect on the Light that has come upon us this season, we bring to light the plight of Christians in Jos and all persecuted Christians to see the light of hope, joy and peace to come, despite the thick darkness around.