Stephen's blog

blog

Hi! I am Stephen Walker and I have been the vicar of Holy Trinity since July 2006. I am married to Sharon and have two grown up children. In my spare time I enjoy nothing more than taking in the beauty of God’s creation in walking and jogging particularly when the sun is shining as it often does in Tewkesbury.

Pray for RevivalPosted: 25th October 2017

I was saddened to read this week of a report that revealed the findings of the Church of England’s latest statistics for Mission based on last year’s data. It showed that the Church of England is haemorrhaging badly and that those of us who follow Jesus in this country are increasingly a shrinking minority.

CONTINUE READING

Harvest Thanksgiving - Toilet TwinningPosted: 28th September 2017

Dear Friends

Welcome to our service of Harvest Thanksgiving today, coordinated by Sam and the young people. On this occasion we express our gratitude to God for the harvest and his provision for all that he has given to us, ‘our daily bread’. We recognise that following on from recent dreadful events in our world (hurricanes, earthquakes and refugee crises to name but a few) and their long term impact on so many lives, we are those who have been blessed with so much.

CONTINUE READING

All ChangePosted: 31st August 2017

Dear Friends

September always heralds a season of change; children move into new classes, start new schools, leave home to start a College course or get married or start a new job or career. ‘Change’ is a feature of life that we either welcome or dread. There are foundational changes happening in our society and world at many different levels that can create concern and anxiety and should bring us to our knees in prayer. Yet in a sea of moving currents of change we look to our God who is unchanging, whose love endures for ever, who remains Sovereign  and who is over all. I think of those words from that famous prayer /hymn:

 ‘O Thou who changest not, abide with me’.

CONTINUE READING

The best and the worstPosted: 19th June 2017

Posted: 19 June 2017

Dear Friends

The last few weeks have seen some distressing images played out on our TV screens. The mass murders in Manchester and London as a result of terrorism and this week the horrific fire in Grenfell Tower have stirred our hearts and emotions. In the midst of all the tears and pain of loss the outpouring of love and generosity and determination not to give way to bitterness and rage is uplifting. To hear stories of support, kindness, resilience and unity demonstrates the best of our shared humanity in contrast to the violence of the worst. Who cannot be deeply touched by those images of the block of flats going up in flames and the unfolding tragedy affecting all those residents? And yet the tangible expressions of love from within and beyond the communities affected gives hope that despite everything, all is not lost. In the darkest of times, a light will shine.

‘The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it’

 (John 1:5)

 

CONTINUE READING

Vicar's LetterPosted: 31st August 2016

Vicar’s Letter – September 2016

‘Game changers’

‘Change the game – don’t let the game change you’

Dear friends,

Recent estimates suggest there are up to 12,000 people in Britain today held in slavery. The Salvation Army has reported the number of people that they have cared for who have been rescued from slavery as having increased five- fold in five years. William Wilberforce in his day recognised the inhumanity of this evil trade and dedicated his life to seeing it abolished through an Act of Parliament. He was a man who was not content to leave things as they were but resolved with the help of others to change the narrative, to change the course of history and spend himself,... CONTINUE READING

'Growing Together'Posted: 4th July 2016

Vicar’s letter – July 2016

‘Growing Together’

Dear friends

‘Who you become while you are waiting is as important as what you are waiting for’

When you face a queue of people – how do you respond? I remember some years ago taking the family to visit Madame Tussauds in London. As we approached the building I could see this long, long queue of people snaking around the building waiting to get in and my spirits plummeted. That was until I saw an alternative lane for those visitors with vouchers, and this lane had hardly anyone in it. ‘Don’t we have vouchers?’ I remarked to Sharon. Indeed we did – ‘Tesco vouchers’. The joy (and a little guilt) of walking around the building past... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for JunePosted: 1st June 2016

Vicar’s Letter – June 2016

 

‘Am I not sending You?’ (Judges 6:14)

Dear friends

Our strap line of ‘Building Bridges’ doesn’t just relate to our local community, it corresponds to those who represent us as Mission Partners in Global mission. I like to think of Holy Trinity as a ‘Local Church with a Global Perspective’.

Since Jenny Green returned from Kisoro to take up a mission post in Bradford, we have not had a dedicated Mission Partner representing our ‘Global Perspective’ on the African continent. We continue to support the legacy of Jenny’s work, The Potter’s Village, with Mike and Sue Nash providing a point of contact for prayer and fund raising but no particular Mission... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for MayPosted: 1st June 2016

Vicar’s Letter – June 2016

‘Am I not sending You?’ (Judges 6:14)

Dear friends

Our strap line of ‘Building Bridges’ doesn’t just relate to our local community, it corresponds to those who represent us as Mission Partners in Global mission. I like to think of Holy Trinity as a ‘Local Church with a Global Perspective’.

Since Jenny Green returned from Kisoro to take up a mission post in Bradford, we have not had a dedicated Mission Partner representing our ‘Global Perspective’ on the African continent. We continue to support the legacy of Jenny’s work, The Potter’s Village, with Mike and Sue Nash providing a point of contact for prayer and fund raising but no particular Mission... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter AprilPosted: 1st April 2016

Vicar’s Letter April 2016

A Call to Prayer

Dear friends

A couple of weeks ago the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to all the Anglican Clergy across the country calling all Christians to join together in a week of prayer for the evangelisation of our nation. Their hope is that a mighty wave of prayer will sweep across the country in every city, town and village, uniting Christians and communities in a longing to see God’s kingdom come.

This ties in with the encouragement from Bishop Rachel, who has requested a call to prayer from Ascension to Pentecost, to listen to what God is saying to us. This will start with a day of prayer at Gloucester Cathedral on Thursday 5th May... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for MarchPosted: 1st March 2016

Vicar’s letter – March 2016

‘Cell Church Sunday 8th May ’

Dear friends

It’s His idea!

Jesus initiated the idea of small groups by calling together a group of 12, that ‘they might be with him’. The idea was that he would invest his life, his teaching, his Spirit in them so that they would in turn continue his work when he was taken from them. That first group of 12 were an odd mix of individuals: different backgrounds, different temperaments, different agendas. Who would have thought that such a mixed group could ever be a force for good in the world? Yet it illustrates how God is able to take each one of us in all our ‘weirdness’ (okay I’m speaking for myself!) and craft something... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's LetterPosted: 1st February 2016

Vicar’s Letter – February

 

Dear Friends

Having served nearly 30 years in Church leadership the Diocese have offered me the opportunity to take a Sabbatical. The word, sabbatical is derived from the same root as Sabbath. This indicates that a fundamental purpose of a sabbatical is to have a time of rest and renewal so as to return refreshed to one’s ministry.

It is not a holiday (although it might contain elements of a holiday), nor is it doing the same job in a different location but it does typically include time for travel, rest, prayer and the broadening of one’s sense of God’s work in the world. It is a time to nourish one’s soul, to pause, step back and behold God and... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's LetterPosted: 29th January 2016

Vicar’s Letter – February

Dear Friends

 

 

Having served nearly 30 years in Church leadership the Diocese have offered me the opportunity to take a Sabbatical. The word, sabbatical is derived from the same root as Sabbath. This indicates that a fundamental purpose of a sabbatical is to have a time of rest and renewal so as to return refreshed to one’s ministry.

It is not a holiday (although it might contain elements of a holiday), nor is it doing the same job in a different location but it does typically include time for travel, rest, prayer and the broadening of one’s sense of God’s work in the world. It is a time to nourish one’s soul, to pause, step back and behold God and... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for January 2016Posted: 22nd December 2015

Vicar’s Letter January 2016

Dear friends

May I begin by wishing you and those you love much joy and peace in this New Year. There has been much to celebrate and rejoice in during the Christmas season. A big thank you to all who contributed in so many ways to the ministry of this church as together we declared the Good News of a Saviour’s birth. There were so many wonderful worship opportunities, so many guests, so many parents and children from the local schools.

The sacrificial contributions of so many people and in so many ways, demonstrates the glory of a church fully alive, reaching out in love and service. It also reflects the core values that are the DNA of our community life... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for DecemberPosted: 18th November 2015

Vicar’s Letter – December 2015

‘The Light in the Darkness’

Dear friends

We welcome the season of advent as a timely reminder of where our hope lies and in whom we place our trust.  Although the switching on of the Christmas lights in Tewkesbury last Sunday might be for many simply an annual tradition in the run up to Christmas, for us, with the recent events in Paris in mind, it is a prophetic symbol of the coming of Him who is the Light of the World.

He is, ‘The true light that gives light to every man’ (John 1:9).

This stands in stark contrast to the deep darkness that exists in the hearts of the few that has the ability to terrorise the lives of so many. Such is the state of... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter 'Sewing for Eternity'Posted: 21st October 2015

Vicar’s Letter - November 2015

Dear friends

Prayer is the most important activity of your life.

 

 It is the main way in which you develop a relationship with our Father in heaven. If you love someone naturally you will want to spend time in their presence communicating with them. Like any relationship, that communication can take many different forms. Each of us will have our own preference as to how, when and where we communicate with our heavenly Father. But however we do it and whenever we do it, the one thing we must do is prioritise prayer.

For this reason following on from the success of the 24 hours of prayer we have had in the past, I am delighted that the Intercessors... CONTINUE READING

'Amazing Grace'Posted: 2nd October 2015

Vicar’s Letter – October 2015

‘Amazing Grace’

Dear Friends

Today in our service we will hear the stories of those who have encountered the living presence of God in their lives as they make their commitment to be baptised. Everyone of us has a story to tell which is unique, individual and personal to the circumstance of our lives. I recently came across a story of God’s love and grace given in another church.

 

     ‘It was one of the most moving and powerful testimonies I have ever encountered. A former sex worker, drug addict and dealer described how she had reached a point at which in her own words, she was ‘dead’. She said her ‘blood was black’ and her ‘heart was black’.... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's letter for SeptemberPosted: 3rd September 2015

Vicar’s Letter – September 2015

Living a life of Fruitfulness

Dear friends
 

How can we live a fruitful life?

 

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) is best known for the Nobel Peace Prize. Less well known is the fact that Alfred Nobel also invented dynamite. As well as a chemist, engineer and innovator, he was a weapons’ manufacturer.

In 1888, Alfred’s brother, Ludvig, died. A French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary by mistake. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite, stating: ‘The merchant of death is dead…Dr Alfred Nobel who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.’

Alfred Nobel was devastated by the foretaste... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for JulyPosted: 2nd July 2015

Vicar’s Letter: July 2015

 

How to Develop Great Friendships

 

Dear Friends

One of the joys for me of our recent weekend away at Cefn Lea was seeing new friendships develop within our church family. By wearing name badges, sharing meals together and serving one another we were able to meet new people and get to know others better.

This is what our weekend away together was all about:

growing friendships with one another and growing our friendship with God.

Combating loneliness

It is true that sometimes our journey through life can feel quite lonely. Even when we are part of a church, you might wonder if you have any true friends who will care for you when things are not... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for JunePosted: 1st June 2015

Stewardship Sunday – 21st June 2015

Dear Friends

On Sunday 21st June we will be having our annual Stewardship Sunday. This is the occasion in our year when we take the opportunity to review the proportion of our income we regularly set aside as our offering to God and his ministry through the life of this church. (Actually I forgot to include some teaching on giving last year so it is now two years since we have addressed this aspect of our discipleship).

Over the course of the next few weeks will you carefully and prayerfully bring this matter before the Lord and seek to be obedient to what he puts on your heart?

Why do we need a Stewardship Sunday?

It is good practise every year to review what we give to the Lord’s work. There will be those amongst us who are in a position to be able to increase their giving, but with so many other things going on in our lives, it is easy to get distracted and just never get round to it. Stewardship Sunday provides a focus and an action point.

Stewardship of the resources that belong to God but which have been entrusted to us is a question of obedience to what God requires of us and that is an important principle as we approach this matter.

Jesus spoke more about money than almost any other subject except the Kingdom of God, affording the subject an unusual amount of time and energy. Why was this? Perhaps it was that Jesus could see how money could become a threat to our relationship with God and therefore knew the power of this potential snare.

The Parable of the Rich Fool -Jesus prefaced his parable about the rich fool with the words:

‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possession’Luke 12:13.

Then he told the story of the rich man who tore down his barns in order to build bigger ones, so that he could now ‘take life easy, eat drink and be merry’. We might commend this man for his prudence. The verdict of Jesus however was that he was a fool for, ‘this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ Jesus’ final comment is a challenge to us all: to what extent do we store up things for ourselves and to what extent are we rich towards God?

Spiritual Power.

Money, as we all well know has power to attract us, to motivate us and indeed capture our hearts. St Paul wrote to Timothy that ‘the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil’ (2 Timothy 6:9,10). Jesus knew how we can become enslaved by money and possessions and that is why he spoke so forcefully on this subject in the context of giving, which releases us from its snare. Jesus tells us that we belong to another kingdom and that we should have radically different priorities because of what he has done for us. He encourages us not to store up treasure for ourselves on earth but to invest in eternity because we will have forever to be glad that we did!

Are our current giving habits in line with God’s will for us?

Our vision is to see an increase of God’s coming Kingdom in Tewkesbury and beyond. But for this to happen we need to exercise faithfulness and obedience in this area of giving. Whether we are unemployed, living on a pension, a student with limited means or a well paid high earner, we all are required to take stock of our income however small or large it might be and review our giving to God.  God wants to release his blessings upon us but can only pour into our hands if our hands are open. Jesus encourages his disciples:

‘Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’Luke 6:38

What does the Bible teach about giving to God?

Enshrined in Old Testament law, as a sign of their allegiance to God and as recognition that all things actually belong to God (Psalm 24:1), the people were commanded to give a tenth of their income. It was called the ‘tithe’. This meant the top 10% of all their income (the ‘first fruits’) belonged to God before any other expense was taken into account and it was deemed to be ’holy to the Lord’ (Leviticus 27:30).  The tithe was to be set apart as an offering to God with great blessing for the people if they observed this requirement but severe penalties if they did not fulfil their obligations. Indeed in the words of the prophet Malachi, God accuses the people of robbing Him of that which they were commanded to give, by not offering the first 10% (the tithe) which is His due. In this they had unlawful possession of what belonged to God. Yet at the same time God promises great blessing to those who honour Him and show themselves to be faithful.

 ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse….test me in this’, says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it’.  (Malachi 3:10)

God’s Generosity to us.

This is the only time in scripture where God challenges us to test Him. Normally, we are cautioned not to put the Lord our God to the test but in terms of giving faithfully to God’s work, He says ‘test me’, in other words, ‘just see if you can out give me’.

Throughout scripture lies the promise that when we honour the Lord God with what we have and give back to Him the ‘tithe’ then there is the reciprocal promise that ‘your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats brim over with wine’.  It’s a picture of God’s faithfulness to us when we are faithful to Him.

‘A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed’(Proverbs 11:25)

The New Testament.

 Jesus, living in a culture where tithing was an accepted practice, didn’t dismiss the principle of the tithe (Luke 11:42) but calls us to something deeper. ‘Giving’ represents the whole of our lives not just a portion of it. Instead of just 10% belonging to God, we understand that everything belongs to Him and our job is to be a faithful steward of all that He has entrusted to us. We give because God first gave to us. He has given us forgiveness in Jesus, rescued us from an eternity cast out from His presence, given us the gift of His Holy Spirit and the Christ like character that is consequently being seen in us and much, much more. Jesus doesn’t just ask for a portion of our lives, He calls for full surrender:

‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’(Mark 8:34).

How do we give?

When it comes to our offerings, Jesus calls us to give according to certain principles:

            Generously. Jesus drew attention to the widow who gave generously and sacrificially. She gave ‘out of her poverty’ all she had to live on even though it was only a couple of pennies.  In contrast, the rich, although giving more, gave out of their wealth what they could easily afford (Luke 21-4).  Therefore, their giving lacked any real cost or sacrifice on their part.

Sacrificially. Giving is supposed to cost us, it is not supposed to be our loose change that we can easily afford or that we will never notice going out of our account each month – it is an offering that demonstrates our gratitude to God in response to the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

You can never out give God– He always gives so much more back, a fact of which many can testify.  We give, not because God needs our gifts but because we need to give so that we don’t become stingy and tight fisted. Becoming like Jesus opens us up to a spirit of open handed generosity that flows out in acts of extravagant love.

How much should I then give?

Although we are not under the Old Testament Law but under the wonderful free grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, should we therefore expect to give less than was the basic requirement under the old covenant? Many Christians believe that a good guideline for giving to God is to use the tithe as our starting point.  For some, 10% will be too little, God may expect us to give at a higher level if we are to observe the principles of generosity and sacrifice. Perhaps a more pertinent question might be: ‘How much may I keep?’ rather than ‘How much should I give?’  As a response to God’s love for us and all He has done in our lives, we should all commit ourselves to regular planned giving based on our income. We need to prayerfully consider what He requires of us and then commit ourselves and give with an attitude of joy and cheerfulness, not resentment, ‘For God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Celebrating Faithful Giving.

Many in our fellowship already understand these principles and regularly tithe their gross income to the ministry and mission of Holy Trinity. That is wonderful and is the reason why so much has been and continues to be done. We all benefit from their faithful giving.

A Challenge to us all.

 As we look to Stewardship Sunday we all need to step back, look at our income and review how much we give regularly to God’s work here as part of our discipleship and desire to follow Jesus. It may be that God is calling us to increase our level of giving. We need to consider carefully our entire income and work out what % we are committing ourselves to give. Some of us may have had pay increases and we have not so far adjusted our tithe to reflect this. Giving by Direct Debit really helps us to budget our accounts, so if possible I would encourage you to choose this method (and pick up a leaflet about this from the Foyer).

Stewardship Sunday 21st June

Giving to God’s work is about obedience to Jesus, it is about being a faithful steward of all God has entrusted to us, it is about receiving back in abundance from God, but it is also an exciting adventure to see the release that God brings into our lives that in turn brings a blessing to others.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       In Christ,    Stephen

CONTINUE READING

'Suffering and a God of love'Posted: 11th May 2015

Vicar’s Letter – May 2015

‘Suffering and a God of Love’

Dear friends

We are all too conscious of the images of human suffering beamed into our living rooms on a daily basis. How we understand the existence of suffering in the context of a God of Love has always been a question that regularly arises on the Alpha course.

As tragic and devastating as the earthquake in Nepal has been and the ensuing enormity of loss of life, it is easier to understand suffering when it has arisen as a result of human choice. The freedom to choose how we want to behave is part of our human dignity. Free will is a gift given to us by God which He hopes will result in people choosing to love and live in... CONTINUE READING

'Sticky Faith'Posted: 7th May 2015

‘Sticky Faith Sunday’

Why Our Children and Young People Need You

Dear Friends

Today we welcome Steve Hutchinson from Scripture Union to help us think through how we can be a multi generational church. We want everyone to be involved in building life enhancing relationships with one another and grow together as a family.

Imagine Holy Trinity as a place where:

A young person walks into a church. He bounces straight up to a 70 year old, gives her a warm hug and calls out ‘Hey Clive!’ to a warden in the vestry before starting to set up for an evening of prayer and worship.

He doesn’t sit at the back of the church with the other teenagers. He doesn’t even sit with his own family.... CONTINUE READING

Jesus in the Wilderness - Contending with TemptationPosted: 27th March 2015

Vicar’s Letter – April 2015

Resurrection Life

Dear friends

Next Sunday marks the centrepiece of our faith when Jesus destroyed the power of death by breaking forth from the tomb. Our faith rests on a physical restoration to life by Jesus for as St Paul writes to the Corinthian Church:

‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man(Jesus). For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made a live’

(1 Corinthians 15:14, 20 – 22).

The experience of... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's LetterPosted: 26th February 2015

Vicar’s Letter – March 2015

Lent – ‘God’s Springtime’

Dear Friends

After the recent cold snap, isn’t it lovely to see some sunshine and the emergence of spring? Flowers are beginning to push their way up from the wet soil of winter and the other day I smelt the first cut of freshly mown grass! The rhythm of the seasons reminds us of the need to order our lives so as to achieve a healthy balance of work, rest and play - time for personal recreation, family and friends.

The season of Lent, reminds us of the need to take the opportunity to step back and reflect on our life with God, allowing Him to undertake a spiritual spring clean in the run up to the great celebration of Easter.... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's letter for FebruaryPosted: 29th January 2015

Vicar’s Letter – February 2015

‘The Joy of Serving’

Dear friends

In 1882 Charles T Stud was a member of the English cricket team which was beaten by Australia for the first time. Studd was a Christian and was wondering what to do with his life. In October 1884, he said, ‘How could I spend the best hours of my life in working for myself and for the honours and pleasures of this world while thousands and thousands of souls are perishing every day without having heard of the Lord Jesus Christ, going down to Christless and hopeless graves?’

He went to a missionary meeting and heard John McCarthy tell of the great need for workers in China. Through this, he became convinced that God... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's letter for January 2015Posted: 7th January 2015

Vicar’s letter – January 2015

‘Prayer changes things’

Dear friends

May I start this letter by wishing you all a very happy and peaceful new year as we venture forth in God’s purposes together.

This year I would like above all, to see us as a worshipping community being more intentional about engaging in prayer. Prayer begins and ends with God. He calls us into prayer, just as he calls us into friendship with himself. When we position ourselves in his presence whether that be via prayer that is earnest, crying out, pleading with God or silent and reflective listening to his still small voice, we demonstrate to God that we are making space for Him because he is first in our lives.... CONTINUE READING

'Time to accelerate'Posted: 27th November 2014

Vicar’s Letter Advent 2014

 

‘Time to Accelerate’

 

Dear friends

Last weekend Lewis Hamilton became world racing car champion for the second time. His achievements on the Gran Prix circuit happen only because he knows the exact time and speed with which to accelerate in order to win the race and not spin off at one of the bends on the track.

There are times in our lives when we may feel stuck and unable to move forward at any pace. At other times openings begin to appear and it is time to accelerate.

Acceleration is both exciting and challenging. I love the surge of power and speed you experience when a plane is about to take off.

Christmas – a time to accelerate

In the... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's letter for NovemberPosted: 29th October 2014

Vicar's letter for November, 2014

CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter for OctoberPosted: 13th October 2014

Vicar’s Letter October 2014 - ‘The Lines Are Open’

 

Cefn Lea – Church Weekend Away 26-28th June 2015

www.cefnlea.co.uk

 

Dear Friends

Building on the excitement of our weekend away as a church family last year, many of you have already booked your places for next June and therefore benefited from the priority booking of ‘first come first served’.

 

For those who have not yet booked, you have two more Sundays (after the service in the Hall) with which to make your booking. Deposits (non- refundable) won’t be due until the end of November, so no payment at this stage please.

 

Last year a large proportion of the congregation were able to join us on the weekend away... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's letter for SeptemberPosted: 28th August 2014

Vicar’s Letter – September 2014

 

‘The Prayer Challenge’

Dear friends

It seems everywhere you go these days people are looking to undertake some activity that will provide them with a sense of challenge. We recently stayed with friends who had participated in the Oxfam Trailtreker challenge in Yorkshire. The idea is to find a group of four people who will together stretch themselves to walk either 40, 60 or 100 km over various terrain (hills and valleys) within 30 hours to test their endurance, determination, mental resilience and ability to work together as a team…. and raise lots of money for Oxfam at the same time!

Thousands of people participate in these kinds of challenges... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter JulyPosted: 26th June 2014

Vicar’s Letter – July 2014

‘Holy Discontent’

Dear Friends,

 On 27 May 1940, King George VI called for a national day of prayer following the realisation that the British troops in Northern France were at risk of ‘total annihilation’. Three extraordinary events occurred following that day of prayer. First, Hitler overruled his Generals and halted the advance of his troops (something that has never been fully explained). Second, a storm of unprecedented scale grounded the Luftwaffe that was poised to attack the evacuating troops. And third, despite the storm, a serene calm settled over the Channel days later which enabled a vast armada of boats to come and rescue the escaping men.... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter JunePosted: 19th June 2014

‘Make the most of your life’
 
Dear friends
 
Shane Claiborne writes in his book, ‘Irresistible Revolution’ about when people ask him what Mother Theresa was really like. ‘Sometimes it’s like they wonder if she glowed in the dark or had a halo. She was short, wrinkled, and precious, may be even a little ornery, like a beautiful, wise old granny. But there is one thing I will never forget – her feet. Her feet were deformed.’
 
‘Each morning I would stare at them. I wondered if she had contracted leprosy. One day a Sister explained, ‘Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone, and Mother Theresa does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Letter: Mothering SundayPosted: 26th March 2014

 

Mothering Sunday

Dear friends

Welcome to our special service for Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday was traditionally the day in Lent when people would be encouraged to worship in their mother church, the main church of the parish or cathedral or minster church.

 

Many would make long journeys back ‘home’. This was in the age where people would leave home to go into ‘service’ by finding employment in stately homes. It then became a tradition that the house owner would give the servants the Sunday off to travel to their home church. This led to people returning home to their families where they would enjoy large gatherings all together. Our modern understanding of celebrating... CONTINUE READING

The Answer to LonelinessPosted: 31st January 2014

Former England Football Captain, David Beckham, published an exclusive extract from his new book in The Timeson 28 October 2013.  In it he describes being sent off in the World Cup Finals in 1998: ‘It could cost us the match.’  David went back to the dressing room.  ‘The rules stated that I had to stay in there for the remainder of the match.’  England Lost.  We were out of the World Cup.  ‘When the England players came back into the dressing room, no one breathed a word to me.  There was almost complete silence.  I could feel my stomach tightening even more.  I gulped, breathed in, and gulped again.  I was in a packed changing room but I had never felt so lonely in my life.  I was... CONTINUE READING

Waiting for the ComingPosted: 28th November 2013

Dear friends

I remember as a child expressing the frustration of waiting to my parents as I stood with other scouts and cubs for the Royal procession to arrive and pass by. The Queen was coming and we were dutifully in our positions to wave our flags and give her a welcoming cheer. But O the wait for her arrival – it seemed to be forever! 

Advent

Today we celebrate the season of Advent, taken from the Latin word ‘adventus’ meaning ‘coming’. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. It prepares us to celebrate his first coming as Saviour and it anticipates his second coming when he returns as Judge. Central to our faith is the conviction that Jesus... CONTINUE READING

ServicePosted: 31st October 2013

Dear friends

The photograph showed a young man relaxing, stretched out on a warm summers day, baseball cap shielding his eyes from the bright glare of the sun. Clearly this was his kind of day! Inscribed on the plinth on which the young man was lying were the names of those who had given their lives for their country in two world wars. They had sacrificed their freedom so that he could enjoy his. 

Each November we as a nation fulfil our pledge to remember those who have given their lives in service of their country. We recall the qualities of sacrifice, love, duty, courage and service and as we honour those who have gone before pray that we too may embody those same values for our... CONTINUE READING

Harvest ThanksgivingPosted: 3rd October 2013

Dear friends

Do you ever wonder whether you can make a difference to the lives of those around you? 

In the reality TV Show The Secret Millionaire, Kevin Green – a covert multi-millionaire – searched for people and causes that would benefit from his financial support.  He gave almost £60,000 to a range of people working with the homeless, with teenage addicts, and with disabled children.  The response of all these people was deeply moving.  They were so grateful, and the causes they work for benefited greatly.  They were blessed and enabled to bring greater blessing to others. However, the most interesting aspect of the programme was the change in Kevin Green.  He had experienced in a new way the joy of blessing others.  He said his life had been changed as a result.  The words of Jesus are true: ‘It is more blessed to givethan to receive’ (Acts 20:35). 

Archie Coates, Vicar of St Peter’s Brighton, speaks of the church as a ‘blessing machine’.  That is exactly what we as Christians are called to be – as the church and as individuals.

Today we come together to celebrate in a particular way God’s goodness to us and the multiple blessings he has showered upon us. It is God’s blessing on your life that enables you to make a difference to the lives of others.  God is the source of all blessing.  He loves to bless you.  God is not just some multi-millionaire.  He is ‘the Maker of heaven and earth … The highest heavens belong to the Lord’ (Psalm 115:15b–16a).  In his extraordinary generosity, ‘the earth he has given to [us]’.  God loves to bless. The appropriate response to blessing is gratitude.  Each of the recipients of the generosity of ’the secret millionaire’, showed great gratitude.  Our appropriate response is that ‘we bless God’ (v18).

A Channel of God’s Blessing

How, in practice, can we make a difference to the lives of those around us?     As children of God, we are called to be like our Father in heaven, who loves to bless and through us release a tangible expression of His love.

Trusting God

Many people are reluctant to trust God with their futures because they fear that God will make them do something that they have no desire to do, or will make a mess of their lives.  Of course, both of these fears are without foundation. 

If our will is surrendered to him, God will give us the desire to do whatever he is calling us to do.  If he is calling us to a ministry with the poor, that is where our hearts will be.  If he is calling us to teach, he will give us a desire to teach.  If we surrender to his will, he will bring about ‘his good purpose’. What he wants for our lives is good.  It will not necessarily be easy, but we will not be able to improve on his plan.  He will also give us the energy we need: ‘That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13, MSG).

Paul knows the joy of being a ‘blessing machine’.  He writes, ‘Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!  Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.  Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.  Carry the light-giving Message into the night’ (Phil 2:14–16a, MSG). 

We have the immense privilege of being able to give people – not just money, like the secret millionaire, but ‘the word of life’ (Phil 2:16a).  There is no greater joy than seeing people who are spiritually dead come to life through Jesus.

Paul is willing to give his life with joy for this privilege: ‘But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.  So you too should be glad and rejoice with me’ (Phil 2:17–18). 

God is interested in our hearts, not in our outward appearances. We cannot pretend with God. If you are experiencing the blessing of walking in a close relationship with God, those around you will get caught up in the blessing.

At this season of Harvest Thanksgiving, may we never grow tired of expressing gratitude to God for all he has given to us and in turn never tire of being a Blessing to others with our time, our money and our abilities.

As God gives us opportunity may we release an increase of blessing and build upon the generous hearts so evident amongst you all.                                                                                        

                                                    With every blessing in Christ,     Stephen

 

CONTINUE READING

Tuning into the God who speaksPosted: 2nd September 2013

Dear friends

If you have seen the film ‘Evan Almighty’ – a humorous modern tale based on a ‘Noah’s Ark’ theme – you will recall the moment when the central character, Congressman Evan Baxter, stands in front of a congressional committee and amid mocking sneers admits to the fact that God speaks to him. 

‘My sheep hear my voice’

That reaction echoes the cynical attitude of a so called ‘modern’ secular mind-set. It is inclined to dismiss spiritual realities and those who believe in a God who speaks with a ‘McEnroe’ kind of response: ‘You cannot be serious!’ And yet we talk about having a relationship with God as our Father. What kind of relationship would this be if we didn’t learn to... CONTINUE READING

Weekend AwayPosted: 26th June 2013

Dear friends

Thank you for all you have fed back on the pink forms about the weekend away last weekend. It seems that the overwhelming majority of you thoroughly enjoyed being together as a church community, learning, worshiping and having fun together. Top of the list of the things you most enjoyed were: Fellowship, Teaching, Worship, Food/Cake (plenty of that!), Socials (great quiz – Colin and Tess), the venue/facilities and the children’s groups. 

Top of the list on ‘Things we could do better’ was: ‘Nothing’ closely followed by ‘The weather’ (hmmm!) and ‘Full programme in advance’ (good idea) and then a good number of individual comments/ideas which will all be taken on board and... CONTINUE READING

Suffering and a God of Love Posted: 30th May 2013

Dear friends

We are all too conscious of the images of human suffering beamed into our living rooms on a daily basis. How we understand the existence of suffering in the context of a God of Love has always been a question that regularly arises on the Alpha course.

As horrific as the attack on the streets of Woolwich was, it is easier to understand suffering when it has arisen as a result of human choice. The freedom to choose how we want to behave is part of our human dignity. Free will is a gift given to us by God which He hopes will result in people choosing to love and live in Christ. Yet it equally leaves us free to choose to reject the way of love and opt for the way of pride,... CONTINUE READING

Stewardship SundayPosted: 3rd May 2013

 

Dear Friends

Next Sunday 12th May we will be having our annual Stewardship Sunday, the occasion in our year when we take the opportunity to review the proportion of our income we regularly set aside as our offering to God and his ministry through the life of this church. Through the course of this next week will you carefully and prayerfully bring this matter before the Lord and seek to be obedient to what he puts on your heart? 

On the occasion of Jesus calling the disciples and the miracle of the enormous catch of fish (which of course they left behind to follow Jesus) – Jesus, after finishing teaching from the boat tells them to move out into deep water and let down their nets... CONTINUE READING

TorchbearersPosted: 26th April 2013

 

Dear friends

For us as a nation, last year was an extraordinary year. I remember attending the arrival of the Olympic torch into Cheltenham racecourse – just one leg on a journey through towns, villages and cities across the country. In many ways it set the tone for a summer of national celebration: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Olympic torch was the forerunner that prepared the nation, generated excitement and looked forward to all that was to come. 

The words of a hymn by Frank Houghton (1894-1972) come to mind when I think of those who carried that Olympic Torch: 

We bear the torch that flaming

Fell from the hand so those

Who gave... CONTINUE READING

Easter Day - Resurrection LifePosted: 28th March 2013

 

Dear friends

Today marks the centrepiece of our faith when Jesus destroyed the power of death by breaking forth from the tomb. Our faith rests on a physical restoration to life by Jesus, for as St Paul writes to the Corinthian Church:

‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man(Jesus).For as in Adam all die, so in Christall will be made a live’ (1 Corinthians 15:14, 20 – 22).

The experience of Jesus in being raised from the dead serves as the ‘first... CONTINUE READING

Forgive us our trespassesPosted: 27th February 2013

 

Dear Friends

Simon Wiesenthal lost 89 relatives in Hitler’s death camps. He has devoted his life to finding Nazi criminals and bringing them to justice. He is often asked when he will give up. After all, he is hunting down men in their 70’s and 80’s for crimes committed half a century ago.

Wiesenthal answered by writing a book. The book begins with a true experience he had while he himself was a concentration camp prisoner. One day he was yanked out of a work detail and taken up a back stairway to a dark hospital room. A nurse led him into the room, then left him alone with a figure wrapped in white, lying on a bed. The figure was a badly wounded German soldier, whose entire face... CONTINUE READING

A Growing FamilyPosted: 31st January 2013

 

Dear Friends

How many of us started out in life with a small ‘starter home’, a flat or something equivalent, which was special because it was our first home. Then when the time came to start thinking about a family, what was adequate for the two of us suddenly starts to feel very small. Our thoughts turn to considering a move to a larger property or extending what we already have to ease the pressure of living together in a confined space. So plans are made to extend over the garage and build an additional bedroom, or build a conservatory on the back as an additional living space, or extend the kitchen to accommodate a larger dining area.

In a similar way we at Holy Trinity are a... CONTINUE READING

Linked inPosted: 8th January 2013

 

Dear Friends

Sharon joins me in wishing you all a very Happy New Year. It carries with it a sense of anticipation for all that God will lead us into as we journey together in His purposes for us as a community of faith. 

Each New Year is an opportunity for new beginnings and a fresh start. But then so is each week. Every Sunday is the first day of the week - a new beginning. Actually every day is an opportunity for a new beginning: God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I wonder what new beginningwe would like to enter into this year? 

‘Linked-In’is a social networking website for people in professional occupations and as of June last year had 175 million... CONTINUE READING

Road Ahead ClosedPosted: 29th November 2012

 

Dear friends

Yet again, residents of Tewkesbury and elsewhere have come across signs that warn us of flooded roads and pathways, preventing access except on foot and with a good pair of wellies! Yet our hearts go out to those who yet again have found their homes and businesses under water. 

Women Bishops

‘Road Ahead Closed’ has also been the experience for those campaigning for the right of women to be consecrated as Bishops. The disappointment of many including those who have been involved in the process of drafting legislation at General Synod is understandable. Presented in so much of the media as simply a discussion on equality between the genders, which if that were the... CONTINUE READING

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted ChurchPosted: 1st November 2012

 

Dear friends 

Today, 4thNovember, is the day in which we join with fellow Christians around the world to give special thanks and gratitude to God for the faithful witness of those who endure so much for their faith in Jesus. We express thanks to God for their faithfulness, perseverance under trial and love expressed even for those who hold them in captivity. We give thanks to God that in September jailed Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was set free after a court dropped the charge of apostasy – leaving Islam – but upheld a charge of evangelising Muslims. The court sentenced him to three years, but promptly released him because he had already served the time. We give thanks for the... CONTINUE READING

Harvest 2012Posted: 27th September 2012

 

Dear friends

Have you ever wondered what Harvest is all about and where this service of Thanksgiving comes from? If you have then read on – here’s a little history. If not then feel free to skip the rest of this article!

Harvest Festival used to be celebrated at the beginning of the Harvest season on 1 August and was called Lammas, meaning 'loafMass'Farmers made loaves of bread from the new wheat crop and gave them to their local church. They were then used as the Communion breadduring a special mass thanking God for the harvest. The custom ended when Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church, and nowadays we have harvest festivals at the end of the season.

The tradition of... CONTINUE READING

Knowing God's 'Thank You'Posted: 30th August 2012

 

Knowing God’s ‘Thank you’

Dear friends

In John’s Gospel we read: ‘From the fullness of God’s grace we have all received one blessing after another’ (John 1:16).

I wonder if we fully live in the reality of that blessing or fully appreciate that we have been given ‘every spiritual blessing in Christ’ as Paul writes (Ephesians 1:3).

When was the last time you heard God say ‘thank you’ to you for your commitment and service? Sometimes we think we should be thanking God every day of our lives and the only time we receive any thanks back is when we finally meet him and he says to us: ‘Well done good and faithful servant’ and we miss the fact that God lives in incredible generosity.... CONTINUE READING

Pray and never give upPosted: 29th June 2012

 

Dear friends 

It is always encouraging to hear stories from one another of how earnest prayer has proved effective. Recently in our services we have heard such stories of those who have prayed and never given up, even though it may have been years before they have seen the answer to their prayers. 

Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow as an encouragement to us to ‘pray and not give up’ (Luke 18:1). And yet how easy it is for us to become disillusioned, disappointed and discouraged when despite fervent prayer nothing seems to be happening. It is then that we are tempted to give up, slow down and lose hope. This is when we need one another to bring encouragement to us, to... CONTINUE READING

Celebrations!Posted: 1st June 2012

 

Dear Friends

On March 20thour Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament at Westminster Hall celebrating the British virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance and vowed to rededicate herself to the service of her country:

"We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance which created it," she told the gathering. "I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come." 

It is right and fitting that we should be immensely proud of our Queen and the wholesale... CONTINUE READING

APCM 2012 Report 'A spiritual health check'Posted: 27th April 2012

 

Dear friends

How do you measure the health of a local church? As we look back over the last year and reflect on our life together and the journey we have taken are there any indicators that can help us to gauge the degree to which we are growing in a healthy way and in accordance with God’s purpose and plan for us? Although not one indicator is sufficient in itself, perhaps together as we look at certain features of our church life we can gain a general appreciation of how healthy our church actually is. Here are a number of health checks. 

Health check #1            The Welcome

It is always encouraging to hear from visitors or new-comers how warmly they have been welcomed.... CONTINUE READING

RedemptionPosted: 2nd April 2012

 

Dear friends 

‘I cried all the time’ was how Steven Spielberg recalls his months directing ‘Schindler’s List’. The winner of 7 Academy awards and ranked 8thin the 100 best films by the American Film Institute it recounts in graphic detail the slaughter of helpless men, women and children in a Jewish ghetto and the horror of trainloads of bewildered Jews arriving at the Auschwitz death camp. Oskar Schindler, heroic saviour of 1100 Jews is presented by Spielberg at the end of the film looking at the faces of those he has saved, then looking at his possessions and the many more lives that could have been ‘purchased’ if he had offered his possessions as bribes. ‘I could have done more’,... CONTINUE READING

Crazy lovePosted: 2nd March 2012

 

Dear friends

Love isn’t just part of the Christian life, it is the Christian life. Love is the lifeblood of Christianity. The radical lifestyle God calls us into is one of love – loving the unlovable and loving those who bitterly oppose us even though it may cost us dear. 

One man who was prepared to pay the cost of love was Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda. In the 1970s Uganda was ruled over by President Idi Amin. He became known as the ‘Hitler of Africa’. He was ruthless in his policy of repression, a reign of terror in which over 50,000 Asian people were expelled from the country. Archbishop Luwum out of love for his countrymen who were being arbitrarily killed, stood up to... CONTINUE READING

Facing our fearsPosted: 3rd February 2012

 

Dear friends

Welcome to our special service today for ‘Education Sunday’. It strikes me that part of the process of education is to help us develop confidence in our abilities so that we can reach our full potential. ‘Fear’ in one form or another can often be the obstacle. But by offering support and gentle encouragement we can be helped to grow through our fears so that they no longer inhibit us.

Texan Pastor and radio personality, Ed Young writes in his book, ‘Know Fear’, ‘Fear is an unavoidable part of the human experience. Anxiety, fear and phobia threaten to encompass us…Because we are taught that it is weak to show fear, that cowards are despised, and that being a hero knows... CONTINUE READING

January 2012Posted: 6th January 2012

 

Dear friends

May I begin by wishing you and those you love much joy and peace in this New Year. There has been much to celebrate and rejoice in during the Christmas season. A big thank you to all who contributed in so many ways to the ministry of this church as together we declared the Good News of a Saviour’s birth. There were so many wonderful worship opportunities, so many guests, so many parents and children from the local schools. Thank you too to all those who gave up their Christmas Day to join the Churches Together team in providing a Christmas lunch to those on their own and those who participated in the Christmas lunch for the elderly last Thursday. 

The sacrificial... CONTINUE READING

Jesus, the gift of HopePosted: 23rd December 2011

 

Dear friends 

Welcome to our family celebration on this Christmas Day as we rejoice at the wonderful news of a Saviour’s birth, and worship together with joy and thanksgiving for all that this means to us and to all people. 

It’s a message that will ring out from the heart of our capital city and in particular, St Paul’s Cathedral, which has become in recent months the location of a campsite and a focal point for media attention. Whatever you make of the camp or the protests of the organisers, there’s something wonderfully symbolic about it as people gather at the doors of the church to express their concerns, their fears and their anger. 

We’re living in days of extraordinary... CONTINUE READING

Celebrating what God has donePosted: 2nd December 2011

 

Dear friends 

Today we celebrate the re-opening of the balcony following the project to re-order it which began last year with the Gift Day. After endless consultations with various ‘interested parties’ permission was finally granted by the Diocese and the work commenced in October with the removal of the original pews. We give glory to God who alone has enabled us with His provision to undertake these two substantial projects this year: the new boiler and improved heating system and more usable space in the balcony.  I would like to extend my thanks to all of you who have given sacrificially to enable this work to proceed, to the Church Wardens for their oversight and to the small... CONTINUE READING

TransformationalPosted: 28th October 2011

 

Dear friends 

Victor Hugo wrote: ‘The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved’. Love has the power to change us. Love motivates, compels, energises and empowers. It inspires others to sacrifice self interest in the pursuit of a greater good. 

On our recent visit to Uganda, we were inspired by all that Jenny has achieved with her vision to see the lives of babies saved through the ministry of the Potter’s village. We also met others serving the people of Uganda, including one lady in her 70s. We were struck by some of the stories they shared of the lives they live. It was clear to us that their service involved a considerable cost to them in comfort, security,... CONTINUE READING

'Keep taking the Medicine'Posted: 30th September 2011

 

Dear friends

‘This pain started twelve years ago. After joining the Royal Marines it became extremely bad. I had seen the top physiotherapist in the Armed Forces but with no successful result. The cartilage below the knee cap was completely gone. Hence, there was bone on bone and that was very painful. This injury has caused a massive set back in my life. Last year was the worst when the ligaments and the tendons were torn and the knee cap went in a 45 degree angle. It has been a long and painful journey. I could not sit or stand for long. 

Cut a long story short, I decided to try God and try Alpha. I got back from the Alpha weekend and I heard people testifying and I was... CONTINUE READING

Posted: 1st September 2011

 

Dear friends

‘God is more interested in our character than our comfort’ is a phrase I picked up recently and which I believe helps us understand who God is and why we sometimes wrestle with unresolved issues. 

A story is told of a farmer who placed a weather vane inscribed with the words ‘God is Love’ on top of his barn. One day a traveller stopped by the farm and watched the weather vane moving with the breeze. Then with a smirk on his face, he asked, ‘Do you mean to say that your God is as changeable as the wind?’ The farmer shook his head and replied; ‘No. What I mean to say is that no matter which way the wind blows, God is Love’. 

We know that the experience of living... CONTINUE READING

Posted: 5th August 2011

 

As I write this today, the newspaper headlines report the tragic death of 27 year old Amy Winehouse, after a suspected drink and drugs binge. The popular singer who has spent years battling heroin and alcohol addiction was found collapsed in her flat in north London. On the next page of the newspaper in a two page spread is the story of former Eastenders star, Daniella Westbrook. The headlines read: ‘I used to worship Gucci and Prada....now I’ve given my life to God’. Daniella recounts how the drug, cocaine, nearly destroyed her life, costing her approximately £250,000 and leaving a gaping hole in her nose requiring reconstructive surgery. 

‘Ten years ago, her idea of a good night... CONTINUE READING

Prayer changes thingsPosted: 1st July 2011

 

John Humphries, the television newsreader describes himself as a ‘failed atheist’. Long after he left the church he grew up in, he writes, ‘I continued to pray. I prayed every single night without fail for half a century…The problem was that I had absolutely no notion of the God to whom I was supposed to be praying, nor for that matter, why I was praying.’ Surveys have shown that three quarters of the population of sceptical, secular Britain admit to praying at least once a week. In fact prayer is regaining popularity in our very modern post-Christian society in the West.

At the recent Armed Forces Day service I spoke on Prayer beginning with the often quoted statement: ‘there are... CONTINUE READING

Contentment and Peace in Times of TroublePosted: 3rd June 2011

Dear friends 

When World War II erupted, Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, middle aged Christian women in Holland, resolved to conceal fleeing Jewish people from the Nazi’s. They saved many. But they were ultimately arrested and taken to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Betsie died, but Corrie miraculously survived to witness to the way God can save, heal and forgive. Their experience in the concentration camp contending with fleas, hunger and hardship served to test their faith and confidence in God. Trying to learn the secret of being content, as St Paul describes it (Philippians 4:12), even in those dreadful circumstances was not easy. Yet despite everything they knew God’s... CONTINUE READING

New Life, New HopePosted: 28th April 2011

Dear friends

 Nicky Gumbel tells the story of a member of his congregation at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton who worked in the library of a national newspaper.  This newspaper kept files of old newspaper cuttings about every well known person. The files were kept in rows of long shelves and separated into ‘living people’ and ‘dead people’.  

One day, the young man was looking through the files of dead people and came across a large file marked ‘Jesus Christ’. He glanced over his shoulder to check that no one was looking and immediately moved the file from the ‘dead people’ section to the ‘living people’ section. Jesus Christ is alive. He is risen from the dead. His file was in the... CONTINUE READING

Vicar's Report - Annual Parochial Church Meeting 7/04/11Posted: 11th April 2011

‘Loyalty, Love and Faithfulness’

In 2007 a group of South Korean missionaries were captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. They were terrified. There were twenty three of them at the start – the Taliban separated them, isolated them, and confiscated everything. One of the Korean women managed to hold on to her Bible. She ripped it into twenty-three pieces and gave each of them a portion of the Scriptures so that wherever they were they could always read a portion of scripture when no one was watching.  They knew the Taliban had decided to kill them, one at a time. One at a time the missionaries surrendered their lives again to Jesus saying, ‘Lord, if you want me to die for your sake... CONTINUE READING

Does God Care?Posted: 1st April 2011

Tsunamis in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand, civil war in Libya – is there no end to the unremitting news of disaster and tragedy? It seems as though the world bounces from one crisis to another (remember Haiti?) with yet more images on our TV screens of the effect on traumatised families. Where is God in all this? Does he even care? These might be questions we ask ourselves when we experience suffering, tragedy and loss in our own lives.  The pain of heart break and bereavement is real and affects us deeply. The question is often voiced out of a sense of anger and frustration that life is not as orderly and ‘safe’ as we would like it to be. We believe it to be our right to enjoy a way... CONTINUE READING

Imitators of GodPosted: 1st April 2011

It is said that over time dogs and their owners strike up a remarkable resemblance! Children too grow up not only with the physical likeness of their parents but they also imitate them. A child will watch, observe and copy what their parent does or says and so imitate their behaviour and habits for good or for ill.

The apostle Paul writes, ‘Be imitators of God’ (Ephesians 5:1) having spelled out what it might mean to look like Jesus, ‘and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’. To imitate God is to live a life of love. Jesus Christ set the supreme example of love by giving up his life for us. It is from the cross... CONTINUE READING

Real CommunionPosted: 25th February 2011

 Vicar’s Letter - March

‘Imitators of God’ 

Dear friends

It is said that over time dogs and their owners strike up a remarkable resemblance!

Children too grow up not only with the physical likeness of their parents but they also imitate them. A child will watch, observe and copy what their parent does or says and so imitate their behaviour and habits for good or for ill.

The apostle Paul writes, ‘Be imitators of God’ (Ephesians 5:1) having spelled out what it might mean to look like Jesus, ‘and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’. To imitate God is to live a life of love. Jesus Christ set the supreme... CONTINUE READING

Just 10Posted: 4th February 2011

Thousands of years ago, God revealed the framework for life as it should be. Simple values for daily living that provide the foundations of our laws and principles. Despite the surge of secular values threatening to wash away the historic links between Christianity and culture, one of the few bridges remaining above the floodwaters is that of the Ten Commandments. Although most people would struggle to name more than two or three of them, they know they exist and probably deep down think that they are generally good for the well ordering of society. Furthermore, there may be a recognition that the Ten Commandments gave previous generations a moral certainty that our own age so... CONTINUE READING