Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Happy Christmas

The picture was taken in St Michael's churchyard on Sunday.

Our Crib Services on Christmas Eve are at 4.00 p.m. (St Nicolas') and 6.00 p.m. (St Michael's).

Both churches have a Midnight Communion at 11.30 p.m.

Both churches then have a Family Communion on Christmas morning at 10.30 a.m.

And, as indicated in earlier posts, our First Sunday Thing on Sunday 3rd January at 10.30 a.m. will include our Christingle celebration.

Normal blogging will resume after that.

Happy Christmas! Happy New Year!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Children's Society

We discovered things about this Church of England charity at the last First Sunday Thing in preparation for a Christingle Service to support it at the next First Sunday Thing. The two recent pieces of news about its activities which we included on our service sheet were about its work with children facing their parents' divorces and work highlighting the hidden nature of many trafficked children. These news items and much more are at the Society's website at http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/.

Monday, 7 December 2009

St Nicolas' multi-tasking

Yesterday one person brought a laptop with a multiple choice quiz about St Nicolas. One of the questions was about his being a Patron Saint. Was it 'of children' (as this blog has said)? Or 'of sailors'? Or 'of pawnbrokers'? The answer was 'all of these'. In St Nicolas', Great Coates his Bishop's staff has an anchor on it, an indication of the Patron Saint of Sailors and appropriate for a parish on the Humber bank. His coat of arms on the Font and on the ceiling has the three balls of the traditional pawnbroker's sign; they represent bags of gold he gave away. And, of course, being both Patron Saint of Children and someone who gave things away, he is a model for a figure with whom he shares a name in some other languages as Santa Claus.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

St Nicolas' Day

At the First Sunday Thing next week we will share news from our linked parish in Zimbabwe. It has just written to thank us for money to buy maize seed at the beginning of the rainy season. It tells us that a 10kg bag will be given to each 'child headed family'. On the feast of the Patron Saint of Children, the idea of the head of many parentless families being the oldest child is awful, and we shall be praying for those using the seed we have brought. The picture of him comes from the church in this parish named after him at St Nicolas', Great Coates.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Children's Society

Our next First Sunday Thing (on 6th December) will be on St Nicolas' Day. Nicolas is the Patron Saint of Children. So one of the things we will be doing is discovering what the Children's Society does. This will be an opportunity to hand out their candle shaped collecting boxes to be brought back a month later when the following First Sunday Thing (on 3rd January) will include a Christingle Service; it is the Children's Society which popularised Christingle in England partly as a fund raising activity. St Nicolas', Great Coates will also be holding a Christingle Service there at 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 12th December.

Monday, 16 November 2009


Until next week we won't be able to post anything about plans for the First Sunday Thing on 6th December. We have failed to make a date for a planning meeting, and we have ideas about the future to share with St Nicolas' Church Council on Thursday before we do so, so getting things sorted for December will become an urgent task after that. Meanwhile, this is what the sky looked like over Laceby Acres at about four o'clock this afternoon, and somehow it seemed wothwhile having this as this week's post.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


This is perhaps the biggest thing about the way the church prepares for Christmas, and prepares for Jesus' final coming. The song we had at the beginning of the month and the opportunity then to spend time quietly in the Lady Chapel were intended to speak about this. Not beginning buying now. Not putting carols on the loud speakers now. Not getting frustrated or over excited now. Spending time attending to God, just as people in love simply spend time with each other. Praying for the bereaved around the time of All Souls' Day last week. Keeping silence in the face of the loss of war on Remembrance Sunday today. It is a different rhythm altogether, and is a way of stopping our own activities and anxieties getting in the way of God.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fair trade for Christmas

As the rate of spending for Christmas begins to kick in again, this Traidcraft stall at our First Sunday Thing today was one of the reminders about how our own approach to Christmas can be different. Beyond it the picture shows the back row of the congregation and beyond them the Revd Terrie Stott changing slides as she conducted the service for the first time.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Taking action next week

We've been putting together the leaflet to hand out and use at the First Sunday Thing next Sunday. In it we are providing a link with two websites people might want to follow up. The first is for Action of Christians Against Torture because people might want to use their scheme to send Christmas cards to those in prison. The link is http://www.acatuk.org.uk/. The second is for Operation Christmas Child because people might want its guidelines about how to put together a shoebox of gifts in the first two weeks of November. It is http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Get ready for Christmas

Our next First Sunday Thing on 1st November will be based on the way in which we get ready for Christmas. Among many stalls for those arriving before or at 10.30 we'll offer how we prepare the Advent Ring rather than just how we buy chocolate bearing calendars. We'll offer stillness in the Lady Chapel rather than just the busy rush to be ready. We'll offer Action of Christians Against Torture's scheme to send Christmas Cards to those in prison rather than just to those we know. We'll offer preparing a prayer to hang on our trees rather than just decorations. And so on. We'll bring all these things together by 11.00 for a simple short act of worship.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

More St Francis

And this is the version of St Francis which people got to take home after the First Sunday Thing last week.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Celebrating Francis

We enjoyed our celebration of St Francis' Day this morning. He didn't look like this, but this is one of several of the young people who came who did.

Monday, 28 September 2009

4th October

Plans are now in place for next Sunday. We will be back in St Michael's. Having had the six summer months in St Nicolas', we will have the six winter months in St Michael's. As usual there will be a quiet half-hour Communion service at 9.30. This is for those who appreciate this instead of or in preparation for the First Sunday Thing. At 10.30 we will have a market place of different things for people to call at including egg painting, rap learning and discovering things about modern Franciscan Friars. At about 11.00 will bring all this together for an informal half hour service on a St Francis' Day theme.

Monday, 21 September 2009

St Francis' Day

We look forward to the next First Sunday Thing being on St Francis’ Day. But a warning: the two best known things about St Francis’ aren’t true. He wasn’t an eco-warrior. And he didn’t write ‘Make a channel of your peace’. There is a story of his preaching to the birds, and he wrote about the whole creation praising God, but then he would talk with absolutely anyone about putting the message of the Gospel into practice. And ‘Make me a channel of your peace’ is a nineteenth century song written in the spirit of St Francis. We’ll see what more we can share when we plan for 4th October tomorrow evening.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Love your neighbour

Those who visited the Bible Study corner at the last First Sunday Thing saw how a text for the day appears in three different places in the Bible. 'Love your neighbour as yourself' is tucked away in an obscure corner of Leviticus, somewhere between the insightful 'don't spread slander' and the suprising 'don't wear clothing woven from two kinds of material'. But Jewish people in Jesus' time had already picked it out as a key verse in the Old Testament. So Jesus quotes it as a key text in Matthew's Gospel, and our reading for the last First Sunday Thing from the letter of James near the end of the New Testament does so too: 'if you really keep this royal law, you will do right'.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Pulled away from God

One of the questions posed for Sunday was "What are the habits and the things which people around us regard as natural behaviour and attitudes which actually pull us to behave in ways which deny the Gospel by which we claim to live?". Not wanting to stand out was by most the common answer collected on the day, of which the following is a sample.

Thinking what other people might say.
Went off an watched TV instead.
Family demands.
What other people might say about us which may hurt our feelings.
One friend says I can't.
We don't listen.
Popularity (fitting in); easier not to challenge.
Feeling others have more or are more able.
Listening to what other people say.
Because of lack of confidence I hang back.
Peer pressure.
Not having enough myself.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Bell chiming

There will be an opportunity to explore and try the chiming mechanism on St Nicolas’ bells on Sunday. The church has a full set of bells in the tower but the ancient frame in which they sit is no longer strong enough for them to be rung by swinging them through full circles. Instead wires have been attached to small hammers which hit the bells when the wires are pulled near the organ. Everyone who wishes to do so will be able to go up the stairway in the vestry, be shown what it is all about, and have a go.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

6th September

If you show special attention to someone who is dressed well but say 'sit in the corner' to someone who seems obviously less important, then you can hardly claim that you are one of those who 'loves his neighbour as himself'.

This is a warning near the end of the Bible due to be read on 6th September, so we've decided to make it the key for our service on that day.

What are the habits and the things which people around us regard as natural behaviour and attitudes which actually pull us to behave in ways which deny the Gospel by which we claim to live?

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Brass rubbing

This is one of the brass rubbings from the last First Sunday Thing. We look forward to planning the next two on Tuesday evening.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

I am the web

Our First Sunday Thing is 'all age worship' rather than just 'family service'. We try to provide a proper creche and activities suitable for children. But we also try to provide things for adult study as well. Last time a group of about ten studied the different places in John's Gospel where Jesus says 'I am the bread of life' or 'I am the vine' or something similar. They looked at the depth of meaning behind these, and also wondered what images John might have used if he was writing today. Their suggestions included: I am the text; I am the sat nav; I am the energy; I am the window; I am the conscience; I am the server; I am the facilitator; I am the net; I am the provider; I am th ISP; I am the search engine; I am the navigator.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Today's bread

This is some of the pitta bread coming off the production line at the service this morning. Those who helped roll it out seemed to have almost as much fun as those who eat it. And it all helped bring alive Jesus' saying 'I am the bread of life'. We will be planning the September and October services at the Rectory at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday 18th August: comments or suggestions from those who cannot come along would be as welcome as always.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ready for 2nd August

Plans are now in place for the next First Sunday Thing. The Bible text is Jesus saying 'I am the bread of life' and there will be an opportunity for some baking, as well as an opportunity for brass rubbing. As usual those who come at 10.30 will be able to chose one of these or another an activity for the first half hour, producing things which we'll bring together for the worship in the second half hour.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Brass rubbing

One of the treasures at St Nicolas' is two mediaeval brasses, of which we had exact replicas made and an interesting brochure printed a couple of years ago. We will have these out on the first Sunday in August and one of the activities available in the first half of the service will be rubbing this scene of Jesus' resurrection on one of the brasses.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Step out in faith

This is the life size disciple parked after the service this morning next to the prayer board at the back of St Nicolas'. The Gospel story for the day was Jesus sending out his disciples with only a staff, sandals and tunic. No bag, money or spare clothes were allowed. So one group put this disciple together with a second tunic, purse, and satchel which we had to remove during the service leaving him looking like this. The message was about stepping out in faith and trust.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Supporting the homeless

The exploration at the First Sunday Thing next Sunday will be based in part of St Michael's support for Doorstep, and St Nicolas' support for the Daily Bread Food Larder in particular. To help those who experience emergency, temporary financial need Churches Together in North East Lincolnshire and Christian Action Resource Enterprise (CARE) work in partnership to provide short term relief of food poverty in the area. Over forty churches have agreed, for one month each, to provide weekly donations into the larder. St Nicolas' month is August so July is the best time for this reminder about the commitment and what we will doing about it soon.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Next month

Plans are now in place for 5th July.

We will be at St Nicolas’, Great Coates.

There will be the usual half hour said Communion service at 9.30 a.m. for those who wish to pray in this way instead of or as well as the First Sunday Thing at 10.30 a.m.

Refreshments will be available as people arrive for 10.30 a.m.

Soon after 10.30 a.m. those who wish will have the opportunity to join in an activity in one part of the church building. An art group will be creating the outlines of some life size people. A creche group will have something simple for toddlers. A music group will be preparing a song and percussion accompaniment. A prayer group will be gathering ideas for the form of confession in our service. A study group will be thinking about the Gospel for the day. A sixth group will be finding out what the two churches do to support the homeless.

The results of all these activities will be brought together in a simple short act of worship at about 11.00 a.m.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Cut out the wrong

This is the version of the Icon of the Baptism of Christ put together by one group at last Sunday's First Sunday Thing. The person who did the research and led the group could follow all the symbolism except for one detail. 'Why is there always an axe at the extreme bottom left of the picture?', she asked. It appears that an axe at the foot of a tree is a symbol for John the Baptist, and it is John next to whom the symbol appears. John preached that an axe was ready to cut down the tree of people's sin.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

All as one

The worship on Sunday seemed to have a beauty about it. There was one group weaving together huge pieces of cloth like Maypole dancers. There was one leader taking us through gestures to represent our prayers like sign language. There were handbell ringers chiming in order with one another to produce a tune none of them could have made on their own. We celebrated God as the love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We celebrated Christian people who had come separately but who worshipped as one.

A group will be meeting together on Saturday morning (10.00 at St Michael’s) to plan for 5th July and 2nd August if anyone else wants to join us or send comments, feedback or ideas. With a larger number of toddlers than usual this time, some of us wondered whether we could plan an activity in which those gathering on the creche carpet could take part while the other adults and children choose the different activities in which to participate in the first half hour of the service before we all come together for the worship in the second half.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

An icon next Sunday

At each First Sunday Thing some people have been creative in preparing a work of art. For Trinity Sunday next week the inspiration will be the icon tucked away near the south door of St Michael’s. Orthodox Christians are careful not to try to paint icons of God (because of the extreme likelihood that they would get it wrong and thus misrepresent God) but they do allow themselves to paint an icon of the Baptism of Jesus - with the Father present (his voice is heard), the Son present (Jesus being baptised) and the Spirit is present (coming down like a dove).

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Discovering trees

One of the activities available in the first half of the First Sunday Thing on 7th June will be a ten minute walk in the churchyard discovering the trees, among them an unusual number of Walnut trees. St Nicolas' churchyard is a wildlife haven well known for its spring flowers, but it would be an interesting copse even if there were no church or graves within it. This Walnut stands near the Vicarage, two very ancient ones look as if they are almost toppling into the moat in the south west coner, and the newest one stands on a mound near the main entrance to the churchyard where it was planted to replace one which fell in the 1990s

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Planning for 7th June

Our next First Sunday Thing will be on Trinity Sunday - the great celebration of the unimaginable mystery of God made known to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is something to marvel at rather than puzzle about. One group wants to develop a dance which weaves three different pieces of cloth together. St Nicolas’ Handbell Ringers want to demonstrate how several different people make music by playing as one person. There will be other more conventional activities as well, but those two should both make significant contributions to the act of worship with which we will finish.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Humber Bridge Cross

Our churches are quite widely used by different community groups. Bringing the church and community groups close together sometimes has unexpected results. Walk Well (a health promotion scheme) use St Michael’s as a base every Tuesday morning. This is how some of them spotted the fact that some members of St Michael’s were taking part in the annual sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge for Christian Aid Week. Instead of just a few people the group from this parish became a coach load, and at least £1000 extra was raised for Christian Aid as a result. This year the last two places on the coach were taken up by people who’d come to last week’s First Sunday Thing, heard this story and decided to join in.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Stong defender

This is (a rather poor photograph of) the stained glass window one of the groups produced at the First Sunday Thing this morning. The wild animals are important because the artists were not going for a representation of a meek and mild Jesus cuddling a pet lamb. They were going for Jesus the Good Shepherd who did not run away when the wolves came.

We had slightly fewer people this month. This might be because of the Bank Holiday Weekend. And my bright idea that learning how to chant Psalm 23 would make a good music slot proved to be a taller order than I’d expected. But despite these things a good time seemed to be had by all.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Christian Aid Week

The other main focus at the First Sunday Thing next Sunday (3 May) will be preparing for Christian Aid Week (which follows a week later on 10-16 May this year).

One of the activities available in the first part of the service will be to call in at a stall staffed by those who will be raising money in the parish that week. Some of them do the door to door collection - few people really enjoy doing this but they can provide tips about how to tackle it. Others take part in the annual sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge - and they raised £1500 last year because they got lots of those involved in the Walk Well health promotion scheme to join them.

Another of the activities available will be to call in at a stall where they will have publicity material about the theme for this year’s Christian Aid Week and will be using this to prepare some prayers for the service.

It will be good to have this important point of the year and of our Christian discipleship highly visible in our thinking and our worship.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Good Shepherd Sunday

We failed to put up our weekly message over Easter but we did make plans for the 3rd May at St Nicolas’ when we’ll be savouring lots of different aspects of Psalm 23 (‘The Lord’s my shepherd’) which may well be the best known passage in the Bible; it is the Sunday when the church reads about Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Our pattern established in January seems to be working well for all ages, and is intended to allow people to take part in things or not as they wish. Feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

There will be a quiet half hour prayerful Communion service at 9.30 for those who want to come to this instead of or as well as the First Sunday Thing. After this people will be setting up, giving others lifts and so on.

The First Sunday Thing will then begin at 10.30 with refreshments and the opportunity to get involved in activities going on in the different corners of the church for those who wish to do so. Among them will be art group, a drama group, a music group and a teaching group each of which already has ideas about how to explore the images of the Psalm.

After half and hour the different activities will be brought together for a short act of worship.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

First go at St Nicolas'

There had been various forms of speculation about how the First Sunday Thing would go when it moved to St Nicolas' for the first time. In the event everybody fitted in, included the cat which slips into St Nicolas' from time to time and found the doors of the church standing wide open on a Spring day very welcoming. The 9.30 quiet Communion service was actually better attended than it had been at St Michael's. The 10.30 First Sunday Thing used not only the whole building but also the churchyard as people assembled and took part in the Palm Sunday procession in and out at the beginning and end of the service. The drama took place in the middle of the choir with people sitting all the way round (which meant they could feel part of it rather than seeing everything as spectators in front of a stage), and it would be interesting to have feed back on this way of sitting for the service.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Palm crosses

The whole of Holy Week is in the crosses we give to each worshipper who comes on Palm Sunday; our next First Sunday Thing falls on Palm Sunday so everyone who comes will be given one then. They are made of palm leaves just as it was palm branches which were waved by the adoring crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday. They are fashioned into crosses just as the crosses stood on the hill on which Jesus was executed on the Friday.

Monday, 23 March 2009

The importance of 5th April

Holy Week (the eight days from Palm Sunday to Easter Day) is the most significant part of the whole Christian year. It matches day for day the last week of Jesus’ life from entering Jerusalem, through Last Supper (on Maundy Thursday) and crucifixion (on Good Friday) to resurrection. It allows us to follow the events which are covered by about a third of the Gospel accounts. So the First Sunday Thing on Palm Sunday, which will include activities relating to different parts of Holy Week, is an opportunity to touch the heart of what this is all about.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Palm Sunday

The First Sunday Thing moves to St Nicolas' for the first time on 5th April. Plans are in hand for the different activities at the beginning to illustrate or explore the events from Palm Sunday to Good Friday; there will even be a table from which to sample the sorts of Passover food which would have been shared at Jesus' Last Supper. The simple service which will follow will be based on a Palm Sunday procession.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Teach us how to pray

During the Last Sunday Thing last Sunday a small group of people looked at the Lord's Prayer. They wrote simple sentences to say what it menat to them. During the short service at the end two of them read the version of the prayer which they had created.

Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name.
Holy Father we are your children and we worship and love you above all others.

Your Kingdom come.
We welcome your presence in our lives.

Your will be done on earth as in Heaven.
May we follow your example and try to reflect your will.

Give us today our daily bread.
Thank you for all that you give us and help us to share with others.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
We have done wrong, you forgave us, we must learn to forgive others.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Dear Father lead us away from doing wrong and show us the right way.

For the Kingdom the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
Yesterday today and always, so be it.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Our third go

Ninety people came together in St Michael’s yesterday morning, and it was the first time some of them had been there on a Sunday morning. One regular from St Nicolas’ proved quite a hand at the Youth Group’s Wii; she even thought it might be worth her investing in one herself in the same way some Old People’s Homes have done as she regrets the sports in which she is no longer able to take part. A few others joined together in creating a sketch to illustrate the Bible story of the day: Jesus won the talent competition when it was discovered that he could throw himself off a high building and be caught by angels, but he spoilt it by refusing to become a celebrity by doing so and preferring to go off and get stuck into a ministry which would lead to his death.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Jesus' temptations

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he spent forty days in the desert. He faces different temptations, and responds to each one with a verse of scripture. Sometimes we may assume this was very easy - he is the Son of God and can chose exactly the right bit of scripture to combat any temptation. But in reality he was also a human being who was genuinely famished and tempted - wrestling with what would be the right things to do in his ministry. And each of the verses of scripture come from just one part of the Bible (a couple of Chapters of instruction to God’s people following the Ten Commandments) - so it doesn’t look as if he is producing the best answers from different parts of scripture but rather worrying away at the implications of these important few Chapters. This is the story we will focus on when we meet on Sunday.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Plans for 1st March

We’ve now got our plans in place for our third First Sunday Thing.

There will again be a quiet half hour Communion service in the Lady Chapel at 9.30 a.m. for those who want to attend this as well as or instead of the activities later in the morning.

After refreshments when people arrive in time for 10.30 a.m., we will again be able to join in different activities in different parts of the church. People will be able to join a group or move about between them.

As it is the first Sunday in Lent we will be creating things to explore Jesus' being tempted in the wilderness.

A musical group will be preparing voices and instruments to sing 'man shall not live by bread alone'; we hope to build up quite a dramatic round of singing.

A drama group will be preparing a sketch about the temptations of celebrity.

An art group will be making a large representation of the kingdoms and powers of the earth.

Two others groups will be learning about what keeping Lent means and looking at what is in the Lord's Prayer.

The parish's Youth Group will be demonstrating its wii and other activities.

After a while, we'll again be bringing all this together in a short act of worship.

And a report from the diocese's newspaper says he'll try to join us as well.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Looking towards the cross

This sign post was one product of last week's event and service. It points back to Christmas (all the pictures on that side are from Christmas cards) and forwards towards Good Friday (very different pictures on that side). This is where the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple stands: welcoming the baby but warning about where his life will lead. It is also quite a peculiar place in the year 'half way between equinox and solstice'.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Our second go

We had over eighty people of all ages with us this morning, and there seemed to be quite a buzz, so we hope people thought it helped them worship. It is difficult to judge which groups will attract most attention: last time I said I was surprised that quite so many joined the group exploring the Tear Fund link with Ecuador and this time I was surprised that there wasn't more of a queue wanting to have a go at the hand bell ringing which looked and sounded so good; I guess we need to go on providing quite a variety rather than narrowing choices down to what we predict will be most popular. The music group chose 'My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord' which was a welcome different take on the prophet in the Bible reading saying that he could die in peace now that his elderly eyes had seen God's salvation in the child Jesus who he recognised to be the glory of God's chosen people.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Candlemas window

This is the window in St Michael's which illustrates the Bible story we'll explore on 1st February. The prophet Simeon (he describes Jesus as the glory of God's people Israel, and his words round the picture also name Jesus as a light for all non-Jews as well) holds the forty day old Jesus. Mary kneels. The prophetess Anna stoops. A small boy holds Joseph and Mary's offering (but where is Joseph?). You might like to think of it as the first official Christian service of all age worship!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Ready for a second go

We’ve now got our plans in place for 1st February.

After refreshments when people arrive, we will again be able to join in different activities in different parts of the church. People will be able to join a group or move about between them. This time one of these will be provided by St Nicolas’ Handbell Ringing Group. Another will be available for those who want to learn something about the Bible reading for the day. Others will be preparing some music, preparing to present the Bible reading, and preparing a large sign post, all of which we’ll need for the short act of worship with which we’ll finish.

We will be keeping Candlemas - the celebration of Jesus being taken to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after he was born. There happens also to be a picture of the story in one of the two stained glass windows in the church.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Reacting to the presence of Jesus

Some people were able to express things about their faith in a moving way on 4th January. Some people made the crowns illustrated above indicating what sorts of gifts they would bring Jesus today. Others (in the group which was looking at the Bible reading for the day) pointed out that the efficiently cruel way Herod reacted was the way in which modern dictators react to any possible threat today (we thought about both Burma and Zimbabwe); it seemed to us that this showed how very insecure they really are. Watching how people react to finding Jesus close among them tells us a huge amount about them.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Our first go

After so much planning and publicity, we were glad to worship this way this morning for the first time. The planning group is meeting again on Tuesday evening so that we can debrief while things are fresh in our minds, and plan the services for February and March in ways which improve on our first go. Feed back is very welcome to help us in this process.

Each of the participatory activities (art, drama, music and prayers) was presented beautifully, but it turned out that the group exploring the link with Ecuador was the one which more people wanted to join and on which more commented as they left; it helped that two of the people who came happened to know Ecuador already and could make extra contributions, and this aspect of the life of our churches clearly touched some people.