Saturday, December 28, 2013

During December Channel 5 showed a The Bible, a five-part series that had been viewed by more than 200 million worldwide, breaking audience records from the US to Spain, spawning a New York Times bestseller novelisation, a Bible app downloaded by millions, a concert tour, and America's fastest-selling series DVD ever!
To do the whole Bible in 10 hours is impossible, so the TV series was very selective in the stories chosen to be shown. This meant that major characters and stories were missed out. No Job, Jacob, Joseph or Ruth for example.  I also thought that the series picked a lot of the more violent stories - perhaps going after the generation brought up on the blood and guts of hollywood - rather than more of the some reflective “make you think stories”.
Perhaps you saw the series, and like many of the 200 million who have already seen the series, you may want to know more - one mega church in America had 3000 baptisms as a result; or have questions.Perhaps you didn't see the series and are wondering what all the fuss is about. If you want to know more about the Bible, the church will be following a course called E100. You can start at any time but the church collectively will be starting in January.
The E100 Bible Reading Challenge is based around 100 carefully selected Bible readings (50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament) designed to give participants a good understanding of the overall Bible story from Genesis to Revelation. The 'E' stands for Essential and each of the Essential 100 readings ranges from a few verses to a few chapters.
I think this is an excellent way to get into the habit of daily bible reading but also get a sense of the whole story of the Bible so I am suggesting we do this, before reading the whole bible in a year.
It is suggested we do 5 readings a week, so it will take 20 weeks to follow.
There is a book that goes with the readings which if bought via the church are £5 instead of £7. Please see Alun or Jane of you would like the book.
Each Wednesday a group will still meet at the Vicarage at 7:30pm to discuss the readings from the previous week. Every Tuesday a group will meet at 10am in Wadworth church. If there is demand for an afternoon group then one will also be provided.

Perhaps you do not want to commit to 20 weeks, but would still like to know more about the Christian Faith. If this is you can I recommend the Y course. It is called the Y course because it allows you to ask all the questions you have ever wanted  - why, why why! This 8 week course starts on thursday the 30th January at 7:30 in the Vicarage. Bring a friend. Ideal if you have had a child Baptised and want to know more yourself to help them grow up in the Christian faith.

The probation service have done an excellent job of keeping the churchyards in good order this year. However we are having a lot of problems with ground movements which are leaving so of the headstones unstable. The relatives of the person in the grave is responsible for maintaining the headstone so please check any you visit as headstone testing will be starting in January.
Also please remember artificial flowers are only allowed for Christmas, during february ALL artificial flowers will be removed front the churchyard.

Now are there any budding journalists out there who would like to put the church magazine together? We need help in the computer side, assembling and delivering. Another aspect of church life we need help with is in keeping the church clean.  Can you volunteer?

Returning to the TV Bible series, one theme came through to me, whether it was Abraham, Moses, Saul or  David, and that was each of these major characters in the Bible were flawed, troubled people who  God used in a powerful way. This is a great encouragement in our doubts, failures and mistakes - that God does use us knowing we are imperfect and will sometimes mess up!  And for that I am truly thankfully. Happy New Year
Alun

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Lights

I recently heard someone say that if you waited for every traffic light to be green on your journey you would never start the journey. This is particularly true of the journey of Christian faith, because people see the end - belief in God but then look along the way and see one or more red lights, which they cannot progress past, so they remain unsure about God, stuck either undecided about God’s existence or more radical - certainty that there is no God.

Red lights vary between different people, but some common red lights are: the suffering in the world, tragic sudden death, or the death of a loved one, particularly a child. As a vicar you encounter all these situations and also see how different a persons response can be when the very foundations of their life is shaken. 

When you watch someone in pain day after day, struggling to cope with life, struggling to live, some are  glad to have a God to shout at and ask why? Some deny God, have no one to shout at, and despair of the situation.

Grief is like a river that follows many different courses but some people are glad to have a God to shout at and ask why? They have hope of being re-united in heaven. Some deny God, have no one to shout at, and no hope of being re-united. 

The heart wrenching loss of a child often releases a fury of anger against God, but thats ok for God is God, God can take it. At least if you believe in God you can be angry at God, if you do not believe in God, were does the anger go?

Some of you my ask, how can you shout at God? Is there any point, does God hear us? does God feel our pain? Well in many ways Christmas is about answers to these very questions. At Christmas, God - that sometimes distant character in our lives - comes close to us - in fact he becomes the God who is with us - that is the very essence of Christmas - the technical word is INCARNATION. God steps down into this world as an innocent vulnerable baby to experience what we experience, to suffer how we suffer so that God knows what we feel and how we feel.

I am glad I know a God I can shout at, cry out to and be very cross with, because through God’s only son, Jesus, God feels our pain as intensely as we feel the pain.

Christmas does this! Yes Christmas is about Shepherds, Angels, Innkeepers, donkeys, miraculous births, prophecy, faithfulness and much more - but at its heart, is the God who steps down -bringing light to world that is dark and hope to a people who need a God to cry out to.  


May ALL your lights this Christmas be Green

Alun

PS Got questions? Want to know more? Then watch out for in the New Year we will be running a series on “Everything you wanted to ask about God but were afraid to ask” - The “Y” series.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Time to Remember

Many thanks for all the help on events over the last month. The McMillan day was well supported with over £400 raised. Having church open all day with a series of services at each time worked well and there has been a lot of positive feedback. The day was a great community event and i think it would be good to do it again.

Great fun was had by all at the Harvest sing alonga! The campaign for Water Aid was well received and we raised a lot of money. I learned a lot about water poverty and it's effects. I have become convinced that sorting out water poverty would also sort out many of the worlds problems. It should be a priority of individuals and governments.

As October gives way to November, we approach a time of remembering and honouring the sacrifice of our armed forces, see elsewhere in the magazine for times of services. We also remember those we were close to and who have died at our memorial service at 6pm on the Saturday 2nd November in Wadworth church.

During November we also remember Christians in trouble, and this year we focus especially on Syria. There have been Christians in Syria for nearly 2,000 years. The apostle Paul, famously, was converted on the outskirts of Damascus. In Antioch – then capital of the province that the Romans termed ‘Syria’ – followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). Many of the practices that we, as Christians, take for granted actually originate in Syria. The first Christian discipleship manual was written in Antioch. The earliest known church building is there. And the roots of our worship songs, ancient church music, began there.

In Aleppo some churches still sing their liturgy in Aramaic – the language spoken by Jesus.
This is a church with deep roots. And historically, because of its stability, Syria has been
a place of refuge. Recently, the country has provided shelter for Christians from elsewhere
in the Middle East:
Armenians escaping the genocide of 1915;
Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, driven out in 1948;
Orthodox Christians and Maronites fleeing sectarian violence in Lebanon during the 1970s and 80s.
And most recently, Iraqis: an estimated 2 million entered Syria between 2006 and 2009.
But now that ancient church is in danger of being expelled.

There is compelling evidence that Syrian Christians are suffering disproportionately and, in many cases, being targeted because of their faith.

A refugee said, “We are hostages of the growing Islamism while the rest of the world either watches and turns the other cheek. Just being Christian is enough to be a target.”

It is, of course, not a uniform picture. The situation differs from place to place and region
to region. But many Islamists are convinced that Christians are supporters of the Assad regime. In fact, most Christians want to stay out of the conflict and have no wish to take sides, but as a result they find themselves trapped in the middle.

“The longer the war goes on, the worse the situation becomes,” explains one of the Syrian Vicars. “We Christians are seen as pro- government. We as Christians tell everybody that we are not a political entity, we focus on our spiritual mission, we are on no side in the battle.”

The Christian community in Syria is increasingly being forced to choose between abandoning their homes or fighting for survival – and fighting for survival almost inevitably means taking sides.

I would be great full if you could contribute by signing a petition to draw attention to the plight of Syrian Christians and join us for prayer meetings.

Alun


Monday, September 23, 2013

WATER AID


Last month I wrote a little about the work of  Water Aid.  This month I want to give you a specific example of their work.

Alakamisy is a small, rural village in central Madagascar where Noeline Marie Razanajafy, 36, lives with her husband and four children. Noeline told WaterAid “I have lived in this village for 19 years. We used to have money problems and our life was very difficult. We even had problems with education of our children. They went to school before but sometimes they had to stop because they didn’t have the necessary school things... sometimes they didn’t have food before school. Before, we would wash every 1 or 2 weeks.”

People often lost their animals because they let them go and find water. Children didn’t eat much and cut classes because they had nothing to eat before school and were afraid they may be sick. Journey to the source was difficult, very far away and on a slope. When it rained the dirt went into the water which was already yellow- looking, salty and smelly. The water bubbled and gurgled in people’s stomachs. Many people couldn’t afford to wash and the children were dirty.

WaterAid finished working in Alakamisy in 2007 and recently returned to see the enduring effects their work had on the community. In total the project has benefited 886 people and the transformation in that time has been incredible.

Noeline said “Before we couldn’t have gardens with vegetables, mangoes, maize but now we can grow what we want to because we have water. We eat a part of them and sell the rest. It’s now income for the family. We go to Betaph market to sell the vegetables. We use the money for food and the other part for breeding pigs, cows, hens, chickens.
Children get healthier because the water is clean. Food has improved as well. Once the tap-stands were built they held a meeting for everyone and gave us training. It was about management of water.”

It’s incredible that something as simple as clean water could bring about such a transformation in all these different ways. With your support WaterAid can reach out to other villages like Alakamisy.

So this Harvest, there are special envelopes for donation to Water Aid, and if you like instead of bring produce for Harvest sunday, perhaps you could use one of the special envelopes to make a special donation to the work of Water Aid.  As and example of what your money can buy:

£260 - could provide two tapstands - meaning that women don't have to waste long hours fetching dirty water that may make their children sick.
£580 - could pay to train three committees to fix and replace parts on their community water point, to ensure the clean water continues to flow.
£1,000 - could pay to install a handpump, which would give everyone in a community quick and easy access to safe water throughout the year.

So please help support communities like those in Madagascar this harvest and plants seeds of hope for the future.

Alun

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Water Water not everywhere


Jesus prepared his disciples for when he had return to heaven by teaching, example and practical tasks. He sent disciples into towns without himself to tell the people about Jesus and his message. The early church remembered the lessons and soon sent people to all parts of the then known world.  The church throughout its history has always sent people.  So when I heard that Jonathan and Jane were moving to outer Gainsborough, I had a sense they were being sent. I and the church wish them well in their new avenues of ministry. 

One in three of us will get cancer and it’s the toughest thing most of us will ever face. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or a loved one has, Macmillan Cancer Support can have a team of people in your corner supporting you every step of the way, they provide practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. Many in the congregation and wider community have benefited from the resources Macmillan provide, so it is a privilege to support them in some small way by participating in their “Big Coffee Day” event on Friday 27th September.  Maggie Parrott and friends will be starting the day with coffee, 10am until noon in the Village Hall and then coffee will be served in church from 2:30.

Church will be open all day to give space to reflect, remember, pause for a thought.  Time for you to just come in and sit or look around this wonderful church in Wadworth. If you want guidance to reflect or remember then there special services at 9:30am, 2pm and 7:30pm especially for those affected by Cancer whether directly or in-directly. If you would like prayers for someone in particular or have their name read out please contact the Vicar by phone, letter or email, see the back sheet of the magazine for details.
During September we start our season of Creationtide as we look at Water in the Bible and also focus on our Harvest charity, Water Aid.  Each Sunday in September we look at different aspects of Water from a spiritual and practical nature. See elsewhere in the magazine for more details.
768 million people in the world don't have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population. 2.5 billion people don't have access to adequate sanitation, almost two-fifths of the world's population. Around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. That's almost 2,000 children a day.

Water Aid has help people gain access to safe water and sanitation.  They have built strong relationships with governments and communities to help provide clean water and safe sanitation to those most in need.  Water Aid works by supporting communities to introduce and operate new water and sanitation facilities.  Implementing low-cost technologies which are appropriate to the setting is essential.  They have also worked with national Governments to establish a sanitation strategy. Water Aid’s reputation for knowledge and expertise helps them to influence and advocate across development issues.  They encourage organisations to work together to achieve greater results.  Access to safe water and the impact on growing food for rural communities
 Without access to water it is difficult to grow crops and rear animals. Conditions relating to water and sanitation are typically worse in rural communities which are often remote. People often journey five times a day to collect dirty water.
Some Sobering thoughts
Alun

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gas pipes and other matters


Wadworth has been visited by several groups of people in the last few months. First and with the longest presence have been the Gas supply workmen who have brought chaos and upheaval to many streets in Wadworth village. Of course the work they do - making sure the gas supply is free from leaks by putting new supply pipes within existing supply pipes is vital work. We all take our Gas supply for granted and would complain if we were without the Gas supply. So the chaos caused by the necessary maintenance has been worthwhile for the security of the long term supply of Gas.

The second visitors to the village have been Jehovahs Witnesses and more recently, people tell me we have also had pairs of Mormons knocking on villagers doors. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that both these religious groups are not part of the Christian church and belonging to either of them  is not compatible with being a Christian. Just as it is vital to our gas supply to have pipes that do not leak, it is vital to maintain our Christian faith that we do not allow leaks in what we believe. Just as the pipes that deliver our Gas need to be air tight, so also we need an air tight believe in the Christian faith.

Now I can hear many of you asking  - but what about all the different Christian denominations - what about the differences between the Methodists and Baptists, the Pentecostals and Anglicans; Salvation Army and Roman Catholics to name but a few. Well yes there are differences between different Christian churches but the differences are in the outworking of a faith that is very similar in its belief. There is a statement of what it means to be a Christian that goes back to the fourth century and it is one that all Christian churches will agree upon. It is called the Nicene Creed. More importantly it is a statement of faith that both Mormon and Jehovah witnesses do not  believe is true. 

The Nicene Creed was written by a large group of Bishops in AD 325 who came together and agreed on a statement of faith and it has stood the test of time. The creed is based on what had been taught by Jesus and his followers and passed down in documents as we know today as the New Testament. We may at times question what it says, debate some of its relevance to the 21st century, but ultimately as christians we come back to believing what the Nicene Creed states.

The Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus is divine, Jehovah witnesses say Jesus is not; the Nicene creed says there is one God, Mormons say there are three gods with one purpose. These differences are not new even though both Mormons and Jehovahs witness trace their origins to America in the 19th century. Ideas that Jesus was not divine and that there was more than one God were around at the time the Nicene creed but they were dismissed. They were not just dismissed out of hand but were the subjected of heated debate by the best thinkers for their age. 

Now you may want to know more about the Nicene Creed and what it says, you may want to explore some of the issues I have raised in more detail. If you are a Christian, this is all part of maintaining your pipes of faith. If you are exploring the Christian faith then you will be establishing your pipes of faith for the first time. Either way the Church is willing and able to help. Joining one of our mid week groups, where there is time to asks questions is a great place to start. Of course coming to a church service on a Sunday is always a good idea - I would say that - I’m the Vicar! If you want to join one our groups then ring me, email me or even write to me. 

I look forward to seeing you


Alun

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kneelers from St Katherines Loversall

94544Bridal Kneeler - Mrs. M. Sims 19682619
This project was started in the Autumn of 1973 by Gladys E. Thompson (nee Walker) who called a meeting to those interested in working a canvas kneeler. It was her wish to finance this project to make 40 kneelers to mark the 40th anniversary of her residance in the parish and attendance at St. Katherine's Church, Loversall.
The original fabric kneelers were very worn and leaking straw everywhere. It was decided that trestles would be made for all kneelers to rest on and Mr. E. Simms & Mr. J. Moffatt kindly made these.
Mrs. M Simms gave much advice and help with the variety of stitches used in the original designs, and helped in incorporating parts of the designs in the Coats Book Of Church Kneelers.
The 40 Kneelers were all completed and dedicated in September 1977.

A book was produced in the 1980s with the following forward

I first visited St. Katherine’s Church in 1981, soon after our arrival in the area and my
impression was that it was loved and well-cared for, despite major structural problems.
Undoubtedly the most striking feature of the interior was the array of individually designed
and meticulously worked canvas-tapestry kneelers and I was soon introduced to Gladys
Thompson who had been the inspiration behind the whole project.

A diminutive figure, Gladys exhibited a steely determination to complete whatever she
began. With a keen eye and nimble fingers, like the wife of noble character in Proverbs 31
“she selected wool and flax and worked with eager hands”.

In Act Chapter 9 we read how that when Dorcas dies, her friends and family showed
Simon Peter the garments and wares that she had lovingly made, evoking treasured
memories.

These kneelers are an heirloom for our future children to appreciate; each one tells a story
of co-operation and sharing skills. Dark winter evenings spent by the fire and the
deepening friendships as the task was completed, joyfully giving the glory to God
Gladys died in June 1984, the fortieth anniversary of “D. Day”. As members of the
Christian family, we thank God for her life and example to us all.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”.

Rosalind J Redden

We thought the Kneelers should be digitised to be preserved and these post are the product of work the took place in 2012-13

Revd Alun Price, Robert Price and Graeme Anderton

Miscellaneous

Yorkshire Rose on Green - Mrs M GillLet us with a Glandsome Mind - Mrs A ChampionRed and Fawn Design - Mrs M Gill & Mr RA ThompsonRed and Fawn Geometric Design - Mrs KM Moffatt

Miscellaneous, a set on Flickr.

Kneelers at St Katherines

Kneelers from St Katherines Loversall

94544Bridal Kneeler - Mrs. M. Sims 19682619

Christian Festivals and Symbols

Calvary - Mr RA ThompsonGold Cross, Chalice & Tongues of Fire on red & pink background - Mrs. K. M. MoffattGold Star on Blue Background - Miss F BaconGold Cross on Green Background - Mr RA ThompsonGold Cross on Red/Grey Background - Mr RA Thompson
Gold Cross Blue Background - Mr & Mrs A StephensonRed Cross on Pink/Red Background - Mrs GE ThompsonMauve Cross on multicoloured background - Mrs. D. M. ThompsonBlue Cross Gold Crown - Miss M Wilson2 Blue Crosses on Blue/Grey Background - Mrs E VirgoGold Trinity on Green Background - Mrs G Abrams & Mrs F Bacon
Tongues of Fire - Mr A Stephenson

Set of Kneelers at ST Katherine Loversall

Wild Flowers and Trees

Chestnut Buds and Conkers  - Mr RA ThompsonWild RosesPrimroses and Violets - Mrs GE ThompsonBluebells and Cowslips Mrs GE ThompsonButtercups and DaisiesSnowdrops and Aconites

Wild Flowers and Trees, a set on Flickr.

Set of Kneelers at St Katherines Loversall

Biblical Stories and Plants

Three Kings - Mrs A ChampionMiraculous Draught of Fishes - Mrs A ChampionThe Shepherds - Mr RA ThompsonLilies of the Field - Miss ME ThompsonSpikenard - Mrs M AngusFrankincense Mrs M Jackson
Myrrh  Mrs GE ThompsonFlax - Mrs A ChampionGall - Mrs ME Joynes

Biblical Stories and Plants, a set on Flickr.

Kneelers found in St Katherine Loversall