Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our stand in Minister

Parables

On 9th February the Housegroup will be leading worship based around some parables of Jesus.

If you were asked about bits of the bible you can remember, I am fairly confident some of the words, phrases or stories would relate to parables – the sower casting seed, the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the lost sheep, the wise man building his house on rock, all these and many more are parables.

We remember them because Jesus was a great story-teller, and because stories are a great way to engage people, whether the story is a novel, a TV drama, a comedy sketch or a TED talk. Stories can take us to another place, but the best ones can also make us look at the world differently, and change us.

In the introduction to her book, ‘Surprised by grace: parables and prayers’, Susan Duber writes that, “the parables are not meant to be just mildly interesting (at least, I don’t think so), but to help us discover God and some truths we’re likely to miss about the way things really are.” She goes on to say, “Don’t assume for a moment that the way you’ve been taught to read them is the ‘right’ one. Read them, as Jewish rabbis might encourage you to do, believing that ‘there is always another interpretation.’”

For many of us, who have been listening to these stories all our lives, the difficulty can be that they have become too familiar, and we think we know what they mean. As a housegroup we tried to ask two questions:

what is normal or familiar about the story?
what is odd or different about the story?

We found this really helped us to think about what the story is trying to say, and certainly for me personally, I found new ideas about what it might mean to live in God’s kingdom. And, for me, that is what bible study, especially in a group, is all about.

So whether you’re able to be there on Feb 9th or not, why not re-read a familiar parable and think about the 2 questions above, and see where they take you …

Marion

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  We say that to each other and we really mean it – and those good wishes come knowing that the person we are talking or writing to feels the same way towards us. So giver and receiver get a morale boost.  There’s another opportunity around birthdays – and even a smile and … Continue reading Happy New Year

Christingles

On the 8th December the Parade and Toy Service will be combined with Messy Church and will take the form of a Christingle Service. The idea of Christingles came from a Moravian Church in Germany in 1747. The minister, John de Watteville, gave children at the service a lighted candle with a red ribbon around … Continue reading Christingles

Community

In my current professional guise, I get to work with quite a few charities, helping them with strategy, governance, evaluating their impact and sometimes getting stuck in as a frontline volunteer myself.  Over the last year, I’ve worked with charities in areas as diverse as foodbanks, community gardens, science education in schools, prisoner rehabilitation, homelessness … Continue reading Community

A Time of Reflection

A good number of people turned up in mid-August to the two discussion sessions about the ‘Scoping Document’. It was sent to the small scoping group who will come to meet us (and then Elmers End Free Church) on Monday 30 September. Reminder: ‘scoping’ means how much ministry we will get when the vacancy is … Continue reading A Time of Reflection

September New Start

Our calendar year may start on 1st January but for me September always feels more like a new start as the academic year begins. I realise that for almost all of my life it has been the predominant cycle; starting with being at school myself, then university, then accountancy training. Even in the period where … Continue reading September New Start

Friendship and comfort

It is a wonderful time of the year, holiday season is in full bloom. All thoughts of winter and the problems it can bring are forgotten, especially the bad weather! The sun is out (well it has been so far), Wimbledon has brought its normal excitement and surprise results, Five test matches against the old … Continue reading Friendship and comfort

Encourage one another

Dear Friends, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:v11 It was so encouraging to attend your first Church Meeting since Bill’s retirement and to find you all in such good heart. The amazing send-off for Bill on 2nd June was still fresh in … Continue reading Encourage one another

Change

As I write this, we’re finalising preparations for the service on 2nd June when we celebrate Bill’s 13-year ministry with us.  It’s a time to look back, but also to look forward; to compare the routines of the past with the varied leadership of the future; to think of where Bill has led us, to … Continue reading Change

Welcome

I am delighted that you have agreed to my appointment as your interim moderator. As such I shall be supporting you in this time of vacancy and providing assistance in the process of seeking your next minister.  I am a member of Christ Church URC Petts Wood where I am currently church secretary having served … Continue reading Welcome

And Finally

“This will be my last pastoral letter as minister of Emmanuel URC and Elmers End Free Church. I thank every one of you most sincerely for all the love, help, support and encouragement you have given myself and Marion these past thirteen years. It has been a privilege and a joy to have ministered with … Continue reading And Finally