Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

Texan Talk

As I write, in a little over a week, I am off to Houston, Texas where I am officiating at the wedding of Matt and Kristen on 3rd November.

I am looking forward to my visit not only for the wedding but I have always been a bit of a Western fan as well as an American history buff!! During my stay in the US I am planning to visit San Antonio where the famous fort, “The Alamo” is to found. Incidentally, the Alamo was originally a church!! In the year 1836 when Texas was fighting for independence from Mexico 187 defenders held off an army of almost 5000 for 13 days. On 6th March 1836 the tiny garrison was overwhelmed and all put to the sword on the orders of the Mexican dictator, Santa Ana.

Most Hollywood movies depicting this period of Texan history finish with the end of the battle and the death of its valiant defenders including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. But amazingly, on 21st April 1836, just six weeks after the Alamo fell another small Texan army, under General Sam Houston, completely routed a much superior Mexican force at the battle of San Jacinto. (Near where the city of Houston stands today). Santa Ana was captured during the battle and in return for his life he granted Texas independence. The newly formed Republic of Texas was an independent sovereign state for nearly ten years until it became the 28th state of the USA on 29th December 1845. The battle cry of the victorious Texans at San Jacinto was, “Remember the Alamo!!”

What spurred the victorious Texans on at San Jacinto was the memory of the savagery at the Alamo and the desire for revenge. When we gather on Remembrance Sunday, which this year is actually 11th November, and stop for the two minutes silence at 11.00am, one hundred years to the very hour the First World War ended, our thoughts will not be of revenge but of gratitude mixed with sorrow. Gratitude for the brave souls who gave their lives for their country during WW1 and all subsequent conflicts and also sorrow that so many had to die (and die still) to defend our freedom.

It is right that we take time to properly remember those who gave their “todays” for our “tomorrows.” If we truly wish to honour those we remember we should do all we can to work for a peaceful and just society. It is a very true saying,

“If you want peace – work for justice.”

The prophet Zechariah in chapter nine of the book that bears his name looks forward to a time when Israel’s king will come to Jerusalem not riding a war horse but a humble donkey, the symbol of peace.

“He will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war horses from Jerusalem and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations.” (Zechariah 9:10)

Walking the way of Jesus is building a just world which in turn will help create a peaceful world. It’s still “work in progress” but let us continue to work for progress in the promotion of justice and peace and so honour the memory of those who gave all they had to give.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Shalom,

Bill

Spiritual Gifts

I have just returned from a few days away at a URC Ministers’ Conference at High Leigh in Hertfordshire. Among the topics we discussed were what the apostle, Paul calls, “Spiritual Gifts.” In some churches, mainly those from a Pentecostal background, the main spiritual gifts are considered to be things like prophesying and speaking in … Continue reading Spiritual Gifts

All Change

September is a month of change. Primary school children change to a different class, year 6 to a different school. Secondary pupils change to a different year or change from school to university or college and for some they change from school to the world of work. In the natural world the seasons change throughout … Continue reading All Change

Football

Well the football World Cup is over and the England team came so very close!! Well done to Gareth Southgate and his squad, apart from nearly pulling off the ultimate prize they also pulled their country together in a positive way for a couple of exciting weeks of eager expectancy. While the World Cup is … Continue reading Football

Encouragement

Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 … Continue reading Encouragement

Royal Wedding

I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible. … Continue reading Royal Wedding

For evil to triumph…

I am writing this a few days after the UK together with our allies in the US and France have launched airstrikes against the chemical warfare installations in Syria. Regardless of our political persuasions all right thinking people can surely only be appalled at the use of such horrendous weapons by the Assad regime against … Continue reading For evil to triumph…

New Life

Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring.  Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter.  These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which … Continue reading New Life

Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

“Thank You” letters

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas … Continue reading “Thank You” letters

Bah!! Humbug!!

“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”.  This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!