Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

Mending Fences

In the bad weather in December a side fence at our sister church at Elmers End blew down and in the process one of the upright supports blocked a fire exit. Thanks to the excellent work carried out by our contractor, Gus Lansing and his team, EEFC now has a brand new fence and the fire exit is back in use.

The phrase “mending fences” is a relatively common idiomatic phrase in English and as I am sure we all know it means to “put right a relationship.” I seem to recall that it was the Revd Dr Leslie Weatherhead who described Christ’s Kingdom as “the kingdom of right relationships.” As we come into the season of Lent (it begins on 6th March) we are reminded that it is through Jesus’ cross and resurrection that God puts right the relationship between the world and himself. That is what Jesus meant when he raised the wine cup at the meal table the night before the first Good Friday and said “This cup is the new covenant in my blood – do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor 11:25) For “covenant” read “relationship.”

We can’t have a proper relationship with someone if we never think about them. That is why we celebrate communion in church; the visible symbols of bread and wine and the presence of the Holy Spirit bring to mind God’s forgiving grace and love for all humanity supremely shown by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and verified by his resurrection.

If God in Christ went to such length to establish his new relationship with humankind it is incumbent upon us to show love to our fellow men and women. Lent is a time when we are invited to take stock of our relationship with God and each other. What God requires his people to give up for Lent (and for good) is not chocolate and such like, but things like – resentment, grudge bearing and bad feeling and to embrace love, reconciliation and forgiveness. That is how Christ’s Kingdom of “right relationships” is built.

Shalom,

Bill

 

Fairtrade Fortnight

As I write, the country (especially Parliament!!) is divided on the ongoing issue of Brexit with no consensus of opinion seemingly in sight. The issue of trade agreements looms large in Britain’s negotiations with the EU. I think one trade issue we can all agree on regardless of political persuasion is that it is right … Continue reading Fairtrade Fortnight

New Year 2019

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will have started. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters to several kind elderly aunties who always sent me Christmas presents. I remember … Continue reading New Year 2019

Light in the World

This year the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights begins the same day as the Christian church celebrates Advent Sunday (2nd December). Hanukkah is an eight day celebration and runs to the evening of Monday, 10th December. The origins of Hanukkah go back to second century BC when the Greek … Continue reading Light in the World

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 … Continue reading Texan Talk

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