Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

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 tongues. This is not normally how spiritual gifts are discerned in our own Reformed tradition. As Paul himself wrote,

“In church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1 Corinthians 14:19)

When we think of spiritual gifts we tend to think of the more publicised ones like those I have mentioned in the previous paragraph perhaps adding to the list things like preaching and evangelising. But in fact there are many kinds of spiritual gifts some of which I am sure each one of us has. As Paul again wrote,

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all people.” (I Corinthians 12:4-6)

Alongside the notices in this month’s magazine you will find a “Spiritual Gifts Wordsearch” which I picked up at the conference. You may want to do the wordsearch just for fun, but even if wordsearches aren’t your thing, do have a look at some of the words listed and I am sure you will find one or more gifts you yourself possess and can offer in Christ’s service through his church.

I leave the last word to the apostle, Peter:-

“Each one should use whatever gifts they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Shalom,

Bill

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!!

Truth

It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth