All posts by Alan

Priest in Charge of Hale with Badshot Lea

Annual Report on Church Activities – 15/4

Sunday 15th April at St Mark’s we have the Annual Meetings. Please try and attend to hear about how much our Parish has achieved over the last year. All may attend the Annual meeting of parishioners, but only those on the electoral roll may attend the APCM. This year we will be introducing material from a course “Leading your Church into growth”.

Please find below the annual report on church activities.

REPORT DOCUMENT 2017 V2

The Orthodox Heretic

I have just started rereading this book for our book group, and whilst I remembered many of the “parables”, I had forgotten the introduction.

In it Peter Rollins explains that the purpose of the book is not to provide answers, but to pose questions (I paraphrase).  And that the point of these questions is to change our behaviour, not to gain our assent to some ideas.  He goes on to point out that so often people will assent to an idea, but then behave as though they don’t believe it; for example saying how terrible materialism is, but then living in a materialistic way.

Amen!

More thoughts on Remembrance

I recently posted some thoughts on Remembrance Sunday, and yesterday I had some more that I thought worth sharing.

In the previous article I commented on an article by Simon Jenkins, and he suggested that we should make next year the last Remembrance Sunday because too many use remembering as a means to keep past hurts alive.  However, it struck me that the problem is not keeping the memory alive, it is keeping the animosity alive.

Desmond Tutu has written a book on Forgiveness with his daughter Mpho.  This puts forward a four step approach to forgiveness, summarised here:

Telling the Story
Naming The Hurt
Granting Forgiveness
Renewing/releasing the relationship

It strikes me that at Remembrance the difficulties come because we are good at the first two, but don’t always move on to the third or fourth.

I would suggest that until we have mastered those two steps as well the nursed grievances will remain whether or not we abolish Remembrance Day.

Reading the Bible

Today’s post was inspired by Pray as You Go (not there for long), and by last Wednesdays  group discussion on the Bible.  The reading was Luke 16:9-15, and began:

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

This surprised me as it was a memorable phrase, which I did not remember!

Looking it up I discovered that it follows on from the Parable of the Unjust Steward, so when I usually read/hear it it is in a particular context.  The words are the same, but the context is different (not that the unjust steward is an easy parable to interpret).

It isn’t in the same league as theatre bill boards (see here), but reading something out of context can give a misleading perception.

The question then comes – how do we use the Bible without taking it out of context?

Remembrance Sunday

This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, and this morning I read this by Simon Jenkins.

For many clergy Remembrance Sunday is a struggle – how to remember the fallen with dignity, whilst remembering what has happened and wanting to say “never again”, often in the context of military parades.  The last thing that many of us would want to do is to preside over “a validation of war by embracing its horrors in religiosity”.

However, my experience in church is that when we struggle to achieve that balance it is welcomed.  Whether that is a generational thing, as in many churches, including ours, there are still people who can remember the war, I don’t know.  And of course, although Remembrance focuses on the two world wars, there have been many conflicts since, and many killed or injured.

If I were to be provocative I might ask whether the problem is that we don’t remember the more recent conflicts enough!  People under 70, which includes most politicians, have no experience of a “big” war.  Perhaps if our politicians had, or we Remembered better the smaller wars, there would be less inclination to solve our problems by military means.