We will be reading Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-faith World by Brian McLaren as our next book. We read books quite slowly – a few chapters at a time. Our next two meetings are 2 July 2018 and 20 August 2018. If you would like to know more please contact Alan Crawley.
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.
Our Knitted Nativity or Knitivity will travel from home to home during Advent. Would you like to host them just as the reluctant Inn keeper does in the nativity story? Booking can be done by contacting Kris: 07876 204665 / email@example.com
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.
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.
Telling the Story
Naming The Hurt
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.
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?
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.
Over the years I have heard a number of priests complaining about the increasing amount of management coming into the role of incumbent. Until now I have thought it only sensible that the good bits of modern organisational management theory should be used by the church. However…
Recently the Church of England has adopted new safeguarding procedures, and we have recently been made aware of the GDPR that are coming into force in May 2018. Both of these have added significantly to the administrative overhead of running a parish (and that is before the impact of implementing them is considered). If you are in a parish with several retired managers then this may be dealt with by them, although there is a level of knowledge required that the incumbent probably has in their head that anyone else will spend time finding out. But if you are in a parish without those kind of people the burden falls on the incumbent – and in some of those parishes the incumbent is already doing more administration than in others, perhaps no administrator, and I have heard of some with no treasurer.
This is not a plea for the church to be exempt from either of these – there is good reason why they are needed. However, it is a plea for the national church or dioceses to look at ways to reduce the burden of them on parishes. I will admit that this is a hobby horse of mine, but in the era of the internet providing systems centrally for use across the country is not rocket science, and could just help!
And for those parishes who do have people who can do these things – wouldn’t their time be better spent on ministry rather than administration?
I was reminded by a recent sermon of Craig’s that when preaching it is good to tackle the bits in the passage which challenge us. Indeed, at a previous church, the congregation asked the clergy to specifically address this (rather than preaching on an alternative reading).
They also say that the best sermons are those that are addressed to yourself.
Note to self – remember this and act on it!