Category Archives: Worship

Generosity is good for you!

generosity

 

 

 

 

 

Here are 7 good reasons why…

1. Because it’s what God is constantly doing

God loves us so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him may have eternal life (John 3:16)

God is a GIVER! And we are made in God’s image- generosity is in our DNA

2. Because your generosity bounces back to bless you

If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. (Luke 6:38)

It is by giving that we receive. You can never out-give God!

3. Because you need to give, to keep your spiritual life fresh

Your gifts of money are like a sweet-smelling offering or like a sacrifice that pleases God. (Philippians 4:18)

When we cease to worship, we shrivel up spiritually. This goes for our giving just as much as our praying or hymn-singing.

4. Because Jesus had a lot to say about it

Jesus looked up and saw some rich people tossing their gifts into the offering box. He also saw a poor widow putting in two pennies. And he said, ‘I tell you that this poor woman has put in more than all the others.’ (Luke 21:1-3)

1/6 of Jesus’ recorded words, and 1/3 of his parables, are about people and material possessions. To Jesus, little else is so potentially deepening or damaging to our relationship with God.

5. Because you get to see other people blessed

Your generosity will lead many people to thank God when we deliver your gift. (2 Corinthians 9:11)

6. Because it’s the way to true contentment

More blessings come from giving than from receiving. (Acts 20:35)

Generous giving is a great antidote to greed and selfishness- which are a temptation and danger for us all.

7. Because it involves you in God’s work

Your heart will always be where your treasure is. (Matthew 6:21)

Giving buys us in (literally) to the work of God. Every penny and pound we spend can be an investment in God’s kingdom 🙂

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All things bright and beautiful

We finished it! 300 pieces of prayer puzzle to see in Creation season 🙂

lindisfarneFor from him and through him and for him are all things. To God be glory for ever!  (Romans 11)

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Making prayer bunting

This morning we are making prayer bunting to remind us to pray for each other and our neighbours.

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Maunday Thursday / Passover Meal

Maundy Thursday was an amazing evening of Jewishness, Jesus and Junk Food!

Our Jewish friend David Winston (with Heston as his sidekick) led us through a Passover meal; the ancient liturgy and symbols helped us to understand more deeply the ‘past’ of our Christian faith, and also the ‘present’ message of freedom and hope it offers in our modern world. This was especially poignant with our night shelter guests (fleeing homes in danger, longing for freedom and fullness of life) sharing the meal with us.

Then we had a wonderful (partly-kosher!) dinner courtesy of our Junk Food Café; our imam friend Adam taught us about wudhu (ritual washing before Muslim worship); and then David R-H led us reading John 13, saying our prayers and washing each other’s feet.

It was a very special and moving night. Jan said it was a deeply profound inter-faith experience and encounter; David Winston said it was like a big multi-culture-and-faith group hug 🙂

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All Hallows’ birthday weekend!

The first of November, All Saints, All Souls or All Hallows – and the weekend that we take as our patronal day, or if you like, our birthday!

And what a birthday weekend we had!

It started on Friday with Pumpkin Pie at the cafe. Then on Saturday late afternoon we decorated the church, prepared food and set up all manner of crazy things for us to do in the evening.

The evening consisted of fantastic pizza, more pumpkin pie and other food prepared by Simon and a load of young helpers. In the church we had a “marquee” where apple bobbing and other strange things happened. Loads of giant Lego bricks (otherwise known as cardboard boxes) where used to build castles and trains.

Eventually everyone settled down to watch “The Lego Movie”, an awesome theological treatise on the purpose of life!

Finally to bed. Some softies went home (including the author) but many more adventurous types spent the night in the “marquee” or huddled around cuddly toys and boxes. I understand that some sleep was had but judging by what I saw in the morning, not a lot!

Then Super Simon and his crew rustled up a cooked breakfast which revived us all. Thank you Simon!

So to the service and the sermon. Who knew that the Lego Movie was such a source of awesome theology? Well, obviously, Heston did! And so we discovered that we are all awesome, we are all saints, we are “the most talented, most interesting, most extraordinary” people in the universe and we are “capable of amazing things”. The Lego Movie says so, and so does God! He has called us to join Him in being “Master Builders” of His new kingdom here on Earth.

Communion was a little different in that we all crowded into the “marquee” and we reminded each other that we are all saints.

After the service there was more awesome food and then it was time to clear up. I’ve never seen so many cheerful “clearer uppers”, a huge thank you to all of you who made clearing up such fun.

And then, all the saints, all the master builders went home to catch up on their sleep in readiness for their role in the next week of helping to build God’s Kingdom.

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Marvellous Methodist Morning

Yesterday we were warmly welcomed by the Hyde Park Methodists, for a joint service of Baptism and Holy Communion. We had a great time, singing Wesley hymns, getting the Methodists hooked on Rachel’s wonderful Bread of Life, and sharing the Cup of Blessing shot-glass-style 🙂

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Over coffee and pub lunch afterwards, several folks reminisced about our two churches regularly worshipping and serving the parish together. We all thought more of that would be a good thing. And so- striking while the iron is hot- they’re returning the visit this coming Sunday at All Hallows! Hurray and halleluyah.

 

Here is Ben’s brief brilliant sermon:

In light of today’s reading I want to think about what it means to be a Christian.

What it means for us to be here, together, witnessing a baptism and participating in communion.

From the outset, such thinking seems to be a complex and daunting task.

Am I going to have to unpack what the author of John means by eternal life?

Does the meaning of Christian faith in this passage rest upon Jesus’ promise to raise people on the last day and our belief in that?

As important and interesting as these themes may be, I think there is a simpler, more immediate truth for us to find.

The voice that speaks to me from this narrative is not in fact that of Jesus. It is the words of the disputing audience members which have a particular effect:

How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

This question relates to the meaning of Christianity because it relates to the meaning of Jesus.

How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

The giving of his flesh to eat is self-sacrifice, selflessness, self-giving-love. How can he do this? Because that is what he represents and is and therefore what God represents and is.

The famous German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that ‘the transcendent is not infinite and unattainable tasks, but the neighbour who is within reach in any given situation.’

To repeat: ‘the transcendent is not infinite and unattainable tasks, but the neighbour who is within reach in any given situation.’

Regardless of creed, colour, background or belief, God is to be experienced in the neighbour who is within reach. Being there only for others, giving one your flesh, is what it means to be a Christian.

The world is kept alive by such meaning and for us it is affirmed in the rituals of baptism and communion.

The openness, equalizing effect and unity of these practices, here in this Church today, dissolve our differences and allow our neighbour to be heard.

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Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday was Heston and Lydia’s first “official” service with us but we didn’t want to work them too hard on their first day so we had an all age service on the theme of “Nurture”. Can you spot how these activities relate to nurture?

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Transfiguration

On Sunday we looked at the Transfiguration (Mark 9.2-9) and, as usual, the children had far more interesting insights than we adults! Here are a few of their pieces of work that I managed to catch on camera. If you can’t read the text click on the picture to view a bigger version.

transfiguration01 transfiguration02 transfiguration03

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The heavens were torn open…

Our all-age service on Sunday actively and creatively celebrated the story of John the Baptist, and his surprising baptism of Jesus. As Alison said, it often helps to act something out, to bring new experiences into our hearts. Different people had the experience of eating “locusts” and honey, or dove-making, and we all took part in a ritual act of writing something we wanted to let go of, and seeing it melt to invisibility in the waters.

I had been struck by the phrase “the heavens were torn open” when Jesus was baptized. God breaking into human life, a glimpse of a deeper reality and the possibility of new ways of being. Tearing blue paper envisioned this radical act, and when glued into a frieze, we caught glimpses of brilliant colours made by the children.

The prophet Isaiah prayed, “if only you would tear open the heavens and come down…” Hundreds of years later God did just that, to dramatic effect. What is it like when God does this today? And what is it like when God does it at All Hallows and in our community?

Pippa

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Creation service

Next Sunday (7th September) will be an all age service revolving around the theme of “Creation”. It has been suggested that we might like to come dressed as animals or plants or with some sort of nod towards the creation theme. Apparently there is one member of the congregation who has a bee outfit, and I believe that there may be a banana hanging around as well, better watch out for the monkey!

So whether you want to come as a whale or just put a flower in your hair, do come and join us for what promises to be a great celebration of God’s creation.

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