Category Archives: Reflection

A Moment with God – Maundy Thursday

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do

for the least of our brothers and sisters

we do also for you:

give us the will to be the servant of others

as you were the servant of all,

and gave up your life and died for us,

but are alive and reign, now and for ever.

Amen.

A Moment with God – Wednesday in Holy Week

We proclaim Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called (both Jews and Greeks) Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength…


1 Corinthians 1

A Moment with God – Tuesday in Holy Week

Almighty God,
as we stand at the foot of the cross of your Son,
help us to see and know your love for us,
so that, in humility love and joy,
we may place at his feet
all that we have and all that we are;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

— Common Worship: Night Prayer in Passiontide

A Moment with God – Monday in Holy Week

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.

May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.

Blessed be God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
Blessed be God for ever.

(Common Worship: Daily Prayer in Passiontide)

Under One Roof

“Under One Roof” is the new title for our fund raising efforts for the regeneration of All Hallows building, community work, and most urgently the ROOF needed, for all our actions to take place in the safe and warm!

We are asking everyone for a very special effort, from April 2017 to April 2018, in fundraising, prayer, and work.  It’ll take longer than that to complete, but to prove to outside funders that we are a vibrant, sustainable community, able to put in the effort ourselves first, we want to show an exciting programme of fundraising and community building in this year in particular.

Dates for your Diary, some wonderful Sundays coming up:

April 15th:   Easter Sunday

Sunday 23rd April: Church Annual General Meeting during morning service. This is a great time for catching up with all that has gone on in the past year, as we listen to stories from the various groups and activities connected with the church, and pray for the future.

Sunday 30th April: Service of inspiration and commitment to our building, to launch “Under One Roof”

Sunday 7th May: our new PCC takes a special time out for lunch together after church, to get to know one another and envision the future.

So before we jump in, a time for some thought, reflection and prayer, during Lent.

WHAT DOES THE PHRASE ‘UNDER ONE ROOF’ CONJURE UP FOR YOU?  For some answers from PCC, see at the end of this email, but think of your own before you peep!!

Can you think of any stories from the Bible in which roofs feature?  A few below to start us off, but I’m sure there are more!

How could you use these for your own prayer? how could you share them with others in discussion? How can these scriptures ‘get wings’ and help recreate not just our building, but our community and relationships?

Two stories really speak to me:

Abraham and the angels Genesis 18

Read what happened when Abraham was willing to take in three complete strangers under the roof of his tent.  Many centuries later the icon painter Rublev painted this scene, in a way which depicted the strangers as the three persons of the trinity. How does this change our thoughts on the story?  See the icon in All Hallows, to the right of our altar, under the stained glass window.

As the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angels unawares” Hebrews 13:2

Peter and Cornelius:  Acts 10

Two men praying separately, at least one of them on a roof top; one a very Jewish Christian, one a pious Roman gentile. It’s an extraordinary story of cherished world view and prejudice being turned inside out, and the whole Christian enterprise being transformed forever in an inclusive direction: truly a parable for All Hallows as we pioneer hospitality, diversity and inter faith community.  But the household of Cornelius needed a large building, with a good roof, to give hospitality to this shocking new revival, and totally unexpected outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the excluded gentile population.

You might also like to have a look at these:

Genesis 19:8 Lot, in Sodom, had his guests “under the protection of my roof

Joshua 2:6 Rahab uses the roof as a hiding place for the spies

2 Kings 4:8-10 the Schunamite woman builds a spare room on her roof, so as to be able to give hospitality and understanding to the travelling prophet

Building Projects:

1 Kings: 5 onwards, and elsewhere – the building of Solomon’s temple: all the craftspeople, benefactors and above all workpeople, who enabled it to happen.

Nehemiah: the renovation of the walls of Jerusalem, achieved by joint communal effort, against much opposition

Ezra: the renovation of the temple itself, again with great opposition

Isaiah 54: 2-3 and here’s a promise:

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back;
lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
 your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.”

What does “Under One Roof” conjure for YOU?  Here’s some starter words from PCC:

      shelter         united     together      safe    

buckets       family       community

    inclusion      building      safety 

lengthen the stays; brace the tent pegs; prepare for the storm

      sanctuary      opportunity       conflict

different kinds of people           a variety of activity 

    a safe place         conflict         getting along in a crowd

people NOT like us          people LIKE us

           sharing        abundance

 

Pippa Woodhams

Lots to love about The Episcopal Church

robin williams episcopalian

Called by God

We are ALL called by God! Emma preached a brilliant sermon on Sunday, asking us how much we are willing and able to commit to Jesus and his wonderful way of life.

If you’ve ever wondered what exactly it is that God calls us all to, here’s a poem to inspire thoughts and prayers…

 

Lord, you call us to be story-tellers:

planting your explosive news into our defended lives;

locating us in the script of your human history.

 

You call us to be trailblazers:

living in your future that we receive only as gift;

subverting the fixed, fated world of low horizons.

 

You call us to be weavers:

tracing, stretching, connecting the knotted threads;

gathering up unravelling, disconnected lives.

 

You call us to be fools –

for Christ’s sake: bearing life’s absurdities and incongruities;

puncturing our seriousness and grandiosity.

 

You call us to be hosts:

welcomers of the sacred, intimate, transfiguring;

lavish celebrants of our communities and homecomings.

 

You call us to be poets:

artists and illuminators of inner space;

naming, invoking, heralding your ineffable presence.

 

You call us to be gardeners:

sowers, cultivators, nurturers of fragile lives;

benefactors of your gratuitous harvest.

 

You call us to be conductors

celebrating polyphony, coaxing symphony;

orchestrating the praise of your inhabited creation;

 

Lord, you lavish gifts on all whom you call.

Strengthen and sustain us and all ministers of your church,

that in the range and diversity of our vocation,

we may be catalysts of your kingdom in the world,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Roger Spiller (1944– )

Reflections on The Common Good – ‘Rainbow’ InterFaith evening

rainbow interfaith event

It’s a privilege to be with you tonight, and to think with you about THE COMMON GOOD. I’ve been blessed with many wise and wonderful teachers through my life, and they have taught me again and again, that when I think about God and Good, I always think far far too small…

I grew up in South Africa, during the years of apartheid. So when I was a young boy, my idea of Good was all about ‘what is good for white people.’ But then when I was 14, a whole lot of black children arrived at my all-white school. As I made friends with them, and as I heard Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu talking about apartheid, I realised that my understanding of Good was far far too small. When I started seeing the world through the eyes of Black and Indian South Africans, I learned that a true vision of the Common Good needs to include justice and equality.

As a South African, my idea of Good used to be ‘what is good for South Africa.’ But then I came to live in England. As I stared out of the airplane window for 12 hours and saw how big God’s world is, I realised that my understanding of Good was far far too small. When I started seeing the world through the eyes of English people and French people and Pakistani and Indian and Vietnamese and Brazilian people, I learned that a true vision of the Common Good needs to include people from all over the world, not just South Africans.

As a man, my idea of Good used to be ‘what is good for men.’ Mostly all about cricket and rugby! Then I met this amazing girl, and I realised that my vision of Good was far far too small. When I started seeing the world through a woman’s eyes, I learned that a true vision of the Common Good needs to include compassion, wisdom, common sense and beauty.

As a Christian, my idea of Good used to be, ‘what is good for Christians.’ But then I met Muslim and Hindu brothers and sisters, and I realised that my understanding of Good was far far too small. When I started seeing the world through the eyes of other faiths, I learned that a true vision of the Common Good needs to include a vision of God that is always more beautiful, and always more holy than I can comprehend on my own.

As a 21st century person, my idea of Good used to be, ‘what is good for humanity today.’ But then I started reading about global warming and the many ways that we use and abuse God’s good earth, and I realised that my understanding of Good was far far too small. When I started seeing the world through the eyes of our children and grandchildren, I learned that a true vision of the Common Good needs to include active care for God’s world and its other creatures.

I’ve been blessed to learn all of these things through encounters with wise teachers. Perhaps the wisest lesson of all, is that the Common Good doesn’t just happen. It takes time and patience, and people who truly WANT to be together for good, for the Common Good of all God’s children. So the challenge for us this evening- how much do we want the Common Good? Do we want it enough, to be open to each other, and to truly see the world through each other’s eyes?

Cleaning for Spring and Praying for Peace

Look out for a super-spring-clean church tomorrow morning! We’ve had a fun morning inside and out, followed by lunch.

spring cleaning

At 11am we stopped to ring the church bells and pray for peace (as did churches around the country) marking the anniversary of VE Day. We closed with this wonderful prayer:

Loving God, we believe that you have called us together

to broaden our experience of you and of each other.

We believe that we have been called

to help in healing the many wounds of society

and in reconciling us to each other and to God.

Help us, as individuals and together,

to work in love for peace, and never to lose heart.

We commit ourselves to each other – in joy and sorrow.

We commit ourselves to all who share our desire for reconciliation –

to support and stand by them.

We commit ourselves to the way of peace – in thought and deed.

We commit ourselves to you – as our guide and our friend. Amen.

(Corrymeela Community, Ireland)

Good Friday Reflection 7

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

At his most desperate, at the end, having gone through the experience of abandonment, having endured humiliation, torture, and scorn, and now facing death, the final words Luke has Jesus uttering come from a song about trust in God. ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit’ is drawn from Psalm 31.

In his pain and loneliness on the cross Jesus finds solace in the scriptures which had formed, shaped and directed his life.

For me this begs the question, what stories are we so deeply embedded within that we can find solace, strength and direction in our darkest moments?

The stories that shape us, can not only bring us much consolation in times of hardship and great need, but can also shape our responses, our reaction to situations we face. Just as athletes train their muscle memory for instinctive response in competition, we can prepare ourselves to be able to respond creatively, courageously, non-violently, and with humility and grace when we face desperate situations.

The stories around us in films, on television, in the media, too often invoke a fight or flight response to injustice, violence and hardship. By soaking ourselves in the story of Jesus we prepare ourselves to follow his example of creative response, of taking up our cross, of refusal to succumb to violence and oppression in our lives and the systems we are part of. Just as Jesus was able to find strength and trust in God from the stories that had shaped him, so too we can find strength and trust in our darkest moments.

For the times when we could easily fall into despair, for the times when we could react with violence or cowardice out of fear, for the times when God may feel absent from our lives, if we truly allow ourselves to be shaped by the stories of the life, actions, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, if we commit ourselves with trust to God, then we too may see life come out of our own darkest moments.

Jon Dorsett