Friday, 14 May 2021

All Bugs Welcome!

 

Last Sunday, under Mary’s expert supervision, members of Junior Church set up the AFC Bug Hotel in the church shrubbery.  It’s a splendid edifice and, I think, if I were a bug I would award it a 5* rating.


This is all part of our EcoChurch programme to look after our grounds in such a way that they are insect, animal and bird friendly.  Although we obviously still believe in ‘cultivation’ we are seeking to offer ‘welcome’ rather than ‘domination’ in our relationship with the natural order.

The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford, has just published a very readable book entitled The Humble Church, one we’ll be discussing at next month’s Ministers’ Book Group.  In it he advocates that The Church takes it place alongside other groups in society, willing to listen, engage and learn rather than thinking it must always preach, be listened to, and lead the way.  It’s a ‘humbler’ model of church and one that seeks to offer a sense of mutual respect.  I suppose one example of that at AFC is the recent establishment of the yellow Medic to Medic recycling bin at the back entrance.  A member of the congregation heard of this excellent project (not a specifically ‘Christian’ one) and recommended it to us.  So now some of our recycling and its proceeds goes to support the training of doctors in Africa.  Another example would be the use of our premises over recent months by Buckinghamshire Council as a COVID Testing Station.  In all of this we are trying to welcome our community and work, not over them, but humbly alongside.

Offering a welcome can be so affirming.

Whilst on holiday in Malvern last autumn (before the Second Lockdown) we attended Morning Worship at The Priory.  We had booked, so as we arrived the steward ticked our names on his sheet and escorted us to our designated seats.  We felt so welcomed because those places had carefully and thoughtfully been prepared for us.

As we creep slowly back into a more familiar ‘way of being’, I’m sure we will want to reaffirm that ‘hospitality’ is a major part of any church’s DNA.  We want to offer a real welcome and to delight in the welcome given to us by other groups and individuals in society.  It’s all part of the companionship we share in walking with God and alongside one another.

So, welcome bugs - to your new AFC hotel!

Ian


Thursday, 6 May 2021

The Vacuum of Absence

 

One of my earliest schoolboy memories is of May Day.  Every year, in the playground, children in my Primary School would hold its ribbons and dance around it.  However, my memory is not of dancing but being one of the three ‘tall and strong’ boys deputised to hold said pole!!  In truth, I think, I preferred it that way, having been born with two left feet!


Folk lore rituals celebrate the arrival of spring at this time of year with Maypoles, Green Men and Jack in The Boxes and out in the garden it feels like a re-awakening after the slumber of winter.

In some ways this phase of the year mirrors the re-emergence of many back into society as the isolation and restrictions of Lockdown ease. 

 I was fascinated to hear a recent Thought for Day as the presenter related their experience of loosing a sense of taste because of Covid.  He spoke of the process of re-educating his taste buds, and for him they seem to be working again.  He described that period when taste eluded him as the ‘vacuum of their absence’.  His great wish now, upon their gentle return, is that he doesn’t take taste for granted but purposely values and savours it.

I sense we have all had this ‘vacuum of absence’ in our lives and we share that desire that as we re-awaken and re-emerge, we won’t speed up life and live it once more in the fast lane, but savour and value what has once again blessed our lives.

I’m conscious of the Parable of The Prodigal Son returning.  He would have missed so much about his old life as he languished in that far country.  Surely, after his own re-awakening, he returned a wiser and more appreciative person – and so, hopefully, will we.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

It's good to talk

Last week Dave, the postman, delivered no less than four church publications through the manse letterbox on the same day; so, I had more than enough to browse through over the morning coffee.  Lots of words!


It’s significant that the Pandemic hasn’t made us talk less!  We’ve been able to fill our own church magazine with interesting articles even when we were hardly meeting at all in person.

I rather like the phrase the ‘Chattering Class’ describing folk who love nothing better than to chew things over in conversation (it currently happens after every Sunday morning service in the car park in groups of six!).  Of course, we can over analyse or descend into gossip.  Yet talking things through often brings an unexpected solution or at least sheds a different light on a subject giving us a broader perspective. 

Listening to others is an important ingredient in discernment.

I was talking the other day to a colleague who told me he hadn’t, and these were his words: ‘read anything in years’.  Well, I read – both the periodicals that came through the door last week and the tomes recommended by the two book groups to which I belong - because it’s a way of me avoiding a life that is just ‘self-referencing’.  I need the bigger horizons and reading books and talking with others helps give me that.

It’s good to talk, and in the process listen.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Training Seminar from the Thames North Synod

A message from the Revd Bridget Powell.

If you would like to attend this seminar do let me know and I will pass on your name to Bridget.

 "Sacred Spaces for Worship - Disciples not Consumers!"


We will discuss rooting and deepening our worship life when alone with God and in corporate public worship. As we enter this 'new normal' season of our lives and our congregations is it going to be possible to navigate this time of transition without falling for style, practicalities, and format over substance and foundations?
We will be encouraged to deepen and develop our worship life as active disciples rather than passive consumers and in doing so we will, no doubt, deepen our community and mission life as well.
                        Eddie Boon, Thames North Discipleship Enabler.


Please pass this on to your churches.
There is a choice of two sessions - 11am to 12 noon or 7,30 to 8.30pm on Thursday 6th May.
Please can those wishing to attend let me know asap and then I will send out the links the day before the meetings.

Revised notice from Chesham Methodist Church

Chesham Methodist Church are looking for a community worker to work with their Church2Community project for 16 hours per week.

Please see 
www.cheshammethodist.org.uk for more details and for an application pack please email Lu Gigg on amcircuitmethodist@gmail.com.

The deadline for applications has now been extended to 17 May.
 


Thanks

Revd Nigel Wright
Minister of Chesham Methodist Church

Friday, 23 April 2021

sunday 18th April 2021

 On Sunday 18th April 2021 our Junior Church held an Eco session after morning service in our church grounds.









Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Doing the Appropriate Thing

We have all got used to the mantra Stay 2 metres apart, and I guess all of us have developed different ways of measuring that in our heads to ensure we are compliant! 


Last week whilst on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales we were intrigued, and amused, by the National Park poster which measured this distance in 9 red squirrels, 2 Swaledale ewes or one Landover!!  It was all very culturally relevant to that beautiful part of the world.

The Church has always had a big task on its hands to seek to communicate using terms, images and ideas that speak in an appropriate and accessible way to the culture of our hearers.

Maybe today that might mean describing prayer as a Zoom call with God (or maybe not!!).

On Sunday, after church and in the glorious sunshine of that day, members of our Junior Church came together outside for what I thought was an entirely appropriate gathering.  Mary led them in planting up sunflower seeds and looking around the site for signs of wildlife.  All part of our Eco-Church commitment to value and look after our land.

Both personally and corporately that task of sharing our faith in culturally relevant and appropriate ways stays before us and encourages us to be creative!


All Bugs Welcome!

  Last Sunday, under Mary’s expert supervision, members of Junior Church set up the AFC Bug Hotel in the church shrubbery.   It’s a splendid...