Thursday, 29 November 2012

Nev Goes Strong at 90

Today, at Coffee Pot, St Paul's Thursday morning group, we were celebrating Nev Lindley's 90th birthday (actually tomorrow). Nev was in very good heart as he reminisced, including wartime experiences as an air traffic controller – when two Halifax bombers collided just by his control tower  – and his experiences as an engineer back in Leicester.
Although widowed for 16 years, he has many family living nearby. His granddaughter had cooked an array of different cakes which all of us who attended enjoyed. We sang a tuneful (?) "Happy birthday" to him.
May Nev have many more years of good health.
It's always good to celebrate anniversaries and of course, in a months time, we celebrate the greatest birthday of all: Jesus birth. Do come and celebrate with us at St Paul's:
Sunday 23 the Carol Service at 6:30 p.m.
Monday 24, Christmas Eve, The Christingle Service at 4.0 p.m. and midnight Communion at 11.30 p.m.Tuesday 25, Christmas Day, Family Communion at 10.0 a.m.
I hope that you will be able to come and celebrate with us.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

General Synod: Vote on Women Bishops

On Tuesday the governing body of the Church of England;- General Synod, voted on the issue of allowing women to be ordained as Bishops in the Church. Synod is made up of 3 'houses' Bishops, Clergy and Laity. For a measure to be approved it needs to gain a majority of two-thirds of the vote in each of the 3 houses. The houses of Bishops and Clergy voted clearly in favour but the house of Laity was much closer. Here there were 132 votes for 74 against and 9 abstentions. The house of Laity needed just a further 6 'yes' votes for the bill to pass but because it fell short the bill failed.

There have been a variety of reactions to this as you might expect. Much sadness from those who have worked tirelessly over many years to try and make women Bishops happen. There have been questions over the way Synod works, with many suggesting that it doesn't. 42 of the 44 dioceses voted in favour of Women Bishops, so why does General Synod not reflect this? I read a comment that said you can be president of the United States with 51% of the vote but not a female bishop with 74% of the vote. Many other countries in the worldwide Anglican communion are in shock as they already have Women Bishops. Others are delighted that the measure failed, including many women.

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, suggested in a radio interview that it was not the idea of women bishops that was rejected but rather the legislation that the church was suggesting to offer an alternative for those who in all good conscience could not receive the ministry of a female bishop.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, urged Synod to rebuild trust. The Archbishop elect, Justin Welby, tweeted that is was 'a grim day' for the Church and is keen to see this issue resolved.

Personally I am in favour of Women Bishop's and do not think the events of the last few days have done much to endear the work and mission of the Church to the watching world. However, the thing that makes me most sad is to see the in-fighting between the different 'sides'. More than anything now is a time for much love, grace and care for one another and a huge amount of prayer. This issue, along with the many other contentious issues that the church faces, is not going to go away and will, in time, need to be revisited and resolved. However, nothing should take us away from the great commission to go and make disciples and share the good news of the love of Christ with all.

Monday, 19 November 2012

God's Economy

We are living in a world that has been dramatically affected by economic decisions over the last four years. Bankers have become the modern day pariah . Justin Welby (newly nominated Archbishop of Canterbury) once wrote a booklet, based on his student dissertation, entitled "Can Companies Sin?" Jesus spent a lot of time talking about money. It was therefore appropriate that this year's Bishop's Lay Congress looked at the issues of finance and big business and was entitled "God's Economy; Christian approaches to the common good."

The conference, attended by several members from St Paul's, had Clifford Longley, the well-known Catholic journalist, broadcaster and writer as the keynote speaker, supported by three other leaders in the economic and business field, who led tutorials and joined with the Bishop in a question and answer session.

The thrust of Clifford Longley's exposition was that the economic problems could not be resolved simply by an increase in regulation. There had been a belief around that the market could be made to function simply by self-interest (greed!). This had failed. What was actually needed was Virtue Ethics (what you are, not what you do, resulting in doing good when no one
is looking). Using a number of scenarios he demonstrated how "doing right" was actually of benefit to the company, its workforce and society – and ultimately to its shareholders.

At the beginning, he raised the question: " Is capitalism redeemable?" His conclusion was "possibly" as he offered suggestions of changes, such as the John Lewis, Cooperative or German model rather than the PLC one. It was a conference which stimulated the grey cells but was of great relevance to life today.

This was the most recent of a series of excellent stimulating "Bishops Lay Congresses." Watch out for next year's!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday

Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday. This year it falls on the 11th day. At St Paul's we will be observing 2 minutes silence on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour.

Our Bible reading from John 15 contains the words of Jesus, 'Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.' We will be thinking about friends, about those who we don't know who gave their life for our freedom and about the greatest friend of all, Jesus, who laid down his life for each on of us.

Do join us, you will be made very welcome!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Clearing the grounds

On a wet Saturday morning a brave team of people turned up to help in a grounds clearing exercise at St Paul's. Hedges were trimmed back, leaves raked and the whole place was tided up.
Huge thanks to Mick Ellis and David Smith who led the morning, to Wendy and Margaret who encouraged the workers with hot drinks and bacon butties.
Thanks too to all who volunteered through the morning, it has made a huge difference.
We praise God for the beauty of creation and the changing times and seasons.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

John Starie's Funeral Talk

On 19th October St Paul's church family gathered with many others to give thanks for and celebrate the life of long term member John Starie.
During that service I was able to share some of John's testimony after his stroke in 1988. Many people were encouraged by John's own words and have requested to see them.
Follow this link to read it for yourself.