The Alpha Course
For everyone, whether new to Christianity, wanting to investigate, or just brushing up on the basics.
Alpha at Christ Church
The celebration of Easter reminds us that nothing is impossible for God. The account of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus is not a myth or carefully made up story; it is something that happened and the people who saw it were able to touch and talk to Jesus. The experience of it completely transformed their lives. This is the Good News - that life does not end in death; there is a place for us in heaven; and we can be set free from everything that is wrong and bad in our lives simply by turning to Jesus, believing in Him, asking Him into our lives and following Him daily. It is this message which has given hope to billions of people and is the centrepiece of all that we celebrate and is good about Christianity.
There is even more good news for Moreton Hall this year. Councillor Terry Buckle, supported by his wife Pam, will be the Mayor of St. Edmundsbury for the next twelve months. This is a high honour and it is good to know that the political leaders of our town have come together to reward Terry for all the years of faithful service and dedicated hard work he has given to the people of this area. While the office of Mayor is largely ceremonial, it does nonetheless raise the profile of the community which the Councillor represents and of course the whole of West Suffolk, as it seeks to do its important work which ranges from everything from the armed services through to the rescue services and all the myriad things that a local council does through to the care of our children and our old people.
When I was a young boy, I always liked roller-coasters. There was all the excitement of going to the fairground with Mum and Dad and the rest of the family. There was standing in the queue watching the machinery go round and listening to the screams of enjoyment from those on the ride. Finally, there was the clambering in to find the best seat, engaging the safety equipment and then at last we were off. The tension mounted as we climbed up the enormous hill, as it seemed to me. Then we were let loose down the track which, for the next few minutes, ducked and dived, weaved and turned, rose and fell, with each corner seeming to be more hair-raising than the last. If you were lucky there was a big water splash at the end.
In my glee and enjoyment, I didn’t notice how green my father was and never understood why we never had enough money to go round again although we went on other lesser rides throughout the whole of the day. Of course, as you get older the idea of going on such rides and, indeed, of walking around on ice covered pavements, as we have done recently, does not fill me with a sense of glee, but rather of terror. To that end we have been happy to be involved with Positive Steps, an exercise programme for older people to develop physical strength, fresh muscles and greater balance as our declining years come closer. I do hope you will take notice of the article and get involved in what is a very positive programme. Sam Reid, who runs it, is my personal trainer and has helped me to achieve a level of physical fitness I did not think possible for me.
As I write this we are in the grip of a very cold winter. While the children may be enjoying themselves, people have been struggling to pay their heating bills, others have been seriously injured and, of course, it has had a huge impact on travel. Wildlife has been severely affected as well.
On the other hand, when you compare notes with the great winter of 1963 when the whole of England was covered by heavy snow from the middle of December to the middle of March, and one hundred and ten people died with fuel supplies failing for almost everyone, it reminds me of how lucky we all are these days.
The whole reason why Christ Church, Moreton Hall, exists is to serve the community here. For the last few months we have been scratching our heads and listening to God to try to find out what things we ought to be doing to help make the housing estate here into a real community. Our members have made many suggestions some of which may become a reality on the estate. But we would like to hear what you have to say. Would you please take time to either drop a note through our letterbox or to leave a message on our website and tell us how best the church can serve you? We already have an exercise class and lunch club for older people, choirs, youth club and a range of other activities. We were also very encouraged by the numbers who came to be with us over Christmastime, for which we thank you. However, I am sure there is more we can do, so I would be pleased if you would let us know of any ways you think we can bring our community together.
If you remember, just before Christmas someone broke into Christ Church, Moreton Hall, and stole our computer. There are many things we could learn from this, but two struck my heart. Firstly, how much we rely on computers, and we live in such a trusting environment on Moreton Hall we can get careless. Secondly, is the desperation of some people these days. It is very sad when somebody feels they need to steal a computer to earn a few pounds. Our hearts and our prayers of compassion go out to them.
On the other hand, it has been wonderful to receive so many messages of concern and support. It has also been fantastic that local Funeral Directors, Armstrong’s has replaced it for us. It is very good to know that the community comes together in times of crisis.
This Christmas time the cinemas should be dominated by a wonderfully comic film, Danger in the Manger with David Tennant, the former Dr. Who. It should be precisely the sort of fun family film we can all go to and enjoy.
It, of course, resonates with the hundreds of thousands of Nativity and Crib Services which go on round the country at this time of year. Both in schools and churches, whole communities come together to enjoy themselves with this wonderful story. If you pause and think for a moment, this is one of the few stories in which everybody in this land does participate. Culturally the story does not belong to the church but it belongs to everyone and it is good to celebrate it. As we do so many happy memories, some of them quite funny, come to all our hearts.