The Alpha Course
For everyone, whether new to Christianity, wanting to investigate, or just brushing up on the basics.
Alpha at Christ Church
The headlines have been dominated this week by the Assisted Dying Bill which even if passed by the House of Lords, should be rejected by the House of Commons. This has raised many issues around justice and the care of the elderly. I want to take this opportunity to bring to the debate a very difference aspect. That is the effect on those relatives who have to play a part in assisting a beloved relative to die.
My own experience of this, is when the doctors recommended to my mother and me that the ventilator upon which my father depended (he had not regained consciousness for nearly a month) should be turned off. We complied and very quickly he slipped away. There were many good reasons for doing this, including the quality of life he would have had if he had survived. While it was fully supervised by the medical profession, with the complete compliance of the family, nonetheless it was an extremely difficult choice and his passing has left a huge scar on us all. Over fifteen years later I still miss him; he would be 82 now if he had lived.
It is always a bit of a burden when somebody asks you to do something you do regularly but you have got other things on your mind. As I write England have just lost to Uruguay and our World Cup fate hangs by a thread. On the other hand our first grandchild Thomas Luke Kenyon was born 18th June. So to receive an email saying ‘Please can we have your article for the Moreton Hall Directory’ while always welcome did cause my shoulders to sag a little. But then it set me thinking. How often do our children come to us and say things like ‘Daddy, can you do my buttons up? Or will you help me with my homework? Or, I’ve lost my mobile phone. Or even, why haven’t you washed my sports. kit when I need it for school tomorrow?’
At those moments it is easy to be terse and say things like, ‘you should be doing that for yourself now’ or when will you grow up?’ It is not until they have left home, do you realise how precious such moments were. Just when they were open and wanted our help we pushed them away. For some children this can lead to greater friction in the teenage years. Others to turn their backs on their parents rush into a world where they really need help and protection, but now they will never ask.
There are many things we are looking forward to this summer. For some of us it will be our long awaited summer holiday in some sunny place overseas. For others it will be the world cup in Brazil and we will be hoping for an improvement on England’s recent dismal record. For myself, it will be the birth of our first grandchild in Manchester and the joy of seeing a new life brought into the world.
The latest trend in spirituality is the ability to live in the moment. It is very sad to say there are millions of people who live in the past. They either long for a decade long gone when they were young or successful, or they have suffered a traumatic event which defines who they are now even though it happened tens of years ago. The scars have not healed and they are effectively walking wounded.
2014 marks some significant anniversaries. For some it will be the fifty-first year of Dr. Who; for others the end of their time in office as an elected official. For Christ Church, Moreton Hall, it marks the twenty-first year of ministry in our building, and the twenty-eighth year of a church community on this estate.
In the twenty-three years I have been here I have watched the estate grow from barely one thousand homes to nearly three and half thousand. Soon another five hundred homes will be constructed around the Flying Fortress public house. Then possibly a further one thousand two hundred on the other side of the railway tracks. How are we to respond to all these new people joining us here on Moreton Hall?
For me, at this time of year my thoughts turn to Christmas and its true significance. Jesus Christ was born as a baby to achieve many things – to teach the truth about God; to heal people; to perform miracles; and above all, to die and rise again for our sins. But he also came to create a new sort of community – the church. This was to be a community that worked within the larger community showing by example and through love and forgiveness what human relationships could be like; a place of joy and contentment, laughter and fellowship, but also where the deeper issues that trouble our souls can be dealt with and healed as well as our bodies and our relationships.
Since my letter to the Bury Free Press which was reproduced in the Moreton Hall Directory, there has been considerable activity over the issue of the travellers. It has led to a number of meetings with political leaders and conferences with the police. There will be a Meeting with Moreton Hall community leader, David Ruffley MP and Mr Passmore the Police commissioner on Monday the 14th October. There does seem to be a willingness to address this issue and for significant action to be taken to address the problem.
Despite all that has happened, Moreton Hall is not anti traveller. We do understand that provision must be made for their particular needs. This will have to be taken out of the public purse at a time when we are concerned about costs and expenditure. This is only fair and just.
Many people are already booked into the Alpha Course at the Flying Fortress public house this year. It begins with a taster session on 7.30pm 3rd October. If you would like to be included please contact me using the details on the left of this page. The first evening is free and includes a carvery supper. For the subsequent seven sessions there will be a charge of £5.00 for the carvery meal, the course itself being free. Even if you cannot make the initial meeting, you would be very welcome to join us from 10th October onwards. If you miss out on this course, we hope to run another one after Christmas next year.