The Alpha Course
For everyone, whether new to Christianity, wanting to investigate, or just brushing up on the basics.
Alpha at Christ Church
As we approach Christmas, there is so much to do and so many human needs around us, as well as all the infuriating adverts, that it is easy to become exasperated and spoil Christmas long before it has happened.
The Christmas story of Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem is both tragic and wonderful. Tragic because the Holy Family were rejected, they went without and were probably hungry as they lay in the cattle shed waiting for the baby to come. But it is also wonderful because all heaven celebrated, the shepherds stood in wonder, and the kings brought marvellous gifts after thousands of miles of travel and, of course, the history of the world was changed.
I was very pleased by the large number of people who came to our Harvest Festival. I am glad you all enjoyed it. I realise now that we should have told you that we would have two enormous tractors parked outside the church for the day. Many of you came and had your photograph taken and it was a joy to do that. If it is possible in future years we will have them again, or some other important agricultural machinery. If so, we will let you know in good time.
The generosity of God at harvest time reminds us that God would like us to be generous to those around us too. Therefore, in November we will be doing our Shoebox appeal for Christmas. The reason it is so early is to enable the boxes to get from Britain to the countries they are to be delivered to. Our special ‘Shoebox’ service will be on 23rd November at 10.30 a.m. and we hope many of you will be coming. In previous years we have filled over 200 boxes and we hope to exceed that target this year. One practical point is that if you would like to fill a box, we will provide you with one that is already pre-wrapped so all you have to do is fill it up and bring it back to us on 23rd November. It will be a great service and it will be fun to see the huge pile of shoeboxes go off to the particular country in need.
October is very much the season of harvest. By now most of the wheat and barley crops will have been gathered in across our region and in other parts of the UK they will be concentrating on bringing in the apples, plums and pears. We often forget that East Anglia produces something like 90% of the food produced in the UK. We all depend on a comparatively small number of people who work very hard and to a high standard to make this happen.
Jesus often used agricultural metaphors to explain profound spiritual truths. There are stories about the four different soils, the mustard seed, wheat and tares, and so on. Paul picks up this theme when he reminds us that the hard working farmer deserves the first share of any crop. But while Jesus and Paul understood fully the physical harvest, that was merely a starting point for them for they were concerned with the spiritual harvest.
Welcome to August Newsline
Included are details of services and other events including the Sunday morning movie club for children.
There are also some advance notices for September and beyond. Please read!
The Church Office
The office is now closed until early September.
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.