February 2023 letter

February 2023 letter

We are people living in a culture which is hampered by the over-influence of feelings…….

Making decisions based on feelings usually ends up with us choosing the easy way out. In these ways, following our present feelings is often not good for our long term welfare……

The Apostle Paul said: ‘For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do…’ (Romans 7:18,19). He framed this in the middle of a clear analysis that we humans are too influenced by our sinful nature. And even when we know the right thing we ought to do, we end up being influenced away from that, and towards the bad thing we know we ought to avoid. We have a bias: our sinful nature tends to compromise our good intentions, and indulge our worse side.

That is one of the reasons we need Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday 22nd February. We use the 7 weeks of Lent to train ourselves in this important thing: not letting our feelings win the day!

January 2023 letter

January 2023 letter

Happy new year!

It helps us to split up time. We have a new month and a new year because it helps us to mark the passing of time. Our memories are helped by the framework of months and years. And our appreciation of longer history is helped by markers as well.

Our knowledge of English history is helped if we have a memory of the Kings and Queens which name the eras of history…….

The same is true of the Bible. The Old Testament is largely a narrative which covers events over the two thousand years before Christ was born…….

December 22 letter

December 22 letter

The new internal lighting system at St Luke’s is being launched at the very time we celebrate the true light coming into the world. Consider it an enhanced celebration of Christmas.

It was several years ago that the PCC made its first attempt to renew the lighting inside the church. Our attempts to replace our previous energy-inefficient lights, more suited to lighting a driveway than a historical church, have been refused more than once by the Diocesan authorities. We have shown determination, helped by Alastair Cragg’s perseverance, and have ended up with a specification which gives us LED special features as well as a more energy-efficient system. And it emphasises some of the lovely features of our nearly 600-year-old building.
Come and see for yourself this Christmas – there will be a selection of special services for you and your friends.

November 22 letter

November 22 letter

November is a month to remember. And we remember not to take things for granted. Not taking things for granted helps us have better focus, and better priorities in our life.

On Sunday 13th November at 10am it is the Remembrance Sunday service. This is a good opportunity to express publicly the much-needed intention not to take peace for granted. It is nearly 80 years since the end of World War Two. Psychologically many of the younger generations may be thinking such war will never visit us. We can all too easily take peace for granted.

The war resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine reminds us: don’t take peace for granted. Devastating war is closer than we think. And Remembrance Sunday helps us remember.

October 2022 letter

October 2022 letter

Do promises matter? Yes. The Queen’s life shows us why.

There is great merit in people making excellent promises, freely and without compulsion. The great merit shows itself as the promise-maker follows through, to the benefit of others as well as their own character and reputation.

We have been the beneficiaries of excellent promises of commitment made by the Queen.

September 2022 letter

September 2022 letter

Some fellow vicars try to convince me that it’s not just about ‘bums on seats’. What they mean is that we shouldn’t be so worried if people don’t come to church. So it is that many clergy in our country try to make themselves feel better about small congregations and declining numbers.

However, the issue of ‘bums on seats’ should not be so easily dismissed.

Some locals might say ‘If you want bums on your seats, you’ll need to make them more comfortable!’ Well, we are tackling that one! By the end of this month, we hope to take delivery of pew cushions for all of the church pews (apart from the balcony).

At the Annual Church Meeting in May, a church member made a plea to address this issue: padding for our rears. Others backed the proposal and so we have researched alternatives, and ordered pew cushions.

August 2022 letter

August 2022 letter

Lots of things are getting back to normal, including church life, and lots of holidays, but that doesn’t mean we’re all feeling normal. Lots of us are feeling the effects of our recent two years of Covid disruption. We do well to happily embrace the resumption of relative normality and also to work through our continuing feelings of loss.

In church, we are pleased to have resumed the receiving of holy communion in both kinds.

July 22 letter

The Psalms in the Bible have played a big part in the life of many Christians. I remember how a couple once told me Psalm 91 had got them through World War 2; reading it together each evening had gone a long way to sustaining them through those dark days.

When we asked the congregations of St Luke’s which of the Psalms they would like to hear preached over the Summer, we were given a lot to chew on.

Top of the list came Psalm 121 ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills… from where does my help come?’. Equal second were Psalm 139 ‘O Lord you have searched me and known me’, and Psalm 150 ‘Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord’. And also in the long list of requests were Psalms 23, 27, 36, 46, 51, 66, 67, 86, 91, 96, 104, 105, 137, 143 and 145.

June 22 letter

I’m giving thanks for 70 years of the gracious reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and I’m glad so many people in our nation and Commonwealth are joining the thanksgiving.

It is a unique thing to be in the generation which is marking a Platinum Jubilee. It is a more remarkable thing that we are the generation which has benefitted from her leadership as our Head of State for so long. We probably take the benefits for granted, but we shouldn’t.

May 22 Letter

We need prayer. We always need prayer.

And when all sorts of other things on which we rely are feeling less reliable, we do well to recognise that a living relationship with our Heavenly Father is more necessary than ever. We need prayer because the lifeblood of our relationship with God is prayer.