June 2023 letter

This month we are starting our Summer sermon series from the Book of Daniel. It is from the Old Testament, and it is a book for our times.

Daniel was one of the young men who was taken from Jerusalem to Babylon, when the Babylonian Empire invaded and sought to dominate the Kingdom of Judah………

Very quickly, Daniel had to move from a society where worshipping the one true God was normal, to a society where normal was ‘competing worldviews and many gods’. In Babylon, the only god that all of the people had to worship was ‘whatever the Government says’.

If you have lived through the last 80 years in Britain, you have experienced a similar transition, albeit more gradual than Daniel’s………

May 2023 letter

King Charles III still doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. I’m getting used to it as I pray for him by name every Sunday. But I’m taking a while to get used to it, as I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Elizabeth II in September. Her death was a shock. That’s one of the reasons why we have a delay between the accession of a new monarch and their coronation.

This month, the time has come for the coronation. In our Sunday morning services on 7th May, we shall be praying for the new king and queen, and praying for our nation, and singing the National Anthem. It is an important time. We want Charles’ leadership to be as good as it can be. We want our nation to pull together……..

April 2023 letter

One of the difficult things about living on earth, I find, is that we are surrounded by groups and individuals competing against one another, but we don’t know who will win……..

The season of Easter is the time when it became clearer whose is the victory in the conflict between God and the evil one, Satan. The big issues were resolved in the human struggle with sin and death. The winner became obvious……….

March 2023 letter

I’m writing about donkeys. This Palm Sunday we hope to have a donkey with us. It’s a good way to help us take to heart what happened with Jesus on the first Palm Sunday. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. But why?

This was not a very cool thing to do…..unless you knew your Old Testament. But Jesus is not interested in military conquest and he had a non-violent approach to changing the world. So he rode into the city on a donkey.

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.