Category «Church Matters»

Gathering a harvest of righteousness

At this time of the year when here in the UK the harvest is being gathered in, I thought it would be apposite to reflect on the ‘harvest of righteousness’ which Paul mentions in Philippians 1: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to …

Books for Today – September 2018

Book of the month Available in the UK through Alban of Edinburgh, Sinners and Saints: The Real Story of Early Christianity (Kregel Academic, Grand Rapids 2018. 176pp: £16.99) by Derek Cooper, associate professor of Christian history at Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, proved to be a fascinating, amusing and instructive read. Written in a lively, …

God be with you

This summer we have had the joy of a family holiday, when all our four children and their families – seventeen of us in total – spent a week together near the Suffolk seaside town of Southwold. Our eldest son came over from Canada with his family – and our youngest son came over from …

Mentoring: a need that can be met

Amazing as it now seems, when I first was a minister of a church, there was nobody to guide me. At the age of 27 I was in sole pastoral charge of a church which then had 83 members. In Baptist terms, I had not ‘senior friend’ to talk to – or in Anglican terms, …

Letters of condolence

I am at the stage of life when I seem to be constantly writing letters of condolence to friends who have lost loved ones. So much so, rather than pop out to a shop to buy a card for an individual, I buy cards in bulk – my last order was for 50 cards!

Rites of passage and pastoral care

It was Arnold van Gennep, a French anthropologist, who in 1909 coined the phrase ‘rite of passage’. He noticed, as he worked among different peoples of Africa and Oceania, that birth, puberty, marriage, and death, are specially commemorated in every culture. The actual ceremonies may differ, but their meaning is universal—celebration of the transition from …

We need new rites of passage

The three major events of life – birth, marriage, and death – are marked by three traditional Christian rites of passage: viz. the christening (or service of thanksgiving), the wedding and the funeral. Within the context of a nominal society, these three occasions are often the only time some may darken the door of a …

Contentment has to be learned

I have just returned from visiting a care home. Every Tuesday afternoon, unless otherwise prevented, I go to see a friend whom I have known for over 25 years. During my ministry at Chelmsford he came to renewed faith, and I had the joy of baptising him. Although he has gone through tough times, for …

Books for Today – July 2018

Book of the month The Hardest Part: A Centenary Critical Edition (SCM, London 2018. 231pp: £25) edited by Thomas O’Loughlin & Stuart Bell is a re-issue of the 1918 text by Studdert Kennedy, with a helpful introduction by the two editors together with three appendices which include Studdert Kennedy’s poems on Divine Suffering. I had …