Rob writes

It’s your move

Our Free For All magazine this month (download in the resources section) contains some great contributions from some important leavers from Stoke Holy Cross Primary School: the Y6 pupils, and retiring headteacher Sue Simmonds. There are also words and pictures from the ordination of our new curate, Lyn Marsh, on Saturday 1st July, as she begins an exciting new phase of ministry with us in our churches and wider community.

For all of them now, and for all of us in different times, life is full of movement and change. You might be one of those people who has lived in the same place for a long time, or always had the same job, or always been surrounded by your family, but things still change, and things still move.

Often when things change there are great things to remember to take with us. The articles by Mrs Simmonds and the Year 6 leavers are full of happy memories of their time at the school, and Lyn’s ordination was a day to celebrate what has gone before, just as much as what is going to come in the future.

Every year, just before the end of term, one of us from the churches goes in to visit the Year 6 pupils before they get ready to leave and join their various high schools. We give them a book called It’s Your Move, which helps them to think about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

This year, we focused on the fact that the future will hold lots of choices for them. They may know which school they are going to, but which subjects will they choose when they get there? Who will they make friends with? What will they have for lunch?! We had good fun choosing between different snacks for different reasons. Sorry to the person who had to choose between a carrot and a stick of celery.

We had a look at the bible story of Joseph, which we have been thinking about in our Friday assemblies as well. It is not so much a technicolour dreamcoat of a story as a patchwork quilt of choices – some good, some bad, some Joseph’s, some other people’s. Sometimes Joseph gets in trouble for doing the wrong thing, and sometimes he gets in trouble for doing the right thing. Things haven’t changed that much in 4000 years or so! The other way things haven’t changed is that in the same way God was with Joseph through thick and thin, Jesus promises his followers that he will always be with them too. All of us who are going through changes at the moment, whether they are big or small, can know that Jesus will always be with us too, as long as we follow him. It’s a choice we can all make, and it’s our move.

 

Back to top of page
 

Rob writes

Once when I visited my grandparents when I was growing up, my Grandad told me the story of a local eccentric, ‘Mad’ Jack Fuller. He was famous for building follies – buildings with no real purpose. One of these was a replica of the local church spire (pictured) which he put in the middle of one of his fields. The story goes that Jack had had a bet with a friend that they could see the (real) spire from his house, and it turned out that they couldn’t, and he lost. He was determined never to lose a bet like that again, so he just built one that he could see.

In the churches this month we have been thinking about what it means to ‘be church’. We use this expression because church is, above all other things, people, not a building. I often remind people that the building where we meet is named after us, and not the other way round. In one of few passages in the New Testament where the church is described as a building, Peter writes that the people are like living stones, being built together into a dwelling place for God.

This building, unlike Mad Jack’s folly, is a building with a purpose: to be a holy priesthood. This building – this group of people, Peter says, is to become more like God, and be a sign of God for people.

One of the brilliant things about the church is that it isn’t designed to reserve particular jobs for particular people, unlike the kings or the priests in the Old Testament. All of God’s people are called to be holy, becoming more and more like Jesus in the things they think and say and do. All of God’s people are called to be priests, sharing Jesus with people through the things that they think and say and do. And as they do this, Peter writes, they are declaring God’s praise – the praise of the One who has called them out of darkness, and into light. All of us can be these living stones, being built into a place for God to dwell; all of us can be part of his chosen people, his royal priesthood, his holy nation. We just have to want to belong.

 

Back to top of page
 

Thank you!

A big thank you to Angela Bell, who is leaving her post as Church Administrator having worked so hard for us over the past four years and more, including putting together the Free For All for more than 2 years. We wish her and her family all God’s blessing for the future.

 

Back to top of page
 

Rob writes

Once when I visited my grandparents when I was growing up, my Grandad told me the story of a local eccentric, ‘Mad’ Jack Fuller. He was famous for building follies – buildings with no real purpose. One of these was a replica of the local church spire (pictured) which he put in the middle of one of his fields. The story goes that Jack had had a bet with a friend that they could see the (real) spire from his house, and it turned out that they couldn’t, and he lost. He was determined never to lose a bet like that again, so he just built one that he could see.

In the churches this month we have been thinking about what it means to ‘be church’. We use this expression because church is, above all other things, people, not a building. I often remind people that the building where we meet is named after us, and not the other way round. In one of few passages in the New Testament where the church is described as a building, Peter writes that the people are like living stones, being built together into a dwelling place for God.

This building, unlike Mad Jack’s folly, is a building with a purpose: to be a holy priesthood. This building – this group of people, Peter says, is to become more like God, and be a sign of God for people.

One of the brilliant things about the church is that it isn’t designed to reserve particular jobs for particular people, unlike the kings or the priests in the Old Testament. All of God’s people are called to be holy, becoming more and more like Jesus in the things they think and say and do. All of God’s people are called to be priests, sharing Jesus with people through the things that they think and say and do. And as they do this, Peter writes, they are declaring God’s praise – the praise of the One who has called them out of darkness, and into light. All of us can be these living stones, being built into a place for God to dwell; all of us can be part of his chosen people, his royal priesthood, his holy nation. We just have to want to belong.

 

Back to top of page
 

Rob writes

I wonder what the Resurrection means to you. For me, it is the single most important event in the whole history of the cosmos. Because what it means is that God has overcome death. Jesus who died for our sins is raised for our new life. He’s raised to new life. And that doesn’t just change our perceptions of the world around us, it changes the reality of the world around us, the very substance of the world around us. It is the victory of God in a way that is dramatic, extraordinary and transformational for the whole of human life, and for every single human life, for every society, for every country, for every future. And it’s something that we just have to reach out and take hold of, by prayer, to make it true for ourselves.

 If you are wondering what happened over Easter this year to make me so much better at writing, then I will let you into a little secret: the whole of the previous paragraph was written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or at least it is what he says in a lovely little video clip that has recently been uploaded to his Facebook page. And it is absolutely and utterly the centre of everything that Christians believe. It is, in fact, the one thing on which Christianity stands or falls: amongst various extraordinary words that St Paul uses when he writes about the centrality of the resurrection is that without it our faith is useless.

 Useless is a strong word, especially when you consider the way we often talk about faith. We might say that it helps someone else but isn’t important to us; we might even say that as long as it helps that someone, it really doesn’t matter if it is true or not. But Paul is saying something quite different; like the Archbishop of Canterbury, he is convinced that no event in history comes close to its importance. He left behind a life of status among the Jews, gained in part from persecuting the first Christians, to be at constant risk of imprisonment or death, because he had found just what you read above: that Jesus had died for him, was raised to new life, and that it changes everything. It is for all of us, and it is for each of us. And it’s something that we just have to reach out and take hold of, by prayer, to make it true for ourselves.

 

Back to top of page
 

E-mail Updates

Always be the first to know. Tailor your e-mail update to suit your preferences. You can set it to check for updates to the site at a frequency that suits you. You will only be mailed when there is new content.

Sign up / Sign in »

Get in touch

Comments? Good or bad experiences of the site?
Phone: 01508 492305
Email:

Online contact form »