Vicar's Letter

April 2018

EASTER FAITH
Three years after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a great anti-God rally was arranged in Kiev. The powerful orator Bukharin was sent from Moscow, and for an hour he demolished the Christian faith with argument, abuse and ridicule. At the end there was silence.


Then a man rose and asked to speak. He was a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. He went and stood next to Bukharin. Facing the people, he raised his arms and spoke just three triumphant words: 'Christ is risen!' At once the entire assembly rose to their feet and gave the joyful response, 'He is risen indeed!' It was a devastating moment for an atheist politician, who had no answer to give to this ancient Easter liturgy. He had not realised he was simply too late: how can you convince people who have already experienced God, that He does not exist?


Easter is the most joyful day of the year for Christians. Christ has died for our sins. We are forgiven. Christ has risen! We are redeemed! We can look forward to an eternity in His joy! Hallelujah!


The Good News of Jesus Christ is a message so simple that you can explain it to someone in a few minutes. It is so profound that for the rest of their lives they will still be 'growing' in their Christian walk with God. Why does the date move around so

March 2018

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February 2018

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January 2018

Dear Friends

In the Book of Common Prayer the feast of the Epiphany is helpfully subtitled ‘the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles’. The wise men from the east represented the Gentile world just as the shepherds, who had been the first to visit the new-born Jesus, represented the Jewish people. In Christ God was revealed to all – “a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of his people Israel.”

The early rapid spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles was largely thanks to the efforts of St Paul. He is a towering figure in the history of the Church. If it were not for Paul Christianity would probably have remained a small and insignificant Jewish sect. Not only did he take the Gospel to the Gentile world, founding churches all around the Mediterranean. Almost a third of what we now call the New Testament consists of his letters to those churches.

The key event in Paul’s life was his amazing conversion. It is remembered every year on January 25th - an epiphany experience celebrated in Epiphanytide. Paul, travelling along the road to Damascus with the intention of persecuting the Christians there, saw “a light in the midday sun, more brilliant than the sun” that caused him and his companions to fall to the ground. Paul (whose name before his conversion was

December 2017

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November 2017

Dear Friends,

Standing frequently used expressions on their heads can be fun.

The result can be sheer nonsense, but it can sometimes point us to something important. Here’s one of my favourites:

“Don’t just do something, stand there!”

This is highly dangerous territory for a parish priest; and especially for one who is constantly being humbled by the enormous amount of sheer hard work put in by volunteers to keep the parochial show on the road. Their dedication is amazing, yet, despite there being a good number of them, here, as everywhere, they only make up a minority of the congregation. This is not always the fault of the majority, and age and infirmity are not the only reasons for people’s unwillingness to take on responsibilities. But be that as it may, the heroic efforts of “the few” are not unnoticed, neither are they unappreciated. I know how much I depend on them, and am truly grateful.

But too much activity can have a serious downside. A question we all do well to ask ourselves from time to time is “what would I like to be remembered for?” Our answer is likely to be influenced more than

October 2017

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September 2017

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to all who contributed in any way to our celebrations on 30th July. You certainly helped to make it a day to remember. Among the contributors was the Archdeacon of Derby, who has kindly provided a transcript of the sermon he preached at the Sung Eucharist. It is printed here in place of the usual ‘vicar’s letter’ in the hope that it will be preserved for posterity – as were the sermons preached on the church’s tenth anniversary.

Michael


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