February 2018

Dear Friends,

Our Lent course started with this story – A long – serving admiral was nearing retirement and decided to take command of a battleship just one more time. Out into the foggy channel went the powerful vessel, when ahead the admiral spotted a light. Crisply he sent a signal: ‘Move 10° starboard’. Back came the reply: ‘No, you move 10° port.’ Irked, he responded: ‘Move 10° starboard, I am admiral!’ the reply was speedy: ‘You move 10° port, I am petty officer.’ The Admiral sent his final salvo: ‘Move 10° starboard, I am a Battle ship.’ Back came the unyielding response: ‘No you move 10° port, I am a lighthouse.’

Building on the Rock course starts by looking at faith and doubt. It raises the question: is it wrong – or is it okay – for a Christian to have doubts? The Greek word ‘doubt’ simply means to hold two things in your mind at any one time. So, it is literally the opposite of being certain. ‘Certain’ is holding one thing in your mind at the same time; ‘doubting’ is holding more than one thing in your mind at the same time. Doubt is an extraordinarily important ingredient in our spiritual pilgrimage. Doubt is what winkles us out of immature and puerile versions of the faith. The opposite of faith is a life turned in upon itself. A life that doesn’t reach out. A Life which does not expect the unexpected. Both faith and doubt help us to start the journey of becoming inclusive church, inclusive community and inclusive compassion.

So, during this season of Lent may I encourage you to explore the importance of doubt in your faith journey. As Revd. Marie Elas Bragg describes – “Doubt is not something to fear. Neither is it something that has to be overcome in order to live with Christ: it is something to be companioned.”

To learn more about this, feel free to join any of our Lent course sessions which run on Monday (2pm – 4pm), Wednesday (7pm – 9pm) and Saturday (10am – 12 noon) in the Roughley Suite in our Church Centre.

By the time you read this our Lent Messy Church will have taken place with puppeteers exploring the Lord’s Prayer. We are very grateful to all the leaders, volunteers and children and parents who work hard to welcome children in to informal times of play, making food, sharing stories, eating together and having fun. Our Next Messy Easter Card Workshop will be taking place on 24th March between 3pm and 5pm in the church building.

Our Mothering Sunday Parade service will take place on 11th March at 10am when we give thanks for those who care for us.

During the Spring months, we hope to run Confirmation Preparation days for the benefit of those planning to get confirmed in a joint Deanery Confirmation service on Thursday 10th May, 2018. These preparation days – ‘Faith Confirmed sessions’ are open to those who would like to get confirmed and also to those who would like to know and learn about what we believe and how to live life and be assured of God’s love. Please let Judith or myself know if you would like to join us on Saturdays 21st & 28th April and 5th May.

Our Lent Lunches have commenced with a lot of hard work being put in by our church volunteers, and volunteers from Hope café, including children from Wilson Stuart School. This again is a safe haven for people to come and share their lives over food lovingly prepared by our new chef – Steve.

As we seek to share the love of Jesus with others please continue to hold all of our hardworking volunteers and all who may be drawn into these fellowships in your prayers.

We are also participating in the national ‘40 acts of kindness’ during the Lent season, so please follow us on Facebook (@stjameschurchmeregreen) and Twitter (#StJamesChurchMG).

We would love to hear from you about your Lenten Journey and experience of Lent 2018.

Wishing you all every blessing! Daniel & Judith