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Bill’s Letter for November 2017

I would like to start with a big thank you for the best wishes and prayers for me after my unexpected visit to hospital.

For those who have not heard, Viv and I were down in London to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Our children had booked 3 nights in a nice hotel for us and we had planned a family meal on the Saturday night. I had a morning session in the hotel gym and pool and then we headed off to meet the girls for our meal. Not far from the hotel I began to have chest pains and tingling down my left arm. At first we turned back to the hotel, but when the pain eased carried on for our rendezvous. However it was soon made clear to me by my family that I had to go to A&E, which I did.

There it was discovered that I had had a heart attack and ended up being blue-lighted to Barts hospital, which happens to be the main heart hospital in the country. There I was seen by a decisive consultant who said I would need an angiogram and as they were quiet, “Let’s do it now”. So I found myself in the operating theatre watching pictures of the arteries supplying my heart. It was a bit disconcerting to see that one of them was nearly blocked in three places. It was obvious that something needed to be done urgently, so they put in 3 stents there and then. We later found out that one of Becca’s friends had been waiting 5 days for a slot for a similar operation.

It has obviously been a great shock but combined with a sense of ‘being looked after’ as I was in the right place at the right time and a potentially fatal condition was discovered in time.

As I write this I am acutely aware of those for whom such an attack was fatal. So as well as being thankful for God’s help we also remember those who are separated by death. At our memorial service will be bringing God into a situation that is painful. We show respect for and how we value the lives of those who have died. We say thank you for what they have given us.

At the heart of our Christian worship is another service of remembrance, our service of Holy Communion. We remember with thanks the death of Jesus, a death that was not in vain as we show each time we respond to Him.

Rev Bill Henderson

matterlifedeath

Film Club – November 2017

Friday evening, 10th November 7:30pm

A Matter of Life and Death” (1946)

Briefed by the Ministry of Information to make a film that would foster Anglo-American relations in the post-war period, innovative filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, came up with “A Matter Of Life And Death”, an extravagant and extraordinary fantasy in which David Niven stars as a downed pilot who must justify his continuing existence to a heavenly panel of judges, because he made the mistake of falling in love with an American girl (Kim Hunter) when he really should have been dead. National stereotypes are lampooned as the angelic judges squabble over his fate. In a neat reversal of expectations, the Heaven sequences are black and white, while Earth is in techni-colour. Roger Livesey and Raymond Massey lead the fine supporting cast, in what is one of the undoubted jewels of British cinema.

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

Free admission, tea & coffee; bring your own popcorn!

matterlifedeath

cinderella

Pantomime 2017 – Cinderella

The well-known pantomime story is given the typical St Peter’s church makeover! The wicked Baroness and her three extremely ugly daughters make Cinderella’s life a misery, but they can’t stop her dreaming about meeting her prince and being rescued from drudgery. “Cinderella” includes the usual terrible jokes, silly songs, great costumes and props that you’ve come to expect. We hope you can join us for another successful and hilarious pantomime.

Click here for full details

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Bill’s Letter for October 2017

On 27th September this year the United Benefice of Outwood, Stanley and Wrenthorpe officially came into being.  The Revd Dr Joanne Kershaw was licenced as assistant priest at St Anne’s, Wrenthorpe and Revd. Jonathan Bish was licenced as priest in charge at St Mary Magdalene Outwood.  As Incumbent of Stanley, I then became the Priest in charge of the Benefice.
This means that we have greater opportunities to work together across the parishes and we have the chance now to work out what this means in practice.  So far our discussions have come up with some clear desires.  We value the different styles of worship in each church and would like each one to maintain its distinctiveness especially on Sunday mornings.  We are inviting people from each parish to join in with some joint services.  On the third Sunday of each month there is a reflection service at Wrenthorpe starting at 6:30pm; this has been going for some time and will continue.  On the first Sunday of October and each alternate month following there will be a prayer and praise service at Stanley.  On the first Sunday of November and alternate months there will be a service at Outwood using music and images to help our worship.  So far these have included the music of Simon and Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen. All the services will start at 6:30pm and I would like to invite you to come and see.
We also want to work together and encourage each other in other areas; working with children and young people, men’s groups and many others.  We would also like to share more in our social events: there has been much interest in our wine tasting evenings and Ceilidh, to say nothing of the pantomime.  You will see elsewhere that tickets will be available soon.  There is a rumour that Cinderella’s step sisters are particularly ugly this year!  We are also planning a joint confirmation service at Outwood in December; if you might be interested or know anyone who might be, please let me know.
Last month I wrote about the mystery of finding God in the midst of suffering. The natural disasters and man-made conflicts continue to shake the world in which we live.  As we celebrate Harvest and the bounty that the earth provides when properly cared for, let us continue to give thanks to our loving God and be generous to our neighbours.
Rev Bill Henderson
three-and-out

Film Club – October 2017

Friday evening, 13th October 7:30pm

Three and Out” (2008)

Paul Callow (Mackenzie Crook) is fed up with city life and driving trains and when two people fall under his train in as many weeks, he really has had enough! Then he hears the ‘three and out’ rule: three fatal accidents in a month qualifies you for early retirement with 10 years salary… lump sum! Paul suddenly sees a way of clearing his debts and escaping to a better life all he has to do is find a willing victim. Down and out Tommy Cassidy (Colm Meaney) is willing to help Paul by being his third fatality, but not before he ties up a few loose ends with his ex-wife (Imelda Staunton) and daughter (Gemma Arterton). Over the course of the weekend, relationships between all four are changed forever but when Monday morning arrives, Paul and Tommy are confronted with the harsh reality of the deal they struck. Surely they won’t go through with it. Or will they?

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

Free admission, tea & coffee; bring your own popcorn!

three-and-out

billsletter-featured

Bill’s Letter for September 2017

I have been struck afresh this summer and moving into September about the extraordinary contrasting experiences that are part of ordinary life. The current news is full of dangerous and worrying situations, such as North Korea which is pursuing its own path to nuclear capability, despite the efforts of its neighbours and the rest of the world. Understandably, threats of violence against it only increases their determination to have an effective military response. It is a very dangerous path to be on. Also, indiscriminate attacks with cars and knives remind us that a few determined individuals can cause extraordinary suffering.

Then we have experiences of great beauty. I was sailing with my sister and family and in one day two pods of dolphins came to play. We saw them leaping gracefully out of the water at a distance, they saw us and sped to join us. For quite a few minutes they played around the boat, sometimes swimming on their sides to look at us. It was a wonderful uplifting experience. The birth of a new child reminds us of the miracle of life and the power and exhilaration of human love.

This is the world in which we live and seek to find meaning and purpose. We can rightly ask the question where is God in all this. It is easy in the beauty but what about the suffering.

The Christian faith is centred around the mystery of pain and suffering. Jesus, like us, would have preferred an easier way. The temptations in the wilderness were real for him. At the end in Gethsemane he was wondering if there was another way; but there was not. So at the centre of the Christian story, the truth and mystery about God’s love is shown through suffering and death but finally in the resurrection. While we all sensibly want to avoid suffering, there is something powerful about discovering the depth and power of God’s love in the midst of difficulties. We experience strength we did not expect and the love and sacrifice of good friends that would be impossible in easier times. We had this verse on Sunday: Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times (Romans 12 v 12).

Rev Bill Henderson