billsletter-featured

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

firstharm

Film Club – August 2017

‘First Do No Harm’ (2006)

Meryl Streep stars as Laura Reimuller, whose son Robbie begins     suffering from epileptic fits.  As the fits worsen, doctors test various dangerous drugs on Robbie, who becomes disruptive and mentally   retarded.  Laura conducts her own research, and discovers a special diet which may cure her son.  She has to take on the medical establishment and battle for Robbie’s right to try out the miracle cure.  There are some excellent performances—not least from Seth Adkins who plays Robbie—in this thought-provoking film which raises questions about the inadequacies and dangers of some medical treatments.

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

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

firstharm

billsletter-featured

Bill’s Letter for Summer 2017

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make our Summer Gala such a success, and thank you to all who came to support us. It is really encouraging to see the community coming together and to catch up with friends and neighbours .

People keep telling me how time goes quicker as one gets older. This year seems to be disappearing at an astonishing pace. It is already a year since the country voted to leave Europe, but the future is even less clear than it was then. We have had another election that has confounded the pollsters. There have been a number of disturbing terror attacks in our country as well as a tragic fire. The follow up investigations to the fire at Grenfell are showing that many more buildings have unsafe cladding. In fact to date, not one tower block tested has had cladding that meets the required government standard. If we look around the world we see even more difficult and disturbing events.

Sometimes the bible is criticised for all the stories of suffering. Actually it only seems to reflect the world as it is, a place where many people find life difficult.

How can faith help us? First of all it is to note that there has never been the promise of an easy life. In fact Jesus talks about the opposite, taking up our cross to follow him. But he is with us to help and guide. As I wrote last month after the Manchester bomb; As is often the case some hope comes out of the senseless violence. People of all faiths and none came out to stand together, to support each other and say that ‘love wins’.  The only effective solution to hatred is love. After the fire at Grenfell fire our bishop Nick wrote “it comes after a weekend of remarkable events that demonstrate the unity of diverse communities. Not only the deeply compassionate response of ordinary people to the plight of those caught up in the Grenfell Tower fire, but also the Great Get Together. Thousands of people have got together in local communities not just to remember and honour Jo Cox, the MP killed a year ago here in West Yorkshire, but to demonstrate that difference does not necessarily mean division.” Let us work to build our relationships grow together in love and respect our differences.

Rev Bill Henderson

bigeyes

Film Club – June 2017

Friday evening, 9th June 7:30pm

‘Big Eyes’ (2015)

Tim Burton directs this biographical drama starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. The film follows the story of American artist Margaret Keane (Adams), who, in the 1960s, allowed her husband Walter (Waltz) to claim credit for her artwork, believing that a female artist could not find success through painting. The Keanes acquired huge amounts of wealth through Margaret’s work and the paintings were in high demand throughout their time living together as husband and wife. However, when they later separated, Margaret announced to the world that she was in fact the true author of the paintings, sparking a long-drawn-out legal battle between her and her estranged husband… Adams won a Golden Globe Award for her performance.

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

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

bigeyes