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Bill’s Letter for October 2016

Last month I wrote that we were starting our latest series of groups for people exploring their faith. The groups have started but it is not too late to join.

The idea of the groups is not to tell people what they should   believe, but rather to help explore some of the big questions of life. What is life all about? Where am I going? What is the point of it all? It is all too easy to drift through life without taking time to think through these questions for ourselves. Sometimes life’s events bring us up short and prompt us to ask these questions. The Christian story gives a chance to find meaning and purpose, but also to discover the power and comfort of a relationship with a God who loves and cares for us.

A very good friend of ours has recently died. She was a single lady who through a difficult childhood did not have a very good   opinion of herself. But she had an amazing faith and concern for other people; a real purpose in her life. Over the years she has been a wonderful prayer warrior for our family and many others. After a   conversation about what was happening in our family, she would get a note book and write down the things that needed prayer. She prayed for many families and people every day. When she died we had a thanksgiving service for her life and the church was packed and many people told stories of how she had helped them over the years. She would have been amazed at the number of people who wanted to show their love.

One of the readings at her service was one we had in our first meeting of our ‘Just Looking’ group. It comes from psalm 139 and talks of God’s great love for us: “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me….You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex…”

It can be a bit scary to think that God knows everything about us, but comforting to know that he still loves us all the same. Faith gives us the foundation to believe that life is not just a series of random events but that we have a higher purpose. There is a loving God who wants us to know Him too, and a relationship with Him will transform everything. Following Jesus is challenging but the most rewarding thing we can do

Rev Bill Henderson

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Film Club – October 2016

Friday evening, 14th October 7:30pm

‘Mr Deeds’ (2005)

Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler) is just an ordinary guy from the small town of Mandrake Falls until he inherits $40 billion dollars and a controlling interest in a massive media corporation from his deceased uncle. He moves to New York and begins injecting his small-town   values into the company and the city. Plus of course, he finds that   living in a palatial mansion with a butler (John Turturro) isn’t too bad! Meanwhile, tabloid TV reporter, Babe (Winona Ryder), goes undercover to do an exposé on Deeds until her true feelings get in the way, and Deeds finds that money changes everything, though not necessarily for the better… This is an updated version of the 1936 film ‘Mr Deeds Goes to Town’ starring Gary Cooper and directed by Frank Capra.

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

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

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Harvest Lunch 2016

Harvest Lunch at St Peter’s Church

Tuesday 11th October 2016, 12pm—1:30pm

Everyone, young and old, is warmly invited to St Peter’s Church on Tuesday 11th October for a Harvest Lunch prepared by church members and the Community Café. The meal will include a hot home-cooked meal, followed by a fruit pudding, and tea and coffee. As in previous years, the tables will be set out very nicely in the hall and the children of St Peter’s school will be     coming along to sing. The lunch is free of charge, although donations can be made if wished.

 

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Bill’s Letter for September 2016

One of the great gifts and challenges we face in life is the ability to make choices. Free will seems at the same time to be a wonderful gift and an opportunity for disaster. The choices we make define our character and shape our future. We have big choices about career, relationships where we live. But there are also daily important choices about how we live and relate to each other.

One of the biggest choices we face is about what we believe and what principles we will live our life by. As a young man, fresh out of school, I thought that all this religion stuff was nonsense. One had to be stupid or feeble to believe all this impossible stuff about miracles and Jesus rising from the dead. It all happened so long ago, it can’t be relevant to today.

Then I met people who followed Jesus who were not stupid and who were not feeble. I made the decision to look into this Christianity thing. Fortunately at the time a friend of a friend attended a good church in Bristol, where I was working on road bridges—actually it was the A38 north of Bristol where they were testing Concord at the time. The sound of the engines was awesome! At the church they had a discussion group for people wanting to ask questions about faith. I went along, bribed by the promise of a meal of faggots (my friend was an impoverished member of the BBC orchestra). I found the group really helpful and clearly found grounds for faith and a real experience of God’s love. As a result of my own experience I am very keen that anyone who is interested in exploring faith has an opportunity to do that in a safe place.

I am starting our next series of Just Looking Groups (a chance to explore questions of faith) in October this year. For people who decide to make a commitment of faith, there is an opportunity to do that when the Bishop of Wakefield comes to lead a confirmation service in     November at St Peters. So if you are interested in exploring faith or confirmation, please get in touch. Come along to our group and make your choice.

Rev Bill Henderson

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Film Club – June 2016

Friday evening, 10th June 7:30pm

‘Left Behind’ (2015)

Based on the New York Times’ best-selling novel, ‘Left Behind’ is an   apocalyptic action thriller starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Vic Armstrong. A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction. Trapped at 30,000 feet, veteran airline pilot Ray Steele (Nicolas Cage) must fight to protect the passengers that remain on his flight. Running out of fuel and with his equipment failing, Ray needs to safely guide the plane with the help of news reporter Cameron (Chad Michael Murray) who takes over the role of co-pilot in the face of the crisis. On the ground, Ray’s terrified daughter Chloe (Cassi Thompson) braves the bedlam of the city streets in search of her lost brother and mother.

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

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

 

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Bill’s Letter for June 2016

I have been fascinated to hear about different traditions that   families used to keep around Whitsuntide. For many it meant a new set of clothes; an outfit that became the ‘Sunday Best’ for the rest of the year. Some were given a pen while for others a pair of white socks were always given. In many communities there was a Whit walk; a parade through the village, often with people wearing their best clothes and the ladies in White. This would end with an open air service and celebration.

What lies behind these celebrations is the commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples at Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came on Jesus at his baptism, He appeared as a white dove. Whit is derived from white and this is why white clothing has been popular at this time.

The exciting thing about this festival is that it reminds us of a great event that happened long ago, but that is just as relevant today. I am encouraged to hear many stories of people experiencing the Holy Spirit here in Stanley in many different ways.

We can receive the Holy Spirit today and he will make an amazing difference to our lives. He puts the spotlight on Jesus, and encourages our relationship with Him. For some their experience of the Holy Spirit has led them to faith. He also helps us be transformed into the likeness of Christ, disturbing us and making us discontent until we ask God’s help to change. He also empowers us for serving one another. The Gifts of the spirit make us helpful and useful for our   community. There are many people who have received healing and comfort through prayer, other’s who have experienced God’s love and presence in a tangible way.

We may not get a new set of clothes now, but we can receive a fresh blessing from the Holy Spirit. How do we receive? Its simple, we just ask. Go on give it a try, you will never regret it.

Rev Bill Henderson