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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

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Bill’s Letter for May 2016

It is hard to believe that we are into May, when we recently suffered from heavy frosts and snow showers. It feels rather strange after such a mild winter.

It is not only the weather that seems in chaos in the world around us. There are atrocities in Syria and ones not so well publicised in South Sudan as well as many other countries. People are fleeing for their lives into difficult and deadly situations, creating a crisis for their care. We watch in astonishment at the build up for elections in the USA where extraordinary rhetoric gains people’s support.

In our own nation it is difficult to find out the actual implications of staying in or leaving Europe. Our own government freed of the restraint of coalition partners and maybe an effective opposition is exercising a rather bullying power, imposing a contract on junior doctors and a policy for all schools to become academies. The implications could be doctors leaving their jobs so there is a dangerous shortage. Already junior doctor posts are over subscribed in Scotland (that still has the old contract) and posts in London are under subscribed for the first time ever. School head teachers are considering strike action.

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and leave us feeling helpless. At the time of Jesus, when their nation was occupied by a Roman army and people of power were acting in appalling ways, Jesus came with a message of hope and challenge. This has been a guide for His followers ever since, especially in times of persecution. It is a message to love, to be especially concerned for the poor and marginalised. But also to speak truth to those in power. When faced with issues that seem too big and difficult to manage, we can decide to do what we can where we are. As a former Bishop of Wakefield once said while visiting us, ‘bloom where you are planted’. Small acts of love and kindness can transform situations, together these small acts can transform a nation.

Rev Bill Henderson

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Film Club – May 2016

Friday evening, 13th May 7:30pm

‘The Lady in the Van’ (2015)

Two-time Oscar winner and star of “Downton Abbey”, Dame Maggie Smith, recreates one of her most celebrated roles – the singular Miss Shepherd – in ‘The Lady in the Van’, Alan Bennett’s big-screen comedic adaptation of his own iconic memoir and honoured stage play. Based on a true story, Miss Shepherd was a woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years. What began as a begrudged favour became a relationship that would change both their lives. Filmed on the street and in the house where Bennett and Miss Shepherd lived for all those years, acclaimed director Nicholas Hytner reunites with Bennett to bring this funny, poignant, and life-affirming story to the screen.

Doors open 7pm, film start 7.30pm

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

 

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Bill’s Letter for April 2016

Easter is always a special time for the followers of Christ. We have walked with Jesus through the ups and downs of his last week on earth: the excitement of the crowds welcoming Him into Jerusalem; His weeping at seeing what would happen to that city; His anger at the profiteering in the temple; then the quiet sadness of the last supper, when He knew he would be betrayed. Nevertheless He did the slave’s job of washing the disciples feet, and used it as a lesson for us to sacrificially love one another. Then he memorably gave a new message with the bread and wine of Passover, so we would have something tangible to remember Him with; followed by the sham trial and cruel crucifixion; then the world changing glory of His resurrection.

Remembering this story encourages us to think about our lives and how we live. One of the dangerous gifts God has given us is free will. We can choose how we act and how we behave towards each other. Our choices do a lot to define us as people

As I said in my letter last month, after Easter we are looking at how as a church we might live with the priorities that Jesus taught. This will help us make choices that are in line with God’s will for us as we seek to be people shaped like Jesus.

There are different important areas of life to study and think about; how we respond to each other as people; what we believe and teach; how we work together; how we pray and finally how we speak truth to those in power and seek justice. It’s quite a challenge, but this is a special opportunity to seek God together and be more effective and fulfilled in our daily lives. This is true for us as individuals and for us as a church.

The course will be launched on 10th April, when Gordon Dey who wrote the course is coming to help us. Please see the page on our website for the details of the discussion groups that will be meeting during each week. There is lots of choice, so I hope, if you are interested, there will be a time and place to suit you.

Rev Bill Henderson