Hollins Methodist Church

Please pray for Bob, Linda, Andy the Minister and all connected with Hollins Methodist Church as they begin their new Church building.

Hollins is one of my former Churches in Oldham and will always retain a special place in my heart. They are on the verge of starting a new building project. Please pray for them as it will be the result of many years of hope and prayer.

Mixed day

Its been a bit of a mixed day today but mainly good. Tonight we had a meeting in Selston of the united Churches together. Began slowly but thanks to the enthusiasm of the new Jacksdale Christian Centre Pastor, Carole, things began to move and some of us began to dream of pub praise, employing a youth worker, meetings in the Tin Hat a community centre and a new prayer gathering to specifically pray for revival in the area.

Yes, there has been this enthusiasm before and it has been slowly crushed out of us all BUT there seems to be a genuine unity between all the clergy and a strong warming amongst the lay folk. Exciting times !

What do men want in Church ?

The Daily Mail  has today produced an article about what men want in Church. The online link is http://tinyurl. com/cbt3k4 and it produces some interesting thoughts. Apparently men want more `macho` hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers”, less hugging, fewer flowers and apparently want the Church looking less like a Laura Ashley boutique !

I find it interesting because although I enjoy the `big` hymns like “Amazing Grace” I also enjoy the quieter, thoughtful ones like “The Lords my Shepherd” (to whichever tune). I can go with the 52% who didn’t like dancing in Church, but that’s more because I can’t dance. I enjoy watching other people praising the Lord through dance (however, I refer to so called `ordinary` Christians, rather than the Spring Harvest neatly choreographed professional stuff) and I’m happy to let them get on with it as long as they don’t expect me to produce my two left feet in time to the music. I can’t even clap in time let alone dance.

What I found really interesting is that nearly three quarters of men prefer the sermon; the so called `boring` bit. As a preacher, who enjoys preaching and thinks he’s a resonably good preacher, that is really encouraging.

What all of this shows to me is the difficulty of creating `Church`. The old days of one size fits all really does seem to be disappearing and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s dream of a mixed economy Church seems closer to reality. The trouble is too many of us inside Church are more concerned with creating it to suit us and our way of thinking (both men and women) than we are of finding out Gods will and of reaching out to those for whom `macho` church or `feminine` church is a turn off. Whether we sing `big` hymns or `sentimental` songs is not the issue; the real issue is that Christianity as a faith is about changing the world, and yet so often we can’t even change ourselves; Christianity is about blessing the world, but we are too scared to interact with the real world; Christianity is about faith, NOT about Church.

I want to be a person who practises Christianity not someone who practises churchianity.

Well, folks, that’s todays rant and rave over !!  Have a blessed day.

Bank Holiday Monday

What a good day we had yesterday, as a family.

Decided it was time to sort out the garage, so we hired a skip and spent the whole morning (all of us) going through and throwing out. Many laughs were had as we looked at old photographs, memories shared; some regrets as we decided to part with long held (and quite useless) possessions; and a sense of doing things together which was special.

I will cherish the sight of Jamie in my Joseph coat of many colours roller skating around the cul de sac; little wonder the neighbours disappeared for the day !

It is now almost possible to actually park a car inside the garage; yes, I know its hard to believe isn’t it.

The problem is that when the girls and Jamie moved back in they brought all their `stuff` from their house and it had to be parked in the garage as there wasn’t room in the house. Consequently the garage has looked like a bomb site for the last 10 months (not that it looked much better before that). NOT ANY MORE !!

Sometimes our lives are like the garage; they get cluttered because of the business of life. We keep adding more and more to them, and not spend time clearing out the junk. Maybe we should all spend more bank holidays doing what we did yesterday, but with our lives.

Spend more time laughing at past memories; spend more time sharing those memories with loved ones; letting go of some things we no longer need in our lives (perhaps with regret), and simply enjoy the moment of doing things with other people.

Maybe we should be more like Jamie; put on something daft and roller-skate our way through life for a few hours, being silly and not caring what others think about us. Wouldn’t it be good ?

Someone I know often says that life is too short to waste it on frivolous things like enjoyment; however, I would want to reverse this by pointing that Jesus said “I have come so that you might have life, and life in all its fullness”. Yes, I believe that he is referring to the spiritual walk with him which brings life to us all but in that single word `all` I believe that he is also giving us permission to enjoy our physical, earthly lives as well. And while this may not be always possible (sadly) for some people, for those of us who are able to enjoy ourselves (without detriment to others) then I think we are expected to. God did not create us to be miserable but to enjoy his creation, socially with others, and to enjoy the very act of breathing.

Rant over !  I’m going to the doctors now to have a check up and make sure I’ve got enought physical health left to enjoy the rest of today.