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Thoughts from the Vicar



Sunday 16 September 2018
16th Sunday after Trinity

One of the topics that crops in vicar’s thoughts at regular intervals is Spiritual Growth. Often this is when there is a day or course or activity that has helped others grow in their faith and that I think and feel many in the congregation might find helpful. Over the years I have noticed how few people take up these opportunities and have been wondering why?

Why? Is a good place to start from why grow spiritually? As adults sometimes, we are trying to do the opposite of grow, especially if it’s growing older or heavier! Where we do seek to grow it is often in our leisure interests, reducing the golf handicap, moving into the advanced conversational Spanish class, learning how to make a perfect beurre blanc, achieving particular goals and ambitions.

St Paul writes ”It is Jesus whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” Col 1:28. Often the first answer we might give to why grow spiritually is that one day we will be face to face with Jesus, where no sin or evil can exist. Consequently preparing now for what we will be then is a good thing to do. The downside of this first reason is that death and our eternal life with Jesus feels a lot further away than everyday life.

So here are three reasons why spiritual growth is vital

1 It helps us navigate life’s challenges, changes and difficulties. Life isn’t easy, there is no special forcefield around Christians protecting them from the fallen free will of creation with its chaos and pain. Bad things happen, our relationship with God gives us resources in those bad times. Spiritual growth builds up the resources we can draw on.

2 It helps us navigate Church life. Everyone in Church is not perfect, we all have broken edges and bruises, growing in faith softens the edges, heals the bruises and generates grace for when the bumps and bruises occur. 3 It helps us bring God’s love and care to the world. We are called as individuals and as a community to be a place where God is active in his world. The more we have grown spiritually the better we channel God’s love into the world.

Spiritual growth is good for us as individuals, good for us as church and good for the world. That doesn’t make it easy, but when we know the “Why?” Then “How?” becomes a very different question.


Sunday 9 September 2018
15th Sunday after Trinity

September is for many a time of new beginnings, the return from holiday and it’s the start of the new school year. That theme of new beginnings and new opportunities is also true in Church life.

Today we pray for all of our Church children who are starting in the reception year at School. Those at Prestbury Church of England primary school and those attending other primary schools in the parish and local area. Starting school is a major transition in the life of our children but it can also be for parents and it’s good to uphold and remember both parents and children in our prayers at home.

It is not just home and school that share the responsibility for encouraging our children to grow up to have a personal Christian faith, it is our task as Church to encourage and nurture faith. Today we are for the first time commissioning those who work with our children as Young Church leaders. In doing so we give opportunity for the congregation to see and pray for those undertaking this important ministry and acknowledging our thanks as a Church for their commitment.

This term we have two sermon series: one on the parable of the Prodigal Son and the other on the parable of the sower. Each week the same sermon will be preached by the same person at the 8.30am, 10.00am and 6.00pm services. The sermons will explore one aspect of the parable, digging deeper and in greater detail than is usually possible when the sermon is on the whole passage. My hope is that the sermons will encourage informal conversations across the congregation and prayerful personal application of what we learn as the Holy Spirit speaks to us as individuals.

Later in the year we gather for Remembrance Sunday. On this the 100th anniversary of the Armistice it is a most poignant time to stop, be still, reflect and remember. This Advent we will be holding weekly joint Advent reflection with our Methodist neighbours, then it will be Christmas. The usual pattern of Christingle, Nativity, Street Party, Nine lessons and Carols and Carols around the Crib will this year have an additional Christmas guest service, where through music, readings, traditional and contemporary carols, drama and video, the \message of God’s amazing gift will be shared.

All that we do has a purpose, as we look at the news, the broken world around us, we are reminded of the need to build Kingdom of God communities, communities where we live out the love of God in all we do.


Sunday 2 September 2018
14th Sunday after Trinity

One of the joys of holiday is visiting new places of worship, discovering new songs of praise below is a hymn of praise that reminds of the plans and purposes of the amazing God who loves us.

God of creation
There at the start, before the beginning of time
With no point of reference, you spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as you speak a hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapour of your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I

I can see your heart in everything you’ve made
Every burning star a signal fire of grace
If creation sings your praises so will I

God of your promise you don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void.
For once you have spoken
All nature and science follow the sound of your voice

And as you speak a hundred billion creatures catch your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what you said
If it all reveals your nature so will I
I can see your heart in everything you say
Every painted sky a canvas of your grace
If creation still obeys you so will I, So will I, So will I

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift you high so will I
If the wind goes where you send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

God of salvation you chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride On a hill you created the light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die

And as you speak a hundred billion failures disappear
Where you lost your life so I could find it here
If you left the grave behind you so will I
I can see your heart in everything you’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If you gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see your heart eight billion different ways
Every precious one a child you died to save
If you gave your life to love them so will I

Like you would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to your desire You’re the One who never leaves the one behind.

Songwriters: Joel Houston, Benjamin Hastings, Michael Fatkin