Vicar's Letter

June 2018


In the UK, USA and Canada, the third Sunday in June is Father's Day.  It’s a good time for sons and daughters to take their father to his favourite restaurant, or to watch a favoured sport, or whatever else he enjoys doing.   

How will you celebrate it this year?  If your own father cannot be with you, is there a ‘spare’ father somewhere in your church or your circle of friends whose children cannot be with him, and who would welcome some special treat on the day?

How do these special days ever get started, anyway?   Well, Father’s Day began because way back in 1909 there was a woman in Spokane, Washington, named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd.  That year she heard a church sermon about the merits of setting aside a day to honour one's mother. Mother's Day was just beginning to gather widespread attention in the United States at this time.  But Sonora Louise Smart Dodd knew that it was her father who had selflessly raised herself and her five siblings by himself after their mother had died in childbirth. So the sermon on mothers gave Sonora Louise the idea to petition for a day to honour fathers, and in particular, her own father, William Jackson Smart.

Sonora Louise soon set about planning the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane in 1910.   With support from the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA, her efforts paid off, and a ‘Father’s Day’ was appointed.  Sonora Louise had wanted Father’s Day to be on the first

May 2018

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April 2018

Three years after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a great anti-God rally was arranged in Kiev. The powerful orator Bukharin was sent from Moscow, and for an hour he demolished the Christian faith with argument, abuse and ridicule. At the end there was silence.

Then a man rose and asked to speak. He was a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. He went and stood next to Bukharin. Facing the people, he raised his arms and spoke just three triumphant words: 'Christ is risen!' At once the entire assembly rose to their feet and gave the joyful response, 'He is risen indeed!' It was a devastating moment for an atheist politician, who had no answer to give to this ancient Easter liturgy. He had not realised he was simply too late: how can you convince people who have already experienced God, that He does not exist?

Easter is the most joyful day of the year for Christians. Christ has died for our sins. We are forgiven. Christ has risen! We are redeemed! We can look forward to an eternity in His joy! Hallelujah!

The Good News of Jesus Christ is a message so simple that you can explain it to someone in a few minutes. It is so profound that for the rest of their lives they will still be 'growing' in their Christian walk with God. Why does the date move around so

March 2018

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February 2018

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January 2018

Dear Friends

In the Book of Common Prayer the feast of the Epiphany is helpfully subtitled ‘the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles’. The wise men from the east represented the Gentile world just as the shepherds, who had been the first to visit the new-born Jesus, represented the Jewish people. In Christ God was revealed to all – “a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of his people Israel.”

The early rapid spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles was largely thanks to the efforts of St Paul. He is a towering figure in the history of the Church. If it were not for Paul Christianity would probably have remained a small and insignificant Jewish sect. Not only did he take the Gospel to the Gentile world, founding churches all around the Mediterranean. Almost a third of what we now call the New Testament consists of his letters to those churches.

The key event in Paul’s life was his amazing conversion. It is remembered every year on January 25th - an epiphany experience celebrated in Epiphanytide. Paul, travelling along the road to Damascus with the intention of persecuting the Christians there, saw “a light in the midday sun, more brilliant than the sun” that caused him and his companions to fall to the ground. Paul (whose name before his conversion was

December 2017

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November 2017

Dear Friends,

Standing frequently used expressions on their heads can be fun.

The result can be sheer nonsense, but it can sometimes point us to something important. Here’s one of my favourites:

“Don’t just do something, stand there!”

This is highly dangerous territory for a parish priest; and especially for one who is constantly being humbled by the enormous amount of sheer hard work put in by volunteers to keep the parochial show on the road. Their dedication is amazing, yet, despite there being a good number of them, here, as everywhere, they only make up a minority of the congregation. This is not always the fault of the majority, and age and infirmity are not the only reasons for people’s unwillingness to take on responsibilities. But be that as it may, the heroic efforts of “the few” are not unnoticed, neither are they unappreciated. I know how much I depend on them, and am truly grateful.

But too much activity can have a serious downside. A question we all do well to ask ourselves from time to time is “what would I like to be remembered for?” Our answer is likely to be influenced more than

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