Top of the tree or bottom of the pile?
Where do you come in the pecking order? What is your status at home, at work, with your friends, in Church?
There are so many hidden hierarchies, so many ways that people judge and label us. But when Jesus caught the disciples arguing about who was the greatest, he took a child and told them they needed to become like a child to enter the kingdom of God. How can we embrace this kind of belonging together?
A man for all the people?
A prophet? A teacher? Just a good man? People have always been divided about Jesus. He asked the disciples “Who do you say that I am?” It’s a question he asks each of us, but how will we answer?
Who gets overlooked? Who’s voice is never heard? Where are we powerless? This week we are thinking about God opening the eyes of the blind, loosing those who are bound and giving voice to those who cannot speak. Everyday miracles if we can notice them!
Our Church Traditions: Treasure or Trash?
Jesus criticised the religious people of his time for creating “human traditions” and presenting a distorted picture of God. Their religious rules had little to do with God’s love for us. Do we do that too? What would Jesus make of our traditions? Come and join the conversation!
Does Your Armour Work?
How many layers of armour are you wearing? Can you prevent yourself from being hurt? Some people seem to have a very thick skin, whilst others are very sensitive and get hurt very easily. Being a Christian is no easy ride, many turned away from Jesus because it can be a hard path. But God draws near to the broken-hearted, and shows us how to be resilient and vulnerable. If we want to wear the armour of God there may be some armour you can take off!
Come and see the real Mary
If you google the Blessed Virgin Mary you will see thousands of images of the mother of Jesus as a plaster-cast saint, almost always white, dressed as a nun and looking nothing like a real woman. Does it matter? The story of Jesus is about God choosing to come as one of us, fully human, and for us to recognise ourselves in that humanity. Come and look for the real Mary, you may be surprised!
There's more to food than eating
Jesus used to break bread with the most unlikely people: for him sharing a meal was more than just about food, it was about welcome, inclusion, acceptance and reconciliation. To break bread together is to create community and to remember Jesus who said "I am the bread of Life". As we move out of the covid restrictions, how can we recover a real hospitality as we break bread again. Come and share!
How do you feel about your weight?
Lots of people struggle with food and keeping healthy, especially after Lockdown. We eat for all sorts of reasons, not just when we are hungry. Sometimes when we are stressed or afraid, we eat for comfort. Sometimes we just get into a habit of snacking because we have nothing else to do. On Sunday, we celebrate Lammas, the first loaf of the harvest, to receive Jesus, the bread of life, in whom all our hungers are satisfied. Come and taste!
Status holds no real value!
We live in a world of status symbols! The kind of clothes we wear, the way we speak, the make of car we drive can all give clues to our background. The money we earn, the job title, the way we are treated by other people, all signal our wealth, power, our status! Even the disciples squabbled about who was to have the best seats in the Kingdom of God! But Jesus could not care less about status! In the upside-down Kingdom of God, we can leave all that behind! Come and see!
Gathered and scattered!
You may have heard that Sarah and I have been in isolation this week because of coming into contact with someone with Covid! Our tests are negative so far! Lots of people are in the same situation! This week I will be preaching on a video link about what it means to be a gathered church, and how we all belong to a scattered church too. Come and join us in person, or tune in online!
This week we are aiming to be outside for church!
It is Grandparents Day! It is Picnic Month! So why not bring a garden chair, a picnic rug and a teddy bear if you have one and join us for Picnic Church!
The service starts at 10.30am as usual. We will be online (we hope) as well.
You could bring some drinks and nibbles for the picnic afterwards.
We’ve all heard about the disciple we call “Doubting Thomas”, he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he could see with his own eyes. After all his doubting and questioning, Thomas turns out to be the disciple who really understands who Jesus is –“my Lord and my God!” So this is a week for all of our questions and doubts, a week for sceptics everywhere! Come and see for yourself!
Do you stand out or blend in?
Are you the centre of attention, or just one in the crowd?
Our experiences of life and faith are so varied, but to Jesus we are all important.
The stories of Jairus’s daughter and a woman in the crowd were so different but both encounters brought healing. Faith changes us and those around us, if we will let it.
Will you be remembering your dad this Sunday?
Will it be a homemade card, breakfast in bed, a bottle of beer?
Or perhaps a memory of long ago?
Father’s Day is a time for remembering our own fathers, and remembering that all our parenting is rooted in God’s love for us.
Are you feeling confident about re-emerging from the covid restrictions? Would you call yourself a confident person, or do you lack confidence? Where does our confidence come from? This week we will be thinking about the foundations of our confidence in our faith. Come and share in the exploration.
There are not many of the veterans of the Normandy landings still alive, and this may be the last chance we have to recognise their bravery in their lifetimes. 6th June represented the turning point of the second world war and the overthrow of the Nazi tyranny. We welcome members of the RBL to our service today as we think of the roots of conflict and pray for the healing of the nations.
How do you picture God?
How do you picture God? Hopefully we have moved on from an old man sitting on a cloud! We tend to make God in our own image, a bit too small to have created the entire universe! This week we celebrate Trinity Sunday, and it is a good time to remember that God is mysterious, not to be defined or categorised, always beyond our imagination. Come and explore the mystery of God today!!
We had so looked forward to being outside for our service on Sunday. However, with the weather looking so poor, we think it safer to plan to be indoors. Young Church is back from this Sunday too!
It is Pentecost Sunday when we celebrate God’s gifts to us. We believe that God gives us each a unique gift and calling. What are your gifts? Have you discovered them? Come and hear more!
Green fingers? Grow your own? Some people love growing things, others really struggle. But it may be important for us to grow some greenery for our health! Did you know that growing plants in and around our home strengthens our mental resilience, improves our health and benefits the planet! Rogation is a time for asking God to bless the soil, the seed and the growing crops! Come and join us in church or on line!
As the restrictions relax and many more are fully vaccinated lots of people are coming back to church. We are setting out chairs in church to accommodate lots of people! Next week will be an open air service for Pentecost – so do bring a seat and come dressed for the weather!
What is friendship?
What does friendship mean to you? How far are you prepared to go for the sake of a friend?
Jesus didn’t want people simply to be followers, he called them his friends.
He used the gift of friendship to reach out to so many people who were struggling.
Jesus even laid down his life for his friends, for us.
This is the beginning of the 70th Christian Aid Week, stretching our understanding of friendship to include people who we hardly know!
We cant do house to house collections, but can you help with an online donation or one in church?
What Makes Us Feel Alive?
What makes you feel fully alive? Cold water swimming? A walk in the countryside? A hug? We believe that God longs for us to be fully alive! Jesus said he had come that we might have abundant life, life in all its fullness! An early Bishop in the church, Irenaeus, said that “The Glory of God is a human being, fully alive.” Today we explore how we can know that kind of living!
Celebrating Lambing Sunday
Have you been enjoying the gambolling lambs in the fields? This week we celebrate Lambing Sunday, to connect us with the agricultural world around us and some deep themes in our own Christian story. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who searches for the lost sheep. Jesus is the Lamb of God who lays down his life for us. Join us for this special service in church or online.
Next week we will be sending out our Big Church Survey to ask your opinions about how our worship has been for you online, to help us plan going forwards. Do look out for it and have your say!
Would you believe it?
Would you believe it? If you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes?
Do you tend to go along with the crowd, or are you determined to go your own way?
They called Thomas the Doubter, but I call him the Questioner!
In the end he came to a deeper understanding of who Jesus really is!
This Sunday it is about “Loving the Questions!”
Come and see for yourself!
This year is going to be different – we’re going to be outside!
Easter Service in the Churchyard for the first time anyone can remember!
Well, its been a year we will never forget! So it nakes sense!
More than ever we need this Easter Day, we need the hope of freedom, we need to be unlocked and released. We need to find our confidence, our courage again. We want to live again. So why not come and join us at 10.30am on Sunday? Bring a picnic chair if you have one. We will be wearing our masks but we are allowed to sing! See you there.
Have you ever been on a retreat? Most people would struggle to get away for that kind of deep reflection. But this week we begin Holy Week, and many of us will be sharing a retreat in daily life, using the Holy Week booklet as a basis. You can get your copy by clicking here. We will come together each evening at 7.30pm online or in church. It all starts with Palm Sunday! This week the clocks spring forwards and we lose an hour in bed!
“What is the deepest truth within us – fear or love?”
Jesus first words were often “Do not be afraid” but even he was fearful of the path to Good Friday and the cross. But the deepest truth in Jesus was not fear but love. He could face the road ahead because he knew he was held in God’s love, and that love will win through. In the fears we face may we know that we too are deeply loved. May our deepest truth be love!
Responsibility and challenges
They say it takes a village to raise a child! Mothering Sunday can feel a tough time for many, but we all have a role in helping to nurture and support children and young people. This pandemic has been especially hard for the young, and we have not been able to be a “village” we have been separated. Parents have been pushed to the limit with home schooling and work. Today is a good day to reach out and reconnect.
What Needs To Change?
Should we be getting back to the Ten Commandments? Do they work? We have been living with lots of Covid Commandments for the past year, rules that we have broadly kept for fear of infection. As we look forward to the post vaccine Promised Land, what will need to change? What kind of approach will we need to help us to know how to live? We are live in Church at St Andrew’s, and online, do come and join us!
taking up our cross...
None of us would have chosen to live like we have over the past year. This has been a costly path of separation, of lockdown, of furlough. For some it has meant lost jobs, missed medical appointments, no schooling, for others it has meant loneliness and a struggle to remain well. Jesus spoke of us needing to “take up our cross” the unchosen path of struggle and suffering. In following Jesus we learn to let go of our lives, to let go in faith, knowing we will be caught up in God’s love. The only way to find life is to let it go!
Rainbows that touch our hearts...
There is something about a rainbow that touches our hearts! For Noah it was a sign of God’s promise, to sustain all life on earth, a sign of hope.
Jesus also came with a message of hope – “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near”, but we need to change our ways.
In the face of climate change we need to rediscover the relationship with all living things, repent of our damaging ways, and embrace the covenant of God.
We are still in a national lockdown, which has placed many restrictions on the way we live our lives and the way our church operates. This doesn't mean everything has to completely stop.
Having a new website and the way in which technology allows us to reach you without you having to leave your home, means we can still deliver a lot of the content and courses which are very important to you. Starting on 24th February we have the 'Lent Bible Study Course' beginning. For detailed information on this course and many other things we still have available for you, download your copy of the newsletter by clicking here.
New Treasurer and Card Reader...
New Treasurer Des Rogers is taking up his role from today. You can contact Des on email@example.com Tel 07771745073.
We have also introduced a new card reader into church and on this website and over £400 was donated at Christmas! Your kind donations really do make such a huge difference to St. Andrew's Church and we thank immensely to all who kindly donated.
New website arrives before Christmas...
St. Andrew's Church Shifnal are pleased to announce the arrival of their new website, just in time for Christmas.
"It has been an exciting challenge getting the website ready on time, with over 40 pages and collating various amounts of information from lots of different people the pressure really was on. But I've loved every minute of the challenge, and I'm happy to say Christmas is definitely not cancelled", commented our website designer Gareth Payton who manages our online presence.
The previous website was created in 2011 and has stood the test of time and delivered very well. However, with many people consuming today's content on various devices such as mobile phones and tablets, our website needed a new responsive design. In basic terms that just means that no matter what device you load the website in, it will automatically resize to fit the screen of that device perfectly. Do let us know what you think about the fresh design!