Thursday, 9 February 2017

Meet the Bishop

Bp Martyn Snow
Last night St Pauls hosted the local Deanery Synod – the committee that unites the local Anglican churches – in our case going from the southern city boundary to the Northampton border. But this meeting of synod was special, as it was visited by Bishop Martyn Snow, who has spent a week in the deanery, meeting each of the clergy in turn. As it was a special event, all clergy, lay ministers and churchwardens were invited, and we greeted each other over a cup of tea or coffee. 

We started with a time of worship – with two songs, an illustrated Bible reading and prayer. A video showing the questions that a group of primary school children had asked the Bishop – and he replied to each one. 

The Bishop then talked of his commitment to prayer – and invited us to the lectures on prayer that would be held in different parts of the diocese during Lent. He also encouraged us to support the period of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost. 

He then talked about Jesus sending the twelve disciples out on mission (Luke 9), pointing out that they were to travel light, which he thought, in our circumstance being ready to jettison traditions if they got in the way of more worthwhile new ideas. He compared the mission with just 12, to the mission of the seventy – just one chapter later. He suggested that the increased numbers reflected their increased confidence as they had seen Jesus work as he fed the 5000. As he had done that he had broken the bread – and perhaps that was symbolic of the way that we need to be broken, in order to be available for his service. 

There was then a prolonged period when the Bishop answered questions that had been submitted – about a wide range of local and national issues relating to the Church of England and to his role and hopes. 

Bishop Martyn has not yet been Bishop of Leicester for a year. But by the time we left, we felt that we knew him better. We need to commit ourselves to keep him in our prayers.



Saturday, 4 February 2017

Three Key Questions

The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, is not surprisingly, keen to see growth in the Kingdom of God – growth in the depth of discipleship; growth in the number of disciples of Jesus; and growth in loving service to the world.

He has invited all Church Councils to discuss how, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can better achieve these aims. So the District Church Council of St Paul’s Oadby, met today, 4 Febrary, to discuss each of these headings.

We met for five hours at the parish centre of St Denys’ Church, Evington. After an act of worship, we considered each of these aspects in the growth of the kingdom, in three sessions, and for each of the subjects we asked ourselves:
What are we already doing to facilitate this?
What gaps are we noticing?
Where is God leading us in the future?
And, realising that one cannot do everything, What needs to stop?
What needs to start?.
Each session was introduced by the vicar and followed by a discussion in groups, that was then shared.

Seeking to know how best we can attune ourselves to God’s vision for our church is difficult. As we consider the ways forward – what we should hold onto – and what we should change. We will be praying for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for us

Friday, 3 February 2017

A Voice for the Voiceless

This month, at St Paul’s, we are praying for religious freedom in the whole world. In particular, we are supporting the work of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Only too often, in many countries, people are stopped from worshipping in the way that they choose. CSW works to find ways to give them that choice.

CSW works in over 20 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, defending everyone’s right to freedom of religion or belief.

Three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries with severe restrictions on their religious freedom – in fact, it’s one of the most widely-violated human rights in the world.

Our vision is of a world where everyone is free to choose their beliefs.

CSW gives one example all the way that the right to belief is violated (among many:
Three innocent men are on trial in Sudan as the result of an act of kindness. They are Rev Hassan, a Sudanese church leader, Mr JaĊĦek, a Czech humanitarian worker and Mr Abdumawla, a Sudanese activist. All three helped raise money to treat a badly burned young man who had taken part in a student protest.
For this act
of kindness they have been on trial since 14 August 2016. Rev Kuwa, whose only ‘crime’ was being Rev Hassan’s friend and a Christian leader, was also arrested and put on trial: however, he was released in January 2017 after the judge found no evidence against him on charges brought by the prosecution. The three men face several charges, including two national security crimes that carry the death penalty.

They’ve done nothing wrong and they desperately need our prayer and support. And we commit ourselves to support all those in their situation.

Making Good Work

Last Sunday we continued our series, studying what a right Christian lifestyle should be. The Sunday, Colin Chettle preached on: “Making good work.”

Using Bible passages in Genesis 3 and Colossians 3, Colin showed how it was God’s will that we should work – and that we should work in a way that was pleasing not only to Him, but drew respect for the God we worship from those around.

May that be the impression that we make.