Posts filed under 'church'

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Posted on 23rd January 2021

It has been the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I have observed this time of prayer at the beginning of each year since the early 1970s. This week I have been praying with J. Philip Newell’s book The New Harmony (St Andrew Press 2012) [read the full Week of Prayer for Christian Unity post]

New Year Affirmations

Posted on 2nd January 2021

I used to use these affirmations regularly in my prayers as a member of the Iona Community.

Whilst I no longer am a member they still stir my faith and explain what I am trying to believe.

I offer them to us all at Christchurch as we journey into a fresh year with many uncertainties ahead of us. May they comfort and guide us in 2021.

 

Rev John Rackley

 

With the whole Church

we affirm that we are made in God’s image

Befriended by Christ, empowered by the Spirit.

With people everywhere

we affirm God’s goodness at the heart of humanity,

planted more deeply than all that is wrong.

With all creation

we celebrate the miracle and wonder of life,

and the unfolding purposes of God

for ever at work in ourselves and the world.

 

Christmas is coming

Posted on 5th December 2020

We can’t hold services but we are still celebrating the season of Advent, when we look forward to the birth of Christ on Christmas Day.

Back in the Worship Centre

Posted on 4th October 2020

Morning service in the Worship Centre with social distancingThis morning we were able to hold a service in the Worship Centre again for the first time. Comfortable seats instead of hard plastic chairs! During September we’ve been holding Sunday services in the hall while some water damage from a leak in the roof was dealt with. The roof has now been repaired, although some re-plastering is still needed inside. Numbers were up slightly at 34, plus a few children. With social distancing we can have about 40 downstairs, with another 10 – 15 in the gallery (a lot more than this actually, but the view of the dais is not very good in much of the gallery). We are looking forward to developing our activities in the era of Covid-19 restrictions.

Sunday services resume

Posted on 2nd September 2020

Sovid-safe service in the hallAfter a successful trial run last Sunday, we will be holding a service every Sunday morning again (unless a local lockdown intervenes). The timetable for restarting other activities is still very uncertain but this is a welcome beginning. There is more information about services here.

Welcome to our new minister

Posted on 2nd September 2020

Our new Methodist minister, Rev Debra Chidakwa Akue, joined us at the beginning of September. Having just returned from abroad she is having to self-isolate. Debra will preach at the Sunday morning service on 6th September by pre-recording a video. We are very much looking forward to being able to greet her properly in a couple of weeks (but a church lunch is not permitted unfortunately).

Dangerous Prayer

Posted on 24th June 2020

‘Prayer is a marvellous and necessary supplement of our feeble efforts but it is a dangerous substitute’ Martin Luther King.

I do not know the original context of these words. The quotation turned up in the monthly mail-out of Contemplation and Action; a movement based on the ministry of Franciscan Richard Rohr. It was part of a series of comments on Black Lives Matter.

As a Baptist, King would have been brought up in an intense praying culture. In his time Baptist prayer meetings were signature events. They define the pattern of Baptist spirituality. Personal prayer is expected of each member of the congregation. So his comments have a back story.

“Let us pray about this” was a default response to any situation. King knew this could be a powerful force. Prayer has been called primal speech. It is an intrinsic part of human evolution. Whoever you might pray to and whatever you think will happen is not the point. Prayer like Soul describes the intrinsic mystery of our life. We are not alone.

But is prayer a substitute for action? King seems to be suggesting this. He knows action can be deeply influenced by prayer but prayer instead of action is in his words ‘dangerous’. What could he mean by this?

[read the full Dangerous Prayer post]

Is the Story of the Ascension an Embarrassment?

Posted on 20th May 2020

What do we do about the story of the Ascension of Jesus? Do we really have to believe that if we had been there we would have seen Jesus going up into the sky? Two hymns help us to consider these questions. The first from the 1700s, the other written in the last fifty years. They are both in the hymn book Singing the Faith.

John Rackley explores this story.

[read the full Is the Story of the Ascension an Embarrassment? post]

Christian Aid Week and the Three Loves

Posted on 12th May 2020

Abraham was charged by God to teach his children ‘the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just’ (Genesis 18:19) and ever since we have wondered what that means.

Jonathan Sacks gives a superb summary of how the Jews have interpreted this instruction in his latest book, Morality.

Love your neighbour.

Love the stranger.

Hear the cry of the otherwise unheard.

Liberate the poor from their poverty.

Care for the dignity of all.

Let those who have more than they need share their blessings with those who have less.

Feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick in body and mind.

Fight injustice, whoever it is done by and whoever it is done against.

And do these things because, being human, we are bound by a covenant of human solidarity,

Whatever our colour or culture, class or creed’.

[read the full Christian Aid Week and the Three Loves post]

Visit Rev John Rackley’s blog

Posted on 12th May 2020

Rev John Rackley, our associate Baptist minister, has re-started his own blog at windingquest.wordpress.com

This  is how he introduces himself.

Life is a bridge.

Cross over it

but build no home on it.

Bruce Chatwin  Songlines 1982

I grew up in a fishing community in Devon UK from generations of sea-farers going back over 200 years.

I have worked as a bus conductor, secondary school teacher, radio broadcaster and Baptist minister.

I have lived in Leicester, Cardiff, Great Missenden and now in South Leicestershire.

I have travelled in Scandanavia, Hungary, Italy, India, Bangladesh, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.

I love autumn and the approach of darkening evenings.

[read the full Visit Rev John Rackley’s blog post]