Thought for the Month -
A modern mission parable
A dentist wanted to set up a practice in an area which was in desperate need. He researched and discovered a community with the worst dental hygiene in the whole country.
The poor hygiene affected everyone from the oldest to the youngest. Everyone seemed to forget the importance of brushing your teeth therefore the good news was not passed on anymore.
The dentist was a caring man and set up his shop in the centre of the town. After months of preparation and planning he now had the premises, the chair, lights, sterilising equipment, you name it and he had it.
Bright and early on Monday morning he opened the doors of his new dental practice expecting queues to be around the corner waiting for his services, however not one person was waiting, none turned up.
A strategy was needed to win the people around. He thought long and hard and decided he couldn't just advertise the reason why he was there (because the people have the worst teeth in the country) so opted for a more gentle approach.
He decided he would put on a coffee morning. The coffee mornings were so successful that they soon had to open on Tuesdays and then Wednesdays, now he was serving coffee most mornings but still there was no one in the surgery!
He was disheartened, he had spent many years training as a dentist, he could spot the problems people were having with their teeth but was too embarrassed to tell them in case he upset them or offended them and so this dentist worked out the rest of his life serving coffee.
The results were the communities dental health declined, growing worse and worse until one day another dentist came into town and advertised his practice and many teeth were saved!!
I can¬t remember where I heard this so can`t acknowledge the source but it has always stuck with me. When we think about mission and evangelism strategies are we being as bold as we could be?
Food for thought.
God bless. Rev Ken
Thought for the Month -
1st August is celebrated as Yorkshire Day, and some of us may say that we are proud to be Yorkshire Born and Bred! Stories are told of many an expectant mother in the past who dare not leave the county until their baby was safely born – for who knew whether that child may be a future champion Yorkshire County Cricket player! (Now no longer relevant, I understand)
Knowing where we come from can be important – providing us with a sense of belonging and identity. Knowing who we are and where we are now, and where we are going can be even more important.
Peter says that
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-
We have no reason to be proud of ourselves for being born into God’s family – it is only through God’s grace that we can call Him Father. We can find our identity in Him, and the opportunity to live in the light of Christ, knowing that he has also prepared an eternal home for us gives us cause to rejoice. Our past, present and future – are safely in His hands.
May that assurance be yours
Thought for the Month – July
I wanted to write this month about Summer and sunshine sand and sea holidays and hope.
And then so much darkness came into our Country, Death of innocent people by bomb, knife, vehicle and fire, It has become impossible to read the papers without tears flowing and hearts aching. And we hear the question and even think it in our deepest thoughts “Where is God in all this pain?” And we who know him and love him realize that he is there In the theatre foyer on London Bridge In Grenfell Towers. Man kills not God, Man makes mistakes not God, Man hates not God, God has always been with us right from before the World began we know that he is reliable, trustworthy, loving, enduring because he has shown us we have his promises to lean on “I am with you always.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “I will take all your burdens.” And it’s true he does, How do we know? Because he’s proved himself in the past and he will again. Through all the hatred and death there has been an overriding feeling if love, Love wins through and our God is a God of love, Love which feels our pain, knows our suffering and understands our fear and doubt. So don’t be bitter about what has happened.be sad but not broken because our God of love is in our midst.
Blessing Linda (Stannard)
Thought for the Month – June
This morning I was enjoying all my various rose bushes, which are just beginning to come into their glorious ‘first flush’. All their differing shades, shapes and sizes and scents were blending together so gloriously that I couldn’t help whispering, ‘O Lord, you were so clever to make roses’! Then I suddenly thought about the wild dog roses that are covering the hedges in the lanes around our communities – very poor affairs in comparison to our cultivated blooms. They only have five petals and are white or pink!
‘I suppose you didn’t really make my roses at all, Lord,’ I added to my whisper. ‘They are hybrids, created by the patient work of rose breeders over the last 250 years.’ I wonder if it was the Lord replying when I suddenly realised that He had created those wild roses with the potential to be changed, over time and with expert help, into something infinitely more intricate and delightful. I guess He put that kind of potential into every human being born into this world. We are all entrusted with a life, which we can male ugly by selfishness or which, over our span of years – and with God’s help – we can make into something infinitely beautiful.
When Jesus first looked at the rough, loud-
Lord, help us to grow into the people you know we can be.
Thought for the Month – May
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Touchstone Project, in Bradford. I went with a few ladies from Kirkbymoorside Church, ahead of the Circuit hosting the Weaving Women’s Wisdom Carpets exhibition in May.
Touchstone is a Methodist Project, which works along those of other faiths to encourage community. It was a fascinating day, we shared lunch with a few of the workers at Touchstone and heard about their groups and activities and their hopes for expansion from their Victorian house. We were fascinated to hear about their 14 foot mobile Yurt which provides a safe space for creativity, prayer reflection and discussion.
After lunch Revd Jenny Ramsden took us for a walk into Bradford. It was during this that I really sensed how it may feel to be a stranger in a new place. This area of Bradford, close to the university is very diverse both culturally and in age profile. I have lived in cities, I grew up near Liverpool, studied in Leeds, worked in Woking and St Helens before moving to North Yorkshire. But in this part of Bradford we were very much the odd ones out, in many ways.
It made me ponder how people feel if they stumble into an act of worship in any of our Churches or our open air services. How a young Christian moving to the area and seeking out a church may feel, how a retired couple new to rural life may feel. How a local person trying church for the first time may feel.
Threatened, embarrassed, awkward, clueless, out of their depth, on the outside….?
The structures, language and routines of our churches and faith may seem normal to us. Many of us have seen little change for many years. Yet our way of expressing our faith is not the only way.
Sometimes it can be refreshing to step outside of our comfort zone, to experience new spaces and people. Jesus came to bring hope and fullness of life to all of God’s people. He challenges us to continue His work. Is it time to reflect on and review our methods? Is it time to visit another church or an act of worship that is not our norm – and see how it feels to be a visitor?
PS – have a look www.touchstone-
Louise Hayes – Lay Employee
Thought for the month – April
Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,
Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep,
All unadorned. (Jean M. Watt)
Lent certainly has a gloomy reputation. We expect people to give things up and look appropriately miserable as they miss their usual bar of chocolate, or glass of wine. But why give things up for Lent? Why not do something positive instead? At Kirkbymoorside chapel we have been encouraging people to engage with the 40 Acts campaign which suggests we mark Lent by doing a generous act on each of the 40 days.
Lent has traditionally been a period for reflection and taking stock, but it seems to me, we are more likely to learn something about ourselves if we try being kinder, more generous, or less selfish for the six weeks, than if we give up chocolate! Seeing clearly is what it’s meant to be about. As Watt goes on to point out in her poem, it’s when the trees are without leaf and blossom that we are more likely to see the stars. If we manage to see ourselves more clearly in Lent, to cut through the comfortable things we tell ourselves, then we might manage to be different people in a more long term way.
God offers us, and hopes for us, nothing less than transformation, however small the first step. Each year God enacts this transformation for us in the natural world over the period of Lent and Easter and holds out to each of us the new possibilities and new life of Easter. E. E. Cummings captures the feel of Easter in these words:
I thank you God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
Thought for the Month -
I suppose it has something to do with my increasing years, but I find I pay more attention to Obituaries these days. And recently I was fascinated and inspired reading about the life of Paulo Evaristo Arns. It isn’t registering? Then try adding his title, ‘Cardinal’, in front. Still in the dark? Then try thinking of the Archbishop of Sao Paulo in Brazil from 1970 ‘til his retirement in 1998. He was the man who sold the city’s ornate archiepiscopal palace and moved into a couple of rooms behind a monstery, then spent the money raised to tackle poverty in the favelas. “I was never in favour of communism or capitalism. I wanted a social system where all would have what is sufficient for a decent life and where there would be justice and equality. In our country (Brazil) 2% of the population has more wealth than the other 98%. This is a scandal.
Today our world seems to be more polarised and divided than ever, and throughout the world many in leadership positions seem to be reluctant to take an unequivocal stance in favour of social justice and human rights. If ever there was a time for Christians to speak out strongly for Kingdom values it is now.
And one very practical opportunity presents itself as Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Feb. 27th to March 12th. Politicians and the media may endlessly analyse trends in the economy, but we need to remember that one way we have of making our voice heard in the debate is the way we splash our cash as consumers. If we look at the price ticket of an item we ought to factor in whether or not the producers have been paid appropriately. So, wherever possible, look for the Fairtrade mark. And in a world where the jargon is so often about Free Trade, our strap line should be that Fairtrade helps to set people free from poverty.
Whatever way we may have voted in the Referendum we all have a Christian duty to ensure that Brexit works for everyone – and that includes the millions of farmers world-
One other thing to remember – Fair Trade may have a special fortnight, but Fairtrade is effective all year round.
Happy and thoughtful shopping,
Thought for the Month -
To Love Extravagantly!
With Valentines Day being one of the biggest shopping days after Christmas, and with men spending double what women do, I researched its origins. St Valentine was an early Christian martyr killed by the Romans in 269AD for marrying couples against the order of the Emperor. Claudius II had a view that men were better soldiers if they remained unmarried, their sole allegiance being to him. For his subversive acts, Valentine, a priest, was executed and buried in the cemetery on the Via Flaminia, Rome on February 14th.
In the middle ages, the poet Chaucer linked Valentine with the idea of romantic love through a poem called, “Parliament of Fowles,” and the celebration began in earnest. The British Postal Museum, located near to Russell Square in London, has one of the earliest preserved heart shaped cards from the 18th Century and a suitably poem is included.
All of which raises the question, so what does it mean to be romantic anyway? One of the best descriptions of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Here Paul seeks to correct the balance that would have us look only to ourselves, by describing love as unconditional, self-
The sceptics amongst us may dismiss romantic gestures as foolish, but I think that dying to aspects of self, actually means finding life in somebody else’s joy as well as your own. It’s about understanding what makes other people tick so that their happiness becomes your happiness, their joy your joy and at other times, their sorrow your sorrow. When we die to aspects of ourselves, we find the secret of being alive.
Perhaps today, we could think of how we might be extravagantly generous to someone, how we could make a wild gesture of love, as much as the confines of our world allow. Perhaps we might discover not the froth and pink of a fictional love story but rather the true romance of finding life in another’s joy.
Thought for the Month -
The past few months have been very difficult for many individuals on a personal, circuit and national level. Tragedies abound, at home and abroad; the threat of terror particularly real in many areas, and sometimes it feels like the world is a very dark place. We acknowledge the great loss that Revd. Jacky Hale’s death has been for the circuit, her friends and above all to Frank and her family. Our love and prayers continue for them all and pray that the light of God’s peace and comfort will be theirs. Although Christmas is well and truly over, the message lives on, just as Christ, whose birth we have celebrated lives on. The challenges of Lent will be with us before we know it, and the whole cycle of the church year moves on apace. What can we learn from each of these seasons? Do we fall into the “we have heard it all before” trap? Let us continue to acknowledge and celebrate the Light that has come into the world – and seek to reflect His light in our own dark corner. Let us renew our Covenant with the one who came as both sacrifice and Saviour to seal our relationship with our Heavenly Father. An annual service – but it includes a prayer that we could usefully pray each day: “Your will, not mine, be done in all things” Remembering that “the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us”. Let us continue as his disciples, to walk with him who walks with us: learning from Him the disciplines of obedience, but also a love that took him to the cross, and a power that raised him to new life. May we too receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit – living in us and amongst us as we find our unity in the God who calls us to be His people.
Every blessing for 2017
Revd. Ruth Duck