Thinking of getting married ?

Last saturday, we went to the Diocesan Synod (my first) and I found it very enjoyable. Our first speaker Gillian Oliver told us about The Weddings Project. We found out that training events are being planned for clergy and lay people involved in helping couples. A range of literature has been developed to help both churches and couples plan the big day. Her presentation was excellent, very interesting and funny too. She mentioned a new website rich in information on how to plan a church wedding: http://yourchurchwedding.org

So I went on exploring this site. Well-designed, it has a vast amount of information. For instance, did you know that...... Marriage boosts happiness

Research continues to show that in the long run marriage makes you happier.  Independent research commissioned by the CofE found that nine out of ten people say marriage has made them personally happier and their relationship stronger.

And in a paper published in 2005, (How Does Marriage Affect Physical And Psychological Health?) academics conclude that after comparing many other similar studies, marriage improves psychological health and has a big effect on happiness.
Wow, I didn't know that!
Something else caught my attention as we are very careful about not wasting energy and doing our bit for the environment at home..read on

Jessica and Joe's green wedding tips

One of our Real Wedding couples, Jessica and Joe, share their top tips for a greener wedding:-

1. Pick your own flowers: ”All the greenery was from my Mum's garden and the flowers from her sun-warmed greenhouse,” said Jessica. “For the flowers we bought, we tried to have those with less air-miles, or not from heated greenhouses.”
2. Stay close-by: “We could have chosen to marry in a different church, but most of our friends lived in London, so the travelling distance to this church was less for guests. And, we held the reception at the church, so no further travelling for anybody!” said Jessica.
3. Cut down on carbon: Jessica added: “Joe really wanted a nice wedding car, so found a gas-converted Bentley - gas is better for the environment than conventional fuel.”
4. Go for home-grown: As far as possible, food and drink at the wedding was local, organic and/or Fairtrade.
5. Enjoy Britain: “One of the biggest contributors to a wedding's 'carbon footprint' is the flight for the honeymoon, so we chose to stay at a friend's home in Dorset and had a lovely time walking around the countryside,” said Jessica.
6. Save a tree: Jessica and Joe’s wedding invitation used far less paper than conventional invites because it was small and folded in such a way that no envelope was necessary. What paper they did use was made from recycled materials. Further wedding details were put on the internet, saving yet more paper.
7. Rings of peace: “Joe tried to find a suitable antique ring. It takes up a lot of energy and resources to make new rings and you have to be careful where the diamonds come from.” (Seehttp://www.kimberleyprocess.com/ for more about this.)
8. Chic looks for less: “I found a dress for £70, a floor-length veil for £5 and my wedding shoes in one of Oxfam's specialist wedding dress shops. I had one bridesmaid who wore a nice dress of her own,” said Jessica.“The boys just wore their own suits and we tried to find ethically-sourced ties; although renting is another good option. “Clothes can be a big expense, so these decisions were good on our pocket as well,” she added.
9. Enjoy giving: “Going green on the wedding presents can be very challenging,” admitted Jessica. “Although our income was not great, we realised that compared to many people in the world, we were still very privileged and could buy our own goods eventually. So instead of the usual things, we had our wedding list with Oxfam Unwrapped.We asked for safe drinking water for 225 people, 500 school dinners, 5 health workers, 4 teachers, 266 trees, 2 alpacas and a donkey!“
Fantastic! Finally, the most wanted Bible reading is 1 Corinthians 13, famous for weddings, which ends at verse 13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Have a blessed evening!


Worthy is the Lamb

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Our Lord is awesome. Praise the Lord!


The Equality Bill

You know me, I don't do politics, however I happened to stumble on an e-petition related to our fundamental right of freedom of expression. Shouldn't we, as Christians, have the right to tell others about the Good News without being 'persecuted'. So I could not resist to let you know. 
The government has given the illusion that it has backed down on an amendment to the Equality Bill that would force people to act against their God-given consciences.
This innocuous sounding bit of legislation is just one more attempt by the government to take away more and more fundamental freedoms of conscience and liberty of speech, that have taken centuries to achieve and cost the lives of our ancestors, and force us to “conform to the pattern of this world,” The latest version of the Equality Bill is in effect, worse than that produced in 2003.
The Amendments to Equality Bill are to be voted on in the House of Lords very soon.

The legislation aims to strike out major exemptions for the purposes of organised religion, relating to occupational requirements, with regard to sex, marriage and sexual orientation. Specifically the legislation will restrict the rights of religious bodies to employ personnel who conform to their teachings only if their duties are confined to worship activities or the explanation of doctrine. The government is making out that it is prepared to make a few concessions, but these are mere crumbs.
 In my opinion, the legislation is designed to reduce religion to a mere cultural eccentricity, where there is no expectation that belief will be considered to be either objectively true or be translated into behaviour – certainly if such beliefs conflict with the government’s secularist ideology, morality and values – which are already imposed on us as absolute and objective truths. In my view, this is just another example of the government’s interfering (facilitated with threats, fines, loss of job and even worse) not just into our churches, but into the most intimate area of our lives: our consciences; our thinking; our emotions, into our families and the apples of eyes – our children.
The Petition can be found here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/harryhammond/
David Skinner

To find out any more, click on this link
Have a blessed evening. In Jesus' name.

Week of Prayer for Parliament & Government

5-11 June 2010

For your diaries - the seventh annual Week of Prayer for Parliament & Government will take place from Saturday 5th to Friday 11th June 2010. Supported by Bible Society and 24-7 Prayer, this important event is a partnership between Christians in Parliament (CiP) and Christians in Government (CiG). Driven by the Christian communities that work in politics and government, it will involve daily prayer walks around Parliament and Whitehall, daily prayer across the parliamentary estate and in Whitehall government departments, large worship events, prayer for political parties and much, much more. With prayer support form Christians and prayer networks across the UK and the world, this is a great opportunity to pray for God's mercy and blessing on our nation. .

2 Chronicles 7:14


Happy Mother's day

Wishing all mothers, mothers to be, grand-mothers and great-grand-mothers a VERY HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY. May the Lord bless you and your family in abundance. In Jesus'name.


Crazy act 1 done!

That's it, the vicar has climbed up the steeple...successfully! He wore a yellow jacket that said..Getting closer to the boss! Here are a few photos courtesy of Kath Newbould, thanks again Kath!..I wish that I'd seen him do it but then again, I feel giddy just thinking about it!

Going up!...
and down!!

Job done! Congratulations to my darling hubby!  Many thanks to the team of contractors.


The Servant chosen

The Servant Chosen Isaiah 42:1-4 -
During Lent we are going to be looking at four passages from Isaiah known as the Servant songs.
They are always worth looking at but they have a particular importance during Lent. It is during this
period that Jesus reflects upon, amongst other things, the nature of his forthcoming ministry. During that wilderness period, passages like these, as they have a prophetic nature, must have been in his mind.
Towards the end of that period, Satan comes to tempt him suggesting that there is a better and
quicker way to gain followers Luke 4: 6-7. As we know, Jesus resolutely rebuked him, citing other passages that helped him to keep his mind focused as to what he really had to be about Luke 4:8, Luke 4:12.

The question is, how did the Servant songs come to be and how have they been seen?

First, in and around Isaiah's time and that of the Babylonian Exile some couple of centuries later
these passages would have had some kind of fulfillment. Isaiah did not speak into a vacuum;
neither was he trying to predict the future in the commonly accepted sense of that. He saw the
nation and its spiritual state for what it was. He knew God had said that disobedience to him would
result in them being deprived of the land of promise, Joshua 23:16
Alongside that, Isaiah and his fellow prophets were people open to and listening to the Lord and as a result of that, delivered his word in encouragement and judgement.

These songs tie into that whole scenario.

Secondly, before the time of Jesus, and since from those who do not accept him as Messiah, attempts
are made to see other people or even the nation of Israel itself as being the object of these passages.
In Jesus though they have a supreme fulfillment and Matthew applies today's passage to Jesus and says
it is fulfilled in him (Matthew 12:17) However it is fair to say that through him there are aspects in which they
are also applicable to his people as his servants. We can therefore be challenged, encouraged and stimulated
regarding the nature and mind of ourselves as servants of the Lord.
Serving the Lord - vv 1a & 6a
Servants in bible times:
– equalled slave
– were essentially the 'goods' of their owner
– the owner could treat them as he saw fit, but often they were seen as an important part of the household
– had no choice about being obedient and disobedience could lead to death
But as we look at the Lord's servant we see it is theserving of a partnership:
– there is a balance between 'servant' and 'uphold'
– the Lord has delight in him
– walks hand in hand with him - 6a
– he also enables him with the Spirit - v 1
Serving People - vv 2-3
Here we have a small context of the servants operation:
– does not shout to be heard - v 2
– always leaves room for hope and so change and growth - v 3a
Serving Nations - vv 1b, 4 & 6b-7
The 'work' of this servant is also far reaching:
– nations - vv 1b & 3b
– islands (continents?) - v 4b
– whole earth and with specific mention of the Gentiles (none Jews) - vv 4a & 6b
The 'work' of the servant is specific:
– to bring justice - v 1b
– hope through his law - v 4c
– releasing people from various kinds of bondage - v 7
Jesus the Servant
Filled with the spirit - cp his conception and baptism
Always concerned to do the father's will but much reflects partnership and relationship cp John 10:30

He was gentle yet straight in his dealings with those to whom he ministered.
His work is universal
– justice flows from the cross for all
– hope is through salvation - new life, freedom and resurrection
– he saw it through despite the cost
– reaches right round the globe
'Me' the Servant
Consider from the above where and how we can fit into this.
Rev. S. A.