We will use this space to share a few short thoughts with you,
as they occur to us.
Please feel free
to Join in!
*WARNING: SPOILERS FOR 'THE DARK KNIGHT RISES*
I admit that this thought comes out of my geeky nature, but I am not ashamed. For those of you who are not aware, Bane is a character in the Batman franchise and has always been one of Batman's greatest enemies. He is the man who breaks Batman's back. However Bane is not only strong he is highly intelligent. In the film 'The Dark Knight Rises', Batman's first fight with Bane is disastrous. He is out of shape and unaware of his enemy's training and strategy. He dives into the fight with gusto but fails to deliver because he has not practiced, he is injured and has rushed into it without thought.
This can happen in our spiritual lives too if we aren't careful. When we get out of shape spiritually, stop seeking God on a regular basis, neglect our relationship with the Creator and remove Jesus from the centre of our lives it can hit us pretty hard when we come up against someone or something that either challenges or draws from our faith. We can be caught off guard, just like Batman during that first battle and if we're not careful we too can be broken.
In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, 'Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable garland, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.'
But how do we get to this point? It doesn't happen easily. Sometimes we need to be broken in order for us to realise just how important the focus of the journey really is. Perhaps what is needed to orientate ourselves towards the path that jesus is leading you down is defeat instead of victory, then we can see the true nature of the journey and the victory that is really ours in the death and resurrection of Christ.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
If you have found that treasure in the kingdom of heaven then you have in your possession a field. Great, I hear you say, what should I do with that then? Well, what normally happens with fields? People grow things in them, they graze cattle or they invite people to live on their land. Fields are there to be shared, when you grow a field full of veg and people buy it they enjoy it. Perhaps they recommend it to someone else, but most importantly they find that treasure that you found.
Are you keeping your field for yourself or are you using it for its true meaning, inviting others to enjoy the fruits grown in it?
Take your gift and share it with the world. It might take work, but there are others with neighbouring fields who are more than happy to help. Maybe someone else will discover the same gift through your field.
I often hear people describe themselves or other people as a "glass half empty" or "glass half full" kind of person. I wonder what this really means - or are we asking the wrong question?
Surely the question is - do we have water and if so - Drink deep and live well!
The Message (MSG)
37-39 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
One night I had a dream...
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
One set of footprints was stained with blood.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Why didn’t you carry me Lord?” he looked at me and said “the blood is from the wounds in my feet, so are you walking with me or what?”
As part of our AGM we will be appointing a leadership team - most anglican churches call this a PCC - although in our case it will be a MOC.
For those who are interested here is a little more information about what this will entail.
WHAT IS THE PCC?
The Parochial Church Council ( this for us will be a M.O.C - mission order council) is the governing body of a parish church. It is also a charity. (we are already a registered charity)
WHAT DOES THE PCC DO?
The PCC is a team made up of members of clergy and lay members of the church. Together they are responsible for the overall wellbeing, practical as well as spiritual, of their church, the church members, and the church buildings. The PCC also has a duty to
promote the mission of the church within the wider community. Some of the responsibilities are devolved to the Minister and Churchwardens but to quote from the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure 1956 section 2 ‘It shall be the duty of the minister and the PCC to consult together on matters of general concern Being a PCC member and importance to the parish’. Members of the PCC have the right to be consulted, to know what is proposed, and to have the opportunity to express an opinion on it. The Minister is Chairman of the PCC though he may on occasion ask another member to chair a particular meeting. A treasurer, a secretary and vice-chairman will usually be elected to office at its first meeting after the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM). The PCC will also appoint a standing committee, typically the Minister as chair, the churchwardens, the treasurer and two elected members.
PRAYER AND WORSHIP
Prayer and Worship are at the heart of the work of the PCC. The PCC should ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for public worship and provide an opportunity for people of all ages to meet for prayer and worship.
In practice this might mean agreeing on the format and timings of services that will meet the needs of the church members, providing facilities for younger members and families, setting up Bible study or Prayer groups etc....
MISSION AND OUTREACH
The PCC has an important part to play in promoting the mission of their church, amongst the congregation and in the wider community, and members of the PCC should demonstrate their commitment to the Christian ethos, through leadership, by example and by witness, in the parish.
The PCC is encouraged to develop, and maintain, a Mission Action Plan (MAP), to review the life of the church and identify mission opportunities. Many parishes use the A-B-C of Christian mission
Attending to God – worship and prayer
Building a Christian community – The Church growing in Holiness and Love
Commending God’s love for the world – Mission and Outreach in the community
Every member should be involved at each stage of the MAP process – the development of the plan, its Implementation, and a regular review process.
The PCC and its members have a duty to support their clergy, prayerfully and personally. They have a duty to support the members of the congregation and to extend a welcome to all who visit the church, to members of the church community and to those visiting the church at other times. The church has a duty of pastoral care to all who live in our communities, whether members of the church or not, and PCC members are expected to take the lead in demonstrating that care.
The PCC will appoint a treasurer, and sometimes an assistant treasurer, to manage the day to day finances of the parish. The treasurer does not need to be a qualified accountant (though a very large parish might consider it appropriate to appoint a qualified accountant). He/She must understand how to maintain books, must have a good knowledge of the parish and the work of the church, and importantly must have the full confidence of the PCC membership. The treasurer will keep members informed on the financial situation and present a full report to each PCC meeting. PCC members are Trustees of a charity and are responsible for managing the Church’s finances. They must ensure that all funds are properly accounted for, the books properly maintained, and the PCC annual accounts inspected or audited, and formally approved by the PCC, prior to the APCM.
In law, the PCC is a body corporate. This means that it is a separate body from the people who serve on it so PCC members are not liable for any debts incurred by the PCC. However, the trustees do have certain responsibilities under the Charities Act and members should acquaint themselves with them.
The PCC is responsible for the care and maintenance of the fabric of the church, and any other buildings owned by the church. In practice the PCC may appoint a Fabric subcommittee to assist them but the PCC members should be aware of any issues relating to the buildings and they have the responsibility of deciding on them and voting on items of expenditure.
THE PCC MEETING
The PCC is required by law to meet at least four times a year (one meeting may follow on from the APCM) though some PCCs may decide to meet more frequently. There is a strong argument for holding more frequent, but shorter, meetings and in any event good practice suggests a maximum two hours for each meeting as a general rule. The PCC should take time at these meetings to consider and discuss, and if appropriate vote upon, matters concerning the Church of England arising at a higher synod or referred down to the PCC by the Bishop or by the deanery, diocesan or General Synod. The PCC may also on occasion decide to send information, an opinion or a motion up to the deanery synod.
The PCC meeting should be a forum for open discussion with every member feeling able to ask a question or voice an opinion.
WHO CAN BE A MEMBER OF THE PCC?
If you are 16 years old or over, have been on the electoral roll of your parish for at least 6 months and are an actual communicant, YOU can stand for election to your PCC.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE PCC
Members of the PCC are drawn from two sources, those elected at the Annual Parish Church Meeting , and those who are ex officio members.
The following are ex officio members
· All Priests and Deacons licensed to the parish
· Licensed Lay Workers licensed to the parish
· The churchwardens
· Any person on the electoral roll who is a member of deanery, diocesan or general synod
Additional members may be co-opted onto the council by the PCC during the course of the year. The number of elected members on a PCC is governed by the Church Representation Rules and is based on the number of people on the electoral roll. but the APCM can determine how many elected members a PCC shall have.
Someone may ask - What skills do I need to be a member of the PCC? Skills may be too prescriptive, it is better perhaps to say that someone interested in becoming a member of the PCC will be:
· A committed member of the congregation
· Interested in and involved with the life of the church and the local community
· Willing to learn and to share ideas, experience and gifts
· Able to listen to another’s point of view
· Attend meetings (and on time)
· Read the papers before the meeting, be prepared
· Ask if in doubt (especially important for new members)
· Try not to fall out with your fellow members
· Listen to all the arguments being put forward before making up your mind
· Enjoy being a member of the PCC!
· Volunteer for a task unless you are sure that you have the time to complete it
The PCC needs thinkers and doers, questioners and listeners but YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE
· A SAINT
· A THEOLOGIAN
· AN EXPERT
THOUGH NOBODY WILL MIND IF YOU ARE!
My head can be a noisy place, even when it is actually quiet in the world. The stresses of life can sometimes build up and as a result if something doesn't happen when I would like it to it causes even more noise and even more annoyance!
This means that as I try to make space to sit and learn from Jesus by reading the bible and praying if something doesn't change quickly I wonder what on earth the point was. My frustration with whatever situation I'm in at the time becomes the focus of whatever I'm reading about and I wonder what on earth God is doing by not responding or doing anything.
About this, Bonhoeffer writes:
"It in one of the particular difficulties of meditation that our thoughts are likely to wander and go their own way, toward other persons or to some events in our life. Much as this may distress and shame us again and again, we must not lose heart and become anxious, or even conclude that meditation is really not something for us. When this happens it is often a help not to snatch back our thoughts, but quite calmly to incorporate into our prayer the people and the events to which our thoughts keep straying and thus in all patience return to the starting point of the meditation."
Being calm is an ideal position we all want to reach (at least I do!), so I think when a person or a situation is on my mind, rather than getting stressed out about it I will try to reflect a little more calmly and prayerfully. I'm sure it isn't easy, but let's give it a try!
Archbishop Rowen was thanked by everyone for his contribution to the fresh expression movement recently. We add our heartfelt thanks! We wouldn't be here without Him!
Some of us got a chance to say thanks
And this is what he shares with us
We wish him every happiness in his new adventures.