Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bias to the poor!

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that sheep and shepherds have a lot to answer for when it comes to the heart of the Christian faith.

And it’s not just because sheep are so cuddly and shepherds so comforting!

Maybe it was because David who was to become the great King of Israel started out as a shepherd, whatever the reason, ,through the Old Testament the kings came to be thought of as the shepherds and the people the sheep.

In some ways it was a long experiment … and in the end it was an experiment that failed.

All too often power went to their heads and the kings failed the people.  From the very outset one of the great early prophetic figures sensed it.  The people wanted a king just to be like all the other nations.

But (1 Samuel 8:6) this did not please Samuel.  To bring in what might be described as an anachronistic reference to another cuddly creature:  Samuel was not a happy bunny.

So he prayed to the Lord and the Lord said to Samuel:

‘Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.

Wow, quite some indictment.

And the tragedy was that most of the kings let power go to their heads – and if power corrupts then the absolute power they sought corrupted absolutely.

And first the Northern Kingdom imploded and succumbed and the ssame happened to the Southern Kingdom.

The Kingdom collapsed, the people were exiled.  And by the rivers of Babylon they sat down and wept.

Maybe recalling what the voice of the Lord had said to Samuel so long ago, Ezekiel it was who put his finger on what had gone wrong.

It was down to the Shepherds.  Not those comforting ones who looked after the cuddly four legged frolicking beasts.  The kings.

Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals.

Another guy who spoke forthrightly to those people as they sat down and wept even had the name of one of those ancient prophets, Isaiah.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have all turned to our own way

But all was not lost.

For the voice of the Lord had something to say to the people and Ezekiel was sure of it … it was the most wonderful of visions.

thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

The years passed.  The people returned.  But the Kingdom didn’t reappear.

Not for quite some time.

The Babylonians fell to the Persians they fell to the Greeks, the Greeks to the Egyptians and the Syrians – and one guy got the reputation of being something of a hammer – he struck a hammer blow for freedom and Judas Maccabaeus said he was King.  But all the same problems reared their ugly heads as power passed to his descendants.

And then came the Romans.  Herod the great might have called himself King but he was in hock to the Romans and injustice remained.

Then it was that something began to stir.- Wise Men from the East saw a king was to come – and irony of irony it wsa the shepherds who the babe born in a stable first.

The prophetic voice of John was heard in the wilderness and then he came into the waters and out of the waters and into the towns and villages of the north and what was his message?

It was the Good News – the kingdom was upon them.   A sea change was needed in the hearts of everyone for the Shepherd was here.

It was the Good News – the kingdom was upon them.  A sea change wass needed in the hearts of everyone.

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

It is no coincidence that in three key chapters in Matthew, in Luke and in John Jesus tells stories about The Shepherd.

They are not just cuddly, lovely children’s stories, though they work brilliantly in that way as no doubt we share with everyone of our children in one way or another.

When Jesus talks about Shepherds and Sheep he is talking about what is at the heart of the Christian faith – and it’s all about the Kingdom of God,  the rule of God and the difference that rule makes in the most down to earth ways.

John 10 leaves you in no doubt at all as Jesus talks about the contrast between the thieves who break in to steal and the Good Shepherd who goes to the extreme and lays down his life for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me.

I have this hunch that just as talk of the Kingdom was at the heart of Jesus’ message, so too he loved the stories he told of sheep and shepherds.

Want to know what Church means look up Matthew 18.  And the measure Jesus chooses for what it means to be church – is the littlest of children.  Welcome a little  child and you will welcome Jesus.

Child-Friendly Church is not an add-on it is what Church is about.

And to press the point home he tells the story of the Shepherd seeking out the lost sheep so that his hearers can be in no doubt “it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”

It’s basically the same story.  And it’s easy to imagine it is.  But in Luke’s Gospel when you get to chapter 15 and find that story again it works in a very different way.

Now it gets to the heart of the Gospel – Luke 15 has been called the Gospel within the Gospel.

It’s not about church, children and welcoming Jesus in the face of the littlest child.

It’s about who you ear with.  Who you open your table to.

Jesus was for ever getting in trouble for the company he kept at table.  Great to have a meal with the Pharisees – but to give his attention to the man who was sick with palsy???!!!  Hare-hitting stories about wedding banquet and who sits at the top table – and the welcome that’s there for all.

It’s all about welcoming the poor, those who can’t get around, who can’t see, who can’t walk, who have nothing.

And the well-to-do religious people cannot stomach it.

People caught in the Roman occupation, people who were outsiders they were all getting Jesus’ attention – mixing with the lowest of the low.

The thing is Jesus is living out what he had said he would do right at the outset in the synagogue at Nazareth.  His concern is for the poor, the outsider, the disadvantaged, the prisoner, the ones who cannot see.

And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them!”

So … it was in response to this accusation.  It was in response to this.  That Jesus spoke.

And the story that came to mind was this wonderful story of the Good Shepherd.

Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

 So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

The climax of the story, the punch line is about the feasting – the rejoicing – the joy in heaven.

This is the task.

It puts right to centre stage making a difference in people’s lives.

Mission and Outreach – not an add on but at the heart of what we are about.

Then there’s the woman who seeks until she finds that most precious of coins.

And the Father who waits and waits until the moment his son returns.

You can boil it down to what counts most …


Lost and Found!
Feast and Festivity!
Choice and Change!
Righteousness and Justice!
The Heart of the Gospel!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What it means to be a child-friendly church

On the second Sunday of the month our youngsters meet together for Breakfast and for Sunday Special.  This morning they were looking at the 'C' of commitment following on from the Summer Holiday Club that had sailed the 'C's on a cruise ship!    A number of the helpers described what they were 'committed to' and what they were 'committed to' at Highbury.

In the first part of the service they shared a wonderful collage they had done of the verse from 1 John 4 that challenges us to 'Love God and love each other'.

We then launched our Operation Christmas Child appeal for shoe boxes with a short video clip 

We then took up the theme of this year's Operation Christmas child 'From death and despair to Good News and Great Joy' and shared a wonderful passage from Isaiah 60.

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you. 
Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 

The sun shall no longer be
   your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
   give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
   and your God will be your glory. 
Your sun shall no more go down,
   or your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
   and your days of mourning shall be ended. 

Grow up or enter the Kingdom
So, Jesus, who is the greatest
in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Unless you change and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven
So ... grow down!
And if you want to welcome Jesus ...
Welcome a child!

How do you get your kids through church without them ending up hating God?  That’s a massive question and I guess it’s one that every generation has grappled with.   At first sight it’s a question for parents and for people leading children’s work and youth work in church.

But that would be to miss the point.

Actually it’s a responsibility all of us share.   And it’s nothing new.

On Wednesday, 6th November RobParsons and Care for the Family are coming to the Town hall for a regionalevent that will ask exactly that question.   It is something for all of us to take to heart – and for all of us to reflect on.   By all accounts it promises to  be a good evening – have a word with Carolyn or with Tom after the service to find out more.

When we got our Child Friendly church award it wasn’t just because of eth work we do with children, but it was because of the way we work as a whole church family at being friendly towards children.

You can see that commitment to children and working with children at every stage in the church’s history.   It is right there in the gospels.  Indeed it is there in the one chapter which records Jesus speaking about the church and actually using the word church.

Matthew 18 is a key chapter in tracing Jesus’ understanding of what it means to be church.

And it’s mostly about children.    And what Jesus says gives pause for thought.

Among the buzz words in education are words that are all about getting to the top, being the best, reaching goals.


 Everything is tested down to the last detail, data driven analysis of performance in the classroom is geared to getting the best out of every child.  But I sometimes wonder.

Everything about growing up is just that.

It’s about growing up.  Reaching adult.

And then it’s all about the drive to get the top.

In many ways it all counts.  It is all important.  It’s dangerous to do it down.

But on the other hand, reports this week, suggest something in our education system isn’t working.

Jesus seems almost maverick in the response he gives to his disciples when they ask the question that our education system asks of every child and of every school – who is the greatest?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

There’s something very counter-intuitive there.

More words come to mind …

Unless you change and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven
So ... grow down!

Curious – maybe unacceptable.  Maybe not helpful.  Or maybe liberating!

Maybe we should value children not just for their potential but for who they are.

And maybe we should do the same for adults too.

Welcome a little child and you will welcome Jesus.

Jesus then goes on to speak of the way we must care for our children.

6 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

Tomorrow we will be remembering Daphne.   She came to Cheltenham when her husband Reg and her brother David moved here with the National Coal Board Research people.   Daphne’s husband specialised in research into the gas chromatography – analysis of breaking down gases into their constituent parts.  Nowadays it is a mainstream scientific activity – then it was groundbreaking stuff in the development of smokeless fuels.

When we were marking Rosalind Franklin’s contribution to the discovery of  DNA Margaret instantly recalled her as one of the team contributing so much to research into carbons and into coal.

We may have virtually our coal mining industry but we continue to depend on coal.  Now coal is imported and we rely on the dangers of mining from far off Rissia, far off China.  And occasionally we hear of mining disasters.  But they don’t grip.

Maybe they should.

Mary Michael has brought the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir to  Highbury on a number of occasions. IN recognition of the support she and Margaret her sister have given to the choir they have been made Vice-Presidents of the Choir – a great honour.  And today the choir are marking the anniversary of this country’s biggeset mining disaster.

One hundred years ago an explosion in the Universal Colliery, Senghenydd near the home of the Aber Valley choir took the lives of 439 lives – some boys as young as 15 and 16.  The mine owners were found guilty and asked to pay fines and compensation which came to the derisory sum of £24.  The widows received the last pay package their husband had earned calculated to the precise moment of the explosion and not a penny more.

In 1901 81 our of 82 men working down the mine were killed in an explosion.

Mary asked us to play the recording of the song with its collage of photos that the choir have specially commissioned for the opening of a national memorial to those who  have lost their lives in mining.  Here.  I want to play it because it reminds us of the children whose lives are lost today in mining and in many industries we depend on.  Let’s remember that 40% of our energy comes from coal – and the largest producer by far of the coal we depend on is Russia where there have been 290 deaths in accidents in the last ten years.   Coal continues to take its toll … but at a distance.   We think of children impacted by those disasters – and with our flowers and produce Paula prompts us to think of the orphans of Syria.

He haunting words of the song ask ‘where have they gone?  Where have all the young men gone.

The song invites us to walk through the valley of the shadow, the valley of tears.

Deep in our hearts we will remember them

Aber Valley Choir – Senghenydd – the Song

Forever young they sleep in the midst of time
Deep in our hearts we will remember them
Deep in our hearts we will remember them.

In Matthew 18 Jesus speaks of what church is all about.

And for Jesus it is all about children.

Matthew 18:10-14

10 ‘Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. 12What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

How easy it is to trivialise the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

Here it has a powerful message.

It is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost!

Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones …

And then comes a wonderful thought, filled with mystery and yet filled with promise

For I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.

Song: The Lord’s my shepherd I’ll not want

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcoming our Pastoral Ministry Leaders

Commissioning Service for Pastoral Care Ministry Leaders
6th October 2013

At Thursday’s Church Meeting we agreed our new structure for Highbury.

At its heart is a vision …

That Highbury should be a place to
Share Christian friendship,
Explore Christian faith and
Enter into Christian Mission
With Christ at the centre
And open to all.

As people feel at home in our church family and share a faith in God and in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour we very much hope they will become fully part of our church as church members and be involved in one or more areas of church life in what they do and in prayer … everyone has a part to play including those not able to get out and be active through prayer.

In all we do as Church members our aim is to Love the Lord our God with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength and to love our neighbour as ourselves.  In all we seek to do we rejoice in the forgiving love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, knowing that when we fail we do not give up but go on in the strength of God.

Church Members, meeting together at our regular Church meeting shape Church life and set the future direction of Church life here at Highbury.

In our new way of doing things we are going to put in place a team of Ministry Leaders who will be Church Members who are called and gifted to serve the whole Church and to lead a particular area of Church Life.

It is great that we have people who are willing to serve the church in all six areas of church life we have identified.  Over the next three weeks the Deacons will be interviewing people for the post of Worship Ministry Leader, Youth Ministry Leader, Discipleship Ministry Leader and Mission and Outreach Mission Leader.  Carolyn, our children’s worker will become our Children’s Ministry Leader.

Knowing that David and Betty, Phil and Joyce were going to finish co-ordinating our visiting scheme we followed through our new process and at our July Church Meeting appointed Lorraine Gasside and Diana Adams to do a job share and be our Pastoral Ministry leaders.

Today we welcome them and commission them to that work.

It is good for us to remember that all who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ are called to serve one another in his name.

Jesus calls us all to share in a life of discipleship: it is for us all to respond to that call in faithful obedience.

Jesus said, “If one of you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest.

Lord Jesus, we hear your call: help us to follow

Jesus said, “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example.

Lord Jesus, we hear your call: help us to follow

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Lord Jesus, we hear your call: help us to follow

Jesus said: “Go to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples and I will be with you always, to the end of the world.”

Lord Jesus, we hear your call: help us to follow.

You have redeemed us and called us to your service:
Give us grace to hear your word and to obey your commandment
For your mercy’s sake.

As we belong to the fellowship of the Church, we all have a part to play in the life of the Church.

Together with all who proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord we are a royal priesthood, God’s own people.  We are all called by God to proclaim the mighty acts of him who called us out of darkness into h is marvellous light and to live out in our lives the love of him who first loved us.

We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

We rejoice today that Lorraine and Diana are to be commissioned as Pastoral Ministry Leaders

We have called you as a Church to build up Christian friendship through pastoral care that is open to all and seeks to meet the needs of each.

We have asked you
to build on our current pastoral care network of visitors
to develop pastoral care that responds to specific needs
to identify and respond to those in need of pastoral support.
to help people in Church to provide pastoral support, with care and sensitivity, to individuals or groups through training
to provide prayer support through prayer network, in Sunday services , prayer meeting and in other ways
to develop links with and involvement in the hospital chaplaincy team

Diana, I ask you to reaffirm your profession of faith:

Do you believe in God and in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?

I do

Do you promise, as you are able, to fulfil the responsibilities of Pastoral Care Ministry Leader jointly with Lorraine here at Highbury

With God’s help, I do so promise.

In the name of Jesus Christ and on the authority of the Church Meeting I extend to you the right hand of fellowship recognising that God has called you to serve the fellowship of the Church here at Highbury as Pastoral Ministry Leader.

Lorraine, I ask you to reaffirm your profession of faith:

Do you believe in God and in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?

I do

Do you promise, as you are able, to fulfil the responsibilities of Pastoral Care Ministry Leader jointly with Diana here at Highbury

With God’s help, I do so promise.

In the name of Jesus Christ and on the authority of the Church Meeting I extend to you the right hand of fellowship recognising that God has called you to serve the fellowship of the Church here at Highbury as Pastoral Ministry Leader.

May God richly bless you in the ministry which you now share with us all.

In all you do take to heart the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:1-7 and  11-13

I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you.   Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3 Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
7 Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given.

It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.

The story of Jairus’s Daughter and the Woman on the Way
Jesus took three with him and the girl’s parents

A Hy-Spirit Song

Offering and Dedication

Fun activities for all over 3

Not alone in all we do

I once read an article by a Social Worker who worked over in Oxford.   He was passionate about Social Work, passionate about helping people, passionate about making a difference.

He spoke movingly of his job – he felt what he was doing was representing wider society and acting as it were for the wider community in helping, in caring, in making a difference.

What he said rang true for me and particularly for the part of my work that has to do with pastoral care.

I am passionate about the pastoral ministry I share.  I am passionate about helping people.  I am passionate about making a difference.

In many ways I can see the point of what he went on to say about ‘representing society’.

It’s much the same in church.

In pastoral care, when I visit I feel that I am representing the wider Church family here at Highbury and acting as it were for the wider community of our church family in helping, in caring, in making a difference.

I feel passionate about what I do.

Everybody who has shared in pastoral care in the life of the church here at Highbury, I sense, has shared something of that passion.

As I arrived Olga and Joan co-ordinated our visiting scheme, and then Phil and Joyce, David and Betty, took on that work.  Through the years as we have met as Church visitors there’s a very real sense that we are all sharing in that work.

It was wonderful when Lorraine and Diana came forward to offer to do a job share as our Pastoral Care Ministry Leaders – they are as passionate as anyone about pastoral care, passionate about helping people, passionate about making a difference.

And very much part of our church family.

Very easy to go with that article on Social work and see what our Pastoral Care Ministry Leaders are doing as representing the wider Church family here at Highbury and acting as it were for the wider community of our church family in helping, in caring, in making a difference.

That sense of being part of a wider community gives the kind of framework that anyone involved in any kind of caring needs.  The sense of being part of a wider organisation, a wider team.  Good to know that the work of caring is shared by that wider community and what you are doing is helping to make that wider community’s care more effective.

All that applies in any kind of caring will apply in seeking to carry out pastoral care in a church context too – the importance of knowing our limits, when we can refer to elsewhere for help, knowing that there are others who are part of that team in caring in a church family too.


And for me it is a very real BUT!!

And I share it with you at the point at which you are taking on this particular role in the life of the Church family here.

For me there is an extra dimension in the pastoral care I feel very much called to, that kind of pastoral ministry that you are taking on in the life of the church here at Highbury.

It is something very specific to the faith we share.  It is something that everyone of us who is involved in caring in whatever context that may be would do well to remember and bring to mind.

It is what I would find would sustain me if I were in the shoes of that Social Worker and it makes for me the difference between finding this kind of work ‘do-able’ and finding this kind of work simply overwhelming.

In pastoral care I am passionate about helping, I am passionate about caring, I am passionate about making a difference,  I do feel I am part of a wider church family and so representing that wider caring church family … but there is something more as well.

I sense that the love and the care I am seeking to share is the love that God is sharing.  There is a presence with me, a strength I can draw on to sustain what I am doing.

I feel I am in the position of those three friends of Jesus as they arrived in Jairus’s house.

When Jesus came to the house Peter, James and John went in with him.

Pastoral care is about going into see someone knowing that Jesus is present there as well.

All through the conversation, all through all that I share, I want to hold on to that picture.  That Jesus is there – it is his love reaching out to this person and his love reaching out to me – it is his love reaching out to us.  Through the words and the care I show it is the love Jesus has that is the care that matters, the help that counts, and it’s that love of Jesus that can make all the difference.

Sometimes, one of the great privileges of pastoral care that I have had over the years is that people have asked me in to share with them as someone is very ill indeed, maybe in hospital.  I would love to stay.  But I cannot.  As I come away, in my mind’s eye, I sense that I may come away but Jesus remains.  He is still there.  In my mind’s eye I can see myself leaving at the door maybe of the ward – and I say one more fare well, good bye – God be with you.  And there is a sense in my mind that God in Jesus remains even as I leave.

I find bringing that mental picture to mind a help.

But it is not just a picture.

There is a very real sense that this is something real.

And it is where we cannot sustain such a ministry as this without a strong sense of the reality of the Holy Spirit, what gives our faith its real three dimensional feel to oit.

John 14:15-19 and 25-27

“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is  in you.
18 “When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live.

 “I have told you this while I am still with you. 26 The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.
27 “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever … When I go you will not be left all alone

This is the wonderful promise I hold on to in the pastoral ministry I share.

This is the wonderful promise to hold on to as you take up this role of Pastoral Minsitry Leaders here at Highbury.

This is the wonderful promise for each of us to hold on to whenever we are involved in caring for others.

360       Father, hear the prayer we offer

Two sides of the same coin

One of the ideas we have in setting up the new framework for the life of our church is to really build up that sense we have of sharing in a team ministry, and sharing together in the work we do in the life of the church.

That’s very much at the heart of our pastoral care.

Diana is going to share an invitation to an evening in a couple of weeks time when we shall be exploring how we may together develop the pastoral care we share in church.


How can we release that sense of the presence of God with us – we do that through prayer.  Lorraine has been co-ordinating our prayer chain and will say a few words about that as well.


A team of pastoral carers and prayer – are two sides of the same coin

Song     In Christ alone - Hy-Spirit

            Prayers of Concern

373       What a friend we have in Jesus

            Words of Blessing

So much to pass on at Highbury

If you give a little love you can get a little love of your own

A blessing shared at Highbury

Now and the Future at Highbury

Dreaming Dreams Sharing Visions at Highbury

Dreaming Dreams Sharing Visions

Darkness into Light