The United Reformed Church Chesham
June 2006 Newsletter
Global God and Local Church was the title for this year’s Ministers Spring School, which I attended for 4 days at the beginning of May. We stayed in a lovely rural setting in Suffolk. The sun shone brightly and in the afternoon free time we were able to visit the Broads and see the sea. Three excellent, stimulating speakers blessed us with talks and Bible studies. We shared together in worship and discussion, starting with morning prayers at 8.00am and ending with worship at 9.30pm. Ministers come in all shapes and sizes and amongst the sixty odd who attended several different nationalities were represented ensuring a wide variety of opinions.
Sometimes people say, “I don’t need a church. I can lead a perfectly good Christian life on my own.” Churches are made up of human beings, so they are not perfect because human beings are not perfect! In some ways that is a relief because everyone who wants to be can be accepted into the Church regardless of past failings or current inadequacies. There is no entrance examination, just an affirmation in a belief in God and a heartfelt desire to be part of God’s family. This is what we have in common and will bind us together in love.
The book of Revelation starts with greetings to the seven churches. Paul wrote many letters to the churches. As we read them in our Bible we note his words of encouragement, but also his words of direction and help for various problems that were occurring. There was never any doubt that the churches were needed, but then as now putting a mix of people together can lead to disagreements. But it is through disagreement that we can learn of other points of view, grow in understanding and be able to voice our own beliefs better. We cannot ‘grow’ if we are not prepared to meet and talk with other people.
At Spring School there were varied points of view, but also a respect for each other arising from an underlying unity of faith. I was particularly struck by the Bible Studies, which gave a refreshing new approach to the book of Revelation. We read the passages from the viewpoint of Rastafarians, Bob Marley, Freedom Movements and Liberation Theologies; all presented by Michael Jagessar, an Asian Jamaican Minister, in a lively way interspersed with music and pictures!
We need each other to become confident to face the challenges that we may meet. At present there is much hype around the book and film of The Da Vinci Code. This is a work of fiction and yet it is causing people to ask questions. Can we answer when we are confronted by these questions? Come and discuss together later this month, so we can be clear in our thinking even if not all the questions have exact answers!
As we start this month celebrating Pentecost, the Church’s birthday, with worship and a picnic, lets continue to share together and grow in the Spirit.