CLERGY TEAM

   

Rector


The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

 jmath@btinternet.com

Associate Rector


The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 852843
revstephenbroadie@
gmail.com

Assistant Priest


The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624
wsmullenger@
idnetfreemail.co.uk

 

October Leader

This summer a member of our congregation passed away who had worshipped at St Nicholas church since 1965. As I met with members of her family and her friends, it was incredible to hear about how much this person had been part of the history of this church. It made me think again about the purpose of the church, and what it is that makes people devote so much of their lives to this curious organisation, or community, known as the local church. Even as you are reading this, you may perhaps be asking the same question! Well, I felt I was given part of an answer at an event I attended earlier this year. At the end of July, a group of 10 of us from St Nicholas attended a conference called ‘New Wine’. The ‘New Wine’ summer conference is a gathering of around 25,000 Christians over the course of two weeks at the Royal Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet. Thousands of Christians of all ages gather together to worship God, to hear teaching from the Bible, and to meet up with others from all kinds of churches and backgrounds. The phrase ‘New Wine’ comes from a parable told by Jesus in the gospels and relates to the idea of renewal in the church. The conference itself is organised by the New Wine network, a network of churches across the UK and other countries, whose strapline is ‘local churches changing nations’. As I have thought about that phrase, I feel it has given me a clue as to the purpose of the church, this organisation begun by the followers of the risen, ascended Jesus Christ some 2000 years ago. As one well-known pastor, Bill Hybels, has put it, ‘the local church is the hope of the world’.

In the days after the Grenfell Tower fire, The Guardian newspaper reported how the church of St Clement’s, Notting Dale, ‘became a hub for grieving families, generous donations of clothes and food – and cameraready politicians’. Apparently the vicar, Alan Everett, had been woken up at 3am on the night of the fire, come down to the church, ‘opened the doors and turned the lights on’. The church soon became a temporary café, a food bank, a shelter, and a second-hand clothes provider for survivors of the fire, sourced by volunteers, local businesses, and charities. “We are called to share in the brokenness and the forgottenness of the people we serve,” said the vicar at the time*. When he walked this earth Jesus Christ embodied God’s love and compassion for those around him. As I read this story, I was challenged by the example of a church doing exactly the same thing. St Clement’s, Notting Dale proved in that moment to be the hope of the world around it. When Christ ascended into heaven, he left behind him a rather eclectic group of followers with varying levels of education and ability. It was not perhaps the most inspiring group of people. And yet within 300 years Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. Nearly 2000 years on, the church is now truly global, present on 1950s housing estates, and by burnt-out tower blocks, appearing in the form of cathedrals, or mega-churches, or rural chapels. There continue to exist groups of people who believe that God came among us in the person of Jesus Christ, and that Christ’s life, death and resurrection are life-changing events. These beliefs give hope to his followers in every situation, and in an age when hope is often in short supply, we believe that the local church continues to be the hope of the world.

* ‘After the Grenfell fire, the church got it right’, Giles Fraser, The Guardian, 22 June 2017

Stephen Broadie


FAITH AND WORSHIP

 

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October Service Rota
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