Our Faithful Queen

As we mourn the death of Her Majesty the Queen, we are bringing back some of the articles from our Jubilee edition earlier this year. We hope you enjoy them. Here, we explore her 70 years of faith and service.

 

Click here to read the article…

A Winsome Life

Excellent obituary by Mark Greene:
 
“Brilliantly, in an age that is on the one hand increasingly secular, and on the other, fraught by religious conflicts, the Queen’s approach was winsomely inclusive. She pointed to Jesus and how he expanded her capacity to love people with different beliefs. Her approach was testimonial, not argumentative. She told the world the inspiration that Jesus had been in her own life and left the world to decide if they were interested in being inspired themselves:
 
‘I hope that, like me, you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth who, often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life. Countless millions of people around the world continue to celebrate his birthday at Christmas, inspired by his teaching. He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served. We can surely be grateful that, two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, so many of us are able to draw inspiration from his life and message, and to find in him a source of strength and courage.’ “
 

“Have you seen the Queen?”

As we mourn the death of Her Majesty the Queen, we are bringing back some of the articles from our Jubilee edition earlier this year. We hope you enjoy them. Here, members of St Mary’s Church share their own memories of the Queen.

Click here to read the article…

From New Age to Jesus

Why a successful author is asking people not to read her old books anymore.

Dorreen Virtue found fame and fortune as the author of self-help and New Age books. Her publisher treated her as a rock star. She lived on a 50-acre ranch in Hawaii. Yet, despite all of this …

Read Doreen’s story here…

Would you like to respond to this article? Email Christoph…

Understanding the religious aspects of Russia’s war against Ukraine

Some of us will have been unsettled by the unquestioning support of the Russian Orthodox Church for Putin’s war.

James Emery White writes an excellent blog about “Church and Culture” and offers a condensed summary of the history and the present reality:

Read part 1 here…

Read part 2 here…

 

How can we pray?

Praying for Ukraine…

 

How can we help?

 

We pray for SHALOM

Our mission partner BRF has an excellent article on how we respond to the war in Ukraine as followers of Jesus.

You can read it here…

Find more resources for prayer here…

Ukraine and Russia: A Call to Prayer

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have joined other church leaders in condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine as “an act of great evil”.

In a joint statement, Most Rev Justin Welby and Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said: “The horrific and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is an act of great evil. Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces. We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long term agreements for stability and lasting peace. We invite Christians to make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace. We also give our support to the call from Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday, March 2.

In an unscheduled Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday morning, Archbishop Welby said: “To wake up to news of war is terrible. To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.”

Archbishop Welby said that “peace and justice” can “often seem to contrast, and yet they are opposite sides of the same coin. We seek peace and justice, and that must end with those involved in conflict not having solutions imposed on them, but finding for themselves the way forward towards reconciliation and peace.

“Right at the end of this life, Jesus Christ, on the eve of his crucifixion, spoke to his disciples, and he said something very memorable: ‘In the world you will have trouble, but do not be afraid: I have overcome the world.’ For me and for many of faith the great certainty in the world, the only certainty, is that we know that God does not change.”

Quoting William Shakespeare, Archbishop Welby continued: “Let us find our resolution, our peace, our certainty, not by ‘screwing up our courage’ but in the knowledge of the eternal arms that hold us. May God be with those who suffer today.”

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, wrote on Twitter: “We wake this morning to the sickening sights and sounds of war. Praying for all in Ukraine, for all who are fearful of what lies ahead and for the minimum possible bloodshed.

“At a time of international crisis, please join me in praying fervently for peace in Ukraine and especially for the wellbeing of our little Anglican community of Christ Church, Kyiv (which meets in the German Evangelical Church of St. Catherine’s).”

 

In a blog post J John suggests four duties for Christians:

Be aware

The naive philosophy of the world is that there is nothing seriously wrong with human beings that science and prosperity will not cure. The invasion of Ukraine shows once more that human beings are inclined to evil and that only the grace of God in Christ can truly bring peace.

Pray*

We believe that God reigns over this world. Let’s pray for those who are frightened and for evil not to prevail.Let’s pray for wisdom among leaders responding to Russia’s invasion.

Care

Pray for those who are caught up in this conflict. Pray for Ukrainian and Russian citizens in our communities here. Look for opportunities for practical care and giving in the coming days.

Share

This darkness is another opportunity to share the light of Christ and the only lasting hope of peace in this world.

Read the whole blog entry here…

 

 

* A Prayer for the Ukraine Crisis

Father, today we pray for the escalating situation on the borders of Ukraine and Russia.

We confess that in times of such rapid change and on issues of such complexity, it can be difficult to know how to pray.

So we start with our praise and thanks to you, who remains steadfast and faithful, all-seeing and all-knowing.

We re-orientate ourselves in you, your timescales, your ways and your purposes.

We remind ourselves of your love for this earth you formed and those you created in your image.

We struggle to see clearly through confusion and misinformation, yet recognise an age-old lust for power, control and violence.

We pray for those already fleeing homes and livelihoods, for those who are fearful and vulnerable.

We pray for peacekeepers on the ground and those seeking to defend life and liberty.

We remember how Jesus resisted being co-opted into the religious and political uprisings of competing empires. We remember how Jesus spoke to heal the sick, calm the storm and raise the dead. We too pray for powerful words and miraculous actions – for de-escalation, peace and justice, repentance and restoration.

On earth as it is in heaven, and for our faithful witness until then,

Amen.

Prayer by David Smyth, Head of Northern Ireland Evangelical Alliance.

 

Bishop of London thanks parishes and public as Covid-19 measures lift

Read the complete article here…

Sarah Mullally, The Bishop of London, has thanked front line workers, parishes, and all who have made sacrifices to help protect one another from Covid-19, as England prepares to move away from ‘plan B’ restrictions on Thursday.

Bishop Sarah, who chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, was speaking as new advice was published by the Church of England ahead of Thursday’s change of national rules.

She said: “When the first measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 were introduced in March 2020, few would have imagined that we would still be making adaptations to the way we live our lives – including our worship – almost two years on.

“It has been a very challenging time.

“People have made huge sacrifices to protect one another – not only those they know and love but strangers they might never meet. We’ve learnt again as society something of what it means to love our neighbour, as Jesus taught.

“And it has certainly not been without cost.

“The loneliness and isolation many have experienced; the impact on people’s mental health; the lost jobs and failed businesses and strained relationships must not be overlooked.

“Yet, terrible as the toll from this virus has been, and continues to be, the actions people have taken have saved lives and prevented countless infections, with all the potential long-term consequences that could go with them.

“We may never know what good has been done.

“So as we can begin to look forward with cautious hope, we once again thank those who have done so much to protect us all – particularly our NHS, carers and other front line workers.

“I want to thank everyone who has made sacrifices for others. I think particularly of younger people who, though often least at risk, have sometimes given up the most.

“And I want especially to thank our clergy, parish volunteers and congregations for all you are doing – not simply to keep worship going, but to innovate with bold and remarkable new ways of doing so; reaching new people and, of course, serving your communities.

“As ‘plan B’ restrictions come to an end the future remains uncertain and we must continue to be cautious. In our churches government rules have been eased but I would still encourage congregations to consider what mitigation can best protect others.

“As we look now towards spring and the vivid demonstration of new life it offers us, my prayer is that we won’t forget what we’ve learnt; that we take this opportunity to thank others and that we look with hope to the future.”

BRF at 100: The Bible is changing lives!

(Above: Kate Bottley speak to Richard Fisher, BRF’s chief executive)
Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) is one of our five mission partners and they started 100 years ago!
Last Sunday’s “Songs of Praise” was all about BRF and how they encourage young and old to live a life of faith. Catch up in BBC iPlayer by clicking here…

Avoiding Doom Scrolling

Beautiful weather in Denham on this “Blue Monday”. One thing to stay clear of when you are feeling low: “Doom scrolling”: