Praying Together: How should we respond to Israel and Gaza?

As we follow the harrowing news about conflict in Israel and Gaza, our friends from LICC are giving us helpful pointers in how we should respond:


Win Pete Greig’s book “How to hear God”

Over the last weeks we have been exploring how we can hear God and make wise decisions. One of the resources we have been drawing on is Pete Greig’s new book “How to hear God: A simple guide for normal people”.

You can win a copy by answering four questions (one for each talk). All correct answers will be entered into a prize draw.

The deadline to submit your answer is this coming Friday (1 September) and the winner will be announced this coming Sunday in our services. 


All the talks in the series are available in this playlist on our YouTube channel…

How to disagree well

On Sunday, 19 February, we will be thinking about Jesus’ difficult teaching on loving our enemies (Matthew 5.43-48).

Disagreeing well is getting harder in the age of social media. Here are some helpful principles:

  • Talk face to face as full human beings whenever possible. Try to build a relationship
  • Acknowledge differences. Stand up for what you believe but treat the other person’s view with respect.
  • You may win an argument but lose a friend! Be willing to say, “I don’t know the answer.” Our confidence is in the love of Jesus, not our perfect arguments.
  • Learn to listen well. Make sure you understand the other person’s viewpoint.
  • Jesus didn’t say “Go and sock it to them!” but “Love your enemies”. Remember that God loves this person and that Jesus died for them.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

This post is based on a conversation between Justin Brierley and Cris Rogers. You can watch it here:


Why do bad things happen to good people?

(This article was first printed in Denham Parish News at Christmas 2018.)

By James Leach

‘Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.’ (Ecclesiastes 8:14, The Message)

As this quote from the book of Ecclesiastes shows, the writers of the Bible were well aware of the theological questions raised by suffering. Bad things happen to good people and it seems to make no sense. We see it in the world around us all of the time, in the news headlines and closer to home. So, can we make sense of these things from a Christian perspective?

Ultimately, all suffering results from the fact that we live in a world that has been broken by humankind’s rebellion against God, what the Bible calls “sin”. In Genesis chapter 3 and Romans chapter 8 we see that this has affected the whole of creation in a way that seems to include natural disasters and disease. We also read, in Ephesians 6 and elsewhere, of spiritual forces that are opposed to God and which cause suffering in the world.

While all suffering has its roots in the effects of sin, the Bible explains particular instances of suffering in different ways. Occasionally, it comes to individuals as a punishment for particular sins (think of David’s adultery in 2 Samuel 11 or the lying of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5), but this is by no means always, or even usually, the case. In the Old Testament book of Job, Job is a good man who suffers terribly, losing wealth, status, family members and his health. Is this God’s punishment for some sin he has committed? His friends say yes, because that’s how they understand the world to work. Job is adamant that this is not so, and in the end he is vindicated (though, interestingly, he never does find out why he has suffered so much).

Sometimes God allows suffering in order to develop perseverance or humility in the life of a believer (Paul describes this in his own experience in 2 Corinthians 12). And sometimes suffering is the direct result of living faithfully as a follower of Christ, as in the case of persecution. Sometimes both of these things will be going on, or something else entirely. On the other hand, we also see occasions where God intervenes miraculously to end suffering, for example when Jesus heals people in the gospels and when similar healings, as well as miraculous escapes from prison, happen in the life of the early church in Acts.

In the final analysis, when we see someone suffer, or when we suffer ourselves, there is often no easy explanation. We know we live in a broken world, but why this particular person and this particular suffering? We may simply not know. But we can, and should, respond with compassion and practical help and prayer to a God who has demonstrated that he loves us more than we could possibly imagine. In fact, when we look at what God has done, and is doing, to remove suffering in the world we realise that none of us gets what we deserve. In the light of eternity (and we have to see things in that perspective for suffering to make any sense at all) we get far more than we deserve.

You see, God’s response to his world being broken is not to destroy it and start again but to let sin run its course, while at the same time working to rescue the world from the inside. He starts with Abraham and his descendants and his work reaches its climax when he comes to earth himself in the person of Jesus and takes the brokenness, the sin and suffering of the world, on himself on the cross. God has shared our suffering. And when Jesus rises from the dead it shows that the days of sin and suffering are numbered. Their power has been defeated and we can look forward to the day when Jesus will return, sin and suffering will be eliminated completely, and we can live with God in a renewed, suffering-free world.

When it comes to suffering, we do not know all the answers. But we do know The Answer. He is the one who says ‘I am coming soon’, to which we reply, ‘Amen. Come Lord Jesus’ (Revelation 22:20).


Revd Dr James Leach is the Vicar of St Mary’s, Whitchurch and St John’s Whitchurch Hill.

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…

Reflecting on the news, our faith and culture


Would you like to reflect on the intersection of faith, news and culture? This new podcast does just that – recommended!
Click here for the podcast…

What is life without my love?

Learning to grow through the pain of bereavement

A couple of years ago I wrote a book in which I tell the story of my wife’s illness and death. During lockdown I finished writing a second book on bereavement. It is intended to be a resource for faith-focused bereavement groups.

This autumn we will run a group at St Mark’s Church Hall, Denham Green, beginning on Friday, October 15th, at 4pm. It will run every Friday for seven weeks. I’m sure it will be a helpful and positive experience for those who have lost a spouse or loved one. If you are going through the experience of grief I hope you will join me so that we can learn together and discover that quality of hope that the Bible describes as “an anchor for the soul.”

Ian Jennings, Associate Minister, Denham Parish Church


Learning to grow through the pain of bereavement

Starts Friday, October 15th, 4pm

St Mark’s Church Hall, Denham Green

October 15, 22, 29

November 5, 12, 19, 26


For more information, please contact Ian:

Please register here… 

or by calling our church office on 01895 832771.