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Encouragement for the Journey 28 September 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Journey

Greetings fellow traveller,

Today is our AGM. A time to honour the past, while living in the present and catching glimpses of the future.

We may seek to understand and learn from history, but we may never return to the past. The future beckons, awaiting our presence, leaving us living in the present, in this moment of time.

This week, for reasons beyond my comprehension, I was hit with an email problem, which sent a spam email to my email contacts. How this occurred I am uncertain. I am unable to go back and recover those emails. At best I can apologise and seek to understand just what occurred to ensure this would not happen again.

An aspect of an AGM is to understand and become aware of where we have been over the past year, with its joys, challenges and opportunities.

My email problem was outside my level of expertise. I needed the help of my son who is a computer systems engineer. He has the skills, knowledge and experience to understand and fix my problem, which he did.

In this era we are facing immense challenges and opportunities, both within and outside the community of faith. We truly need each other, sharing skills, wisdom, and experience and together find creative ways forward.

Here at St Aidans, we are seeking to embrace the creative energy of community. A well-known quote from the Greek Philosopher Aristotle is most appropriate and expresses my philosophy of life and ministry:

 ‘For the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

 This means what people can accomplish working together is more than they could accomplish each working individually. Everyone has strengths, but when you put those strengths together, they produce something more than the individuals could by going alone.

Now that is, synergy in action and I am delighted to say this is occurring here at St Aidans. It is this working together that is essential for our on going life together. Our Focus Forward on Sunday 12 October is an opportunity for you to be present and make your unique contribution to our community life and mission. If we all could participate in Focus Forward, something amazing would happen, new ideas, energy and creativity will be present. To make a difference, we all need to be involved, contributing ideas and creative energy.

I look forward to seeing you at Focus Forward, hearing your ideas and experiencing your energy.

Meanwhile peace, in honouring our past, while living in the present and catching glimpses of the future.

Alf

September 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 21 September 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

New Life

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Welcome to another Café Church, our theme to day is the season of spring and new life. Living here in a temperate climate, the transition from winter to spring is noticeable, but it is not as marked as in the Northern Hemisphere. Where winter ice and snow give way to warmer days, with the sun making its welcomed presence felt.

Nevertheless, spring is still a special season offering us abundant symbolism for the spiritual journey.

I have heard gardeners expressing delight in the opportunity that spring offers, to prepare the ground for planting, along with pruning and other tasks that are required to enhance the budding of new life and growth. I am not what you call a ‘gardener,’ in the traditional sense, rather, I like to plant stuff and create, but I often fail to do the maintenance things, namely the weeding, fertilising and watering etc. which I regrettably leave to Fleur. Consequently, what I have planted struggles to reach it’s full potential and growth.

There is a real lesson here, for the journey of life, for we need to nurture and care for our own life, not just through our basic needs of food, shelter, safety, sleep, and exercise, but we also need to care for our inner life.

The metaphor of springtime offers the opportunity to reflect upon our inner world, to see those areas we may need to prepare for planting, pruning for the growth of new life and transition that awaits us on our journey.

At different times we experience moments of transition, moments when new life begins to push through the hard surface of our ego’s shell. In these moments it is springtime in our soul. These are what could well be described as grace moments.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

September 21, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 14 September 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

 Welcome to another Quiet Service, our theme today is silence, in particular inner silence. I am delighted that members of our Come to Quiet group have been involved in the planning for this service and are also sharing in it, Thank you to the group for journeying with me.

I am sure you have been in a place in which silence was present, maybe you have entered a great medevial cathedral, or walked in the bush, or you have come home from a busy and noisy trip to the mall. There and then the exterior silence of that place bathes you in its nurturing presence. We can be in these silent places and yet, within us, there is the constant chatter of our mind. The outer silence is uanble to nurture us because we have not stilled the inner noise. There are different ways to come to this place of inner quiet. Today, we offer you the way of centering prayer. May this service offer you an experience of inner silence to meet with your God. Enjoy these words from Madeleine L’Engle:

Ready for Silence

Then hear now the silence
He comes in the silence
in silence he enters
the womb of the bearer
in silence he goes to
the realm of the shadows
redeeming and shriving
in silence he moves from
the grave cloths, the dark tomb
in silence he rises
ascends to the glory
leaving his promise
leaving his comfort
leaving his silence

So come now, Lord Jesus
Come in your silence
breaking our noising
laughter of panic
breaking this earth’s time
breaking us breaking us
quickly Lord Jesus
make no long tarrying

When will you come
and how will you come
and will we be ready
for silence
your silence

 

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

September 16, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 7 September 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Fathers Day (resized)

Greetings fellow traveller,

Today at our KIDS N ALL we celebrate Father’s Day. Mention the word Father, and all kinds of memories and images may filter into our awareness. I remember the day I became a father. It was 12 August 1970.  I was still in the Liverpool Police working what was called evening patrols, from 6.00 pm to 2 am and my shift sergeant gave me time off to be with Fleur, provided I returned to duty.

After a number of false starts, Fleur went into the Liverpool Maternity Hospital and that evening after a long period in labour, Fleur gave birth to our first-born son Daniel. He had arrived into our life and I was now a father.

I was never given any training courses on being a father and I can’t recall reading any books. It just happened, or did it. Looking back the only model for being a father was my father. He was raised in small mining village in Yorkshire, England, he experienced an abusive childhood, and for his fourteenth birthday, he went to work down ‘pit’ and his birthday present was to work with a pit pony. He worked down that coalmine until he was twenty-one, then he joined the British Army serving in India and Burma during World War 2. He was a hard workingman whose philosophy, was to not spare his army belt connecting with my rear end. Yet, he was my father, and he died too young.

Of course the experience we have of our father is unique to us, for some they never knew their father, while for others he was a most wonderful man, then for others he was the one who left them emotionally scarred from abuse.

It is reasonable then, that we may unconsciously project our experience of our father onto the images and metaphors, we may have of God.

Even though we hear that God is love, compassionate and gracious. If our experience of our father has not been like that, we may still relate to God, through the images of our experiences with our own father. Of course this does not have to be so, and through awareness and new understanding we can relate to God in and through different images and metaphors, which may sustain and be helpful for our spiritual journey. Like: Divine Mystery, Sacred One, Ground of our Being, which convey different images than father.

What images and metaphors are helpful for you?

Meanwhile Peace and courage

Alf

September 16, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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