The view from above….

Last weekend was our Back to Harvest event and on the Saturday afternoon I took someone to look out from the tower at All Saints. We only went up to the level of the clocks but the views are incredible.

Here are some of the best shots.

A panorama from the tower looking east towards Goole

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A New Roof and an Old Village

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We are delighted to have received first round funding of over £19,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the plans and programme to restore the roof at All Saints Church and to celebrate its place at the heart of the unique and undervalued Woodlands Model Village.

We will be holding a Heritage event very soon to gather information, photos and stories about this amazing village and its rich history.

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Bearing Fruit

Today is my Birthday—I’m not saying that so that you are all nice to me (though that would be good), or so that you say nice things about me (thought that would also be good), or so that you give me lots of presents (see previous brackets!!). I’m saying it because a friend of mine posted a message on Facebook this week wishing me a Happy Birthday and pointing out that one of the readings set for this Sunday in the Lectionary (the list of Bible verses set each week for churches to read—we sometimes follow this—ahem!) is John 15: 1-8. This made me smile for two reasons—firstly because I often refer to verse 1 as my family verse:

“Jesus said, ‘I am the true vine and my Father is the Gardener’”

and secondly because these are the verses I chose to be read on the day I became the Vicar nearly 10 years ago.

 Jesus talks about Fruitfulness – branches that do not produce fruit are removed and branches that are fruitful get pruned to make them even more fruitful. Either process can be painful. To acknowledge that areas of our life aren’t bearing fruit for Jesus can be a real challenge. It is a good thing to ask ourselves—am I bearing fruit?

If there are parts of our lives that are not fruitful we need to do something about it! Are we growing as Disciples? Are we different today than we were last y ear? Is our relationship with Jesus making a difference to us and to those we meet? If not then it is time to act! Find someone you trust and work out what to do!

But if we are bearing fruit then Jesus says that we need to be pruned – so that we can bear even more fruit. Good gardeners known when to prune. Mick has been pruning the shrubs outside Church so that they will be even better this year. They will look fantastic, but the pruning was necessary. I’ve been on that journey over the last few months—laying aside the role of Area Dean and other roles I have had, in order to have time and energy to be fruitful. I think these decisions are beginning to show real fruit for me—and maybe for you too! Last Sunday we heard the testimony of someone in our Church Family who is following where they believe God is calling them but it will mean them laying down something very special to them—pruning hurts—but the final outcome is better. We need to allow ourselves to be pruned—either to get rid of the dead wood in our hearts and lives, or to allow the Holy Spirit to make us even more fruitful than we have been. Never forget Jesus called us to be fruitful ”You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

December 15th – Sheep need a shepherd

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December 14th – 3 days journey, 9 months pregnant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A three day journey whilst 9 months pregnant!!!

Mary would not have considered herself “highly favoured”.

The miracle here is that Mary didn’t give birth till she reached Bethlehem!!  This is a really rubbish way to prepare for the most important birth the world has ever known. What was God up to?!

December 13th – Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A census – seemingly to count the people, but actually to tax them.  When authorities see people in terms of their monetary cost or monetary value then the world goes horribly wrong.

It was true in the 1st century Roman Empire and it is as true today.

People have an intrinsic value because they are loved by God.  How many pounds it costs society or how much money they contribute should not determine their “value”.

 

December 12th – Let it be to me

December 11th – The Son of God

December 10th – Angels

Words……….

Words ……..

But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’ (Lk 1:30-33)

Today in the church’s set readings (the lectionary) we hear words of the angel Gabriel to Mary.

These words to Mary were the most unexpected, the most amazing and, simultaneously, the most frightening words ever heard by a human ear.

Unexpected…..These words were totally out of the blue…..”you will conceive and give birth”…..Years before God had uttered similar words to Sarah and her husband Abraham…. They too were words from out of the blue but it was slightly different, because they were a direct answer to a direct promise that God had made to them years before. But these words to Mary came not out of a direct personal promise, not out of a longing or a personal yearning for a son. These words were also, it seemed, impossible words ….I mean, ‘it takes two to tango’ and Mary and Joseph had never set foot on the ‘dancefloor’ like Abraham and Sarah had.

Amazing…. These were the most amazing of words. Not just because Mary was told of an ‘impossible’ pregnancy but because of who it was that Mary was told she had been chosen to carry and eventually give birth too….’the Son of the Most High’. He was to be a king whose reign would last forever. Truly the most amazing words.

Frightening……… All of Mary’s plans and hopes and dreams turned upside-down. Her reputation tarnished, her marriage put in jeopardy. And what about the responsibility of carrying those words…..quite literally carrying those words in a tiny, fragile, human form? A song, currently increasing in popularity on youtube, asks “Mary did you know?”…… What if she did?…How frightening knowing what God was asking her to say yes to! What if she didn’t?…….stepping out into the unknown, quite probably as a single mum and despised by her community and most of her family too (and that’s if she wasn’t stonned to death first!). Either way these unexpected and amazing words would have also been frightening words.

Just like Mary….Sometimes we might hear unexpected words; We might hear amazing and awesome words; we might hear words, intended or unintended, which make us fearful or hold significant consequences for us.

As we continue into Advent, journeying, like Mary, Joseph and the shepherds, towards worshipping the Christ-child we need to hear afresh the opening words of the angel again….. ‘Do not be afraid…you have found favour with God’.