Sunday, January 29, 2017

The light dawns

Sunday 29th January 2017
Outside: the sun rises over the North Tyne at Bellingham

Inside: the light shows up the windows at the East End of St Cuthbert's church [picture by natural light only at 8.30 a.m.]
We heard the Gospel reading about Jesus at the wedding feast at Cana-in-Galilee turning water into wine  --  speeding up the natural process of rain water absorbed by plants and  converted to juice  --  and transforming a dull occasion into a bright one with some sparkle to it, replacing gloominess with fruitfulness in life.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Renewed vision

Friday 27th January 2017
Hearing the story of Jesus' healing Bartimaeus' eyes, the children of Greenhaugh First School appreciated how much Bartimaeus  would have enjoyed seeing for the first time  --  including seeing himself.  Lots of insight there!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Relaxed, welcome and safe

Tuesday 24th January 2017
Some pupils from Bellingham Middle School leaving St Cuthbert's church which they described as a place where they felt relaxed, welcome and safe.  Good.  Just as a church should be.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Clergy meeting

Monday 23rd January 2017
A glimpse of one of the 57 churches in Norwich which we visited from the convent where I stayed for a residential meeting with some fellow clergy.
     Now back to more routine life  --  and less grand surroundings:
An equivalent street scene in Bellingham (with St Cuthbert's church hidden amongst other buildings)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Seasonal weather

Saturday 14th January 2017

Snow and schools

Friday 13th January 2017
The view from the staffroom where I waited for the start of the school day and my assembly which began with some thoughts on why superstitious people are wary of Friday  the 13th.  Presumably it's because thirteen people sat at the table at the Last Supper when one of them betrayed Jesus  to be put to death by crucifixion on the Friday.
We went on to talk about the festival of the Epiphany when we celebrate the visit of the Wise Men to the young Jesus.  They brought gifts in gratitude.  "What do we want to thank God for?" I asked.  "Being us," said a wise eight-year-old.

New Year ideas!

Thursday 12th January 2017
Back from church to a prompt telephone call to ask about the possibility of a speaker from Christian Aid for our united gathering of the Bellingham Churches to share varied food and discussion.
     Then, after the Communion service, the food theme continued with planning for making pancakes in school on Shrove Tuesday and perhaps having a donkey (not part of the food theme) for a Palm Sunday procession.
     I reported back to the joint Churches meeting and we continued by making plans for our Lent groups: the Northern saints and our modern "saints"/charities.
     The evening was the Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham looking for ways to encourage more people to join them if they want to keep the church building standing  --  and all the activities emanating from there to continue.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Twelfth Night

Friday 6th January 2017
The Christmas prayer tree in St Cuthbert's Bellingham.  People have been writing on the golden hearts and tying these to the tree.  Everyone can read the messages for prayer, remembering that Love came down at Christmas, asking God to purify our hearts and offering to God whatever concerns are on our hearts.
     Now that we come to the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, seasonal decorations are removed from the church.