This week I hosted our first prayer meeting of the year, one of many to come. There were 11 of us that gathered in my lounge, almost filling it to capacity, and David joined us on speakerphone. We took topics relevant to us; the church, our community, faith, forgiveness, a bowl full of personal prayers that we lifted as one, and many more. Some prayed with confidence, others less so, but I have no doubt that God heard us all. It was a powerful experience and I wish I could share with you the peace that remained in my home after everyone had left – it was beautiful.
On Thursday January 16th we begin a fortnightly study at Charlie’s home. It’s called The Genesis project, and is an exciting way to study scripture and discover it’s relevance in our every day lives.
Every other Thursday we will be looking at a chapter of the book, how it relates to the rest of the bible, how it helps to form what we believe, and in what ways it challenges us to see God’s Word through the lens of others.
You can just turn up on the night and join in the conversation. There’ll be lots to talk about and we’ll be looking at how our beliefs match up with our lives and the world around us. It’s an open conversation where there are no right or wrong answers, simply different experiences and different ways of looking at things. You might find that a conversation changes your mind about the way we interpret a particular verse, or you might find that minds are changed by the way you look at it. We learn from one another and the movement of God’s Holy Spirit.
Alternatively you can use the work book as a tool that will help you deepen your understanding, your faith, and your relationship with God. If you work through the chapter before we meet, read the scripture references, and ask yourself how they speak to you, then you will find it a much deeper and richer experience.
Or you can do a little of both! When you have the time then study the material. When you don’t have the time then just come along. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just whatever works for you. However, remember that how much you get out of it will be in direct proportion to what you put in!
It will take us around 2 years to get through the workbook. However, even then there is way too much information in a single chapter for us to cover everything. Let the Spirit guide you. Skim over that which doesn’t speak to you and delve deeply into that which does. I guarantee, in two years you are going to know your bible a lot better than you do now!
The workbook can be downloaded HERE.
This coming year you’ll notice a few differences in our church life. A greater emphasis on prayer, a greater reliance on the Holy Spirit to lead us, and a greater depth of study in God’s holy word. It’s going to be an amazing year! I hope that it’s a joy filled one for us all.
Rev. Michael xx
ps. A little Help!
To look up the concordance references supplied in the workbook simply go to biblehub.com/strongs.htm and search for the number (H# xxx) in the list. It’s a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s easy and it’ll save you buying the book. (Which is HUGE!)
You can copy and paste scriptures into biblehub or biblegateway online, but nothing beats the tactile feel of a bible in your hands and you’ll quickly get used to where things are. Remember, old testament first, then the new. Books are not in chronological order but are rather gathered into types of literature (history, prophecy, biography, letters, etc.). Have fun!
I remember when there was no internet, no texts, no facebook mesenger, whatsap, or any other way of chatting with someone except the telephone. For David, who is blind, and lives out in Worthing, the telephone remains the main form of communication, and in this electronic age I imagine that can make you feel a little cut off. Why not give him a call? He’d love to chat with you. He’s a hive of useful information, a great listener, and loves to chat!
Study evenings at Charlie’s home begin Thursday January 16th at 7:30pm, and every fortnight after that.
Prayer meeting 7:30pm, Rev. Michael’s home.
The Village MCC 5th Anniversary celebration service, 6pm, Somerset Day Centre. Rev. Elder Ines-Pail bringing the word. Choir singing and refreshments after the service.
COME AND JOIN THE CHOIR AS THEY PREPARE FOR OUR 5TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION! REHEARSALS ARE AT 4:45 EVERY SUNDAY AND NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!
During Advent and Christmas members and friends of The Village MCC collected toiletries for The Sussex Beacon. A huge bag of shower gel, another of toothbrushes and toothpaste, another of soap and shampoo, another of deodorant and shaving supplies. Members of The Village also created care packages for those who might arrive without any personal belongings at all. Many thanks to everyone who contributed.
The Sussex Beacon does a wonderful job in providing specialist care and support for people living with HIV. Their day services, peer support, and family support make a huge difference in the lives of those who access their services. And of course they offer inpatient services in their ten bedroom unit, some of which is funded by the NHS. But it’s often the little things that can make a huge difference. Of course the Sussex Beacon relies on grants and fundraising to meet the operating costs, but when someone arrives with nothing they may need something as simple as a toothbrush, shaving gear, or shower gel. I’m so glad that we were able to help out in this small way.
To be honest I am always taken by surprise when the church gives me a gift at Christmas. I know you’ve done it for a few years now, but my attention is invariably elsewhere – and I never want to take your gift for granted. You are such an amazing people, and I am always deeply touched that you would take time out to fill my heart with such generosity. Thank you, and God bless you this new year.
Rev. Michael xx
PRAYER FOR AUSTRALIA
We pray for gentle rains, and no wind;
we pray for cooling skies, and water in abundance;
we pray for the burning land,
we pray for the four legged, and the winged,
for the koala and the kangaroo,
and all of their neighbours;
we pray for the people who are trapped,
for the people who have lost their homes,
for the firefighters and the first responders,
for the exhausted and the tapped out,
we pray for Australia,
from east, to south, to west, to north,
and all the places in between.
In this world of changed and changing climate, God,
we ask that you would help us
to help those who are in immediate danger;
may we use what we have to help and to heal –
then call us to repent of all the ways
we continue to make this world
a place of death, rather than life.
Help us, O God… because we don’t seem to be able to do it on our own.
In Christ’s name, on the wings of the Holy Spirit, we pray.
Thank you to Stephen for forwarding this to me
– it was written by the Rt Rev Richard Bott, Moderator United Church of Canada.