Kids and Adults

This coming Sunday at The Growing Place we're going to be exploring how kids and grown-ups each bring their own insights and contributions to our learning together about God. So it'll be all about how parents can learn from kids, how kids can learn from grown-ups, and how we can talk and listen to each other. Looking forward to seeing you there... Read More

I wait

A number of people asked me to post the words of the reflection we used in worship this morning... so here they are... After the sun has set After the music has finished After the speaking has ended After the hubbub has faded I sit. I wait for you I wait in darkness I wait in silence. Read More

Contemplation

Psalm 77:11-15 | 1 Kings 19:11-13 | Philippians 4:8-9 The wind was so strong it broke rocks; but God was not in the wind. After the wind, the earthquake shook the mountain; but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, fire; but God was not in the fire. And after the fire, the sound of sheer silence. And in the silence, the soft whisper of God’s voice. Last week, in the fourth of our series of seven sermons on the different spiritual pathways, different ways that Christians over the ages have found to draw near to God, to experience God’s presence, we spoke of the activist, who knows God’s presence in action, in getting their hands dirty, getting involved, working for the things that God cares about – love, justice, reconciliation, peace. Today we turn the tables completely, to explore the contemplative path. For the contemplative does not hear the voice of God in activity, in bustle, in work, however worthwhile that work may be. For the contemplative, the voice of God is not the loud voice of action, but the soft whisper in the silence. The voice that can only be heard if you will still yourself, quieten your voice, your mind, and listen. The voice that will only be heard if you do something that is totally alien to our modern world of busy efficiency; deeply counter cultural in an age of getting things done; the voice that will only be heard if you stop. Stop the talking Stop the doing Stop the things that makes you feel important Stop, and listen Be still, and know that I am God. Read More

Activist

Bishop William Temple had a saying: ‘The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.’. But in truth, that purpose didn’t start with the Church – the people of God, throughout history, have always been called for a purpose, called to make a difference, not just within themselves, but in the world around them. Being the people of God was always meant to mean something. It’s never been a matter of personal spirituality alone, or just of acting as a community, supporting one another. The people of God are supposed to change the world. Right back near the start of our story, God called Abraham and promised to make a nation, the people of Israel, God’s chosen people. And that label, that title, ‘the chosen people’, has been worn as a badge of honour or thrown around as an accusation of arrogance – both for Israel and for the Church – ever since, with hardly anyone ever stopping to ask the obvious question: ‘Chosen for what?’ Yet the answer to that question is right there in the call of Abraham – and it shapes everything that comes after. ‘I will bless you,’ God says, ‘so that you will be a blessing… in you all the families of earth shall be blessed’. Read More

We have a name!

Over the past few months, it's been know as SNOS, Lucky Rabbits, and J-Church. But we've finally got around to having a vote of all those involved, and the winner was "The Growing Place". So that's the new name for our new, family worship service on Sunday afternoons. We won't be meeting this coming Sunday - instead, please come along to the picnic in the park! Read More

Worship

Psalm 150 | Revelation 4:8-11, 5:11-14 Back in the 80’s and 90’s there were a series of books written which looked at the characteristics of Churches that seemed to be getting something right. The original, I think, was called “Ten Growing Churches”, and they also had “Ten Giving Churches” and “Ten Serving Churches” and I think a few others. I heard it said that they also started a book entitled “Ten Churches where people agree about worship style” – but after renaming it “Five Churches…” then “Two Churches…” the authors finally admitted defeat. When I was training for the ministry, I was advised that to make sudden changes to the style of worship was the second most dangerous thing that a minister could do on arrival at a new Church. The most dangerous, of course, is to move the furniture. Especially the font. But worship – and in particular, the way that we come before God when we meet together on Sunday – is something that stirs up deeply held, and widely varied, feelings. Of all the spiritual pathways we’re exploring in this series, worship is probably the one that raises the strongest emotions, and, sadly, probably causes the most arguments. Read More

Pancakes!

Some people like them fat and fluffy, some people like them thin and crispy. Some people probably don't like them - well, that's bad luck for them. Shrove tuesday is traditionally pancake day, a final day of indulgence before the rigours of lent. Whether you plan for a rigour-full lent or not, please come along for the indulgence bit. At the manse, Tuesday March 8th, from 6:30pm until late, please feel free to drop in any time and stay for as long or as little as you like. This pancake party will replace Nooma for the evening! Read More

Let us reason together

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 | Luke 10:25-28 Last week – this is a reminder for those who were here, and a little bit of catch up for those who weren’t – we started a series of seven sermons in the run up to Easter, in each of which we will be exploring a different way that Christians have found to express their spirituality; a series of spiritual pathways, reflecting the fact that there are a wide variety of ways that different people experience nearness to God. I spoke a little last week about getting past the sense that there is just one right way to be a follower of Jesus; the spoken or unspoken implication that you sometimes feel that, because your experience of God is shaped and coloured and expressed differently from that of others, you aren’t as ‘mature’ in the faith – or perhaps, you aren’t really even a Christian at all. I also suggested that we could all benefit from, learn from, those spiritual pathways which weren’t our first instinct; that even if we never take to meditation in a big way, for instance, we could still learn something of God through experimenting. But there’s also another, really important reason why I think it’s worth our while to understand the different ways that different people express their spiritual life: and that is evangelistic. Read More

Busy jays

Playjays has got off to a roaring start this year, with over twenty children (and a lot of parents!) coming along each week... today we just celebrated our biggest morning ever, with 27 kids from a few weeks old upwards. Luckily the weather has allowed us to play out in the courtyard! As we come up towards our first birthday, a few of the toys and things are starting to show a bit of age. So if anyone has any rugs or pop-up tent style toys that they are looking to get rid of, we can promise them a good home... Read More