“So, Reverend, what exactly do you do?” “Do you get paid a salary?”
They were genuine questions. Here was someone from a different culture and faith who probably hadn’t actually had the opportunity of such a conversation with a clergyperson before. “Well,” said I, feeling the sense of frustration almost immediately, “it’s not easy to say”.
Strangely, the second question was easier to answer than the first. “No, we don’t get paid a salary, we are given a stipend” “What’s a stipend?” “It is an amount of money that we are given to support ourselves and our families so that we don’t have to get paid work which free us to serve God in his church”.
Continue reading “November 2013”
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…let us run with perseverance” (Hebrews 12:1)
We all need those who encourage us and those whose example inspires us. The writer to the Hebrews talks about the “great cloud of witnesses”. They had been speaking about some of the great people of faith in the Old Testament and how their lives and example can encourage our faith. In the church we continue to draw on the encouragement of those Christians who have gone before us and throughout the year we have a calendar where on particular days we recall the lives of some of them. In October among them are three people from whom I have drawn inspiration …Anthony Ashley Cooper (1st), William Tyndale(6th) and Theresa of Avila (15th). All three have interesting lives which have something to teach us and inspire us.
Continue reading “October 2013”
When I was at school I remember that when the school summer holidays started I used to hate going into shops with my mum to be confronted with their Back to School sales campaigns. Why couldn’t we enjoy our holidays before having to think about going back to school? I didn’t want to think about school again till September. Alas, holidays, now as then, are never long enough.
September is always a month when things get going again and therefore is usually very busy and this year is no exception.
At the beginning of the month we welcome our new curate, Ben Green, to our parish. Soon after many of our church and community activities and meetings restart after the summer break. In our schools we begin by welcoming new children and new staff. At Mappleborough we welcome new families to our Morning Service on the 15th.
By the end of the month things are very much in full swing. This year we are planning to participate in Back to Church Sunday on September 29th. This is a national initiative that encourages all Christians to invite someone to church that day.
Continue reading “September 2013”
Recently reading a book I have been reminded of the power of the great parables of the gospels .The sower of the seed, the wise and foolish house-builders, the Good Samaritan.., I expect we all have our favourite one.
Probably for me it’s the story of the Prodigal Son. It is one of those that most people know or have heard of, even if they have never darkened the doors or a church. As with all the parables the main point of this story is to show us what God is really like. That he is not some impersonal tyrant who is too busy to care about you. He is a loving Heavenly Father who has numbered the hairs on your head. He will forgive you when you return to Him. Particularly, in the Prodigal Son, we also learn that if we wander away from God, we can turn around and return to His open arms.
Continue reading “August 2013”
June 29th will be the twenty-eighth anniversary of my ordination. Needless to say I was very young but I remember it as if it were yesterday. My journey to ordination had begun when I was in my teens, or even before.
From the age of about five I had been sent to Sunday School along with my sisters and brother. Mum said she wanted us to learn the “difference between right and wrong”, although I have often suspected it may have been about my parents getting an hour or so of peace and quiet on Sunday afternoon.
The church we went to was small Baptist church which was just a couple of streets away. By the time I got to about ten years old and a TV arrived in the Silvester household the big problem for me was that the service was at 3pm which in those days often clashed directly with The Big Match (which was the ITV football highlights program in those days). Getting me to church when West Ham were on the main match became a major issue.
Continue reading “July 2013”