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Thursday, 2 February 2017

What Can We Believe?


Religion can be a menace.  It is rightly criticised for sometimes causing division and even conflict.

Church may not be quite so bad - but it can be boring and out of touch.  Alan tells me that congregations over Christmas were up by about 20%.  So it is not all doom and gloom as the media keep on telling us.  However most of our worship is one way communication, but some people like the opportunity of responding and would like time to talk, question, think and comment.  Our wordy liturgy does not allow time for that. 


God and Jesus can be very exciting, as we try together to discover who they really are.  Our ideas of God can be disastrously wrong.  The Jews were taught to call him by the mysterious name of Yahweh, meaning I AM (or perhaps better I WILL BE)  The criticisms voiced by Richard Dawkins in his provocative book "The God Delusion" may be misguided, but that is understandable, in the light of what we Christians often say or do.  The impression created by parts of the Old Testament does suggest that God can behave as an unreasonable tyrant.  We need to understand that God only reveals what he is like slowly, as we are not smart enough to take in too much in at one go.  I used to shout at my children "NO!" on occasions when they got too near the fire (an unreasonable tyrant?).  Later on when they were older I was able to explain things better and in more detail.

Christians believe that if you want to know what God is really like you need to look at Jesus.  Jesus himself claimed, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."  (John 14 9)  Or to quote a former archbishop, Michael Ramsey, "God is like Jesus and in him is no unChristlikeness at all."

Last year some of us discovered more about Jesus by looking at the Gospel of Mark, the shortest and the simplest of the four gospels in the New Testament.  These small groups allowed people to talk, think and argue. 

This year we shall be carrying on our voyage of discovery based on the booklet that is available free in all the churches in the benefice, "What can we believe these days?".  (You can also download it from the home page of  our Winterborne and Milton Abbas benefice website.)

During March there will be small groups in our villages and we hope that it will not be just church members who come along, but also anyone who wants to find out more about Jesus, and the God that Christians worship.  We do not mind if you disagree with us, we do not always get it right.  We might all get surprises - indeed I rather hope we will!

Full details of these groups will be published in the March Valley News.

                                                                                                            Jimmy Hamilton-Brown

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Las Posadas: we are happy to announce the safe arrival.

Christmas Day 2016

Las Posadas:What a party last night!


Things got a little raucous last night. Mary Joseph and the donkey met up with old friends and an evening of merriment and laughter ensued. ( Donkey's singing has not improved !) It was some night!!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Las Posadas: Donkey caught catnapping!


 Thursday 22nd December
We were very grateful to our travel consultant who very kindly dropped us off to our new host yesterday afternoon. We arrived to find our accommodation all ready for us, our very own house! Joseph and I were pleased to discover that there was even a crib in the bedroom!

Our host was busy checking her work emails and donkey was frightened by the four adopted cats that live here and started braying very loudly! so we decided to explore the garden, where we met more adopted animals, including guinea pigs called Rocko, Caramel and Butterscotch and two rabbits who had arrived just days earlier called Jack and Frost, they seemed very friendly and came over to chat to us.

Our host had to go to work but invited us to come along, so we set off on a very long car journey, we stopped briefly to look at the view from a very big hill and I was very relieved we didn't have to walk as I am getting very tired now.

After a long drive our host disappeared into a house and reappeared a while later, while we waited in the car, this happened several times throughout the evening, stopping at different houses, and we didn't get home until very late!!!
We had to get up very early this morning to attend morning prayer and there was a brief panic when donkey disappeared!! Where had he gone??
Luckily our host eventually found him, asleep with one of the cats!

After a short drive we arrived at a large church where we met yet another dog collar - there certainly seem to be a lot of them! He was very friendly and was very interested in our journey, after morning prayer we stopped to admire the huge Christmas tree which had a very large star on top of it, was this a sign that would lead us to Bethlehem?