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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Not giving up for Lent!

It seems that the days are flying by and life has been very busy at the Rectory. The Benefice United Service at Winterborne  Stickland was a joyful service and very well attended. The scaffolding had been removed from the church and we were able to see the newly decorated church at its best. The  service, led by Reverend Sue Litchfield with Rev Alan, heralded the start of the Benefice Lent course that has been produced by Reverend Jimmy Hamilton-Brown, who preached at this service. People were encouraged to sign up to one of the many groups that would run during the four weeks of Lent. The following encouragements appeared on the Pews News
Reasons for not going to church.
‘Until a few years ago, Christians could be a bit smug about people who didn’t go to church. They could say it was a bit like not having a wash – the excuses for not doing so were pretty feeble. ‘I was made to wash as a child. ’I just don’t have time to wash these days.’ ‘I used to wash but it got boring so I stopped.’ ‘I still wash on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.’ ‘None of my friends wash.’ ‘People who make soap are only after your money.’ ‘The bathroom’s never warm enough.’ (I have sympathy with that one).
Now, however, this self – satisfied approach seems outdated and simplistic. There are lots of good reasons for not going to church. Indeed, the boot is on the other foot. Why would ordinary, decent, reasonable people disrupt family life on a Sunday morning to attend church?’
(extract from ‘Why go to Church?’ – John Pritchard)

How would you answer this? Why not join a Lent group and explore how we respond to Jesus (the groups probably won’t be on a Sunday or in a church)?          

Jesus told his followers just before he left them for the last time, "Go and make disciples."
   That is what churches are here for.  Not to get people to behave decently.  Not to get people to come to church.  But to help people become disciples of Jesus.  (The word disciple means a follower and a learner).  To do this effectively we need to be disciples ourselves, and that is what we are concentrating on this Lent which starts on Feb 10.
We shall be holding small groups all over the benefice on the theme "Growing Disciples." -
this means growing ourselves in the faith, and so attracting others to do the same.  It is only as people see something of Jesus in us that they will be influenced to follow him themselves.
    To introduce this there is a UNITED SERVICE at 10 a.m. on Jan 31 at Winterborne Stickland, when we will be outlining what is planned, answering questions, and giving people the first opportunity to sign up for a suitable group.                                                                                         JJHB
And what a success it has been - we have over thirty people signed up and six groups running each week!