In this edition of Triangle
Prayer requests and update from Abu Dhabi
To the Saints of St Michael's Church, Madeley.
Firstly - many thanks for praying for Rianne. Her leg has recovered and after a year of wearing braces and going through intensive surgery is finding walking without crutches and braces a real novelty. The children are now back at school and getting back into a daily routine. Navina is buckling down to her penultimate year of Open University studies and looking forward to edging closer to that ever so elusive degree.
September sees the return of expatriates from long summer holidays and the arrival of new expats. The Church is filling up and we are growing as a team. I thank God for the people who are joining our ministry team and they range from an Irish retired vicar, through to an American Project Manager who is overseeing the physical development of our compound.
There has been a good start to encountering Muslims in various interfaith encounters and I am encouraged by the progress of my book which will be potentially a great platform to develop ministry. The publishers have agreed to do the book launch for end of November so a lot of planning is coming up for that. In October I fly to Doha as the guest of the Qatari government where I am presenting a paper on social media and interfaith in the presence of Muslim and Christian religious leaders and academics. This I hope will lead more doors to open where the Christian faith can be shared in an open and receptive environment. One of the most incredible experiences over the last month was the opportunity to preach in front of a crowd of hundreds of Muslims at a wedding in Mombasa in Kenya. Also recently on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we had the senior Islamic cleric in the UAE attend the church in solidarity and he had my preaching translated for him into Arabic - he told me afterwards (via translation) that he rarely heard Christian preaching and invited me to attend his majlis.
In the meantime we are launching a Love Abu Dhabi Project which is a human rights focused network. This is a potential minefield for us to walk as the whole issue of Migrant Labour abuses is a political hot potato - so please pray for great wisdom.
So the coming months are full and exciting and this means . . . that we are in great need of your prayers. The Gulf is such an unpredictable place and we need prayer protection.
In His Service.
Rev Andy Thompson
Thoughts to Pause For
Apart from this summer being the coldest since 1993 and, for cricket fans, England’s test cricket side becoming the number one test cricketing team in the world, what memories will this summer hold for most of us?
Most of us will surely remember the riots which devastated and shocked so many cities in our land. The suggested reasons for the riots are complex and controversial. Such reasons as boredom, and a need for excitement, our ultra-materialistic culture, and an unequal and dependency-generating welfare state, have been argued by some social commentators. All of these reasons are to some extent valid; but one of the reasons given, which found particular resonance with me, was the thought that many of these young people are certainly not afraid of authority, and haven’t been taught right from wrong.
However, this reason is only one symptom and consequence of a deeper cause. Sadly, many of the youngsters involved in the riots have no parents to speak of: their fathers are absent; their mothers are on drugs; they’ve witnessed abuse and having never experienced love, they don’t care about themselves, let alone others. So, some of those who rioted, haven’t a hope of developing any moral framework. Their only framework is (and this, a result of the political far right and left), a nihilistic, get rich quick materialism, combined with a ramshackle welfare state which encourages the unfortunates to believe that nothing is their fault. David Cameron has boldly vowed to fix, what he describes, as ‘our broken society’. But, how is he going to fix a culture in which, for some, the only authority respected is the local gang members and leader?
The Bible unequivocally states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This kind of fear is an appreciation of the only authority which we should all submit to. So what is it? A reverential fear of God is an astonished wonder, a breathless adoration of the majesty, love, and mercy of God. This is the kind of ‘fix’ that our ‘broken society’ needs.
Rev. Dave Moulden
Pause for Thought
Have you heard the story of the young Christian man who felt that he needed more patience. So he went to a famous preacher and asked him to pray for him regarding this matter. The preacher began praying, “Oh, God, send great suffering and trouble on this young man.” “Stop” shouted the young man, “I want patience not suffering!” The preacher replied, “it says in Romans 5 verse 3 that suffering produces patience.”
We live in an instant world, and most of us would like easy and instant results. But God doesn’t work this way – the path to glory for Jesus was via suffering and pain, and the same is true for his followers. As the saying goes, “there’s no gain without pain.” If we want to experience more of God and his power and provision, then we need to be prepared to move out of our comfort zones. Jesus commanded us to take up our cross daily and follow him, not sit in our armchairs thinking happy thoughts. He is looking for disciples, not spectators.
The Road to Ordination
This term I begin my studies for ordination training at Ripon College, Cuddesdon (about 10 miles outside Oxford). I’ll be sent out to churches to experience many different styles of worship and ways of witnessing to the Gospel, perhaps sometimes in a school or hospital context.
The Church is keen to keep my brain going, so there’ll be lots of lectures (including the threat of learning Greek) and work towards a Masters in Theology. I know that many people in the parishes pray for me and I’m very thankful for them.
I would ask you to continue to pray for me as I venture on my journey in God’s service, especially with these new steps into the unknown. One big worry is how to avoid ‘The Cuddesdon Stone’… Not a Neolithic monument but a result of the excellent cooking!
Historical Research Item 4
Sutton Hill Disciples
Some time ago Dawn Taffinder, who has done a tremendous job of being Junior Church leader for the past nine years stepped down in February because she felt that God was leading her in a different direction. Sarah Moulden very capably filled the gap until we had decided the way forward for Junior Church. We knew we needed a new leader but none of us felt able to take on the responsibility on our own.
At about the same time we started having some vision mornings to decide where we would be, as a church, in five years time. As we met it became clear that our way forward was to work with the children. Most of the children who come to Sutton Hill come in off the street, not many attend with members of their own family. After praying we came to the decision that God was telling us that we could not let the children down, Jesus said “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them” (Matthew 10 v 14).
We formed a team of twelve people (disciples) and because of the number of children, divided ourselves into groups of three, each group leading the children for one month at a time. Many of us had never worked with children before and others only in the past so we approached the decision with trepidation.
We invited Esther Gregory, (Young Peoples Officer for the Diocese) to spend a day with us, she give us some tips and she gave us plenty of resources to look at. We had many things to consider. There had to be CRB checks, idea`s on the do`s and don`ts of correction for unruly children and a child protection program which we are considering at a later date. There was a lot to absorb but we enjoyed every moment of the day ending up at the “Brewery” for an evening meal.
We hold each other in prayer. The children enjoy coming to Junior Church and they enjoy the crafts that we set out for them each week, and as a church family we pray that we are “Knowing, growing and showing the love of God” There is still work to be done but we are approaching it with a willing heart.
The Team at Sutton Hill Church
Changes to Evening Services at St Michael's Church
A reminder that the time of the evening service will change to 3.30pm in November. It will stay at this time until March. (April to October will revert back to the usual time of 6.30pm) All are welcome to Services at St Michael’s and at Sutton Hill (mornings only) at any time.
Dates for the Diary
Sat 22nd Oct
Pies, Peas and 2p’s
(tickets £6.50 to be purchased in advance)
Sat 5th Nov
Men's Breakfast at The Brewery, Coalport
Sat 19th Nov
Ladies Prayer Breakfast
Sat 26th Nov
Café Jazz and friends at Christmas
Sat 3rd Dec
Men's Breakfast at The Brewery, Coalport
Sat 10th Dec
John Moore Quire Medieval Christmas with Mulled wine and mince pies
All the above are at St Michael's Church unless otherwise stated
An advance date for your diary
Friday 20th April 2012
Keep this date in mind
For your entertainment
Watch this space
You might be approached…
St Michael's Fellowship Programme of Events
Villages of South Shropshire
All about Christmas
Spalding Tulip Festival
Fellowship meetings are held in St Michael’s Church unless otherwise stated and commence at 2.30 pm.
All are welcome.
Tea, coffee and biscuits are available afterwards.
Thank you to all who have contributed to this edition of Triangle. The closing date for articles for the next edition will be announced in the church notices. Please pass to your church representative:
Woodside: Angela Handley, Sutton Hill: Anne Koe, St Michael’s: Hazel Shipman. Or if possible e-mail: triangle(at)tf7.org.uk