Stephen

Education Sunday

On 5 February, Churches Together in England marks Education Sunday, a “national day of prayer and celebration for everyone involved in the world of education”.  As part of this, our service at Greenfield that Sunday will be somewhat different.

We’ve written to six local schools inviting their teaching staff to come to our service.  This will then be a chance to show our support as a church for these people who do such an incredible, difficult and pressurised job.  Over the last year or so we’ve had good contacts with the children from the local infant school which has been an immense pleasure and privilege.  But we want to show that we care about the teachers as well as the children.  Hence this service.

So please come along to the service, at the usual time on Sunday 5 February.  Please pray for the service, that teachers will want to come, that it will be a valuable way of showing our support as a church and God’s love for them, and that I won’t get tongue-tied talking to a church full (hopefully!) of teachers.  And, if you can, try and bring a memory of your favourite teach – what made him or her so special, how did they inspire you?

Posted by Stephen in Greenfield Events, Sunday services, 0 comments

Sermon 22 January 2012

I thought (to give me a reason to blog regularly) I’d upload my sermon notes from each Sunday on to this blog, so that if anyone wants to read them for whatever reason (if you can’t sleep or something!) then they’re here. Sometimes they’ll be the full text of the sermon, sometimes just a set of notes which I’ll try and make legible for you.  Please feel free to download and read them and then add any comments you want on the blog.

So if you click on the link below, you’ll get a Word document with the sermon I preached yesterday on John 2:1-11, the story of Jesus turning water into wine.  Please especially tell me if the link doesn’t work – this is all a bit new to me!

Water into Wine sermon

Update: The best way to do this (quite probably the only way) is to right click on the link and then select “Save link as…” or the equivalent in your browser.  This will then let you save this wherever you choose and read it to your heart’s content!

Posted by Stephen in Preaching, Sunday services, Yesterday's sermon, 0 comments

A musical dilemna

Due to the time other people need to have the order of service (in order to prepare Powerpoint etc.) I normally choose the songs and hymns for our service on a Thursday.  However, it’s not very often that the sermon is written by this point.

(I should say here that I like the songs and hymns, especially the ones immediately around the sermon) to have some kind of thematic connection to the sermon.  Not that they have to exactly tally with the sermon’s theme, but that there should be some connection there.)

Normally this isn’t a problem as I know roughly the direction the sermon will be heading in.  Sometimes I have to guess, as it’s still not clear by this point what the overall theme of the sermon will be.

This week, I thought by the time it came to song-choosing time that I knew where the sermon was headed, what the main theme was about.  So I chose the song that immediately followed the sermon to fit closely with that theme (“Meekness and Majesty”) and duly e-mailed off the order of service.

The trouble is… the sermon is now about something quite different!  So that song doesn’t fit in particularly well – but it’s too late to change it.  So the options are:

  1. I come up with some extraordinarily convoluted way of linking sermon and song
  2. We just sing it and never mind any mental gymnastics to make it “fit”.

Option 2 sounds the best to me…

Posted by Stephen in Behind the scenes, Sunday services, 1 comment

Updating the blog…

Hello,

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here for a little while (save for that post the other day about Beyond 400 – go and see it if you haven’t already).  Anyway, I’m trying to get back into this and, as part of that, I’m updating the blog to try and make it look a bit fresher and nicer.  You know how it is when you haven’t seen something for a while; you see all the things that need changing.  So please bear with me and I’ll hopefully have it looking really quite super soon!

(Oh and don’t worry about the random images at the top – I’ll change those for something more meaningful…)

(Oh, oh and don’t forget to visit my personal blog for non-Greenfield related stuff.)

Posted by Stephen in Blog news, 0 comments

Beyond 400

Beyond 400 is a new site that started properly yesterday.  It’s a place for all the discussions about the future of Baptists in Great Britain (and especially BUGB), a conversation that has become especially significant following BUGB’s realisation that it may have a significant deficit in its finances.

There’s only one post on there at the moment (along with comments, such as those by some minister called Stephen…), but it’s already looking like some very thought-provoking ideas will be appearing there as time goes on.  So, if anyone’s reading this blog and is interested in our wider Baptist life, then it’s definitely worth keeping tabs on the developing conversation(s) there.

Posted by Stephen in Baptist life, 0 comments

This Sunday (10 January)

Hello and a Happy New Year to you!

For those that can make it through the ice and snow this Sunday (and I completely understand if you can’t), I hope you’ll feel rewarded with what I hope will be a special service.  It is our Covenant Service, where we renew our promises to serve God and each other in the context of our life together at Greenfield Church.  As well as making those promises, we’ll be thinking a bit about what it means to do so, what it asks of us and the character of the God to whom we belong.  If you want to know the passages we’ll be thinking about, they are:

Isaiah 43:1-7

Acts 8:14-17

Luke 3:15-22

Please don’t forget that the following Sunday 17th) is our next church meeting.  Please make every effort to come to that if you can, as it will mark the start of what I hope will be a very significant period of thinking, praying, reflecting and praying over the next few months leading up to our AGM in May.  I’ll tell you more this Sunday – another incentive for you to brave the Arctic conditions and come (but, please, don’t take any unnecessary risks to do so.)

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Hello, it’s me

… I’m back.  Many apologies for not having blogged here in agggeeesss, but hoping to correct that now with a sort of quick summary of stuff that you might want to know (mainly/especially if you’re a Greenfield church member – a Greenfielder?)

Firstly, Northern Baptist Learning Community (formerly Northern Baptist College, where I study) are posting throughout Advent some readings and prayers.  The idea of this is to encourage all those linked with the Learning Community to be praying together throughout Advent.  The prayers and readings are on the front page of the site, and there are links to the readings from the New Revised Standard Version.

Secondly, did you know that the UK is the only country in Europe to lock up the children of asylum seekers?  Most of these are under 5s and none have committed any crime.  A group of MPs recently criticised the government for this and the lack of definite figures or information on the children’s welfare.

The Joint Public Issues Team, a group set up jointly by the Baptist Union, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church to campaign and bring a Christian voice to issues such as this, is calling on all those who feel strongly about this to send One More Christmas Card to Phil Woolas MP, the minister for immigration.  These cards are to wish him a happy Christmas but also to call on him to end this practice.  Full details of what to do are on the website.

Thirdly, as I mentioned on Sunday, our Carol Service this year is going to be on Saturday 19th December.  The idea behind this is to make it possible for as many people as possible to come to the service.  As part of this, could you think of someone you’d like to invite?  If you invited someone to Back To Church Sunday in September, why not invite them to the Carol Service?  I hope there’ll be some invitations available from Sunday for you to take, so please do take one (or more!) and help make this a really special, community event.

Finally, you may have been expecting me to be preaching on Sunday, particularly if you’ve a copy of the rota.  However, it’s not; Ralph has very, very kindly offered to take the service so that I can get on with the essay that’s looming large on the horizon and also begin getting the Christmas services I’m taking ready.  So that’s why it won’t be more; I’m not shirking – honest!!

Posted by Stephen in events, Greenfield Events, 0 comments

Holiday time…

As I mentioned on Sunday, the Smith family is making it’s great adventure down south for a week and a bit on Saturday.  We’ll miss you while we’re away and hope you enjoy what Ralph and Bob Cartledge have to say over the next two Sundays.

While we’re away, though, please please don’t forget Back to Church Sunday!  Please remember to think and pray about who you’re going to invite on September 27 and then bring back your pledge cards so we get an idea of how many visitors we’re going to have.

And please be praying for the day itself.  There’s a lot to plan and not a lot of timne to do it in.  Be thinking and praying about what we do as a church: are we as welcoming as we’d like to be?  What do we do in our services that will help people feel welcome and encounter God?  What might we need to change or do differently?

I’m open to any ideas: drop a note through my door, send me an e-mail, leave a comment on this blog (and remember you can respond to any of the posts on this blog) or bend my ear when we get back.  I can’t promise we’ll do everything, but I hope together we can make those who are coming to church on that day to feel welcome and comfortable – welcome and comfortable enough to join us again and again.

And we’ll see you when we get back!

Posted by Stephen in Greenfield Events, Sunday services, 1 comment

This Sunday – 2 August

First of all, welcome to the new blog!  Hope you like it and the new look (for which I can take no credit!)

This Sunday will be a little different from most.  As it’s our Communion service, we’re going to be thinking about Communion itself: why it’s important, what’s so special about it.  As I’ve said during the last two Sundays, it’d be great if you could come having thought aboust some of these things for yourself: not just the “right” answers, but what you think.  The text for this will be the passage which includes the words of institution we say during every Communion service: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

Also, don’t be shocked if the church is set out slightly differently!

Secondly, we’re going to be thinking about Back To Church Sunday.  I did talk about this at the Church Meeting last week, but I know a lot of you couldn’t be there; plus, the technology let us down!  Hopefully that’ll all be up and running for Sunday (you don’t escape that easily!), so we should be able to watch a short DVD and have a think about what this important Sunday is all about.  I’ll hopefully put up some more information on thios blog as well – so eyes peeled!

Posted by Stephen in Sunday services, 0 comments

This Sunday

Just a reminder about what’s happening this Sunday.  At 6pm, we’ve our joint service with the other churches from Churches Together in Urmston.  This is happening outside, in the car park – so pray for sunshine!!  It’ll be followed by a family barbecue.  It should be a great sertvice; Ralph has been working really hard on it and has managed to get the Salvation Army band to come and play for us (I think the offer of food helped!), so it’s definitely something to look forward to.

See you there!

Because of this, we’re not having our normal 10:45 service.  So if you turn up to church then, you’ll be the only one.  Instead, Ralph is leading a Communion service at 9:30, so try and be there for that.

I’ve was going round the houses around church yesterday giving out invitations to people in the area to come.  And what surprised me was that most, if not all, people were very pleased to be given an invitation to come.  I hope as many as possible of them do come.  But even if they don’t, it’s just refreshing that people weren’t openly hostile towards the idea of being invited to a church service.  I think we can get a bit paranoid about how people see us and I was definitely nervous before going out yesterday.  But I think if we give the impression that we’re not out to judge or condemn people, but that we actually quite like them and want to show them something incredibly positive – the love of God shown through Christ – then we’ve perhaps a little less to fear than we might think.

I don’t think this means everything will be plain sailing and people will always respond positively to what we say – Jesus certainly didn’t promise us that.  But it’s good that people are open to this and willing to give us a chance.

Posted by Stephen in Greenfield Events, Sunday services, 0 comments