St Thomas' Brampton and St Peter's Holymoorside, Chesterfield
Rector's Letter February 1992-January 1993
Our vision statement: Sharing the love of Jesus
Previous letters since 1980
The Rector's letter is printed in each edition of the
From the Curate
DO NOT FEAR, FOR I AM WITH YOU (Isaiah 41:10)
All of us are afraid of something. If we're honest we may even admit it. The fears maybe small enough to ignore most of the time, or so strong that they paralyse our thinking, trusting and loving.
We may be afraid of spiders, snakes, mice, dentists, the dark, the wind, flying, hospitals, injections, failure, loneliness - of almost anything. Many are afraid of death, although we may try to hide the fear beneath humour, like Woody Allen who said, "It's not that I'm afraid of death - I just don't want to be there when it happens!"
Our motto this year speaks to all those fears. God says, "Do not fear, for I am with you". The same assurance comes countless times in scripture. God wants continually to assure his people of his presence with them, and his loving care for them. We can be sure the promise applies to us too, for almost the last thing Jesus said was, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age".
As we learn to trust God with our fears and anxieties, we will come to the point where we can echo the words of Psalm 23 : "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."
So be honest with God about your fears. Tell him about them and then meditate on his wonderful promise to be with us, and on his great love for us. For perfect love casts out fear.
February 1992 edition
of the magazine
From the Rector
We talk freely about being not just a Church but a Church Family. We hold Family Services. Sometimes, people tell me there is a family "feel" about our Churches.
This is great for a lot of people. There are, however, those for whom it is unhelpful. Some find that the very mention of "family" is painful. Some keep away because they assume you are only welcome if you attend with your family Mum, Dad and children a most unfortunate misunderstanding.
Despite this, I want to encourage the continued use of the family concept. For a start, it is so much needed in a world crying out for loving, meaningful relationships. The very people who find it painful are those who stand to gain most from it. So, we welcome into the family, as warmly as we can, the disadvantaged, single, lonely, divorced, widowed......
Secondly, it is so true to God's character. He is our Father. The community of faith are all His children, and therefore brothers and sisters. His outgoing, welcoming love should be our greatest characteristic the family likeness.
The more we become a real family, the more we shall find people wanting to join.
April 1992 edition
of the magazine
From the Rector
June 21st is Gift Day. It's a chance to show God that we really appreciate all that lie has given to us. A chance to thank Him and to show that we love Him - in a practical way.
Please read and ponder on the constitutions in this issue by Alan Wilson (St. John s Church Centre Project Co-ordinator) and Carol Woodward (Treasurer). This is a major venture of faith. It will open up immense opportunities for the growing Church of St. John's. It costs a lot - but every pound will be worth it, if it extends the Kingdom of God.
(Note: the Gift Day raised £97,000)
It is hard to over emphasise the extent of Phil Johnson's service to St. Thomas' as Church Warden. It has always been humble, thorough, efficient, laced with humour, wonderfully supported by Myra and often unnoticed by most of us. We say a big thank you, knowing Phil Myra will continue to give their all in serving their Lord and His Church.
Phil has two key posts still: Chair of the Finance Committee and - a new post - Estates Manager.
At St. John's, David Jarvis finished his 3 year term of office as warden. David has shown many of Phil's qualities - not least in having Joan as his Myra - and he too will continue to serve in other ways.
We are well served - thank God.
June 1992 edition
of the magazine
From the Curate -Jonathan Jee
As I look back on the last four years here, I am full gratitude to God for leading me to this parish for my curacy. It has been an exciting time to be part of the churches here, with all three growing both in numbers and in spiritual depth.
I will long remember the variety in worship (old and new, quiet and exuberant, formal and informal), the joy of all ages being well represented Sunday by Sunday, the energy of CYFA and the searching questions raised in Christian Basics groups.
Particular highlights have been the Billy Graham Livelink at Queen's Park, the CYFA Ventures in the Lake District, the joy of the gift days, the Christians in Sport event at the Terminus, the annual confirmation services and the way we celebrate Christmas and Easter.
I praise God for the growing concern for mission, both in the parish and throughout the world, and for the very real love for each other that is evident in each congregation.
Although others may see our churches as "successful", I know that we are aware how much further there is to go. In particular I pray that all of us will grow in these three areas:
There is plenty of activity in all three churches as we work at building the Kingdom of God. However "unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain f (Ps 127:1). It is therefore of first importance that our churches are praying churches.
God calls us to love him with our minds as well as our hearts, soul and strength. It follows that we must think hard about how God's timeless truth applies to our modern world. This means that we must know the scriptures well, and understand the main concerns of our society.
God has given us a glorious gospel to proclaim. Paul tells us that we are all Christ s ambassadors. We must therefore work hard at finding ways to speak about the gospel as well as living it out at home, work and leisure.
We will be praying that the churches here will continue to grow, and that God will be glorified as a result.
Please pray for us as we move to Hinckley. Do come and see us just invite yourselves over. Juliet and Thomas join me in thanking you for the love you have shown to us and for all that you have taught us about living the Christian life. We praise God for you all and thank him for these years here.
With much love
August 1992 edition
of the magazine
From the Curate -Brian Porter
This is the letter in the last edition of 'Spearhead'. The magazine is being renamed.
My diary is the kind that has a quotation for every day. One recent quotation caught my eye. It said "Tomorrow is the day all the lazy-bones of this world are going to be terribly busy". The message is clear and very perceptive. Many of us operate on the basis of putting off until tomorrow the things we should be doing today. It becomes a habit to the extent that really important things get left until perhaps it's too late to do anything about them.
A great number of people treat God like that. They know somehow it's important to find out what He says about life, and they have every intention of getting round to asking Him - but today has too much in it, and so it s put off until tomorrow.
I once heard of the various stages of life expressed in this way:
Christ comes to a person in early life. They say to Him,
it's too early. I have so many things to think about before I settle down and take You seriously.
Christ tries again in middle life. They say to Him,
I am too busy. I have a family and a career; so many things Till my life. I will think of You later.
Christ tries again in later life. They say to Him,
I am too old to change my ways. I can't think clearly enough.
And then comes death.
It is too late.
It may be that some reading this letter are like this, putting off any thoughts of God until later. Will you recognise how quickly life slips away from us, almost without us realising it? Will you acknowledge the danger of putting off until it is too late any thoughts about turning to Christ in repentance and faith.
There is a verse in the book of Jeremiah which says "The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved". If this speaks to you of your condition and you want to know more about getting right with God you can ring one of the numbers listed at the end of the magazine or simply drop in to church and introduce yourself to us.
Don't put it off until tomorrow!
Yours in Christ
October 1992 edition
of the magazine
December 1992/January 1993
This is the Rector's Letter in the first edition of 'Ploughshare', the renamed church magazine.
our old magazine has been retired, after a varied, effective, award winning career.
The search has been on for a successor with a less aggressive and, possibly, racist image. A review group considered 28 different titles, suggested by members of the Church family, before settling on 'Ploughshare' which came into contention by courtesy of the Editor's sister.
So we have a new identity. During 1993, we aim to produce an improved - even better! -magazine to go with the new title. Changes will come gradually, but we hope for better presentation, greater variety, more effective communication. It can be a vital tool in furthering God's work in our parish and beyond.
Ploughshares are mentioned in the Bible when the prophet Isaiah foretells the "last days" to be brought into being by the Prince of Peace:
"They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks". (Isaiah 2:4).
It's a beautiful picture. Weapons of violence become instruments of usefulness, as war gives way to peace.
It would be good if our magazine could be a ploughshare in our Lord's farming equipment, preparing the ground (by getting us thinking, anticipating, praying....) for the seed to be planted (God's Word in our minds and hearts).
Have a truly peaceful Christmas
December 1992 edition
of the magazine
Rector's Letters 1993