For any minister preaching your very first sermon is a nerve-wracking experience. After that it gets more difficult.
The College of Preachers, to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary – a good few years ago now – carried out a survey to discover what people think about sermons. The results were surprising. Far from dreading having to sit through sermons apparently 96.6 per cent of those surveyed actually look forward to the sermon. Which is encouraging for me as I stand here facing you this morning!
But what I found particularly interesting, and it’s rather appropriate during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, was the report’s findings on the expectations of people in different denominations.Continue reading
I don’t know whether any of you know St. Leonard’s on Sea, but if you do you will probably know the church on the sea front after which the place is named.
I visited the church many years ago when I was doing a placement nearby, during my Church Army training, at the Youth Centre in Bexhill. And the church has always remained in my mind because of its pulpit. The church was destroved by a V1 flying bomb in 1944 and soon afterwards, Canon Cuthbert Griffiths, the Rector of the church and who would later oversee the rebuilding, had a dream. He dreamt that Jesus was preaching to the church’s congregation from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Soon afterwards he went to Galilee, and bought the front half of a fishing boat – he had it brought back and installed it in the rebuilt church as the pulpit.
And there it is – the front half of a boat, protruding from the wall of the church. And so, just as Jesus had preached from a boat on the Sea of Galilee, so the clergy of the parish could preach from a boat. And week by week, the people of the parish would be reminded of this incident in Luke’s Gospel, when Jesus taught from the boat and called Simon Peter to fish for people.Continue reading
Last Sunday was the last Sunday after Trinity. However, as an option we are allowed to keep it as Bible Sunday. I was a little naughty and changed the gospel reading from that set to Luke 5.1-11 for reasons which are apparent in the sermon.
Kitchen cupboards. Useful things, aren’t they.
When our new vicarage was built the diocese put some very nice cupboards into the new kitchen. And in the corners we’ve got those cupboards that go around the corner and have those really nifty doors that fold so that they open and close easily. When I was growing up we didn’t have any food cupboards in the kitchen at all. We didn’t have a fridge, either, until I was a teenager. We had a pantry instead. But with the invention of kitchen cupboards and fridges, pantries and larders no longer have a place in the typical home of today.
Kitchen cupboards are just perfect for storing away all kinds of tins and packets until you need them. Now, the great thing about the pantry that we had when I was young was that everything was on open shelves, and you could see it all. There’s an inherent problem with kitchen cupboards. You might, of course, be highly organised and know exactly what you’ve got in yours. But if you’re like most people then unless you only line up tins and packets along the very front of the cupboard shelves then stuff starts to get lost or forgotten at the back. Fridges are just the same. And sometimes stuff can sit at the back of the kitchen cupboard for years. And corner cupboards are the worst of all, because trying to reach to the back corner – especially on the top shelf – is downright physically impossible. Continue reading
Just as things are getting back to normal following Christmas, Epiphany and post-Christmas week off, I find myself ‘playing away’ at St Paul’s Church in Woldingham. St Paul’s is in our team and is currently in interregnum. There were two baptisms in the service as well!
For any minister preaching your very first sermon is a nerve-wracking experience. After that it gets more difficult. Continue reading