Tag Archives: Church

Yesterday was the first day of Advent (although I'm already three four five days into my advent calendar - quit judging, I was hungry yeh).

I wanted to write something poetic about the start of the Season of Goodwill celebrating Christ becoming a Man and all that jazz. I wanted to describe the poignant symbolism and candlemonium (yes it is a real word) of the Christingle service at church. Something about how I love the unity of standing in a circle holding candles stuck in oranges, slowly passing on the flame. Something about how Jesus being the Light of the World by which the darkness is conquered makes so much more sense when the flickering flame of the candle helps you to see your brothers and sisters on the far side of the room. I wanted to segway into a Narnia reference and then end it all with a sweet scripture from one of the prophets about the coming of the King establishing peace and justice.

But I don’t have the words - maybe once I've put in my 10,000 hours I will. Instead, you know what They say - when in doubt, C. S. Lewis quote it out...

On the incarnation

The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man—a real man of a particular height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many stone. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a Woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.

From Mere Christianity 

Happy Advent y'all.

Christingle service at St Peter's Bethnal Green

Today was the church AGM (social highlight of the year obvs). Maybe not the easiest of things of follow (accounts completely baffle me) but important all the same. During the Q & A section a friend turned to me and said “What do you want to see Rach?”
I gave my standard answer when my head is empty but full of wondering what exactly the implications are of  the restricted and unrestricted funds section of the accounts – “Good question. I’m not sure, haven't thought about it that much.” Which to be honest isn't the whole truth. I know what I want to see in the Church as a whole, but I’d never really thought about what I wanted to see in my local church. 
Which is kinda lazy and crazy (check tha’ rhymes) given that one of the reasons I chose to attend St Peter’s was because I believe in the vision of the church. But I guess part of that was me signing on to someone else’s vision. Which is strange because I have a million and five opinions on what I think the Church should look like, and yes, some of these opinions definitely contradict (keeping track of a million and five opinions is hard work).
So what do I want to see?

It’s simple really - Love. 

I want to see a community of people who Love.

Love God, love each other & love those in our community.

Love that is patient and kind. Love that is not jealous, or boastful or proud or rude. Love that does not demand its own way. Love that is not irritable or counts when it has been wronged. Love that rejoices in truth and justice. Love that never gives up or loses faith. Love that endures through every circumstance.  

An all encompassing love that is good news to the poor, comforts the broken hearted and sets captives free. 

I want to see a people who give freely, serve joyfully and worship faithfully.

A family where all are welcomed and no-one is left out. 
A family who rejoices with you in times of celebration. 
A family who helps carry you when you’re in a valley and all is dark.
A family who is right beside you through all seasons of life.

In other words I want to see a church that looks more like Jesus and less like the rest of us. 
So the challenge to myself is am I one of those people? Am I contributing to the Church I want to see?
Not always.
But the great thing is that there’s always an opportunity to start.
Shoutout to one of the YWAM crew for the photo.

So a couple of weeks ago I spent the day down at Tearfund HQ in deepest darkest South West London (Teddington) with the Tearfund communications team and a bunch of other people who love Jesus and write and blog and draw things.

It was a really interesting day despite a bad start (getting up late, running for the train, getting off two stops too early, waiting half an hour for the next train and then walking in the completely wrong direction from the train station – a good sense of direction is not my spiritual gift).

We spent the day talking with various Tearfund staff about their work and about digital communication. To which I concluded:
  1.   Tearfund are doing a great job
  2.   I should probs join twitter (follow me @rachsherlyh)

One of the things I learned was that Tearfund is all about resourcing the local church. The majority of their work is carried out in conjunction with local partners and churches. As someone who works for a charity that resources churches to start and run foodbanks, and as someone who believes that local community is more important and powerful than we realise, quite why I have never thought about church and community and international development is beyond me. But now that I have thought about it, I realise it's probs the way forward.

So for the last few months I’ve been saying that I need to get a new phone (the one I have is slowly falling apart) but haven’t been able to work out what phone I wanted, until recently...

It seems like everyone has an iphone. Everywhere I go I see people elegantly and silently typing out text messages on their touch screen while I’m still having to press the ‘9’ key four times just to write the letter z, and don’t get me started on having to be patient when using a word with too many m, n or o’s in it (first world problem or what?!). “There’s an App for that” is a phrase I’m beginning to hear all too often. It began to seem that all my problems would be fixed if I had an iphone. Now, I’ve never been concerned about having the latest technology (I got an ipod for Christmas a few years ago and had to be told what it was) and tend to avoid anything with a ridiculous amount of buttons or settings, but for some reason I decided that an iphone was the way to go.

So over lunch at Tearfund we were chatting about various things when the conversation landed on technology. I tried to keep up, I really did, but I didn’t understand half of what was said. My confusion must have been obvious because one of the guys turned to me and asked if I was a techie (I presumed he meant was I into technology not was I a Star Trek fan – but maybe that’s trekkie instead? Anyone know?). To which I replied “No, I only use what I have to and avoid the rest.” 

And just like that I realised that I didn’t need an iphone. I think I had begun to believe the lie that because nearly everyone (it seems) has one I probably needed one too or that it would make my life easier (because my life is so hard as it is!). And that realisation completely cured me of wanting an iphone. I am now content to use my current phone until it completely gives up on me. Thank you Tearfund.