August 2019

Friday, 19 July 2019 04:40 Be the first to comment!

"Holy Wells ....."

Dear Friends,

Churches in different places take on different characteristics, partly because of where they are, partly because of their history, and partly because of who is attracted to the way each church seeks to live out its relationship with God.

So what sort of churches are those of the Fellside Team? What is it that makes them the special places that they are? They are hallowed places of prayer and worship, mostly ancient, with Goosnargh going back before 1086 when the Domesday Book recorded a ‘priest in Gosenagh’. They are cherished parts of our communities, with families who can trace their history in the community and church for hundreds of years – clergy are just fly-by-nights however long we stay! You can tell how cherished they are by how well they and their churchyards are cared for.

For my part, I think of them as holy wells where people come to do business with God. The congregation and PCC may have responsibility for looking after them but they belong to the community, a focal point for the spiritual dimension of it. Some come to do business with God daily, some each week, some regularly but less often, some for high days and holy days, some for life’s major events, and some only when they know no-one else will be there – just them and God.

If that is a reasonable way of thinking about our churches, then a follow-on thought is about how we might encourage people as they seek to do business with God. One of the simplest things that we do is to keep our churches open so folk can always pop in and take those quiet moments in prayer and contemplation when that is what they need.

Exploring that spiritual dimension of life is vital if we are to be fully human, each of us with a unique spark of the divine within. Recently I’ve been encouraged to think about new ways in which we can do that – new ways we can explore our spirituality, and in doing so encounter God more deeply and richly. If you are interested, look out for publicity about the Spirituality events we will be holding from time to time.

God Bless,

Rev’d Stephen Cooper


Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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