Click here to view the Sunday Morning Service on 18th October from 10:30am led by Mrs Margaret Preece. The theme is 'Build Each Other Up' and the appointed readings for the day are Matthew 22: 14-22 and 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10.
Click here to join the 'Live ZOOM Service' on 18th October at 6pm prompt led by Mary and Andrew Barraclough.
Meeting ID: 270 944 3433
Please note we have a new security system for Zoom. You will now enter a 'waiting room' until the host of the meeting allows you to join.
Remembrance Sunday is not just a time of remembering the fallen of past wars, both soldiers and civilians and their families. It is also a time to remember those who serve in today's armed forces and their families and those civilians and their families who are caught up in conflicts. To ignore the present, today's complex issues around the world stores up more dangers for both our future and the futures of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thinking of the past should help us to prepare for the future.
At this time of Remembrance I am reminded of when I had the privilege to be the civilian Chaplain to one of the Army Air Corps. An elite group of soldiers whose task it was to maintain and fly the army's tactical Helicopters.
Due to the fact that the Corp had been in Northern Ireland we were unable to join in Civil or Civic services, so a Remembrance service had to be held on base, in fact it was in one of the aircraft hangers. Me being me I like to do things differently and at heart I am a pacifist, so my talk was about what normally causes wars/arguments, greed of one description or another and peace. As part of the talk, which was levelled at the children, but aimed at the adults, I used a birthday cake which I cut into 12 pieces. I gave a piece to 12 of the children and asked the others if it was fair — the response for those who had nothing was that it wasn't, we delved into how things could be made more equal. Sharing was one response, taking was another, which I equated to war. So if we share the things that we can we should reduce the probability of many wars taking — I know it is often more complex than that but if you start with the simple things you at least reduce the number if trigger points and can work on the more complex before they turn in to wars. The CO after the service told me that it was a service to remember in more than one way. You see as part of my talk I put a sparkler in the cake and lit it. Over my head was a sign saying no naked flames and behind me were two fully fuelled helicopter's dripping aviation fuel, as they often do (everybody except the padre had been searched for matches). All the soldiers soon sussed out where the fire extinguishers and also listened intently and watched my every action to make sure that I didn't pose any more risks — there's always a way to get people's attention if you try hard enough. After that I was always known as 3M's — the mad Methodist minister
The then Commanding Officer, though, saw no real need for a Chaplain to be attached to his barracks, as none of the soldiers under his command had any problems. This was probably true, especially after his experience of me, because the only time I was called in to the base, at the request of a soldier, was when a squaddie from another barracks (normally one of the Infantry or Light Artillery Corps.) was being held on detention in our Guard Room.
The Commanding Officer though was only looking at and concerned with the needs of the Soldiers and ignored the needs of the families, the civilian side of Corp. Most of my work on the base revolved around the wives and the children and never more so than when the three Squadrons that made up the Corp. were despatched to Bosnia as part of the Peace Keeping Forces. Daily despatches, weekly video links didn't quell the anxiety that was felt in and around the base. The children, in the base school, and the wives left behind were all anxious for news of dads and husbands. There was a depressive air about the base, especially when news of a Helicopter going down was reported on the news. The men missed home but in general they were kept too busy to get depressed about it. The same I am sure applies to the families of those service men and women who are on active duties in today's world even though in general they tend to be on peace keeping manoeuvres.
This situation of people leaving friends and families behind to go to pastures new is no different in everyday life than it was/is for soldiers going on active manoeuvres. As with military families, it is the ones who are left behind that carry the heaviest burdens. When friends move to a new community it is those who are left behind that have a hole to fill in their lives. When children go off to University, it is the family left behind, especially Mum, that frets and misses the presence of the young person. Those that have moved on often have too much to occupy them to get lonely. The various Chaplains (Forces, Hospital, Prison, University, Industrial etc.) when needed and asked provide the service of meeting the Spiritual, emotional and practical needs of people in specific situations. Like the Commanding Officer of the base though many people don't see the need for the Church or often even for a faith in their everyday life. The Church in our Community be it the Parish Church, the Methodist Church or indeed any Faith Community is there not just for those who attend and are part of it, but for everybody. It is and always should be there for those who need it, when they need it.
The Gospels (the Good News) of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible tell us about Jesus meeting the needs of people wherever they were, whenever they came to him for help and whoever they were, if they came in genuine need. These people were ordinary people like you or I, with everyday problems. Concern for family members who were ill, people who were depressed, those who were ostracised by society, the marginalised, the stranger and even his enemies. Jesus met them in their need then and still meets us in our need today, if we will let him.
God bless you all.
Rev Ron Hicks
Then he said to them, 'Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's.' (v. 21)