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Encouraging Holy Habits

At the beginning of June we will celebrate Pentecost, the moment when the first disciples began to realise that inspired by the Holy Spirit they could create a God-shaped, Christ-centred, Spirit-led community. Amongst the ways they did, was to get into the habit of meeting together for teaching, fellowship, communion and prayer, as a result of which they experienced generous giving, kindly service, growing fellowships, shared meals and worshipful lives. These essentials of Christian Community have not changed over the years, but sometimes we think we can opt in and out of some habits and still feel like we belong. In doing so we do God a dis-service.

Over the summer months I intend exploring these Holy Habits and the way that belonging to the body of Christ has always involved  all these elements. Asking how we can help and encourage one another to continue this tradition and in doing so enhance our own discipleship creating God-shaped, Christ-centred, Spirit-led communities that serve God well and honour the inheritance we have been given.

Alongside these Holy Habits we will explore the story of biblical disciples; Barnabas who encouraged, Mary who learned, Hannah who prayed, Martha who welcomed, Mary Magdalene who witnessed – how can we be encouraged, learn, pray, welcome and witness? What are the habits we do well? What new habits must we form? What does it mean to be disciples in the 21st Century?

As a Collect for the feast of Barnabas says, “Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well­being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

Be blessed, Craig

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Minister

Easter Hope

I’ve just come home from an AGM that focused on hope, it told inspirational stories whilst knowing the harsh reality of human life, yet looked forward to the future; that spoke of hope as part of the human condition, as a partner that walks through life with us; that throws open its arms and welcomes; that transforms our lives and speaks our language.

This is the hope that we speak about at Easter with death overcome, love conquering hate, the opportunity to begin life afresh, to tell inspirational stories, to be overcome by God’s spirit bursting into tired, frightened lives – the language of transformation that creates a culture of hope even where we struggle to believe that such things can happen.

The inspirational AGM was hosted by Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, looking back at the work of the last year, listening to refugee stories that burst with emotion. That reminded us of human inhumanity, whether in the places they flee or within the bureaucracies to which they come. They spoke of communities torn apart and of people piecing life back together. They gave us hope and they looked to the future as a hope-filled journey. For CRMC that journey is going to take them into a new centre, this year they will move from Bishop Street to Norton House, renovating a tired building, creating modern office space and a community hub that will welcome those in need and encourage integration into this city which has such a long history of welcoming the stranger. To do that they will need financial help and have launched an appeal which can be found at http://covrefugee.org. The theme of the appeal and the years ahead is Hope.

In this Easter season it was good to remember that hope comes in many forms, to many people. That where we engender hope then we build new lives. As we tell this Easter story we do so in the love of Christ who transforms lives by opening our capacity to hope and calls us to speak the language of hope.

be blessed

Craig