Magazine articles December 2019

Dear Friends

 

The Book of Genesishas two creation stories. In the first, after each day, God looks upon what he has made and saw that it was ‘good’. After the sixth day’s work God looks at everything and it was ‘very good’. The story is not science but a story that proclaims, amongst much else, the beauty, wonder and intrinsic holiness of Creation. There is more. Uniquely (as far as we know), humans are made in the image of God Himself.In the fullness of time, in an outpouring of God’s love, God became human flesh, became part of his Creation, in Jesus of Nazareth. This is called the Incarnation and is a further affirmation of the very goodness of Creation and the unique part of humanity in it.

 

We have no idea what Jesus looked like, his shape, looks, size, complexion and rightly so. Artists from all cultures have depicted Jesus as ‘one of their own’, because he came for all, stands for all, he was and is one of us. He is a sign of what we can become, our role model, whom we are all called to follow and imitate in our own setting.

 

God’s incarnation in Jesus is a further sign of the dignity and equality of everyone, rich or poor, black or white, straight or gay, able bodied or not, old or young, law abiding or criminal… There are real differences, but all humans are in God’s image. Jesus is to be looked upon and found in all. What helps sink this into me is to  contemplate the many parts and roles that Jesus lived: refugee, dutiful son, precocious boy, carpenter, friend, pupil, leader,teacher, doctor, prophet, a man of his time and nation, Jew,citizen of a repressive occupied nation.

 

Such thoughts help me to see Jesus in everyone, and to identify with him. They help me to feel and know that there is essentially no ‘us and them’, only ‘we’, wonderfully different and unique. To think and us and them is a human made distortion of the nature and goodness of God’s creation of people. Yes, it can be very hard to see and treat others with respect and love. But the message of Christmas and to follow Jesus is to do so, most clearly seen in his dying for us all on the Cross, drawing all people, all creation to himself.

 

We all have a difficult responsibility and privilege on the 12th to cast our vote to elect our MP and Parliament from which our Government will be largely formed. Whatever else, please do consider the Christian message of the equality and essential dignify, yet fragility of everyone and all that God has made. Which candidate, which manifesto, which party will best serve all people, the world over, and the whole of creation with the love of God, and in its work most affirm the dignify and goodness of all people and all things.

 

May Advent, Christmas and Epiphany be for you a joyful, thought provoking, fruitful time, and please pray for all of our candidates offering themselves to serve, and after the election, those elected to represent us, and those who will govern us.

 

James

 

 

 

Night Shelter/Oldham Street Angels Project

 

This is a collaborative project involving the Town Centre Chaplaincy’s Street Angels and churches in Oldham to work together to provide a bed for those who are homeless/rough sleeping.  It offers overnight facilities and will run from October until June as part of the GM Mayor’s homeless initiative.

 

The project would welcome additional volunteers who can assist in the morning with breakfasts, in the evening with meal preparation and overnight. The project is at Impact Church, Oldham and is a sign of our churches’ working togetheracross traditionson local issues. The project takes a holistic approach to the problem of homelessness as health, employability, social and emotional matters impact on lives. It is valued by Oldham Council, GMP, NHS and a variety of community organisations. This is one of many quiet ways in which the church is making a difference.

Jean Hurlston- Curate, Oldham Parish Church

 

Some dates you might not have?

 

Festival of Light December 4th 6.00pm Queen Elizabeth Hall

Organised by Oldham Interfaith Forum.

This is an event presented and to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Further information from James

 

Churches Together in Royton Joint Service at St Anne’s

Thursday 16th January 6.45pm

Please come along, all are welcome

This is our Service for the Annual Worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

It is St Anne’s turn to host it. Please come along to help members of other churches feel welcome and worship together, united.

 

Guided Prayer Group

Friday 17th January 3.00 – 4.30pm at St Mark’s

Please come along and give it a try. All are welcome.