The Vicar writes … November

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Latest Accessibility News

LATEST ACCESSIBILITY NEWS!

We are in the process of raising funds for a better ramp and improved toilet facilities in St Mary’s Church, which will make life much easier for parents with push chairs and small children, as well as those with sight and mobility problems. The ramp will make it possible for everyone to enter through the same door safely. Improved access to the toilet and baby-changing facilities will give everyone the dignity they deserve.

Here is the latest news on the Church Ramp Appeal (December 2017) …

A BIG THANK YOU to those who have already contributed to the Church Ramp Appeal since it was launched in June. We have now received £12,755 to add to the £8,842 committed by the PCC’s Capital Projects Fund. When we add in the amount we shall receive back from the Government under the Gift Aid Scheme, and a small amount of interest, we have effectively reached £24,615. However we still have some way to go to reach the £35,000 that the project is estimated to cost.

We are applying to various funding bodies for grants, and will still welcome any contributions from members of the public. Cheques (made payable to Riddlesden PCC Reserve Account) can be sent c/o The Vicarage, St Mary’s Road, Riddlesden BD20 5PA

We are pleased to announce that work on the accessibility ramp and disabled toilet is due to start the week beginning 8th January 2018, and should be completed by Easter.

For further information please get in touch with the Vicar, Canon Tony Walker, by email at tonywalker153@outlook.com or by phone on 01535 665084.

Vicar’s Letter (November)

The Vicar writes …

Dear Friends

 

“History is bunk!” said Henry Ford, the founder of the car company that bears his name, in 1921.  That’s a bold and oft-quoted statement.  But it backs up what Henry Ford had said more carefully a few years earlier in 1916.  “History is more or less bunk.  It’s tradition.  We don’t want tradition.  We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we made today.”

So in this month of November, this month of Remembering, we ask ourselves
“What’s the point of Remembering?  What’s the point of History?”

On All Saints Day (1 November) we remember all the saints, known and unknown.  As the New Testament refers to all true believers as saints, this day gives us the opportunities to remember and honour all Christians both past and present.  But it also reminds us that we today are called to be “saints”, holy people, men, women and children through whom the light of Jesus Christ shines.

Guy Fawkes’ Night (5 November) originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state.  After Guy Fawkes hadf been caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords, the public were encouraged to celebrate the king’s survival with bonfires. 5 November was kept as a day of thanksgiving when everyone was expected to attend church and a new form of service was added to the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer, for use on that date.

For many people perhaps the most significant and poignant remembering takes place on 11 and 12 November, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Last year I was invited to speak to the 1403 (Retford) Squadron Air Cadets about the meaning of Remembrance.  I reminded the 35 young people that Remembrance Sunday commemorates not only the dead of the two World Wars but all those who have died in conflict since then.  I did my research and discovered that since the end of the Second World War 7,149 British military people have died on active service outside England, Wales and Scotland.  Last year (2016) was the first year since 1968 without a British soldier, sailor or airman being killed on operations; and 1968 was the only other year that has happened since the end of the Second World War.  Sadly 2017 was only two days old when a 22 year old soldier serving with 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment was killed at a military base in Iraq.  I have often wondered how many of those deaths might have been avoided if our political and military rulers had learned the lessons of history.

The last day of November is St Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s official national day and since 2006 an official bank holiday.  To start with this may seem to be of interest only to Scots.  But according to John’s Gospel Andrew was the first Christian evangelist.  On the very day when he first met Jesus, he went at once to his brother Simon Peter and told him “We have found the Messiah, the Christ”.  And then Andrew took his brother to Jesus.  The rest, as they say, is history!  That’s how the Church began!

Of course we Christians don’t want to live in the past.  But by being mindful of the past, and learning from the inspiration and example of those who have gone before us, we can both grow in our own faith and also introduce others to Jesus.

With best wishes

Tony Walker

 

Latest Accessibility News!

LATEST ACCESSIBILITY NEWS!

We are in the process of raising funds for a better ramp and improved toilet facilities in St Mary’s Church, which will make life much easier for parents with push chairs and small children, as well as those with sight and mobility problems. The ramp will make it possible for everyone to enter through the same door safely. Improved access to the toilet and baby-changing facilities will give everyone the dignity they deserve.

Here is the latest news on the Church Ramp Appeal (December 2017) …

A BIG THANK YOU to those who have already contributed to the Church Ramp Appeal since it was launched in June. We have now received £12,755 to add to the £8,842 committed by the PCC’s Capital Projects Fund. When we add in the amount we shall receive back from the Government under the Gift Aid Scheme, and a small amount of interest, we have effectively reached £24,615. However we still have some way to go to reach the £35,000 that the project is estimated to cost.

We are applying to various funding bodies for grants, and will still welcome any contributions from members of the public. Cheques (made payable to Riddlesden PCC Reserve Account) can be sent c/o The Vicarage, St Mary’s Road, Riddlesden BD20 5PA

We are pleased to announce that work on the accessibility ramp and disabled toilet is due to start the week beginning 8th January 2018, and should be completed by Easter.

For further information please get in touch with the Vicar, Canon Tony Walker, by email at tonywalker153@outlook.com or by phone on 01535 665084.

The Vicar writes … December 2018

The Vicar writes…

Christmas is coming!
Is that good news – something we look forward to – or bad news – something we dread?
Advent is a season of expectation and preparation, as Christians prepare to celebrate the coming (the Latin word is “adventus”) of Christ in his incarnation, and also look ahead to his final advent as judge at the end of time. The readings and liturgies we use over this period not only direct us towards Christ’s birth, they also challenge the modern reluctance to confront the theme of divine judgement.
This year we shall be singing on the Sundays in December a modern (well, 1990s!) hymn as we light the candles on the Advent Wreath. The hymn builds up with a new verse each week, until we reach the climax on Christmas Day. The refrain and first verse go like this:

“Christmas is coming”
the Church is glad to sing
and let the advent candles
brightly burn in a ring.

1    The first is for God’s promise
to put the wrong things right,
and bring to earth’s darkness
the hope of love and light.

That sets the scene, both for our joyful celebration of Christmas, and also for the challenge of what it means to believe and live out the good news that God is still involved in his world – that despite all the evidence to the contrary God is still working “to put the wrong things right, and bring to earth’s darkness the hope of love and light.”
You’ll have to come to church in December to find out the other verses!

As we look out over the world at the end of 2018 it’s easy to despair, both at what is going on in the wider world and in our own country. We thought the deprivation, devastation and loss of life during the First World War was bad enough – we’ve been reminded of that frequently this year. But the almost unimaginable horrors of war and starvation in Yemen (they say it may be the worst ever famine, and it is all preventable) is just the most shocking of so many horrors, not to mention what seem like more natural disasters than ever, and the chaos of Brexit. No wonder people cry out “Where is God in all of this?”
One way of answering that question, that picks up the theme of darkness and light, can be found in a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, who entitled it “God Knows”. It was written before the First World War but came to prominence in the Second World War when King George VI quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

 So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

What we celebrate at Christmas doesn’t guarantee us or anyone success, prosperity or a happy life. But it does assure us that God himself is with us. St John in his Gospel describes how the ‘Word’ (that is, God himself) “became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us.” And we believe he still is with us today. Jesus is (not just ‘was’) Emmanuel, God with us.

May you know God’s love and light and peace with you this Advent and Christmas… and on into the New Year.

Tony Walker