chaplain's log

  • Nathan writes... 10th November 2019

    It’s easy to assume that reconciliation happens only at the end of conflict, but of course there are moments, even in the midst of war, when by the mercy of God there is a space for compassion and peace. We have all heard of the Christmas Truce in 1914; there was a more limited truce again in 1915 and, at times during the worst of the conflict, soldiers who respected one another would pause for a short while. An unidentified soldier reported: “We shouted to the Germans to come and fetch their wounded…we promised not to shoot, and a man who wore the iron cross advanced to assist a wounded man. Another followed and, amidst our cheers, they carried him off. Before going, the first man saluted and said, ‘Thank you, gentlemen, I thank you very much. Good day.’ The incident quite upset me for a time, and I wished we might all be friends again.”


    As I reflect on that account of history, I ask myself where are the signs of peace in the world around us. Not just in big conflicts but in our personal relationships that have become strained or conflict filled. We may not be able, at this time, bring complete reconciliation but perhaps we can plant the seeds of peace. Christ followers are called and urged to be people of peace. Colossians 3.15 says, ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace’.


    This week as we remember the brutality of war and continue to pray for peace.. Let us also be looking for places where peace needs to rule in our own lives.



  • The Wardens write... 27th Oct & 3rd Nov

    The Lord does not look at the things people look at.

    People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord

    looks at the heart.’

    1 Samuel 16:7


    We have an update for you all on the recruitment

    process. The Chaplaincy profile, role description and

    person specification are now complete following the

    closure of the consultation process. They have been

    sent to ICS. The advert has now been written and

    agreed and advertising will commence 1 November

    for 2 weeks.


    Closing date for applications will be 25th November.

    Following shortlisting, interviews will take place

    January 7th and 8th.


    The recruitment panel will include Richard Bromley,

    ICS Mission Director and two additional

    representatives of ICS, representatives from the

    Diocese including the Archdeacon Paul Vrolijk and

    three from St Paul’s. Jean Francois Sourdoire will take

    the role of observer and Jonathan Copner with myself

    will be interviewers.


    Copies of the documents will be shared with you all

    and on St Paul’s website when the job advert goes

    live.


    Jean François Sourdoire and Ann Start.

  • 13 OCT '19: NAthan WRITES...THE POSITIVES



    What a fantastic weekend we had together. As I look back there are many positives but there are three in particular that I want to share now.

    1. Everyone played a part. Whether you felt it was a large or small contribution you made it was significant and helped make the whole weekend come together. Whether you lead something, contributed in discussion, prayed with someone... whatever it was thank you. It was a joy to observe the body at work.
    2. In this together. The theme of creating a culture of invitation was definitely challenging and uncomfortable at times. Regardless of that it has been encouraging to hear your feedback that we are going in the right direction of travel. The challenge now is putting it into practice. I would love it if you told me or sent me an e-mail of the invitations you have put out there so we can celebrate together, regardless of the response. The next step, beside each of us giving it a go, is to get the together the 10 people who will form an invitation group, who really want to go for this, to pioneer the way and encourage the rest of us.
    3. Open to being vulnerable. My observation is that we have struggled to be vulnerable in the past and over the weekend I saw people willing to be vulnerable with one another, specifically at the end of the session on fear. Don't get me wrong, I don't get a kick out of seeing people in a vulnerable state but when we put ourselves in those positions, we release control, we allow others to pray for us which opens us up to the healing work of the Holy Spirit and I do get a kick out of that.
    Whatever personal journey you have been on with God through the weekend I hope that together we will continue to develop our love, service & leading of one another. That we will take the challenge to be more invitational as we lean towards those who are 'lost' and we will become increasingly more & more dependent upon the Holy Spirit.



  • 4 Oct: NATHAN WRITES: ...A CULTURE OF INVITATION

    Welcome to St Paul’s church Weekend Away 2019.  At last we are here after all the planning & preparation.  Thank you for caring enough to make time to be with your brothers & sisters in Christ.  Thank you for coming away from your home to get to know other members of our church community. Over the course of the weekend we will be about 120 people and nearly every adult (and some teens) are involved in some way to make it happen. So thank you for what you have done and will do over the weekend. It is wonderful to see our community serve one another.

     

    I am excited that Michael Harvey is with us to encourage us and help us to move forward into our next phase of creating a culture of invitation. It is good to explain how we have arrived here. As Church Council prayed and prepared for 2018 they planned to have a few Sundays that had a different feel about them which made it more accessible to invite someone to church. So from Autumn last year we did just that.

     

    They went better than expected and after a few of these Simon and I began to feel that we needed to do more than just make space for these services but we needed to encourage and equip each other to feel confident enough to invite. We also felt that this is more than just 5 Sundays a year but we wanted to develop a culture of invitation.

     

    I was delighted when God put Michael Harvey in our way. Someone who is experienced, well researched and gifted in helping churches make the necessary next steps. I was even more delighted to hear that he would be in Belgium days before our weekend away and within 1 hour we had booked him to come and speak. I really feel God's hand of blessing as we pursue a culture of invitation.

    It is no coincidence that we have spent the last four Sundays looking at some of the things that God invites us into, what a good God we have! So as we think about inviting someone to church we are aware that we are inviting them to much more than a gathering on a Sunday but also to all that God has for them too.

     

    Prepare to be challenged but realise we are in it together!

    There should be plenty of space for fun, prayer, relaxing & chatting.  We shall be able to enjoy this lovely weekend and our children will be well catered for by the team from Holy Trinity Brussels.  A big THANK YOU to them for coming to help out.  And a MASSIVE THANK YOU to Penny & James Gibbs for all they have done in organising this special time.  Now it’s up to us to make the most of it!