The Confident Church
Is our Church, both locally and nationally, a confident Church? Hopefully we find that the
answer to this question is yes. But a far more important question for us to ask is whether we
are confident in the right thing! So often the Church can busy itself with the things that,
whilst not wrong in themselves, can sometimes leave little energy or enthusiasm for our “core
business”. As the Church’s role in society becomes less prominent, it is tempting to seek to
reclaim this role by undertaking tasks that will win society’s approval. We find ourselves
using language of service: serving the nation, serving society, serving the communities in
which we live. There is nothing wrong with this and indeed much to commend it. There are
many acts of service in the New Testament, acts undertaken by Jesus himself and by the
The problem occurs when these acts of service are divorced from the context of proclamation
and teaching. In the New Testament we are told of these acts of service so that we are better
able to understand the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. In other words the acts of
service do not stand alone and can only be fully understood as they point to God. Service
and proclamation belong together. The confidence of the early Church, and the Church in all
times of strength, lies in the message of salvation; the “core business” of the Church is to
proclaim this message and live this message out in lives filled with worship and hope.
In our age this message of salvation is hard to proclaim and often hard to hear. It is tempting
for the Church to find confidence in acts of service, to take comfort in the fact that we are still
needed and relevant in at least one way. We are invited to sit on committees, commissions
and focus groups and we can sleep easily in the knowledge that the Church is still “relevant”.
But how much more relevant it would be for us find confidence in the message of salvation.
How much more relevant it would be if we shared this message with our neighbours and
with our communities. How much more relevant it would be if we persuaded those around
us that worshipping God is the most important thing that we can do.
A confident Church is always a Church that serves. But it is a Church that first and foremost
serves God. We must be constantly vigilant in maintaining this priority. If we seek to serve
humanity before we serve God then we will secure a place and a “relevance” for one more
generation, but after this we will no longer be serving humanity or God because we will no
longer be here. The “core business” of the Church is proclaim afresh in each generation the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and to call new disciples to follow him. That sounds like a challenge.
Are we are able to rise to this challenge? I’m confident that we are.
We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus, who
love God and worship him, who know the power of the Holy Spirit and who show God’s love
in every part of their lives.
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|First Thoughts - The Vicar's Letter
|Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words..., A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
|The Collect for Pentecost
God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
CCL Copyright Licence No 670491
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- Read Bishop Peter's letter for May - “Journeying Together”- Bishop's Letter.
- First Words, Prayer for the Month and First Thoughts have been updated for
May - see below
- New Events added see Forthcoming Events page for details of events to be held in
- New Feature - You can now read copies of the Parish Magazine On-Line.
- Pictures of the Easter Garden, Flowers and Candle and MU Mothers Day 2013 are
now in the Picture Gallery.
- New videos added May 2013. Have a look at some interesting and thought
provoking videos - Viral Videos
- The Diary and Rotas page now has on-line features and will always be 'up-to-date'
- Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices for service times and the latest news.
- Listen Again - Listen again to recently recorded Sunday sermons including; Easter,
Palm Sunday, The Lenten Reflections etc.
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- 10 Days Of Prayer - Between Ascension Day and Pentecost we will again be observing
10 days of prayer for the life of this Parish and the Diocese of Sheffield. Please take
time to read the information in this Magazine about what we are doing in Ecclesfield.
- Worshipping Together – It’s been fantastic for us to worship together as one family on
a Sunday morning. We are rightly told that the Church is not just about Sunday
mornings, but good Sunday worship should stand at the heart of all that we do. Please
make it a priority to start your week (Sunday is, after all, the first day of the week) in
worship and join with us for our 10 o’clock Service.
- We Are Growing – It’s official, since Christmas we have noticed an increase in numbers
at our 10 o’clock Sunday Service, at our 6.30 p.m. Evening Service and at our monthly
Prayer and Praise Evenings (4th Sunday of the month, 6.30 p.m.) Our Sunday Club
for children has almost outgrown the room we use – more good news.
Why are we growing? Prayer, hard work, good worship – the collective effort of the
whole congregation! So let’s push forward, let’s keep encouraging others to join with us
and let’s keep our levels of commitment up.