Imagining Church

Imagine belonging to a new church. Taking some of the past but finding new ways to pray, grow, welcome, encourage, witness and celebrate. Imagine bringing together some different traditions but also looking for fresh ways in which we can express our faith and develop our church for the future. I hope that such imagining excites you, because that is the challenge we have given ourselves by agreeing to merge Stoke Chapel with Wyken. From a new name, to our worship pattern and social life we have the opportunity to begin afresh and create something that begins in the 21st Century and looks forward with confidence.

Over the next nine months we will make plans to leave Harefield Road and upgrade Hocking Road. We will give thanks for all that both churches have done throughout the years and dedicate ourselves to a new church. We will keep in mind our desire to still have a physical presence in Stoke and explore the ways we want to develop our spirituality and hospitality. We will make decisions about furniture, worship times, constitution, roles,  coffee mornings, social groups, bible studies – not necessarily in that order – or any particular order, and in doing so we will get to know one another better and we will grow as one fellowship.

Through it all we will need to keep in mind that we follow Jesus, that we gather together to celebrate God’s love, that we believe that all we do is inspired by the Holy Spirit, that we are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and with all our mind and to love our neighbours as ourselves. And that means that we need to make decisions that are mindful or one another and are arrived at prayerfully and thoughtfully. We need to remember that our decisions have had consequences for others, particularly the other groups who use Harefield Road and hold each in our prayers as they make their own decisions about the future – we hope that they will also find new opportunities emerging.

Here’s to the future, here’s to imagining church.

be blessed, Craig

Labyrinth Prayer Day – a walk through creation.

Saturday 14 June

3pm – 5pm

A guided labyrinth walk reflecting on Psalm 8 or time for you to walk the labyrinth or spend time in quiet prayer to your own tune.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

In preparing to walk the labyrinth, you might consider walking barefoot, if so, leave your shoes and socks beneath the tree, feel the grass beneath your feet, it’s different textures and temperatures and beware of the thistles! 

In your own time, begin to walk the labyrinth, pausing from time to time to note:-

  • the different grasses, thistles, dandelions, and mushrooms creating a carpet beneath your feet.
  • the trees around you, their shapes and leaves, the ways they are used for fuel, timber, shelter, food.
  • look for the birds, bugs, flies, bees sharing this environment, at how inter-dependent we are.
  • look at the people passing by – stewards of all creation and the work of human hands; roads, cars, buildings, the labyrinth – our creative skill and destructive power.
  • feel the sun, the rain, the wind …. perhaps all 3 at once!
  • look at the Lavenders, how some flourish and other struggle.
  • see the places where the grass is scarred and remember the ways in which we have scarred the earth.

As you leave the Labyrinth, you might ponder on

  • what is to be planted?
  • what is to be stewarded?
  • what is to be developed?

How majestic is God’s name in all the earth?

 

If you chose to remove your shoes, how does it feel to put them back on again?

Holland House Garden

I enjoy gardens. The scent of green grass underfoot, the abruptness of bursting shrubs as insects flit, birds gather, children play; surprised by shape, colour, space; the wonder of life and enjoyment of creation.
In making gardens; I don’t mind a bit of early planning, digging and shifting – the pleasure of hard work, muscles aching, sweat creation. But I can’t be bothered with the fiddly stuff, picking weeds, trimming borders, fussing over the minutia of exactly which plant pot should be where. I’d rather scatter seed than individually plant each one, I’ll happily leave such labour for someone else but enjoy the end product.
I love to feel rainfall soaking into the ground, sensually touching petals, running across footpaths, conceiving streams, refreshing plant-life, giving birth. I love the tingle of air borne electricity, the crack, the boom, warm rain cascading in torrents. Yet I can feel the sadness of a dull drizzly, keep-in, stay warm day – there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
I love to feel the sun warming the earth, steam rising to be carried on the breeze, bare feet on hot grass, bird song, insect hum, warmth against pale skin. The freshness of morning, glow of lazy evening. Yet when the sun burns hot in the day,  I hide in the shade wishing for rain.
I love to watch a river flow towards the sea. It is the residue of rainfall, the run away, soaked earth’s surplus. Giving life to unseen plants and creatures below it’s flowing surface. I guess some will be snared to appear from my tap, whilst much will replenish the sea before being captured by the sun and returned as rainfall – nothing wasted, nothing unneeded, ever flowing cycle of creation and re-creation means I can enjoy this garden on a cool damp April day.
May God’s blessing soak through your life

Craig Muir
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Fearful Easter

I am fascinated by Mark’s account of Easter. Read Chapter 16 of Mark’s Gospel and the first problem is where to end. Most modern versions will break after verse 8 and indicate that some early manuscripts finish at verse 8 whilst others included either a short one verse ending or the longer ending of verses 9-20. Most commentators will agree that verses 9-20 are by a different author but then the questions are, “Did Mark intend to finish at verse 8 or was there more to come? Was the original ending lost or was Mark overtaken by the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans?”
The problem with ending at v8 is that the story appears unfinished, the women have gone to the tomb and found it open with Jesus’ body missing, they are told that he has risen and to “go, tell his disciples” but they “they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid”
And that is it – no resurrection story, no explanation, no nice neat resolution, no new appearance by Jesus – just that stark fearful statement and an empty stage.
I believe that that this is where Mark intended his writing to end, but not his gospel. Throughout the gospel the invitation is to follow Jesus and now if the stage is to be filled, if the story is to continue the reader has a decision to make – follow or flee? The challenge is as real today as it was then, the risk of following or play safe? Enter the stage or remain in the audience watching? Be bold or be fearful? “This is “the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1)
Be blessed

Where will you be?

When all the noise is over,
where will we be?
When the singing, dancing, celebration has ended,
where will we be?
When the fun and laughter comes to an end, and the crowd slips away,
where will we be?
In the place of power and authority, when Jesus debates the issues of the day with the opinion-shapers and the legal-guardians,
where will we be?
In the vineyard, as the tenants decide that the heir must die,
where will we be?
When God’s children are raised to life,
where will we be?
When the place of power and authority is torn down and chaos reigns,
where will we be?
When the betrayer slips through the night, to whispered plots and plans,
where will we be?
Around the table of uncertainty and hope,
where will we be?
Around the kingdom’s throne
where will we be?
When the arguments rage about greatness and power,
where will we be?
When the disciples are tested, abused and ignored,
where will we be?
When the powers-that-be emerge from the night,
where will we be?
In the courtyard of rumour, gossip, suspicion and lies,
where will we be – when the cock crows in the morning?
In the courtroom of deceit, innuendo, accusation and power abused,
where will we be – when the crowd bays “Crucify!”?

When he walks with the cross to the hill,
where will you be?
When the nails are hammered through muscle and sinew,
where will you be?
When the thief is promised paradise,
where will you be?
As the sky turns black and the sun refuses to shine,
in whose hands will you be?
As the body is removed and entombed,
where will you be left to lie?

When heaven grieves,
where will you be?
When earth shrugs and flicks the channels looking for another show,
where will you be?
When the crucified one quietly whispers, “Follow me”,
where will you be?

Craig Muir
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Wyken

  • a church that welcomes visitors and endeavours to ensure that anyone who walks in a stranger does not leave as one.
  • a church that embraces people of all ages and offers something for everyone from 1 to 100 years and everything in between and beyond.
  • a church where everyones opinions are valued
  • a church that is seeking God’s way for today and tomorrow.

Stoke

A group of ordinary people trying to follow the way of Jesus Christ in prayer and worship ….. a church that encourages people to make new beginnings and develop in new ways ….. friends who help one another through through the whole of life’s journey …… a church that wants to celebrate the past and look forward to the future whilst living with today….

St. Columba’s

Our congregation gathers together people from across the city and also has a role as a local church and community resource for Radford and the Canal Basin area. When we gather together we seek to worship in a way that gives glory to God and interprets the Scriptures for 21st Century life.

Welcome to the United Reformed Churches in North & East Coventry

We are a partnership of churches consisting of St. Columba’s, Stoke and Wyken who share one minister and seek to serve our specific communities. These pages will provide information and resources for the benefit of members, friends and those who are seeking a Christian community whilst living in Coventry.