One of the most exciting things about my faith is the fact that people are continuingly asking me questions about it. This is both exciting but also at times quite challenging. Last week I was in church recording my parts for the on-line service when a member of the church came in and asked if it was ok for them to sit quietly in church for a while. “ Of course, you can I said” and went into the vestry to give them some space. Suddenly there was what sounded like quite a few people in church talking and I went out to see what was going on. To my surprise there was still the same person sitting there and when I enquired if they had heard all the noise, they explained it was them and they were listening to an audio bible reading, with different people reading parts. This led to a discussion about how we all access our Bible in different ways. I was then asked, “how do you study the Bible?” For a moment I had to think, “er….. well in many different ways” was my inadequate response. My enquirer wasn’t having any of that….” So, give me an example he said?” I talked about how I study specific passages for sermons, how I use daily Bible notes to help me bring passages to life. How I often use a Bible commentary by Alister McGrath to help me understand passages that are too complicated for my small brain to understand. “Oh, right” was the response, “ I like to hear the Bible read to me as I can concentrate on it, which I find easier than reading it myself” my enquirer responded.
I mention this today because since I had this chat, it has made me think and question how do I study the Bible and what is the best way?
In today’s society, we are blessed with having so many different ways to access the Bible, audio, the written word, through the Internet and of course via film and TV. In fact, there are so many ways there simply isn’t any excuse not to be able to access the Bible in a way and format that suits you and your life style. However, accessing is different from studying something. Lesley and Sue have held an on-line Bible study meeting entitled “Building Your Faith” for many months, and is a great way of people meeting together to discuss a specific topic, passage, character or event from the Bible. I would certainly encourage you to try this approach when they start up again. The evening is interesting and if you’ve never thought about studying the Bible it is a perfect way to begin. It is not full of theologians but just curious people eager to explore and ask questions.
So, what is my approach:
Exploring – if I’m looking at a passage, I have to understand what the context is. What happened in the verses before and after? I look to try and find out the Who, What, Where and When questions. Who are the characters? Why are they in this part of the reading? When is this taking place? – I find a Bible commentary is useful for this or a book called “The Life” by J John is a great book for setting the scene on the life of Jesus and the gospels.
Interpretation – What does the text mean? Again, I’ll often use a Bible Commentary to help me with this or one of the many Bible Study booklets where they look at a passage each day. I’ll even look on the internet, but be warned, you do have to be careful, and I always focus on sites I trust. All these formats are meant to help us understand, but equally raise questions within us. Sometimes I’ll seek out someone I trust to get their views on the subject. There are plenty of people within our church who would be more than willing to help you with a question.
Application – What does this text mean to my life? – My faith must have a meaning today and so therefore I need to bring it to life for me. The text may have been set thousands of years ago, but the principles are timeless. What is it saying to me today about my life and my relationship with God? As I answer these questions the Bible then brings its significance to my life.
So that is the more considered answer to the question I was asked. Is it the best way? It is for me, but I encourage you to find the best way for you. There are so many opportunities for us all to grow in our faith. Romans 15 vs 4 – “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope”.
Nick Tooby – Churchwarden
The PCC met on Monday 2nd August and have agreed the following changes which will be reviewed regularly.
People are requested to:
- use the sanitiser when entering church.
- Social distance
- Use a face covering when in church.
- Singing – will now be allowed but requested to be done behind a face covering.
- Move to a 1 metre distance – therefore all pews will be open, but only 2 people (related or formally in a bubble) are allowed to sit in each pew. People will be asked to sit at the opposite end of the pew from the people in the pew in front/behind. This is to achieve the 1 metre social distance.
- Upstairs will now be open on Sundays to increase capacity.
- If people, due to mobility or preference, wish to sit downstairs for the Sunday service you will need to contact Julie to book a place. Otherwise, the booking arrangements will be suspended, and people will be seated on a first come first served basis, utilising both the main body of the church and upstairs. The capacity of the church will be 60 people.
- People will still be encouraged to record via the track and trace app.
- We will continue with the current arrangements for sharing the peace.
- Communion – will be administered in the pews as now. We will follow the option to administer the bread only at this time. We will request that people continue to wear a face covering when receiving Communion to protect both themselves and visiting clergy.
- Coffee – will not be available after any service at this stage.
- The online service will continue to support those who are not able to return currently.
- Wednesday Service – Wednesday service at 10:00am will start again from the 18th August.
- Life Events Weddings/Baptisms/Funerals – The church can accommodate 68 people utilising upstairs and downstairs and choir stalls. The number able to attend will be at the discretion of the person officiating at the service. Singing will be requested to be undertaken behind face coverings.
As you can imagine trying to get the balance right is very difficult, but we will keep the guidance under review. We will continue to take our steer from the Church of England and Public Health England guidance to make sure that we are keeping us all as safe as possible.
The church will continue to open on Thursdays and Sundays from 9am until 5pm.
Nick Tooby – Churchwarden
On behalf of the PCC
On September 18th, Selina, Veronika and Lin (and anyone else who would like to join us), will be walking around the six churches of the Pontesbury and Stipertones group along with members of Greg’s new congregation. This is approximately 20 miles of quite hilly terrain, so more difficult than it sounds. We would like as many people to sponsor us as possible, and all proceeds will go to St. Andrews church.
How do you sponsor us:
Please support this worthy cause, as over the past 18 months due to the ongoing pandemic, we have been unable to continue with many of our fundraising events and the money donated will continue to support the work of our church. Thank you all.
Our next Children’s service will take place in church on Sunday 5th September.
Our Wednesday Service has now resumed and commences weekly at 10am. Everyone welcome. There is no need to reserve a seat.
This is a reminder that anyone who volunteers for a role at St Andrew’s, whether paid or unpaid, must be safely recruited and may also require a DBS check. St Andrew’s are proud to abide by the regulations stipulated by the diocese to ensure the safety of all as far as we possibly can.
If you have a role, or volunteered for a role within the church and have not been safely recruited please contact either Julie Crow (Parish Administrator) or Linda Chylinksi (Parish Safeguarding Officer) immediately. The contact details are:
Parish Administrator: Julie Crow – 07756 918847 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Safeguarding Officer: Linda Chylinski – 024 7646 8535
We are looking to resume a sidespersons rota for Sunday services. If you are willing to do sidesperson duty please let Julie or one of the churchwardens know.
Please note that each individual will need to be safely recruited for this role. We will need a short application form completing and contact details to obtain 2 references. A DBS check will not be required for this role.
Flower Rota Coordinator
Ann Dove, having done the role for several years, is standing down as Flower Rota Coordinator. We are now looking to recruit a volunteer to take over the role. If you would like more information and a copy of the job description, please contact Julie on 07756 918847 or email@example.com.
Please note that you will need to be safely recruited for this role. We will need a short application form completing and contact details to obtain 2 references. A DBS check will not be required for this role.
The next Book Club meeting will be on Tuesday 14th September at 7.30pm and the book we have chosen is: Who moved the Stone, by Frank Morrison. A well-known book seller says this about the book: The classic text on examining the evidence for the Resurrection. Convinced that the story wasn’t true, Frank Morison started to write about Jesus’ last days. However, as he studied this crucial period something happened… First published in 1930, this is an exploration of what happened between the death of Jesus and the resurrection as recorded in the Bible. Writing this book changed Morison’s life.
Why not read it and join us to discuss what it says?
Any questions please contact Sue Masters.
We are looking to safer recruit volunteers for our Youth work. If you feel you could help with either the Drama Club, Rock Solid or the Youth Wellbeing course then please get in touch with Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate to Central foodbank, Sue Barnes is coordinating this so please contact her to drop off food at her house. Contact Sue at email@example.com
If you are unable to give food you can also donate online here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/rddonate-checkout/
The access codes for the 11.15am Sunday gathering are:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 889 5975 8216
Do send Julie your favourite bible verses or hymn verses, names for prayer and any birthdays, celebrations or articles for inclusion in the bulletin. Julie can be contacted on 07756 918847 or firstname.lastname@example.org