I’m recently back from my latest visit to HMP Strangeways, spending time with the Jo the chaplain there, together with the current set of Westcott students up in Salford/Manchester. It remains a hard place, and with workshops, education units and well-being programmes all on hold as a result of Covid, inmates find themselves incarcerated in their cells for unto 20 out of 24 hours a day. Jo spoke movingly of the occasional stories of hope which occur amidst profound suffering. (quick question - when were we last moved to pray for those both working and residing in our nation's prisons?)
The theme of hope amidst suffering also featured in our church service last Sunday. A day of celebration, welcoming Kay’s daughter Kiera-Leigh into God’s family at her baptism, we looked at Paul’s letter to the Romans where in chapter 8 he references both us and all creation ”groaning” and looking forward to the prospect of something better. Using appropriately enough the image of groaning throughout of childbirth, we were encouraged that there is indeed hope that can be present throughout suffering. Indeed we and all creation, can look forward to (as well as appreciate now in part) the new life that God has for his world and inhabitants.
We are in the midst of a quieter period of church life (this will be the last ‘musings’ for a while), before we gear up again in September for increased activity. Pray for all of us, and particularly those involved in the usually busy times of our daytime ministry, that we may find some rest and relaxation. And please hold in prayer (either if you are joining us on Sunday morning or find yourself elsewhere) Jess and family, as they say farewell to us in the morning service. If with us, do bring some food with you so we can share fellowship outside, and make the most once again of our wonderful church outdoor church space.
So once again,
Keep in touch
Keep the faith.