Author Archives: Chris

Do you see the Harvest? – this week’s Vicar’s thought


Do you see the Harvest?

If Jesus said, ‘the Harvest is plentiful, is great’ might he just be right? I
sometimes wonder if it’s just that we don’t see the harvest, not that it isn’t
there (you could say, ‘Lift up your eyes unto the fields rather than to the
hills!’). You see Jesus also said, ‘the Kingdom of God is near (or among) you’!
He might just be right again! And the Kingdom of God is a beautiful,
grace-filled, peaceful place of blessing. If you have found Christ, you will at
times have seen just how true that is, how real that is. But if you’re anything
like me you may also have frequently lost sight of that reality!

I think Jesus is saying, there is a deep thirst for the Lord and his love out there, for his peace and healing, for reconciliation. These are the things we as human beings long for; and yes, in his Kingdom all these things are found! They are what Jesus came to release into our world by his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Until the last day, yes we will indeed ‘see as through a glass darkly’ to quote from St Paul’s famous writings on love in 1 Corinthians 13. But these things of his Kingdom are deeply real nonetheless, and when we catch sight of them, when those we seek to bring Christ’s love to catch sight of them, they are all they promised to be and more. So how do we share the peace and blessings of Jesus’ Kingdom? This is our question for today as we hear how
Jesus sent out 72 of his disciples to go ahead of him.

To believe or not to believe….. Vicar’s weekly thought 13th Oct

To believe or not to believe…..

Now there’s an interesting thing, ‘the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah…..’, well I’d be interested anyway!

He’s come and is waiting to speak to Gideon son of Joash (he of the putting out of the fleece to test the Lord, if you know the story). Gideon is going to be called to rescue the people of Israel from under ‘the Midianites’ who are continually harassing the people of God; and Gideon (called Mighty Hero by the angel – “yea right!” he may think) is undoubtedly going to doubt whether this is at all possible, and certainly whether he’s the man for the job.

And then there’s ‘doubting’ Thomas, who despite all the other disciples saying they’d seen the Risen Lord that first Easter, famously says, “I won’t believe it unless I see for myself the nail wounds in his hands…..” And like Gideon’s angel, the Lord Jesus comes to see Thomas. Jesus has heard what Thomas has said…… Both men are finally persuaded and set off to do the very things the Lord is calling them too – Gideon to free the people from the Midianites, Thomas by tradition to bring the Good News of Jesus to the people of India. I find this very encouraging. The Lord knows us doubts and all, he knows who we are, how we are, what makes us tick – and it doesn’t put him off! No, He comes, explains, calls, says have faith in Me after all, and that’s OK with him. Yes, as Jesus finishes by saying to Thomas, “You’ve seen me and believed, but blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” But he comes to bless and use those of us who doubt too – in spades!

October Family Activities at Ascension

Friday 4th 6 – 9:30pm Hoedown (family American dancing with supper in between sets – come for all or half, see separate leaflet)

Sunday 6th 10am Bacon & Egg Butties in Church

10:30am All Age Harvest Parade Service

Wednesday 9th 11am-12pm Bible study at my house

Sunday 13th 10:30am Church with EPIC

Sunday 20th 10:30am Church with “What’s in the Bible” DVD in the Crypt

4:30-6pm Ascension Springs Plus (Sunday gathering – games, crafts, discussion, chat and tea)

Sunday 27th 10:30am Church with activity tables

Every Tuesday and Thursday prayer in the church 8:30 – 9am

Every Thursday 8:30-11:30 Ascension Springs Cafe in church – coffee, cake, bacon butties etc.

Keep up to date on Facebook: Ascension Gateway More details contact Sarah: sarah@ascensionbath.org.uk / 07779 781465

(EPIC – is our name for children’s church – usually includes lively songs, games, stories and craft to get to know God)

Harvest Celebrations: at Ascension

Harvest Celebrations: Do come and be with us, perhaps for the 1st time!

Hoedown – Friday 4th October 6 – 9:30pm+ American style barn-dancing with supper in between sets – come for all or half – Harvest Hoedown 2019 (poster)  for full details re tickets, food etc. The band ‘Jumping Chickens’ have been before – we loved them, and they loved us!

Do bring Harvest gifts of dried and tinned foodstuffs for Bath FoodBank –
a list of their current priority needs can be found here FoodBanks request this Harvest 2019

Harvest Parade – Sunday 6th October 10.30 am with Bacon Butties, coffee etc in the Hall from 10 am. This is an All-Age service – we creatively worship, pray and listen, in ways that all ages can be part of (or just watch if you want to!).

Harvest Thanksgiving – Sunday 6th October 7 pm We are putting together an evening service with the emphasis on Thanksgiving, for harvest yes, but many things in our lives. The choir will be specially singing some music as part of the mix of hymns, readings and prayer. NB there will be no 9 am service with a service in the evening

We will be giving thanks at our Harvest Services for our responses to ‘Giving for the Future’ and offering them to the Lord

Honour each other, this week’s vicar’s thought

Honour each other

From where we stand, we find it difficult to see just how Jesus turned the world of his day upside down (although perhaps we need to relearn the lessons!). We’ve already heard St Peter honour slaves on an equal footing to kings. He was following in his master’s footsteps – Jesus treated those who were the least with the same honour as the high and mighty, in fact probably gave more honour to the least. In Roman times this was particularly noted by the authorities as slaves turned to Christ in huge numbers. Although we also have records of high up members of Caesar’s household becoming Christians, and sharing fellowship with slaves…….. imagine…..!!

What has this to do with today’s subject, how wives and husbands relate to each other in Christ?

St Peter starts his bit on this, ‘In the same way….’ It is deeply about honouring of each other, in ways I hope I can explain in my talk. There is much wisdom here that is extremely relevant today, particularly in a world where women are often still the ones set upon, and indeed men can often feel they’ve lost their way too. Finally, Peter moves on to the way we should honour each other whoever we are, and beyond that inviting us to pay back those who insult us with a blessing instead. There is much underlying shame to our actions when we ‘screw up’ in the way we treat each other. We may not be able to explain it consciously, and certainly not admit it, but feel somewhere along the line we have failed each other and be unsure how to do better. Fortunately we follow a Saviour who came to take away our shame and bring us into a place of transforming forgiveness.

‘Stand Firm in this Grace’ this weeks vicar’s thought 22nd Sept

Stand Firm in this Grace[1]

Over the summer, we have studied and reflected upon Peter’s letter to scattered Christians in first-century Asia Minor, and have come to realise that it has a truly contemporary ring. His teaching and encouragement to those early Christians is still relevant to us twenty first century Christians in Oldfield Park. It is a letter full of certainty about our inheritance and our home, pointing us to the day when Christ will be revealed in glory. Time and again he reminds us of the fundamental truths of the way of Jesus. Peter gives us encouragement that God is with us and that any hardship we suffer will not overwhelm us. Above all, we need to experience more of God’s grace and have our trust in him deepened. We do not know what lies in store for us in the times ahead, but we do know that God is faithful and his compassion and protection will surround us. Peter started his letter by saying, ‘Grace and peace be yours in abundance,’ [2] and ends it by saying, ‘Stand firm in this grace’

[1] (this week’s one liner!). 1 Peter 5.12 [2] 1 Peter 1.2

This week, 15th Sept, at Ascension…

See also ‘What’s On for September in the blue box at the back of church or see our web-site

Monday 16th September –

Ascension Knitting Group 10 am – 12 noon in church. Do come and join in the good company as well as the knitting and refreshments. – Parochial Church Council 7.30 pm. Your PCC meets to discuss what’s happening here at Ascension. Pray for us! Agendas and our July meeting’s minutes will have been circulated by today!

Morning Prayer every Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30 am in church. There’ll be a bible reading with a thought, a chance to pray together, and reflective time in God’s presence. It’ll be good to have more shared prayer here in the church, and to express our togetherness before the Lord in this way. It really is come as you can, we hope it’ll build up over time.

Wednesday 11th September- Best Foot Forward Line Dancing the group meets weekly on a Wednesday 8.00-9.30 pm in the hall. A great way to keep fit!

Thursday 12th September – Ascension Springs Café! Every Thursday during term time 8:30-11:30 am in the main church. Wonderful atmosphere with yummy food, toys for babies & toddlers. Very much open to all ages. Come with a friend or 2 and relax together (for more details contact Sarah)

This week’s vicar’s thought 15th Sept

A message from Richard White on his first Sunday with us!

My name is Richard and I’m the new Team Rector down at St Michaels. As I’m preaching this Sunday with you Robert suggested I might write something for your notice sheet and website. So here are some musings: 1 Peter 5:3 (The Passion Translation) ‘Don’t be controlling tyrants but lead others by your beautiful examples to the flock.’ What does it look like to lead not by directing people or wielding power over them, but by living as a beautiful example? For Peter to have written this, he must surely have witnessed it in the life of the Great Shepherd King, Jesus himself. Jesus had a strategy for filling the whole earth with the glory of God, and it was through imitation. Living a life worth imitating is at the heart of Jesus’ discipling culture: followers of Jesus modelling the life of Jesus to others. Jesus models to us the kind of relationship we are to have with each other in the church. It’s a ripple affect. Paul called the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Cor 11:1), not as a overbearing dictator, but as a spiritual father. This leads to two key questions we need to ask ourselves regularly as imitators of Christ: 1. Who is pouring into you? 2. Who are you pouring into?

This week at Ascension…

See also ‘What’s On for September on our web-site

Morning Prayer every Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30 am in church. There’ll be a bible reading with a thought, a chance to pray together, and reflective time in God’s presence. It’ll be good to have more shared prayer here in the church, and to express our togetherness before the Lord in this way. It really is come as you can, we hope it’ll build up over time.

Wednesday 11th September

Worship at Culverhayes Nursing Home Worship with residents, staff and sometimes residents’ families & friends.

Best Foot Forward Line Dancing the group meets weekly on a Wednesday 8.00-9.30 pm in the hall. A great way to keep fit!

Thursday 12th September – Ascension Springs Café! Every Thursday during term time 8:30-11:30 am in the main church. Wonderful atmosphere with yummy food, toys for babies & toddlers. Very much open to all ages. Come with a friend or 2 and relax together (for more details contact Sarah).

Saturday 14th September – Somerset Churches Trust tour Each year this trust does a sponsored ‘Ride & Stride’ around Somerset churches to raise funds. We have benefitted ourselves from a small grant at least once. The church will open 10am – 4 pm for visitors. You are welcome to take part on bike or foot (look at www.somersetchurchestrust.org) or to spend time just being here on Saturday to welcome people visiting.

‘We cannot see the glory!’

Vicar’s thought for 8th Sept 2019

A couple of years ago, some of us had the privilege of being in the same room as an older North Korean Christian woman who had finally escaped from her country. She had been through unimaginable suffering for being a Christian – imprisoned, made to stand naked in the freezing cold all day, and many other tortures. At the end of that freezing day, she heard her Lord say to her, “My dear woman, you have suffered all that for me, you are precious beyond measure”. I might have said, “Well, thanks for that Lord, if I were that precious might you not have saved me from this freezing day?!” But no, she just radiated a simple beauty, joy and thankfulness. In fact she was like a bit like a child, laughing as she freely ran around taking pictures of us all worshipping! St Peter wrote, ‘It is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!’ [1] You see we are bearers of His glory, His Name. Let us too keep walking faithfully, listening out for our dear Lord’s voice through it all. For as Jesus said, “No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else.” [2] We cannot see these things, do more than occasionally glimpse the glory, but we bear the name of the one true Messiah.

[1] 1 Peter 4.16 [2] John 10.28-29

September Family Activities at Ascension

Sunday 1st 10am Croissants in the church

10:30am All-Age Baptism Service with activities for the children

Sunday 8th 10:30am Church with EPIC

Sunday 15th 10:30am Church with “What’s in the Bible” DVD in the Crypt

4:30-6pm Ascension Springs Plus (Sunday gathering – games, crafts, discussion, chat and tea)

Sunday 22nd 10:30am Church with EPIC

4pm Film in the crypt

Sunday 29th 10:30am Church with EPIC

Friday 4th October 6 – 9:30pm Hoedown (family American dancing with supper in between sets – come for all or half, more details soon)

Sunday 6th October 10:30am All Age Harvest Parade Service

Every Tuesday and Thursday prayer in the church 8:30 – 9am

Every Thursday 8:30-11:30 Ascension Springs Cafe in church – coffee, cake, toasted sandwiches, and bacon butties are back! etc.

Keep up to date on Facebook: Ascension Gateway More details contact Sarah: sarah@ascensionbath.org.uk / 07779 781465

(EPIC – is our name for children’s church – usually includes lively songs, games, stories and craft to get to know God)