Tim began his talk by telling us that the Wessex Synod has a special relationship with the UCZ, i.e. the United Church of Zambia, which is a mixture of Presbyterians and Methodists. This link was brought about through the vision of Rev. Derek Wales and the Rev. Murage Chilekura, and it initially started as a women's exchange. In fact our Community Minister Pat Oliver was also involved with the original link in 2000. Pat also took part in a reciprocal visit to Chilenje, Zambia, in November 2002. Since then the Synod has developed the link with the Lusaka South Presbytery of the UCZ. From this link has developed a Synod/ Presbyterian Youth exchange in 2009.

Hello everyone

I hope that you had an Easter to remember, an Easter that helped your faith to develop in some way. I am writing this after being reminded strongly of what standing around a fire in the early morning may have been like in the time and country of Jesus and his followers, two days after the crucifixion. Huddling together for warmth, struggling together to find the hope to carry on as Jesus had requested.....not yet heard that the tomb was open and empty and what that mystery might mean.

Yet now we do know the meaning....we have the stories of hindsight, we know that Christ is alive today but through God's people....us!

Some weeks ago, I was handed a parody that depicted a church service entirely taken over by technology. Here’s an extract, slightly altered, to give you a flavour:-

PASTOR: Praise the Lord!

CONGREGATION: Hallelujah!

PASTOR: Will everyone please switch on their tablet, I-pad, Smartphone or Kindle and turn to 1 Cor. 13. 13.

Pause…

The Ideal Church?

When I hear people talking
about ideal homes it usually reminds me of TV programmes like Grand Designs
where an individual or couple are looking to design and build the perfect home
of their dreams. Usually there are certain prerequisites that the visionary has
about their project, such as keeping to a certain environmental brief or
incorporating a particular design style. Usually, cost is a secondary concern,
even if this means years elapsing before the necessary resources are available
to bring the project to fruition. The outcome as you may have seen are some
truly exquisite homes which all seem to uniquely characterise the personality
and aspirations of their owners.

Following my father's death in June, I have spent the last few months rummaging through boxes of old papers, cards and pictures that have been gathering dust since moving to the South West Hants Group five years ago. Among the papers I found a copy of Chandler's Ford URC's 'Chronicle' magazine from February 2008 reporting my successful calling to the Group the previous month. In the article is a 'tongue-in-cheek' piece called 'O Lord send us the perfect minster.' It goes something like this:
"Perfect Ministers preach for exactly 15 minutes; they condemn sin but never upset anyone. They work from 8.00am until midnight and are also good caretakers. They receive about £50 net a week, wear good clothes, drive new cars, entertain regularly and give at least £2,500 a year to the poor and to their congregations. They are between 28-30 years old and have 25-30 years parish experience. They have a burning desire to work with teenagers and spend all of their time with senior citizens. They make daily calls on congregational families, shut-ins and those in hospital, yet spend all their time evangelizing to the un-churched and are always available in the office when needed."