Our Christian Faith

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Although this article is written with the Church of the Later Day Saints in mind, it does raise a number of interesting points about how we as Christians interpret the words contained in Bible, which ever version we read. 

Click the image to open up the article.  Image Photo Credit: Eran Menashri

The latest two essays written by Julie have been published to the website. The two topics are difficult ones to write about, Can a war be just?  and Homosexuality and the church's reaction to it.

Please take time to read them by clicking on the blue button to the left or the main tabs at the top of this page.

Book review - THE ISLAMIC JESUS How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims

I decided to share it with my informal Qur’anic study group—a circle of friends which, for many years, has met once every week or two to read and discuss Islam’s scripture and its exegeses.

“This is very similar to the Qur’an,” one of my friends said. “And there is nothing in it which says that Jesus is the Son of God,” another one noted. “Are you sure it is from the Christian Bible?”

“Yes, yes, of course,” I replied. “It is from the New Testament, and it is called the Epistle of James.”

“James? Who is James?” one of them asked.

Eighteen months ago, our Diocesan Synod agreed a Strategy, which will in the coming years, underpin our work as a Diocese and help us walk together in faith. Below is a summary of that Strategy. From the outset, the Synod wanted to make sure that the Strategy was developed and implemented ‘bottom-up’ not ‘top-down’. They wanted it to be an invitation to chaplaincies to reflect on how they can build on what they are already doing, to become chaplaincies engaged in mission. A Church without Mission is like fire without a flame.

Please take the time to read the Strategy and Bishop Robert's letter.

Update on Julie's essays! 

As part of her training to become a Reader, Julie is required to complete six modules through distance learning on a course run by St John’s Nottingham.  For each of the six modules, Julie is having to write 3 essays, making a total of 18. The subjects cover both the Old and New Testaments. Below is a list of the essays and links to the completed work.

Several new essays have just been uploaded to the website.

Lent Course 2017 

In a course crammed with discussable questions, John Young teases out from the New Testament at least three different ways in which we receive Christ. John’s course booklet is supplemented by four leading Christians, from a variety of backgrounds, on the course CD. Together they demonstrate that St John’s theology in his magisterial Gospel has very practical implications for our day-to-day lives.

Verse a day.

On the Home page, below the diary, one will find "A verse a day". The verse, which is a reading from the bible, changes each day. A little like the thought for the day!

Candlemas is a festival on February 2nd which celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus and combines both the Jewish customs of the presentation of the first-born son in the Temple and the purification of Mary in obedience to the Torah.

Click the blue button to read the full article written by Julie Johnson 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.

Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337).  For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated.

On Mont Zion was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried. For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine....................

Who/What is a Church of England Reader?

Readers are lay people in the Church of England, from all walks of life, who are called by God, theologically trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work. The office of Reader is the only lay ministry in the Church of England which is voluntary, nationally accredited, Episcopally licensed and governed by canon. 

Read also about Julie Johnson's personal journey to become a Reader by clicking the button on the left

Our Lent course for 2016 uses the film “The Theory of Everything”, the multi-award winning film about Stephen Hawking, as its starting point. Written Hilary Brand, the course explores ways in which the mysteries of the universe and of everyday life - and the acceptance that we have more questions than answers - can reinvigorate our faith and spiritual journey.........

St Hilda, Abbess of Whitby: Feast Day:  19th November

Hilda (known in her own century as "Hild") was the grandniece of King Edwin of Northumbria, a kingdom of the Angles. She was a nun and established several monasteries. Her last foundation was at Whitby. It was a double house: a community of men and another of women, with the chapel in between, and Hilda as the governor of both; and it was a great centre of English learning, one which produced five bishops.........

St Cecilia: Feast Day 22nd November

It is believed that St Cecilia was born in the 2nd or 3rd Century AD, although the exact dates of her birth and martyrdom are unknown.   A religious romance telling the love story of St Cecilia and Valerian appeared in Greece in the 4th Century. It is thought that she was the daughter of a wealthy Roman family, a Christian from birth who was promised in marriage to a pagan called Valerian.................

St Andrew - Feast Day - 30th November

The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them "fishers of men".  At the beginning of Jesus' public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum. The Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist, to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and introduced him to his brother .............

A prayer for the situation in Calais

God of all humanity When your people were enslaved and displaced, You led them to a land that they could call home; When your people were in exile; Your promise was that one day, They would live in streets of play and laughter. When your disciples were afraid and uncertain, You spoke of a Fathers House With mansions and places prepared.

Saint Matthew

Matthew was a tax collector living in Capernaum. Tax collectors were despised in the ancient world, especially among the Jews at the time of Christ, who saw the imposition of taxes as a mark of their occupation by the Romans. (Even though Matthew collected taxes for King Herod, a portion of those taxes would be passed on to the Romans.)

The Transfiguration of Christ

The Feast of the Transfiguration, on August 6th, commemorates what many consider to be the highest point of Jesus' earthly life, when he was "transfigured" by a brilliant white light at the top of a mountain and proclaimed to be the well-loved Son of God from a heavenly voice.

The Iona Community and St Columba

Saint Columba was a missionary who spread Christianity in the area, which is now Scotland.

The Iona Community, founded in 1938 by the Rev George MacLeod, is an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and different traditions

John the Baptist is an intriguing figure: disturbing, ascetic, blowing in from the wilderness like a scorching wind. Free, aggressive, confidently challenging the establishment and individuals alike with his conviction of the coming Messiah: confronting them with the need radically to reshape their lives and reorientate their attitudes.

The Barnabas Fund is an international, interdenominational Christian aid agency that supports Christians who face discrimination or persecution as a consequence of their faith.  The Barnabas Fund was established in 1993and channels aid to projects run by national Christians in more than 50 countries and raises awareness.

St Anthony of Padua, the perfect patron for generation debt.

During the winter just passed, I was out with a friend. The temperature dropped and there was a bitter chill in the air. Silly me, I had come out without a hat and the cold was freezing my skull. My friend kindly gave me a loan of their hat, which was made of deliciously soft grey cashmere. When we met up again, I returned the hat to my friend, but missed it, so I asked St Anthony if he could find me one.