Following St Mellitus

6 days ago

It's the first day of Lent. Spend some time with Jesus in the wilderness, letting God show you what is essential in life and what isn’t.

2 weeks ago

Great day off catching up with an old friend and then a brisk stroll before getting Amy from school.

3 weeks ago

What a difference a day makes. Rainy and cold today but surprisingly sunny and warm yesterday. I walked to Hebden Bridge and had to strip down to my T shirt at one point! Wonderful to spend some quality time with God in his amazing creation! Verse for the day: 'But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.' Matthew 6:33 😎

1 month ago

Snow alert! It took Sam four hours to get Zoe and Amy back from school last night and she had to abandon the car in Oxenhope. Pleased to say we've now managed to retrieve the car. Blowing a gale and more snow forecast tonight though ❄❄❄

1 month ago

There's a touch of, dare I say, Spring in the air this morning 😎
"For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise!"

1 month ago

Thanks Paul and Jeanette for the walk yesterday! It wasn't as damp as it could have been and it was great to catch up with friends, old and new 🙂

A huge thank you to everyone who came today. We had rain but we also had sunshine too! And lots of mud. Great food stop off at the Forester’s Arms in Grassington before the return leg for a rewarding pint in the Red Lion at Burnsall. Hope to see you all next year.

1 month ago

1 month ago

Good questions to ask ourselves regarding not just the past day - but the past year.

1 month ago

No sign of any snow left this morning on Thornton Moor.

1 month ago

Thanks very much to Billington Bioenergy for braving the heavy snow and delivering our wood pellets. Heating is back on!

1 month ago

A very Happy Christmas to you all!
Almighty God, you have given us your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

2 months ago

Wonderful walk up onto Thornton Moor this morning.

2 months ago

The last of today's winter sun.

2 months ago

From Angels at Keighley Shared Church to even more snow up in Oxenhope, it's great to be back home 🙂

2 months ago

Delighted to have won the end of term prize at St Mellitus for having the most unusual pets! Thanks Puck, Bottom, Hamlet & Othello .... couldn't have done it without you 🙂 lol

2 months ago

2 months ago

Beautiful snowy morning here. Welcome to winter 🙂

2 months ago

Assignment one submitted and first term nearly finished already! Day off tomorrow then it's on to the next project. Busy but exciting stuff 🙂

3 months ago

Having a good day seeing what St Mellitus students get up to and meeting these great people from the Diocese of Leeds 🙂
PS We missed you Sian!

3 months ago

. .and sunrise just before the school run is impressive this time of the year too! (thanks to Amy for this one).

3 months ago

Me and my mate Othello 🙂

3 months ago

Catching up with friends old and new in my old parish 🙂

3 months ago

One of the blessings of the nights drawing in is that you get to see amazing sunsets on the school run 🙂

3 months ago

3 months ago

Let's keep shining that light into the darkness...

3 months ago

Heading back 'up North' after an inspirational weekend at High Leigh 😎

3 months ago

I can't believe it's a year since that wonderful visit to Parcevall Hall when I read a God of Surprises by Gerard Hughes. My BAP followed soon after and what a year of suprises it has been! Who would have thought that a year later I'd be getting ready for a weekend away in Broxbourne studying the Old Testament with a lively bunch of like-minded folk from across the country? God knows all about surprises... bring on the next 12 months!

Beautiful on Simon's Seat yesterday 😎

4 months ago

One of my favourite local spots, ideal for an autumnal day off. My fungi book reckons this might be Boletus Chrysenteron?

4 months ago

"Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love even more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a stronger plant.

Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds." #HenriNouwen THE INNER VOICE OF LOVE
www.henrinouwen.org

4 months ago

What to do on a study day...
Looks like one of our hens is on her last legs. Been feeding her readybrek all afternoon whilst skimming 'The Land' by Walter Brueggermann but her energy levels are dropping...

4 months ago

Amazing sunrise on today's school run. "In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."
(Amy's the photigrapher again!)

4 months ago

Beautiful morning here 🙂 After my epic drive to/from St Mellitus in Liverpool yesterday (because Lime Street Station was closed), all set for a day in Keighley Parish today.
"With the help of God we will," was the overwhelming message from yesterday. We can't do anything in our own strength, but with Jesus alongside us anything is possible!
(Thanks Amy Bennett for the photo.)

4 months ago

An afternoon off.... what to do? Meet my mate Puck 🙂

4 months ago

This resonated with me today:
"The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand." Psalm 37:23-24.
Delighful sunny morning here in the South Pennines, and as I stumble my way through "systematic theology" I know I will get there one step at a time (not sure I can say the same about the Greek alphabet though - lol).

4 months ago

"I felt you and I knew you loved me"

...just spent a while pondering these words as the light cascades in ...a humbling end to an intensive 4 days at St Mellitus .....time for the train.....

5 months ago

Good day at St Mellitus College (based at Liverpool Cathedral) with Anthony Bennett as he starts his training for ordination. Anthony will be spending half of his time with us in the parish alongside his theological training. Looking forward to having you in the team and your ministry with us.

5 months ago

Back from a wonderful few days retreat near Appletreewick 🙂 Just a week's holiday left before all systems go!

6 months ago

Happy birthday to me! First, but not the last 😀

9 months ago

Happy birthday Anthony ! Only 2 minutes late....

The Shakespeare Boys – Friends for Life

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Meet Othello, Hamlet, Puck and Bottom, the Shakespeare Boys. We’ve had our four donkeys for almost two years now; they were abandoned and we adopted them from Bransby Horses in Lincoln through their ‘Friend for Life’ programme. The folk at Bransby Horses have a great sense of humour – hence the Shakespearian names!

When feeling a little stressed they looked at me and I heard them say, “take it easy, eat some grass!” I read my friends for life this Prayer of Saint Francis for Animals in response:

God our Heavenly Father,
You created the world
to serve humanity’s needs
and to lead them to you.
By our own fault
we have lost the beautiful relationship
which we once had with all your creation.
Help us to see
that by restoring our relationship with you
we will also restore it
with all your creation.
Give us the grace
to see all animals as gifts from you
and to treat them with respect
for they are your creation.

We pray for all animals
who are suffering as a result of our neglect.
May the order you originally established
be once again restored to the whole world
through the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary,
the prayers of Saint Francis
and the merits of your Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ
Who lives and reigns with you
now and forever. Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi

Bransby Horses: http://www.bransbyhorses.co.uk/re-homing/re-homing-friend4life.html

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

These opening words of the Bible are incredibly profound; we are told that God created the universe at the beginning of time. However, when I studied geology and ecology at university I was a sceptic, convinced that this first creation story in Genesis was mythical; something far removed from scientific understanding; something that could not possibly be true. Geological evidence had shown me that life on Earth had evolved over billions of years. Surely, the universe couldn’t have been created in six days? And if the opening chapter of the Bible didn’t tie in with my scientific understanding, why read the rest of it?

This question continued to trouble me until, during a period of family illness, I felt the need to explore Genesis again. By chance, I came across Hugh Ross, astronomer-turned theological author, who had been a sceptic too. Through reading some of his books I began to see Genesis in a different light.

Firstly, I learned that the word ‘day’ in Genesis 1 is translated from the Hebrew word yom, which can denote any period of time, not necessarily 24 hours, and could represent a significant number of years.

Secondly, I came to understand that Genesis 1 is narrated from the perspective of being on the Earth’s surface. What difference does that make? I’ll explain…

In Genesis 1 verse 2 the story shifts from ‘the beginning’ event, which would have been around 15 billion years ago, to a focus on the Earth. It was ‘formless and empty; darkness was over the surface of the deep.’ This was around 4.5 billion years ago when the planets were forming out of the massive spinning disk of debris in our solar system. At the centre was the sun but its light was blocked out.

At this stage the Earth would have been covered with water with no land visible. So, if our frame of reference for Genesis 1 is the Earth’s surface it would have certainly been formless, empty and dark. The water and other essential nutrients could have been delivered by comets to create one vast ocean: the ‘primordial soup.’

We are told that ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.’ There had been ongoing geological evolution over a vast 10.5-billion-year period that resulted in creating order out of chaos. Then God intervened and added the essential Holy Spirit, triggering the start of biological evolution.

It is fascinating to follow cross references from Genesis 1 to other parts of the Bible. The Book of Job is the oldest text in the Bible, originating from probably 4000 years ago. As the Genesis narrative was assembled approximately 3000 years ago, the author of Genesis will have been familiar with the themes in the ancient text of Job. In Job 38 verse 9 we are told that God said to Job: “I made the clouds [the Earth’s] garment and wrapped it in thick darkness.” This parallels that initial period of darkness and stillness.

If we look at earlier verses in Job 38 we gain a further insight into God’s design for the Earth. In verses 4-6 God tells us that the Earth’s dimensions were accurately defined and measured. And in verse 7 we are told about divine activity: “all the angels shouted for joy” at the point before the Earth was wrapped in darkness.

The Genesis account continues at verse 3 and, following the intervention of the Holy Spirit, the atmosphere begins to turn translucent due to chemical changes triggered by biological activity. From our vantage point we begin to recognise the 24-hour cycles of light and darkness as the Earth rotates, the brightness from the sun at the centre of the solar system increases, and the end of the first ‘day’ approaches.

In verse 6, during the period of the second ‘day’ we can appreciate the initiation of the water cycle in the atmosphere with the sky ‘between the waters to separate water [oceans] from water [clouds].’ Then, in verse 7 we see the first land appearing. Volcanic activity that had previously been hidden under the ocean was now forming islands. Biological evolution spread with ‘seed-bearing plants and trees’ colonising and spreading across the land. The end of the third ‘day’ approaches.

The developing climate, with rainfall and increasing levels of oxygen from plants and trees in the expanding forests, would have gradually cleaned dust from the atmosphere. From our vantage point the clear sky enables us at last to see the sun during the day and the stars and moon at night, signifying the end of the fourth ‘day.’

During the 750 million years-or-so of the next stage, the fifth ‘day,’ we see the evolution of animals and the widespread distribution of mammals across the Earth. It has taken five ‘Godly days’ and nearly 15 billion years but now the stage is set for the sixth ‘day’ and the arrival of humanity. At the end of each Godly day God’s purposes were being fulfilled, and “God saw that it was very good.”

But note in verse 24 that God is written in the plural: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…’ Is God here being referred to as the trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Most probably written prior to Genesis 1, and again influenced by Job, is the poetry of Psalm 33. Verse 6 tells us that ‘by the Word of the Lord’ the universe was created, and in verse 9 this is reinforced: ‘he spoke and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm.”

My new understanding of Genesis 1 has shown me that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, brought the universe into existence. Order was created out of the chaos. At the start of John’s Gospel there is a most beautiful yet succinct summary of it all: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

If the opening chapter of the Bible is compatible with science after all, might you be intrigued to read on?

Further information on Hugh Ross:
http://www.reasons.org/about/who-we-are/hugh-ross
All Bible quotes are taken from The New International Version (1984).