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Dear Church Family friends,

Kathryn and I are just home from a wonderful week at New Wine. Back live and in-person after two years of Covid, we have been able to camp in our tent, enjoy catching up with friends and colleagues from all over the UK and worship with thousands in The Peterborough Arena (a large concert venue).

The main morning teaching was provided by Jon Tyson. Jon is the leader of the Church in the City, New York. Australian by background, he has been able to translate the gospel and a strategy for ministry and mission to his new context. He has given us lots of things to consider and think further about. I hope it will be possible for us all to benefit from this in due course.

We are so pleased to let you know that the church kitchen refurbishment is now completed. Working to a design by Ptolemy Dean, the original architect of the Pavilions, our local contractors, Pear Tree, have been a delight to work with. The quality of their work is really impressive. The resulting extra space and flexibility will be a great asset for our regular Sunday refreshments and, we hope, for more frequent bigger events and occasions. We are hugely grateful to those who have contributed to the costs of the work and for the difference their gifts will have made possible.

It has been such a joy to have live music as part of our regular worshipping life once again. The choir sang beautifully on Sunday the anthem “The Lord Bless you and keep you” by Bob Chilcott.

We are at the same time very sad to report the death of John Tolmie, Linda’s husband. Linda is one of our Licensed Pastoral Assistants. She has cared for John selflessly for a considerable time, especially more recently when he has been so very poorly at home. Please do remember Linda in your prayers.

Our Sunday programme for August is set out below. Each Sunday at 10am our service is “live-streamed” on YouTube; and a recording of it may be viewed at 10am or later on in the day. It is very encouraging to have new people regularly wishing to join our church family. God is good!

Sunday 7 August                  

8am            Holy Communion

10am          All-Age Service.

11.30am     Morning Service at St Francis

6.30pm       Evening Service with Informal Communion

Sunday 14 August

10am          Morning Service with Baptisms

with KOSTA for primary school aged children

6.30pm       Evening Service

 Sunday 21 August

8am            Holy Communion

10am          Morning Service

with KOSTA for primary school aged children

6.30pm       Evening Service

 Sunday 28 August

10am          Morning Service

with KOSTA for primary school aged children

12.30pm     Picnic and Swim Party at Matthew and Joanna’s house* (till 3pm)

                    * please contact the office for directions

6.30pm       Evening Service

 

Coming up …

Family Fridays

Each Friday in August, the church will be open for crafts, activities and refreshments from 9.30am to 11.30am. From 10am to 10.30am there will also be English lessons for Ukrainian children on their summer holiday breaks. Please do let friends and family know of this lovely opportunity.

Saturday 20 August: 9am to 10.30am

Women’s Breakfast with Guest Speaker The Revd Jacqueline Drake-Smith, Vicar of Wrecclesham. Book your place via the office, for catering purposes, please.

 

And finally …

I have been enjoying a series of articles recently written by J John, the well-known international evangelist. It is called Heroes of the Faith. In this week when the Lambeth Conference is under the spotlight, and more than 600 bishops have gathered from around the world, it has been interesting to read of another bishop from another age: John Charles Ryle.

J John writes this: Two figures dominated the evangelical church of Britain in the late nineteenth century: the nonconformist preacher Charles Spurgeon and the Anglican preacher, writer and bishop, John Charles Ryle.

Ryle was born in 1816 to a banking family in Cheshire. His parents had little religion and the young Ryle had little awareness of spiritual matters. Gifted with intellect and a tall physique, Ryle went from Eton to Oxford University where he distinguished himself both as a student and a sportsman. In his final year at Oxford, Ryle was converted to Christ. He graduated in 1838 with first class honours and, despite the opportunity of an academic career, began pursuing a life in politics.

In 1841 Ryle’s plans were destroyed in hours when his father’s bank collapsed. His world overturned, Ryle sought ordination in the Anglican church. After training he served in rural parishes in south and eastern England for nearly four decades. Everywhere, Ryle’s powerful presence, his lively, clear and biblical preaching, and his genuine concern for his parishioners resulted in filled churches. To multiply his efforts as an evangelist, Ryle took to writing short tracts which were given away in vast quantities. The tracts had all the qualities of his preaching: urgency, clarity and a challenging demand for a response. They became widely circulated and many eventually formed the basis of books. With these, Bible commentaries and volumes on contemporary issues, Ryle became a popular author. It is claimed that, at the time of his death in 1900, he had written 200 titles, some 12 million copies of which had been printed. Many of his most important works remain in print.

Increasingly through his preaching and his publications, Ryle became well known in the evangelical world and was a popular speaker at many conferences. He was widely respected even by those, such as Spurgeon, who had little time for the increasingly mixed denomination that the Church of England was becoming. Although he remained a loyal Anglican throughout his life, Ryle sought to build unity across all evangelicals. A natural leader, he became a statesman for the evangelical world.

Ryle was never a man to seek promotion– his parishioners always came first with him – and was surprised when in 1880 he was invited to become the first Bishop of Liverpool. Despite knowing that the post would come with challenges – Liverpool’s population had exploded, the church was understaffed and there were dreadful social problems – Ryle took the position because he knew it would offer an opportunity for the gospel. For two decades, Ryle served as Bishop of Liverpool and, despite many difficulties, performed the task conscientiously. Inevitably, he found himself criticised by those who thought he was too evangelical and those who thought he wasn’t evangelical enough. In 1900, with his health failing, Ryle retired, dying just weeks later.

Although Ryle was a cheerful and positive man, he knew tragedy and disappointment. He was widowed three times and none of his five children followed his evangelical faith. A particular sorrow was that his second son, Herbert Ryle, became a leading liberal theologian, denying much of what his father had so faithfully affirmed.

Ryle was a man of many wonderful characteristics and let me offer three qualities that strike me.

First, Ryle was a supreme communicator of the gospel. Although most Victorian writers are a hard read today, Ryle is an exception. He chose an accessible style and deliberately played down his very considerable learning. This, coupled with his plain language, warmth and biblical insight meant that what he wrote is still readable today. Particularly recommended are his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Holiness and Knots Untied. Spurgeon may perhaps have been the compelling preacher of his age but, in print, Ryle was the master.

Ryle was a steadfast champion for the gospel. Temperamentally a peacemaker, he only engaged in issues where he felt a battle had to be fought. There were, however, several of those, as this was a time of deep challenge for evangelicals, particularly those in the Church of England. While the church of the early nineteenth century had been dominated by ‘gospel men’, the latter part of the century saw other voices gaining influence. Some people, dreaming of a return to a church before the Reformation, risked burying the gospel message under robes and ritual. Others, by questioning the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture through what we would now call liberal theology, threatened to dilute Christianity to mere morality. Ryle’s deep theological knowledge and outstanding intellect gave great strength to his responses and his gracious tone won the respect of many who opposed him.

Ryle was a sensitive counsellor with the gospel. He was many things: writer, preacher, spokesman and administrator of a diocese. Yet, in whatever role, he was always a pastor, someone who cared for people. The truths that mattered most deeply to him were those which applied the good news of Jesus to the lives of men and women. Indeed, his involvement in controversies was largely driven by pastoral concern: he felt that God’s flock were in danger of being led astray by false shepherds.

Bishop Ryle wrote: ‘Until we give God our heart, we give him nothing at all.’ Bishop Ryle gave God his heart – let us do the same.

J.John Reverend Canon
www.canonjjohn.com

Kathryn joins me in wishing you well and assuring you of our prayers.

With all good wishes,

As ever,

David                                                                                                              1 August 2022

 

Our Parish is committed to following the Safeguarding Policies of the Church of England to keep children and vulnerable adults safe from harm.

Concerns of any sort should be reported to The Rector, The Revd. H. David Uffindell (01252 710129), or our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Sanchia Vinall (01252 715412).

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor is Jackie Broadfoot (07918 559387)

To view the Church of England Policy Statement ‘Promoting a Safer Church’

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