QuillMission Communities ...

Dear Friends

One of the delights of September for me are sunny days when you can notice the shift from summer to autumn. Out walking one sunny day in the woods near the vicarage, I stopped on the bridge that spans the babbling brook. Bees were out still collecting pollen and nectar, the sun, shining with enough heat for tee shirt and shorts, leaves on some trees just on the turn. There was a stillness. The sap and energy that birthed and grew so much greenery in the spring and summer was ebbing away, returning to the deep earth. The stillness of autumn was descending. Standing on the bridge, I was reminded of the following: ‘Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year.’

As churches across Manchester Diocese move towards building Mission Com- munities, we will certainly need ‘sap and energy’ to explore and grow this initiative to overturn decades of decline and struggle. With this in mind, a meeting is planned for PCC and Congregation members on Thursday 21st October 7.30pm to 9pm at St. Mary’s High Crompton. Refreshments served from 7pm. Please feel free to attend to find out more, have a shared conversation and ask questions.

In the meantime, see 8 page pull-out in the centre of this magazine which will explain more about Mission Communi- ties. Please take time to read it.

The meeting assumes life will remain free from legal restrictions around Covid19. However, the meeting organisers strongly recommend all current social distancing and mask wearing remain. The only flexibility would be at the re- freshment time before the meeting.



QuillA Lesson for us all ...

For a long time gardening has been a source of relaxation for me.
Having got most of the vegetables sorted out in the back garden, I have recently been catching up with some weeding in the front garden. When I started I was dismayed to find some “mare’s tails” or what I knew as a child as “dragon’s fingers”.
I know from bitter experience just how far these weeds can travel. Their roots are said to grow anything up to three feet below the soil surface. I have known them to travel under paving stones, some twelve feet from where they originally appeared. It is really devastating if they get into the lawn and the only practical solution is to dig up the lawn, remove the roots and re-seed.
I spent some hours trying to remove them without disturbing other plants, but eventually I had to give in and take the decision to take the plants out, remove the roots and then replant most of the border. Sure enough I was faced with what appeared to be more like tree roots rather than roots of some small weeds.
The experience of dealing with these pernicious weeds made me think of how weeds can affect our spiritual lives. Jesus taught many parables about plants and growth. In the parable of the wheat and tares he illustrates how good and evil are allowed to co-exist in the world until God’s judgement day when the tares will be gathered and burnt and the wheat will be harvested and gathered into his presence.
In the parable of the sower however, he taught quite directly about the conflicts of good and evil in peoples’ lives. He describes how some of the seed fell among thorns. It sprouted just like the other seed, but eventually it died as it was choked by the weeds and thorns which grew up around it.#

I believe that there is a lesson for us here. In our spiritual lives, we have to be disciplined to notice the weeds that are growing alongside the good seed of our spiritual lives.
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus himself gives a stark warning of the things of this life which choke us spiritually. “(there are those who) like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
If we allow ourselves to be persuaded by the misguided promises of earthly satisfaction, then our spiritual nature will eventually be choked.

There is nothing wrong in itself with wealth and material comfort; it is when it competes for our spiritual time and energy that the trouble begins. To act quickly as soon as the weeds and thorns begin to appear will enable us to avoid a painful weeding out of the deep-seated “mare’s tail roots” of our spiritual lives.

In our Eucharistic worship, we recharge our spiritual batteries. Strengthened by God and each other, we are then sent out to take God’s message of hope into the world. Our effectiveness as Christian apostles relies on us being fully charged to do His will.

A Christian without the Holy Spirit is rather like a mobile phone without charge or even worse, a car without petrol.

May we be “like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

May God bless us all in all that we do in His Name.

Blessings, Howard.

“…  "A Christian without the Holy Spirit is rather like a mobile phone without charge or even worse, a car without petrol.”