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When prayer is more than a walk in the park

“Devote yourselves to prayer,” writes the apostle Paul to the Colossians (4:2) in my Bible reading for today. The BRF Guidelines commentary observes that “Paul is hinting that prayer is always something of a battle which requires determination.” I know the feeling. In fact, just a few verses later, we read "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf.” (Colossians 4:12) Here Paul holds up Epaphras as an example, a role model for all disciples, in his commitment to pray for his fellow believers that “they may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills.” Such prayer is both necessary and

God forgets, the ultimate oxymoron

"Watch yourselves carefully", warns Jesus. "You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town."(Luke 13:3) And not just all over town in this internet age. I've been sorting out all those files I've accumulated during the 25 years I've been vicar of Christ Church, Aughton. Most are destined for recycling - which is just as well for some of my correspondents. In fact, some would be altogether embarrassed, even horrified, to read what they dispatched to the vicarage all those years ago. At the time I'm sure they meant well but let's say they made their point forcefully. Over the years I always took a

We need our routines, all of us

It’s Friday morning – which means “Write your blog.” So here we go. We had a great weekend as we marked my final Sunday as vicar of Christ Church. A truly enjoyable family get-together in the Ministry Centre on the Saturday evening, even as embarrassing photos from my distant past appeared on the big screen. Then a memorable set of services on the Sunday, my final 8.15 and 10.45, along with the hotpot. So many people went out of their way to support us on this special occasion. May I say a big thank you to all those who worked so hard to make this all happen. And another thank you for all your varied cards and gifts. We were bowled over! However, following diocesan policy I’

When we need to party

Well, we’re nearly there. Tomorrow afternoon at 5.00 pm the farewell Kleenex-themed event at the Ministry Centre. I’ve no idea what’s planned, which is just as well. Then this Sunday, my final service as vicar of Christ Church followed by a hotpot meal with (a very short, I hope) presentation in the Ministry Centre. I'm not sure I’m looking forward to all this. My instinct, I think, is simply to turn off the lights and quietly leave by the back door. In fact, one church member recently told me that when she was teaching at a local school, special celebrations were planned to mark the retirement of their head teacher. These were to take place during his final afternoon. Howev

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