Satellite Launched

NASA today launched its most advanced camera into space in a bid to discover the full extent of Simon Cowell’s ego.  ‘It’s just too big to be seen from earth,’ said an excited spokesman at Cape Canaveral, ‘but from deep in space we hope to be able to take in the sheer scale of the thing.’  Although NASA has been quick to play down the hope of finding intelligent life during the mission, scientists remain optimistic that it will also throw light on the whereabouts of several X-Factor winners whose careers were reported missing just days after their success.

Crazy Wimmin

The FBI had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews and testing were done, there were 3 finalists: two men and one woman.

For the final test, the FBI agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. “We must know if you will follow your Instructions no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Kill her!” 
The man said, “You can’t be serious. I could never shoot my wife.”
The agent said, “Then you’re not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home.”

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes. The man came out with tears in his eyes, “I tried, but I can’t kill my wife.” The agent said, “You don’t have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.”

Finally, it was the woman’s turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Several shots were heard, one after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman, wiping the sweat from her brow.
“This gun is loaded with blanks,” she said. “I had to beat him to death with the chair.”

Came to Believe – Sermon Easter 2 – 2009

I remember as a teenager, lying in my bed, and asking Jesus to appear to me! “Just once, so I would know for certain that it’s all true” And you know something? The big blighter never turned up. Nothing! Nada!

I wish faith was easy, don’t you? I wish God would give each of us some unmistakable sign. Nothing too dramatic. Well, that is not exactly true, is it? Actually, it would have to be pretty dramatic.

God gives us “signs” all the time, but we take them for granted, or ignore them. Little signs don’t count, because they are not dramatic enough!

Faith is not easy. God never meant for it to be. It is part of the struggle we go through. After the first Easter, Jesus came and stood with the disciples in the locked room and breathed on them…  

But, for some unknown reason, one of the apostles, Thomas, was missing that first Easter evening, (he was probably curled up under his duvet somewhere, saying, God, just give me one wee sign and I’ll believe it all…..) and Thomas wanted proof. He wanted to see Jesus for himself. Thomas said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”  

Thomas was a realist. He had been hurt and disappointed. He had expected so much from Jesus. Then, to watch him die on the cross like a common thief was too much for Thomas to bear. He had his hopes dashed once. We have to admire Thomas for being so honest with his doubts. He just could not believe without seeing Jesus for himself.

We all go through these moments of doubt, don’t we?  Sometimes our wildernesses don’t just last for days, but weeks and months and years.

We see the suffering in cancer wards, children being abused and neglected, horrific things like what’s happening in Palestine just now, earthquakes in Italy,  and of course we doubt!

“If there is a God who cares so much for you, why did he allow things, horrible things, to happen?

 Unfortunately there are people who have experienced much tragedy in their lives and think God has deserted them.


People have always struggled with their doubts. The early Christians had just as much trouble believing as we do. The apostles did not believe until they saw the risen Lord with their own eyes. They told Thomas but he didn’t believe the news either. He had to see for himself. 

 But sometimes these periods of doubt and questioning lead us to a greater understanding of faith. 

Someone once wrote, “As a new believer, I had a fragile faith. I pretended a confidence I often didn’t feel because I thought asking questions or admitting doubts indicated unbelief. Later I came to realize that searching the scriptures and talking honestly with other Christians is a way of building and strengthening my faith. I found that others often shared my questions, and we could together seek answers.” 

Often, new folk in the congregation are afraid to ask about things because they may be deemed stupid amongst a group of people who “know and believe it all unquestionably”. They must be encouraged to ask and challenge us!

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions and admitting our doubts. Thomas came to believe, as we must too!

Someone in the congregation said to me recently that they had problems believing in the Virgin birth, and I casually mentioned that to somebody else, and they felt something similar… and someone else raised the same doubt! That’s OK. It’s fine to have doubts, but we have to share our doubts. We have to be bold enough to ask the stupid question.

Often in our Study Groups, a wee “mouse” will ask a question, and be totally relieved to find that many others wanted to ask the same question, but were afraid to, in case they looked stupid! Be bold! Ask the questions! Raise the doubts, then we can talk through them and perhaps come to faith!

Because, often, our periods of doubts and questions lead us to faith.

As a result, we’re going to start a wee study group on the Creed.

Thomas struggled with his doubts for a week. Notice that Thomas still met with the other apostles. He was not excluded from the group because he didn’t believe them. In fact the doubter was very welcome in the congregation!

That says something important about being the church. We do not exclude people just because they are searching. Such searching may be a springboard for an even greater faith. Certainly it was for Thomas. 

Jesus told the disciples after Thomas, that there is a better way of coming to faith. It is about hearing and listening, and questioning and discussing!

He is saying to them that faith would come by one person sharing with another exactly what the Gospel has meant in his or her life. “Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have come to faith,” Jesus said.

From that moment on people would depend on the witness of the previous generation and the personal testimony of those whose lives have been transformed by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

Jesus’ words were spoken not only for them but also for us. We are invited to hear the Gospel message and believe – through our conversations and dialogue with others, by sharing, by their example and experience, and through their touch.

From now on, Jesus said, people will respond and believe not because they have seen but because they have heard the message of salvation. Doubt is part of living.

Faith is often a struggle. But it is available – available to all who will hear and struggle and come to believe.  

I Take no Responsibility for This!

A rabbit walks into a pub and says to the barman, ‘Can I have a pint of beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie?’. The barman is amazed but gives the rabbit a pint of beer and a ham and cheese toastie. The rabbit drinks the beer and eats the toastie, he then leaves.

The following night the rabbit returns and again asks for a Pint of Beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie. The barman, now intrigued by the rabbit and the extra drinkers in the pub (because word gets round) gives the rabbit the pint and the toastie. The rabbit consumes them and leaves.

The next night, the pub is packed, in walks the rabbit and says ‘A pint of beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie, please barman’. The crowd is hushed as the barman gives the rabbit his pint and toastie and then burst into applause as the rabbit wolfs them down.

The next night there is standing room only in the pub, coaches have been laid on for the crowds of patrons attending, the barman is making more money in one week than he did all last year. In walks the rabbit and says, ‘A Pint of Beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie, please barman’, smiling and accepting the tributes of the masses. The barman says, ‘I’m sorry rabbit, old mate, old mucker but we are right out of them Ham and Cheese Toasties’.

The rabbit looks aghast, the crowd has quietened to almost a whisper, when the barman clears his throat nervously and says, ‘We do have a very nice Cheese and Onion Toastie’. The rabbit looks him in the eye and says, ‘Are you sure I will like it?’ The masses bated breath is ear shatteringly silent. The barman, with a roguish smile says ‘Do you think that I would let down one of my best friends, I know you’ll love it’. ‘Ok’ says the rabbit,’ I’ll have a Pint of Beer and a Cheese and Onion Toastie’. The pub erupts with glee as the rabbit quaffs the beer and guzzles the toastie, he then waves to the crowd and leaves….

……NEVER TO RETURN!!!!!! 

One year later in the now impoverished public house, the barman (who has only served 4 drinks tonight, 3 of which were his) calls time. When he is cleaning down the now empty bar, he sees a small white form, floating above the bar. The barman says, ‘Who are you?’. To which he is answered, ‘I am the ghost of the rabbit that used to frequent your public house’. The barman says, ‘I remember you, you made me famous, you would come in every night and have a Pint of Beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie, masses came to see you and this place was famous’. The rabbit says, ‘Yes I know’. The barman said, ‘I remember, on your last night we didn’t have any Ham and Cheese Toasties, you had a Cheese and Onion one instead’. The rabbit said ‘Yes, you promised me that I would love it’. The barman said ‘You never came back, what happened?’

‘I DIED’, said the Rabbit.

‘NO!’ said the barman,’what from?’.

‘Mixin’-me-toasties,’ the rabbit replied.

From Revd Ian Barcroft

The Conference of European Churches (CEC ) has published a booklet of suggested discussions points to be raised with candidates for the European Parliament in the run up to the elections in June.  The material can be found at www.ecumenicalvoices2009.eu

Please draw this material to the attention of people in your Church/organisation who would wish to stimulate discussion within – and outside – the Church before the elections.

The Bible Says…

“Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible tells us that.” That is a reaction I get often if I talk of LGBT issues, especially of late when I’ve said quite clearly that my position has changed somewhat, and now is the time for our wee church to take a stand, and provide liturgies for same-sex blessings that bishops can attend. Now is the time for us to say that we will consecrate an openly gay man or woman to be a bishop if we feel that is what the Holy Spirit is telling us we should do, and that person has been called by God to be a bishop.

However, the Bible tells us that……..
Have a wee read here! An excellent article!

Tattoos and Piercings

Scripture teaches: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach” No one is more qualified to teach Anglicans about their tattoos than John McIntyre, the Bishop of Gippsland, Victoria. Not many Anglican bishops can boast a wife with tattoos and a daughter with a nose ring. When his wife Jan met Rowan Williams, the Archbishop said ‘I rather like your lovely illustrations‘. When the Bishop’s son turned 18 he was given a tattoo as a birthday present. “When we first came to Gippsland, grandmotherly-types came up to us and said if a bishop’s wife can have tattoos then it must be OK for their grand-daughters” says +John. Tattooed Anglicans with nose rings can be grateful to the godly Bishop’s fine example. If more of us had piercings we’d be closer to Our Lord.