From our Minister
Did your parents ever say to you ‘there is no such word as can’t’? I know that my parents used to say this to me and on this one issue I’m afraid that they might have been wrong! Anyone who has heard me sing will vouch for this – I do my best and I make a joyful noise, but tuneful it isn’t – I am tone deaf!
I think what my parents were trying to do when they told me that there is no such word as can’t, was to get me to recognise the difference between not being able to do something and not being bothered to try. They used this phrase when I was reluctant to try something new or when they had asked me to do something I didn’t really enjoy. In these situations ‘I can’t’ meant taking the easy way out and not making the effort.
No doubt this summer you have all been enjoying watching the Olympic Games, but what about the Paralympics? I found these as interesting as the Olympics and even more inspiring – for these athletes there certainly seems to be no such word as ‘can’t’. In the run up to the Paralympics, Jon Snow hosted programmes that profiled some of the athletes taking part. It was inspiring to hear their stories and to hear them speak directly about their experience. One athlete who had lost his legs in a childhood accident spoke of how he felt that it had changed his life view and given him the determination to succeed. In the midst of adversity he had found strength that he never knew he had. It made me think about what skills we have inside of ourselves. Do we explore the depths and heights of what we are able to do or are there things that we chose to ignore with those convenient words – I can’t.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks about human skill and talent and how we use them. In Corinthians 12 there is recognition that we all have particular skills and talents and we are called to use these to the best of our ability in serving God. This addresses two common things that we often say that hold us back from achieving our God given potential. The first is that we all should be able to do everything. Paul reminds us that although we might be able to manage many jobs, we can end up focusing on too many things and being a ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’ instead we are reminded that we work as part of a team, with friends, with family, with work colleagues and within the church. The second thing that we are often tempted to say is that we have nothing worth offering and this is surely untrue. Every one of us has some skill or talent that is essential for God’s work, from listening to administration, prayer to tidiness. We need to encourage one another in using those skills. If you see someone doing something well, say so and if you think that someone might be just right for a task, ask them about it. You never know they might have thought about it but have been unwilling to put themselves forward.
Paul uses the illustration of the body to share these ideas with the church in Corinth and through his writing it is clear that although sometimes we may genuinely need to say ‘I can’t’, if we work together and support one another then together the answer is that in God’s power ‘Yes we can!’.
The Paralympics have grown from a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948 to become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century. The first organized athletic event for disabled athletes was held at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and was the brainchild of Dr Ludwig Guttmann. As a Jew he had fled Nazi Germany and settled in Britain where he encouraged ex-servicemen, with spinal cord injuries, to exercise by taking part in wheelchair sports.
The name Paralympic is derived from the Greek preposition παρά, pará (beside or alongside) and thus refers to a competition held in parallel with the Olympic Games. The summer games of 1988, held in Seoul, was the first time the term Paralympic came into official use.
Given the wide variety of disabilities the athletes have, there are six broad categories in which they compete. The categories are amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually impaired and Les Autres (literally The Others), which are athletes with disabilities that do not fall into any of the other five categories.
A Laugh is a Smile that Bursts
With thanks to Jane for this humorous story
A man appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.
St Peter went though the book and said “Well, I can see here that you weren’t especially bad, but you weren’t especially good either.”
"Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asked.
"Well, I can think of one thing," the man offered.
"I was driving along and I came upon this gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I asked them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen. So I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him in his face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground.
I yelled, "Now, listen to me and leave this poor defenceless woman alone…. Or the rest of you will get the same thing."
St. Peter was impressed, "Wow, when did this happen?"
"Oh about a couple of minutes ago."
Ten Things You Never Hear in Church
1. "Hey! It’s my turn to sit in the front pew!"
2. "I was so enthralled, I never even noticed your sermon went 25 minutes overtime."
3. "Personally I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf."
4. "I’ve decided to give our church the £500 a month I’ve been sending to the TV Evangelists."
5. "I’ll volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Sunday School."
6. "Forget the denominational minimum salary. Let’s pay our Minister so he can live like we do!"
7. "I love it when we sing hymns I’ve never heard before."
8. "Since we’re all here, let’s start the service early!"
9. "Reverend, we’d like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas."
10. "Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment to the Lord like our annual stewardship campaign."
The Hymn Writers
“Sing we the King who is coming to reign” (Hymns and Psalms 244) was written by Charles Sylvester Horne and wedded to the old Moody and Sanky tune known as ‘The Glory Song’.
Horne was born in 1865, the son of a Congregational Minister, educated in Shropshire and Glasgow, finally going to Oxford to study theology, where he was in great demand to preach from the pulpits of many local Churches.
Such was his authority in preaching the Gospel, that before completing his studies, he was invited to become Minister of Allen Street Congregational Church in Kensington, London, and later on moved to the Whitefield Mission in Tottenham Court Road, becoming President of the Brotherhood Movement amongst other duties.
His concern for the welfare of the body as well as the soul led him to stand as M.P. for Ipswich, being elected in 1910.
A 1908 copy of ‘WHO’s WHO’ listed his hobbies as golfing, cycling and agitating – obviously a man of ceaseless drive!
But his first love was still preaching and in 1914, on his way to preach and lecture in Canada and America, Charles Horne sadly collapsed and died as the boat entered Toronto Harbour – aged only 49.
But the name of Horne lived on into our generation and many of us remember his son, Kenneth Horne, entertainer and broadcaster of the 1950’s, in programmes Twenty Questions, Much-Binding-in the-Marsh, Beyond our Ken and Round the Horne.
Charles Horne is also remembered by another hymn (Hymn and Psalms 435) “For the might of thine arm we bless Thee”.
Thank you to everyone for their support in producing our newsletter this quarter.
Please let me have your articles for the Winter edition by the beginning of December.
Christine Beesley – Editor