Our Minister

Our minister is Reverend Deborah Kirk.


Deborah's contact details are:

Office Tel.: (01823) 275765,

Home Tel.: (01823) 334854

Email: deborah.m.kirk@googlemail.com

Now thank we all our God,
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.


All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son, and him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore,
For thus it was, is now
And shall be evermore.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next









Martin Rinkart (1586-1649)

‘Now thank we all our God’ is a well-known old hymn, written by Martin Rinkart, a German pastor of a church in Eilenberg in Saxony just at the start of the 30 years’ war. The war raged from 1618-1648, devastating much of Europe, and this area in particular. In addition to the war itself, and the difficulties and suffering which came with it, Eilenberg was a walled city, and so became a place of refuge. Soon it was badly overcrowded, making it susceptible to disease. The plague of 1637 decimated the town, a famine followed, bringing more death and devastation, and finally the Swedish army besieged the town, and added to the suffering by imposing crippling taxes.

This was the setting - war, famine, poverty, disease, economic destitution, for the writing of this well-known hymn. When Martin prayed for ‘guidance when perplexed’, he wasn’t talking about minor inconveniences! What was it that enabled him to give thanks in the midst of such dreadful troubles? What gave him the hope to cling on in the most desperate of situations? At the end of the war, his hymn was sung to celebrate the signing of the Peace of Westphalia - the treaty that ended the war.

I think it was Desmond Tutu who said, ‘I am not an optimist…I am a prisoner of hope’. Because hope which holds on, and hopes on, is what encourages us to focus on God, and not on the problem. We’re exhausted by the problems — one after another after another. The shocking suddenness of the global pandemic. The sinking economy. The suffering planet. Hungry, dying children. The explosion in Beirut. Our own fragile health. Worry about our families and their futures. Our church communities and witness. All these things concern us, and if we focussed only on them, we would sink like a stone under the weight of them.

‘Hope’ is shifting our focus to the knowledge that God holds us and all things in his care. Hope is clinging on to God’s eternal and timeless Truth. The Truth is that there is more to everything than the present trouble. We shall come through this time stronger, more thoughtful, more compassionate, for one another and for the world we live in. The Truth is that we do not have a distant God who leaves us to ourselves, but we have ‘God with us’ – Emmanuel. A God who knows and understands about our times of darkness because he faced the deepest darkness of the cross, and overcame, rising to light and new life.

We might find it impossible to give thanks for the troubles the world is enduring, but perhaps it is possible, like Martin Rinkart, to give thanks in the midst of them.

Peace for the journey,

Deborah

A PERSONAL THANK YOU

To all those of our congregation who have been taking on the role of 'telephone contacts' and 'pastoral links' during recent weeks. I know that many of you have been phoning the people on your lists, (and your friends too, of course) regularly checking on them, and this has been so much appreciated, and vitally important for those who are isolated or living on their own.

But, this is a plea too, not to forget those who may seem to be stronger, younger, more independent, more capable - they too may be lonely, or stressed by their circumstances, or finding it a challenge juggling work and children, or supporting elderly parents, and they may really be in need of a chat, or an invitation to a socially distanced walk, or to sit in a friend's garden...

Some may have a little more time than others during these days, and I wonder if this might be something you could continue to remember as we go forward.

In the words of Benjamin Zephaniah - 'People will always need people'

Deborah

REOPENING

An August update from Deborah on the reopening Temple can be found here.