News for February 2019

Dear Friends,

In March 2018 we began a special Year of Mission, shared with All Saints and St Luke’s. I hope you have been able to take part in some of the special events and activities which have been organised. There have been three so far, each with a different focus:

In March, we enjoyed two weeks hosting the Roughshod theatre group, part of Riding Lights Christian Theatre Company. Remember the five young actors who brought so much to us during their time in Maidenhead - visiting schools, church groups, community groups, residential care homes, as well as giving us two very memorable drama productions.

Then, in June, we had a day led by Steve Rouse from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity on ‘Living Faith 24/7’, helping us to think about our lives outside church and how we can serve God there – at home, at work, in the community. Steve helped us to think about what he called our ‘frontlines’ – the people we connect with in our daily life, and how God might be at work there.

Then, in Advent, we gathered at All Saints for a day with John Bell of the Iona Community on ‘Living and Praying the Psalms’. John led a wonderful and stimulating day on the Psalms, where we also enjoyed learning some new worship songs and hymns. We hope to introduce some of them here at The Good Shepherd.

So, what next?

In March we have another special day coming up. This time our focus will be on prayer, as we approach Lent. Put the date in your diary and keep it free – Saturday 2nd March from 10am to 3.30pm at St Luke’s Church. This will be another of our ‘Pathways to God’ Prayer Days, following on from the positive responses from the two previous Prayer Days. As before, the day will include worship, input from a visiting speaker, and a variety of workshops to choose from on prayer and different ways of praying. There will also be a bookstall.

We are delighted that our Area Bishop, Andrew, has agreed to be our keynote speaker for the day. It will be lovely to have Bishop Andrew with us again before he retires after Easter.

When I was living in Spencers Wood, I bumped into a couple of as I came out of church one morning.  They asked what I had been doing in the church.  I had been saying Morning Prayer, so I told them I had been praying.  They looked impressed.  It obviously was the sort of thing they expected vicars to do! However, they were very surprised to hear that I had been on my own praying in the church.  One of them looked very troubled by this idea and was clearly giving it some thought.  Suddenly she brightened up and said somewhat sympathetically, ‘Oh, were you practising?’

Well, in a sense we all need practice when it comes to prayer.  It is such a crucial part of our lives as Christians.  It is through prayer that we grow in our relationship with God.  Just as time spent with members of our families and friends is crucial to maintaining and growing in our relationships with them, so time spent in prayer is essential to our relationship with God.  Jesus gave us a wonderful example to follow.  Throughout his ministry, the gospels show him taking time away from his disciples and from the crowds to pray.  Those times must have refreshed, strengthened and sustained him.

I suspect that we all lack confidence when it comes to prayer. We tend to assume that everyone else is better at praying than we are!  We all will have come from different starting points. Some of us may have first been taught to pray as a child by parents or grandparents. Others may have grown into prayer as an adult; some may never have had help with prayer and perhaps just don’t know where to start. Whatever, your experience, this day is for you! Please come.

Further details will be available shortly.

Joan