Author Archives: Nigel Chapman

The Provocative Church


Last month Revd Liz wrote about moving on to new things and challenged us to think:

“Perhaps we all need to try something before we say “No, I couldn’t possibly do that.” Perhaps we all need to be a bit less diffident about our talents”.


Her words come at a time when it appears that fewer people are stepping forward to fill the gaps left by those moving on or stepping back. That said, as a church fellowship we should also be aware that we cannot do everything and for this reason doing less, is not such a bad thing, especially if we do it better with renewed vision and enthusiasm. The trouble is, that some people just expect everything we’ve always done to carry on, or that it is a failure when something comes to an end. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Revd Liz said, quoting the writer of  Ecclesisastes, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”.


It is good to take stock and review. Problems arise when we do nothing about change, do only the things we like to do, continue for the sake of it, or protect at all costs what “I’m”  doing for fear of losing a particular power base. It then becomes easy to blame other people for the demise of whatever it is the church is or isn’t doing. On my recent retreat I was considering my own part in all this as a leader using ‘The Rule of St Benedict and Leadership’ to consider some disciplines of good leadership. Needless to say there’s room for improvement! But there is also need to travel the road of change. For this we need clear purpose.


In his book ‘The Provocative Church’ Graham Tomlin asks “When was the last time you sensed danger in going to church”?  He explores evangelism and offers some thoughts on how to spot an evangelistic church. This is about being a community and not a closed institution; a community that faces outward and not inward. He says “at all our meetings our purpose should be to focus on Christ.” This very much resonated with me. Our purpose is to be serving Christ in all that we do, if it doesn’t, then we have to ask questions and this includes our need to empower evangelism.


In the coming months, we will be considering what God is calling us to do, and for this to happen, we all need to step forward, have a go and take a risk. After all, risky worship is about meeting with the living God who by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit can transform our prayers. Instead of waiting for something to happen, we become part of the solution.


This will excite some and horrify others. Is Nigel going to insist on evangelistic campaigns, guest services, evangelical power preachers and the like? Nope! That’s not my style. What I do hope will happen though, is that together we can explore what it means to be in a new relationship with God (Adoration), a new relationship with others (Belonging), a new relationship with creation (Compassion), with self (Discipleship) with words and action (Evangelism).


To this end we have a few new things developing in the coming weeks and we need people to come on the journey and get involved.

Every blessing

Nigel – Vicar

Moving on

We’ll soon be saying “Goodbye” to Revd Liz as she moves on just down the road to go and help in the parish of Eastfield. This has been something on Liz’s mind for some time now and she made the decision earlier in the year to look more seriously at where God was calling her… Liz writes to us this month…..


“For everything,” said the writer of  Ecclesisastes, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

A time for England to win the football world cup, and a time for France;

a time for a Briton to win Wimbledon, and a time for a Serb;

a time for prolonged drought, and a time  for an English summer.


“A time for every matter under heaven.”


There was a time for me to come to Filey in  April 2013,  and now, a time for me to leave. I came because God called me here, and I leave because God calls me away! In the 5 years since I came I’ve taken services in Filey and Gristhorpe, and in lots of other parishes -those in vacancy,  or with a Vicar on maternity leave. I’ve (introduced) prayer-walking here – I hope you’ll carry it on.

I’ve started an “Open the Book” team who, under Pam Roberts’ leadersip, will continue to go into Filey Infants Academy to act out Bible stories. I’ve started a prayer-chain which will continue with Ann Simpson. I’ve been emptying the Food bank boxes which you generous people refill almost immediately – thank you!


I’m still running a Laughing Lunch outing to beautiful Wydale Hall every month. I’ve kept up the tradition, established by Mary Williams and myself in 2010, of holding Healing Services. They have recently expanded to become Deanery-wide. The Bible study group which began as an Advent adventure led by me, has grown and changed, being led by Marilyn Briggs and then by each member of the group taking it in turn.


Perhaps we all need to try something  (like leading a Bible study) before we say “No, I couldn’t possibly do that.” Perhaps we all need to be a bit less diffident about our talents. Jesus told a parable about that, didn’t he? Perhaps we could think a bit more widely, too, and venture out to see what happens in other parts of the Deanery?


I hope to see you there!


Revd Liz Kitching

Community of Healing

The Queen’s Centre at Castle Hill Hospital, (known to many of you), is the European `state of the art’ centre for Oncology: `oncus’ is the medieval word for `lump’! So this Centre is the study and treatment of our lumps!  In all that we do and say we can be sure that God loves us, lumps and all!


Seriously, the Queen’s Centre provokes many thoughts and feelings, especially at first sighting.  Coming by road and parking outside it is like arriving at an airport terminal with all the excitement and trepidation that that holds.  In the parking zone there is great activity, many comings and goings, so too on the overhead pedestrian walkway, while folks share time together in the terraced coffee area.  There is much glass in the building, much light.


In the arrival/departure lounge, there are comfortable seating areas, rest-rooms galore, a café, a charity shop, a pharmacy, an information desk and, like the airport, the all important `check-in’ desk; here each one name is sacrosanct and sings; although listed with so many others, like those for Oskar Schindler, each name, maybe your name, is the microcosm of God an His Creation.  The Queen’s Centre, is designed for the through-put of many and yet holds on to the inviolability of the deep reaching roots which take each person to their point of departure, the beginning point of the healing journey, to the beginning of the end of the dis-ease.


There was a time when I was ignorant of this world, a time when I thought radio-therapy was listening to `smooth Classics at Seven’!  Now I know differently; the whole process of healing through radiotherapy is an awesome one. It is an amazing example of humanly enhanced divine providence.


Like my allotment, like life itself, `healing’ is in process and is always happening, for God wants us to be whole in body, mind, spirit.  As complex microcosms of creation, the healing process impacts on us at every level of our being, in our souls, in our emotions, in our thoughts, in our relationships, in our bodies.  Wholeness lies in the integration of all these human dimensions, it also requires that we can accept and integrate whatever it is that hurts!  So doing is to love selves, lumps and all, as God loves us and importantly that releases us to love our neighbour, lumps and all.


I write of the community that heals…Cancer patients form a temporary community as they come together, the late Tessa Jowell said, `we come together….in order to learn to live with cancer, not to die from it’.  In that process of community healing happens.  The many planned and random acts of kindness are healing; community by its nature is the healer.  How much more so is this for the Church, the community of Christ, the Body of Christ. Isolation is broken and community heals.


The process of healing only reaches a completion, an omega point, with the giving of thanks.  At the completion of the course of radiotherapy at the Queen’s Centre, there is a ritual of ringing a ship’s bell (hanging in the lobby), three times.  I did it in thanksgiving to our Three Personned God, and to pray for those in therapy, those waiting for therapy and those who performed the therapy.  We recall the tenth leper who turned back to thank Jesus for healing him.  I went out of the building thanking everyone in sight!!


So, I also thank my temporary co-travellers through therapy, and I thank you all, my compassionate companions for all your prayers and acts of kindness for Angela and myself. A healthy community exists through thanksgiving, and a wholesome church happens in eucharistica, the Great Thanksgiving.



May God be with you in all your comings and goings! Amen


Reverend Paul Burkitt