Author Archives: Nigel Chapman

September News: Archbishop’s Mission

Scarborough Deanery Mission

13-15th October

The Archbishop of York is once again visiting every deanery in the Diocese of York. This is not a personal pilgrimage but an opportunity for us to invite non-Christian friends, relatives and neighbours to meet Jesus, perhaps for the first time.

Come and See – Come follow me” is inspired by some of the people who met Jesus personally. People who were changed by their encounter and then went to call their friends and neighbours to come and meet Jesus for themselves. There are going to be a variety of different activities and events at which the Archbishop will meet and encourage people to follow Jesus.

From schools to meeting people on the street, a healing service to lunch in a pub the Archbishop and his team will be coming to meet people from all walks of life. In Filey, Archdeacon Andy will be going to Ebor School and Bishop Alison is going to be in town on Saturday lunch time meeting and praying with people. There’s going to be a guest healing service with the Archbishop in Hunmanby, Street Mission on the streets of Scarborough with the Archbishop, a barn dance on Saturday evening and on Sunday there is to be a special day of activities entertainment and worship at Scarborough Fair at which Ebor Academy Choir is going to be performing.

As churches in the deanery we are being encouraged to bring other people to come and find out for themselves that having faith in Jesus can be a life changing experience.  To this end we are also being asked to pray and consider who we might invite along to any of the events over the weekend. There are leaflets available in church with a full programme.

Reaching out into the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ is for the Christian as important as breathing. Without doing outreach we grow old and die as a Church. So, this weekend of mission is important and I would encourage you to get involved and to take friends, family or neighbours who are not already involved in the life of Christian faith to one or more of the events. If you can’t do that, then perhaps at the very least, you would take an interest and pray for the weekend, the Archbishop and all who are going to be involved.

Mission is never a mistake, it makes a massive difference to the life of the church.

Every Blessing

Nigel Chapman

Vicar of Filey

Prayer and Vision

At our recent Prayer and Vision Day we came to the conclusion that we are going to close St Oswald’s and let the Medieval Historical Society have it as a museum. The congregation can then move to St Thomas’ thereby making sure that we have a full church every week.

 

OK NO WE DIDN’T! The day was not necessarily about a radical rethink for the future. Having vision is like having strategy. In context, it is about how we endeavour to be faithful to the mission of the church – to serve Christ and make him known. The day was about seeking purpose in our relationship with God as we move toward the 2020’s.

 

Our prayers for the day centred around Psalm 23. The refrain “and I will trust in you Oh Lord – for your endless mercy follows me” led me to ask how are we nurturing a trusting relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ personally as well as corporately. Furthermore, how are we enabling others to come into fellowship with Christ? In the Psalm we note that God offers:

  • relationship,
  • rest,
  • refreshment,
  • healing,
  • guidance and
  • purpose.

Even in dark and difficult testing times God offers protection for the soul, faithfulness, security, hope and hospitality. God wants to bless us abundantly, and what he requires of us is to offer that blessing to the community. So, are we fit for purpose? What should we develop and what should we leave behind?

 

The Archdeacon of Cleveland led us through some diverse areas to think about including how the world has changed in recent years and how are we responding?

For instance, people no longer believe in absolute truth, individualism has taken over from community, spirituality is wider and more pick and mix in our post modernism (and even that is now old hat)! Christianity can feel marginalised and is just another among many religious practices. Sadly, it is also often regarded as ‘fake’. We live in challenging times. So, what is the future for our church?

 

Acts 2:17

Quoting Joel, St Luke wrote ‘“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams”’.

 

Vision and dreams (or hopes) help us to take stock and assess where we are, so that we may be clearer about where we need to be going. So here are a few reflections that emerged from those who came on the day:

  • Focus on who we are and what we have and not dwell on what we haven’t got. No more “what if’s” or “if only’s”.
  • Face the challenges and where necessary refocus our energies.
  • How can we be more inclusive and make church really accessible to all?
  • If we do nothing, we can only expect to decline in numbers.
  • It may mean changes in how we do things and what we offer.
  • We need to consider where our time, money and energies are going and ask ourselves what should be our priorities.
  • Do a skills and gifts audit.
  • We cannot do everything, and the vicar can’t be everywhere, but there are some obvious gaps – such as with young people.
  • It may mean merging some activities to release time and people for other things, such as a Youth Café.

 

Where now?

Over the next few weeks I would encourage you to continue to discuss, pray and seek vision for our churches. We want to allow our thoughts to develop and the right strategies to emerge. For sure, standing still is not an option and priorities need to be set. To this end I would invite you to come together again for a plenary time on Saturday 5th August in the Vicarage marquee from 10.30am – 12.30pm. Our starting point will be (as one person reflected on the day) –  ‘Believe in what you are being called to do and use the resources you have, purposefully, to further the Kingdom.

 

May God bless our churches as we continue to develop our vision and sense of purpose.

With every Blessing

Nigel Chapman

Vicar

Ordinary Times?

In the Church of England liturgical calendar, we have just entered into what is called ‘Ordinary Time’. It stretches out before us for 23 weeks until the Sunday before Advent at the end of November. Having had the celebrations of Easter and Pentecost you could be forgiven for thinking that this period of time is a bit of an anti-climax where church becomes rather ordinary and every day –  even boring! We do like our high days and holy days and crave the special events where we can pull out all the stops. In her brilliant bible study book ‘Everyday God – The Spirit of the Ordinary’ eminent theologian Paula Gooder writes: “Ordinariness is not exhilarating; it does not imply stimulation or interest [but] in these periods is a richness, a depth of potential experience which we need to encounter”.

 

In what appears to be the ordinariness of life we can continue to glimpse the extraordinariness of God involved in our everyday life, especially if we care to keep on seeking and connecting. I love the Celtic invocation of the Holy Spirit to come to us from “where ordinary is made glorious and glory seems but ordinary”. It kind of makes the point I’m trying to make here.

 

God is an everyday God! We can know God to be among us in the ordinary rhythm of life not just on Sundays, special events or festivals.  We can know God while cutting the grass, cleaning the pots, doing the shopping because God is not apart from us. The Incarnation ‘God with us’ is not just for Christmas, it’s for life! The early Christian church learnt this as they began to reach out into their communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Studying together, praying together, eating together, worshipping together and doing evangelism together they learnt that God was among them always in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Their spiritual lives became established in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary times of life and the church grew because of this. Faith strengthens when little and weak faith is put into practice. Even when persecuted and tormented or facing death by those who sought to put an end to Christianity, faith grew during the ordinariness of life.

 

So instead of seeing ‘Ordinary Time’ as a period of spiritual wilderness or treading water it should be a time of growth while prayerfully seeking God in all areas of life, both as individuals and as the church.

 

To this end, our day together as a benefice on 15th July is an important day and I would encourage you to make it a priority as we seek to be an ordinary church serving an extraordinary Lord. It is a day of exploring where God may be leading us in the coming months and years. Let us continue always to Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

 

Nigel Chapman

Vicar