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From the Rector – October

On the evening of the third of October, 1226, surrounded by his friends, just after the sun had set on the gentle hill country of Umbria in central Italy, a man died.  In the twenty or so years of his adult life he had created a movement within Christianity which is still both an inspiration and a challenge to us today.

Francis of Assisi was a simple man, his simplicity was one of the things that made him deeply loved, so deeply loved by those around him and by tens of thousands more that within a mere two years of his death the Church had recognized him as a saint.  The simplicity of Francis’ life and death held within it a number of contradictions, and it was from the energy generated by those contradictions that the fruitfulness of his discipleship poured forth. (more…)

A message from the Bishop of Ludlow

Once again the media have opened up the science versus faith debate.  Both television and newspapers ran headlines following Prof. Stephen Hawking’s latest thinking.  The Times had a front page headline, Hawking – God did not create the universe.  In a surprisingly swashbuckling style, The Times asserted that Darwin removed the biological need for a creator and now Hawking, in his new book, ‘The Grand Design’, has provided the equivalent in the discipline of physics.  The inference is that science has proven that God does not exist.  Clearly Hawking has revised some of his opinions and is now more inclined to atheism.  Nevertheless, the title of his book is itself interesting hinting at design presumably now without the need for a designer. (more…)

A message from the Bishop of Hereford

School term is about to begin again and with it a new academic year. In many ways, it can feel like a new beginning in church as well, not least after holidays for many people. This is why we support a “Back to Church Sunday” later in this month, especially to welcome those who want to make a new beginning. Of course, they are welcome all the time, not just on a special Sunday!

The start of a new academic year is also a good time for each of us to take stock of our own learning. It may be many years since we were at school, college or university, but our learning does not stop. Many people will be signing up for morning, afternoon or evening classes in order to learn more in some areas of their interest and choice, as well as to see others who share that same passion. (more…)

From the Rector (Sep)

Details are important. Apparently boring or everyday things can have an effect on the feel of life. Quercy in Southern France – where we have just been on holiday – and Shropshire, climate apart, have many similarities in terms of economy and society, but differences in details give rise to differences in rhythm of life. The way, for example, that shops open and close affects the pattern of the way in which people spend their days and perhaps even they way they spend their life.

As this is true of places, so it is true of times, and so this autumn we are going on a journey together For four Tuesday evenings, we are going to look at the way people lived in Jesus’ time, and even, as far as it is possible, try and imagine ourselves into the way they might have thought. We will meet witnesses to Jesus’ time both from the Bible and from outside Scripture. We will not need to be very academic, but we will need our imaginations, ‘listening’ as someone once put it ‘to the voices of the dead with our eyes’. But not only our eyes: we will taste and hear the First Century as well …