Natasha Writes – Curates Letter

As I approach my second Christmas in Rushden I feel a little bit more prepared than I did last time round.  This year I know that it is appropriate, in fact it is vital, that I get my Christmas decorations out and up way before the end of the school term. (which is when I used to do it) A fact which has pleased my family no end.  They have been telling me for years that I am way too tardy when it comes to putting up the tree and far too frugal with the twinkly lights. Now I know better. Rushden [and Newton!], you have taught me well. So by the beginning of December our home will be ablaze with all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia, as is befitting for a Curate of this fair town.  I intend to be fully-prepared, because after all, we are in the season of Advent.  The season of preparation.

Advent is an amazing time … there are calendars to plunder, carols to sing, mince pies are once again on the menu and towns light up with so many decorations that the ‘National Grid’ goes on red alert. It’s fabulous. There is such an air of expectation, such an air of knowing that something special is about to happen … but what is it that we are expecting? Presents, a break from work, a jolly time with the family? Or is it more than that?

It is during these winter months that folk often begin to ponder about the ‘spiritual’ aspects of their lives.  Questions begin to rise to the surface. What is it that makes Christmas special?  What is it that makes us want to make changes to our lives, come the New Year? As these musings grow and start to take shape in our mind a new unexpected urge begins to take form within us.  And so it is not unsurprising to hear that the number of people who visit a place of Christian worship during the lead up to ‘the big day’ increases, as festive folk come; seeking and hoping to catch a bit of ‘Christmas Cheer’ to set them up for the holidays and keep them going when the piles of turkey and roast potatoes have all been munched and the twenty five days of Christmas film specials have run their course.

Those of us that have a faith, know and understand this urge— this yearning in the soul to reconnect afresh with the God who came in human form to redeem the world.  We know that this was the only way that He could permanently reconnect us with God the Father once again so we can live this earthly life fully in step and in tune with the creator of all Creation. The birth of His Son is that step into this world, in a tangible way, that was only ever going to have one outcome. God selflessly gave of Himself by gifting us His Son.  So each day we run down the stairs, swing open the doors on our advent calendars and look eagerly inside for the little treat that lets us know we are one day closer to celebrating God incarnate, Jesus born.

For those who have yet to find this faith, but have questioning thoughts floating to the surface, or an urge to peek inside the door of a Church over the Advent season, can I let you into a little secret? Outside the door to your heart there is a person waiting, patiently, for you.  He never pushes His way into someone’s life. He never argues or forces His ways upon you.  He just stands, waiting for you to hear His knock, hear His voice and let Him in. So I urge you, open your heart’s door, take a peek, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Rev 3.20 (NLT)

Rev Natasha Brady

 

 

Remembering Forward | Associate Minister’s Letter

Remember forward 

By the time you read this the wedding day will be over. My daughter will be married, I will have gained another son-in-law, many tissues will have been used (and that’s just me), my speech spoken, food eaten, drink drunk and my wallet empty – but it will all be worth it. I am sure it will be a day full of beautiful memories, joy and laughter. In years to come we will look back at the pictures and remember the day.

Remembering the good things is an important part of life. It’s good for our own wellbeing and can warm our hearts in days which seem cold. However, we often do seem to excel at remembering the bad stuff, the things that hurt or have caused us pain. Though there is a place for that in moderation.

We are entering the time of year when we remember those who, in the World Wars and beyond, gave their lives for us so we can have our freedom. We do need to remember their sacrifice – to remember well so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past and move forward positively into future. We need to remember forward almost. Sadly, it seems as if the governments of this world forget the mistakes of the past and go on to make them all over again.

But if we find it difficult to ‘remember forward’ in matters of war, we need to still keep alive the hope of learning from the past in services of remembrance across the country. Hearing the stories of sacrifice not as heroic tales to stir the soul, but as epitaphs to people who would rather have not done the things they had to do, but do them nevertheless, for the sake of others.

We may only be able to play a small part in the decision- making of politicians and generals but we can, however, make this our mission in our personal lives, to remember forward – to take the lessons and the best of the past to build a new future.

Seem difficult? Well to help us we need to trust in a God who has a long memory for his promises and a short one for our sins.

This is something the Bible clearly communicates, in Psalm 105.8 it says …

“He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations” 

and in the Book of Isaiah:

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Is 4.25)

Maybe that’s it: maybe that’s the key to it all. Having a long memory for the promises we make but a short memory of the sins of others. That seems the best way to remember forward. There have been examples of treatment of the ‘sins’ of a nation that have actually exacerbated the situation and caused further conflict. Either way in our personal lives it certainly is true that we seem to want to keep a long memory for the ways we have been hurt and are careless about any promises that we ourselves have broken.

As Bishop Donald reminds us on page 15 of this edition it is important to live in the present too, but at this Remembrance time, let’s remember forward and choose in our own lives to build our futures on the good of the past with the God who remembers his promises to us forever.

Rev Matt Taylor

Natasha looks back

When a new chapter of your life begins, it inevitably means that some things that went before have to end… And so it was for me around this time last year.  I had just completed the theoretical part of my ‘Vicar’ training and it was time to move into the next phase … Curacy.

My time at college was a good one.  I made friends, learnt so much more than I thought possible about the Christian faith and, though it was sad to leave academic study, I suspect my long-suffering lecturers knew I was better serving God in a parish rather than trying to write some huge tome on the Trinity or such like. So it was with a peaceful heart that I moved to Rushden, with my family in tow.

From the start, I knew I had come to the right place. In Rushden I have continued to learn and experience all that I need to live out my calling to love and serve God as a priest. Everyone I met warmly welcomed me.  My slightly dippy ways have been cherished and understood. As I started to teach and preach on a Sunday in the services and as I helped or gave talks at various functions or children’s clubs the good folk of St Mary’s encouraged and shaped my learning: letting me know the bits that worked well— where parts of the sermons resonated within them— but also gently reminding me to speak up and, on one occasion, not to call people in their 70s elderly.  (I promise to never do that again!)

This first year, as a Curate, has been amazing. I feel I have grown in so many ways: in confidence, understanding and as your pic-2servant in Christ. When I arrived I remember that I thought being a Curate was like being a Vicar with training wheels on.  And it is fair to say that as I continue serving here throughout my Curacy I will always be leaning on those around me for support and that little push to keep me on the straight and narrow.  Thankfully I have Steve and Matt … guiding and nudging me continually … teaching me how to sustain this life of ministry and encouraging me to freewheel it when they know I won’t knock anyone over with my enthusiasm or wobbly ways.

pic-1Through all of this year I have seen the fire of God’s passion growing and burning within me, reminding me that I am not doing this alone; that I don’t have to be alone. As I was sitting here, typing away, it occurred to me that God asks us all to never lean on our own understanding but instead put our trust in the LORD: that it is better not to be wise in our own eyes but seek the wisdom of God first.  For me, I seek it in his holy word, the Bible; through the teaching I receive from my Christian community, the Church; and directly from God himself through his son Jesus, in prayer-soaked moments each day. For you, that seeking may take a slightly different shape, but from one disciple of Jesus to another I encourage you to…

‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’  Proverbs 3.5

Rev Natasha Brady, Curate, St Mary’s Rushden

Rectors Letter | Rev Steve Prior

Letter from Steve

As we are all keenly aware, the referendum on whether the UK is to remain or exit the European Union is to be held on 23 June.  Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has wisely said that he will not make a pronouncement on behalf of the C of E one way or the other on this issue, as the Church has no special wisdom concerning many of the economic, security or military issues involved. We have all heard many pros and cons on these issues during the past months.

Rev Ian Paul, on the staff of St John’s Nottingham Theological College and a regular blogger on his website psephizo, has written an article, based in turn on a new Grove Booklet, The EU Referendum:  How Should We Decide?, by Rev Andrew Goddard, which raises issues that Christians ought to consider when deciding how to vote.  Again, he does not come down on one side or the other, but rather than issues of economic security, the article focuses on the sorts of relationships our membership of the EU either helps or hinders – with our own nation and its communities, with Europe and with the wider world. The extended quotation below is taken directly from Ian Paul’s blog of 29 April:

“It Hurts To Go Away: A Christian Case To Remain

We should stay because the EU’s vision, shaped by Christianity, has led it to much good for its members and more widely. The proper response to difficulties in relationships is not to walk out but to work at them and influence others for the good by being present. The UK has modelled this through the EU after initially standing apart and we should persevere in that commitment. EU membership recognises the value of international co-operation and the need for many political questions to be addressed at a trans-national level. The UK and other nations benefit from our involvement in institutions working for justice. These bodies can never be as representative as local and national political structures but the EU ensures all nations are represented in its deliberations and respects their different histories and perspectives. Its commitment to subsidiarity gives a powerful basis for sustaining such distinctiveness.

To leave would diminish our input in conversations and decisions which will inevitably impact our lives and would isolate us from structures which bring us into regular political contact with our nearest neighbours. It would give credence to erroneous views, especially that national sovereignty is inviolable, and risk fuelling nationalistic or xenophobic attitudes. Voting to remain does not mean accepting the Euro or all other recent developments. Rather, it means being committed to working with our neighbours to seek our shared common good.

It’s Impossible To Stay: A Christian Case To Leave

We should leave because the EU, despite Christian elements in its vision, and past successes for example in relation to peace, is now failing and damaging members and others. It is increasingly captive to contemporary, particularly economic, idols, as seen in the Euro, and is developing characteristics of an imperial project which do not adequately respect national integrity. Given its history, the UK is well able to discern and to alert the EU to these trends but attempts at reform have largely failed. Subsidiarity, for example, is honoured in word but not action as EU competences extend across so much of our lives. Particularly since the EU’s expansion, the possibility of representative political authority structures has diminished. There is even less – and far from sufficient – common identity uniting us and we should not seek to engineer or impose such an identity.

The principle of free movement of EU citizens denies the importance of our locatedness and does not do justice to distinct national identities. It is no longer enabling solidarity but increasing tensions and, as with other policies, leads to an unjustifiable preferential option for the EU rather than other, poorer, parts of the world. Brexit, though it will have costs, opens the possibility of creatively rethinking and reconfiguring this negative dynamic to enable the creation of a better situation not just for the UK but for the EU and wider world.”

So, no clear answer here – but perhaps more to consider as 23 June draws nearer. As one lay member of the Diocesan Synod said back in March, “Whichever way the vote goes on 23 June, nearly half of the population are going to be disappointed on the 24 June. Perhaps the most important role for Christians and the church during the referendum is to help us to live well together after it’s over.”   And so I end with one final quote:  from a cartoon in our own April’s edition of grapevine,  “And when it comes to The Peace, I want all those who want to stay in Europe to shake hands with all those who want to leave.”                 Steve

 

 

Curates Letter – Grapevine May 2016

10428249_474352509408511_9132979803500746045_oNatasha’s Encounters

Now that the winter months are behind us and April’s showers are waning, I think it’s about time the Curate began walking in the fresh air a bit more often.  I have managed to successfully avoid this pleasurable activity for most of the winter months. Yet as soon as I see the sun shining and the temperature gauge on my car nears double digits, confidence returns and I step out of my front door and walk to Morning Prayer at the Rectory each day.

On these morning sojourns, I always meet our local homeless cat … a black and white puddy-cat, made plump by middle age and the generous feeding of local residents. They have fed this itinerant moggy since her owner became full of years quite a while ago now.  She was re-homed, it is said, a few times, but she refuses to stay and keeps returning regardless of how far she is taken from Rushden.  So who are we to deny her, in her autumn years, such a nomadic life? I’ve never succumbed to feeding her, but a quick cuddle and a stroke leaves both of us happy. After which guaranteed encounter I carry on with my journey.

It’s not just cats that I meet on this daily perambulation, there are the same parishioners and residents too, always ready to wave, smile or share a word or two.  It’s lovely to catch up with people as we go about our daily lives: knowing that each of us will be content when the usual checklist of known locals are seen and greeted. These not so chance encounters, enabled by lives which brush alongside one another on a regular basis, we begin to form relationships. They give us a sense that we belong to one another and affirm that in this transitory world there are those who would miss us, if we were not there to say, “hello, how are you?” Or catch up on what’s been happening since we last met.

And then there are those rare encounters, whose happening can never be predicted, but when they occur remind me of why I have a faith in a God who wants people to look for Him. Some days I feel compelled to walk one route or another, and it is on those days that I usually find God.  I find him sitting on a bench strongly urging a stranger to ask for prayer because life that day is just too hard to live alone. Sometimes He is there prompting the person who notices the clerical collar, and sees it as an opportunity to pour out what is going on in a life … good or bad, it doesn’t matter.

Once, it was just so that I could see an elderly couple. They were walking hand in hand down the road, just ahead of me, looking so in love, and happy … like two young sweethearts.  It was just what I needed, a warm reminder of the life I have promised to live with Jamie, my husband, and it made me smile as I saw how little their love had diminished over time and how evident it was to all.

As I ponder on all these encounters I realise that in each of these different situations there is always, not too far away, that God who is always seeking me and you, catching our attention, by what we see, what we hear and what we experience.  My daily encounters enrich and bring me great joy because I know that not far from the people I meet, is the God I love.

Rev Natasha Brady

 

 

Grapevine Dec 2015 – Jan 2016 | Letter by Matt Taylor

This months  Grapevine Dec 2015 Jan 2016 to download here and the introductory letter from Associate Minister Rev Matt Taylor

 

 

 

 


 

Author PCThe Season of Advert

The Season of Advert1 is upon us, in fact it started before Advent [Sorry, this is going to get confusing— I’ll stop it now]. They all launched at the beginning of November and we shall see them, day-in and day-out, until Boxing Day, and I’ve got to say,  what a strange collection they are. Waitrose’s beautifully filmed food with Heston sprinkling something on cake (looks like chocolate: knowing Heston it’s probably pepper); Aldi’s surreal Sound of Music; Lidl’s (better mention them as they have just opened a massive store in the town) Academy School with a specialism in Christmas; Sainsbury’s accident-prone Mog the cat, who destroys a house and nearly Christmas; Coca Cola still sending its sugar-loaded truck around middle England; M&S’s funky, arty, neon hall of mirrors.  Asda takes us from the classics to an X Factor contestant’s new single, and as for John Lewis … what IS that all about?

But by far my personal favourite is the Mulberry advert where ‘Jo’ gives his wife a Mulberry hand bag which attracts the attention of local shepherds and three guests dressed as kings, all of whom worship the bag. The final scene looking very much like a nativity scene. I laughed out loud— though in some ways it says something deeply profound. (See YouTube below).

I think this year more than any other it’s been a real competition to get the prize for most memorable Christmas Ad. They say John Lewis spent £1 million on theirs. It would appear that only a fraction of that was spent on the storyline. But next year will we remember it, or the surreal sound of music, or Mog’s exploding oven? No, maybe not, certainly not the year after. That’s because, I suggest, the adverts resonate with the superficial stuff of Christmas, which however ‘nice’, is ephemeral.

The church can get a bit pompous at this time of year. We often talk about ‘the real meaning of Christmas’, putting Christ back into Christmas or losing the message of Christmas in all the commercialism. There is some truth in that, but still churches all over our country will be full of people who want the Christmas experience— singing the carols, seeing the nativity, thinking about a story which has real staying power.

For those people something draws them. It might well be just the cosy feeling, but it’s the church’s mission not to knock that but to affirm it: to encourage congregations just to think deeper.  Deeper about the young couple, 2,000 years ago, who made their way to a family town following the instructions of the Roman authorities. About the husband who found that it was that night his wife was to give birth. About a usually boring night for shepherds in Bethlehem, broken up by an assembly of angels bringing ‘good news that will cause great joy for all the people’ 2

Christmas isn’t still here because of the ads each year—no matter how creative they are. We go on celebrating, not because of a pair of slippers, a beautifully cooked turkey or a red handbag, but because that baby wasn’t any baby but because, as the angels said,  ‘a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’

And amongst the food and the glitter, when we are honest, we realise that this world, and we, need saving.

Rev Matt Taylor

1This is not a typo [Ed]
2 Luke 2. 10
3 Luke 2. 11

 

 

Rev Natasha Brady October letter

A place to rest…

Just outside my office window is a little nook, covered by ivy and where a few autumnal leaves have begun to settle. The other day I woke quite early. Unable to just turn over and nod back off I thought I might as well get up and have a cuppa. Sat in the office, enjoying this warming beverage I heard a strange sound. At first I thought it was someone in the bushes, which scared me a little. Then I realised that it would have to be a very, very small person because the noise was right under my window. There was no space for a person to hide. Armed with the torch on my phone I stepped outside to take a look. A little afraid of what I might find.

I couldn’t see what it was at first, but I soon realised whatever it was couldn’t be dangerous. My waving a torch at them had not draw them out to attack. Phew! It was nothing to be scared of. Eventually my light focused on the source of the weird shuffling, snuffling noise. A hedgehog. I returned to my cuppa. It was just trying to find a place to stay, for a while. Have little winter nap and then move on. I wasn’t too keen to have a flea-ridden hedgehog that close to the house, so I investigated how to build a hedgehog hotel. (Yes you can build such a thing! See the RSPB website ) Later that day, I went back outside hoping to coax my new neighbour into an area more suited to its needs, and mine, but it had gone. It had decided that my nook was not sufficient for an overwinter stay, which was not surprising really. There was no water, little protection from the weather, and little to make a good winter bed with. As I said, only a few leaves.

As I reflected on the journey my little hog had made across the estate, the roads and playing fields that surround my home, I was struck by how I had made more of a fuss about this creature of God’s kingdom than I had about the 4 million Syrian people that have fled their homes due to the ongoing civil war. Searching for a safe place to be. They too have journeyed but its not been a pleasurable amble across fields. Many are taking extreme risks, crossing the borders by land and sea in transport that is overcrowded, not fit for purpose. They endure slave-like treatment from traffickers who demand up to £3000 per person for the privilege of escaping. Just to reach camps that are overflowing, lacking in basic necessities and where there is little or no welcome.

Speaking after the tragic discovery of a Syrian toddler, Alyan Kurdi, washed up on the beach, in Kos at the beginning of Sept. Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, said: “This tragic image of a little boy who’s lost his life fleeing Syria is shocking and is a reminder of the dangers children and families are taking in search of a better life. This child’s plight should concentrate minds and force the EU to come together and agree to a plan to tackle the refugee crisis.”

It’s hard to comprehend why and how this situation across Europe mushroomed so quickly and has caused such division of opinion across our country. Should we help? How can we help? Why should we help? Questions that many ask, but as Christians there is only one way that we can respond. ‘To love our neighbour as ourselves.’ That is what Jesus tells us … it is the second of only two commands he gives us. ‘Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all you soul and with all your mind; … the second, is like it; love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Matt.22:37-40)

Jesus experienced life as a refugee. As we read about Jesus’ early life in Matthews Gospel (Matt. 2:13-15) we see he too was forced to flee from his home land of Judea. There was, for him, a real and imminent threat of death. Herod was killing children, just because he had heard that a new king had been born. His life was in danger. He was forced to flee, as a toddler, to Egypt. To a place that was not welcoming to Judean’s with no money, no influence, nothing to offer. Judeans had traditionally regarded refuge in Egypt as a last resort; after all they had not had the best of relationships over the centuries. Remember Moses and the Exodus. Yet Jesus and his family survived, but they survived as refugees, abandoning any livelihood Joseph may have developed in Bethlehem and undoubtedly traveling lightly. They trusted God to provide and secure them a place of safety until it was safe to return.

I don’t have any easy answers for the situation that we find ourselves in at the moment, but I do know that what we cannot do is nothing. There has to be a compassionate and appropriate response that we can find to show our Syrian neighbours that we love them. It should be a prayerful, trusting response. One that will probably stretch us outside our comfort zone. Make us run around a bit as we try and seek the right way to find a positive solution that helps make safe those that God loves … His people.

If, like me, you know little about the ‘Migrant’ problem, then follow this link to a 90 second video by the Telegraph.

Rev. Natasha Brady, Assistant Curate.

The rest of this edition is available here

Associate Ministers Letter Sept 2015

A New Start

It’s September and the new school year begins. Even if we no longer go to school and aren’t a teacher, there is still a sense of a new start, a new beginning.

Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes for new students it’s
really frightening. Not however as frightening as Mr
Uzomah’s day in a classroom at Dixons Kings Academy, Bradford, on 11 June. Perhaps you heard the story, it made front page news.

One of his pupils racially abused him before stabbing him with a kitchen knife that he had brought to school that day. After which he posted what he had done on Facebook and it got over 60 ‘likes’.

On the day after sentencing had taken place Mr Uzomah said, ‘I was just thinking is it my time to die? Is this my last hour? … I just prayed “God, don’t let me die.”’ The boy was given an 11-year extended sentence.

Reflecting back afterwards he said:

“As a Christian, I have forgiven this boy who has inflicted this trauma and pain on to me and my family. It was, however, important for the law to run its course and for a strong message to be sent out, especially to kids of similar tendencies, that violence is never acceptable. Our prayer for him is that he will make use of the opportunities and support that will be provided to him, to become a changed person who will make a positive contribution to society.”

Mr Uzomah knew that punishment had to be handed out for the crime, but he was hoping that the boy would have a new start.

This may seem way beyond your own capabilities to forgive. You may list the things that you could or couldn’t forgive. The outworking of Mr Uzomah’s statement will be over the months and years ahead as he still deals with the trauma of the stabbing. Yet the truth is that this capacity for forgiveness IS beyond him: it’s only achieved through him and from the God of love who first showed him forgiveness.

You see the first step to forgiveness, deep and lasting, is knowing how much you have been forgiven. Of course if you think you are close to perfection it’s difficult to forgive others. Why should you? After all you are perfect But if you realise that you have been truly and deeply forgiven by a loving God it can release his forgiveness through us to others.

Paul writes in Ephesians 4.32: ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’

It will be a matter of will for Mr Uzomah at first, forgiveness is a choice. It’s never easy. But by taking that step you can in God’s strength help to give the one who hurt you the new start. In fact you no longer have to carry that baggage of unforgiveness yourself, though you have to put aside the control we feel that it gives you over the other party.

It’s really important to us all. Jesus shows how essential it is in the Lord’s Prayer, which we say each week in church.

‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’

It almost suggests that the quality of our forgiveness affects the way we are forgiven. It’s not that we earn our forgiveness, it just means not forgiving is anti- God. It’s anti the way he wants his universe to work. Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message. It’s at the heart of transforming us and our world.

That’s how seriously Jesus wants us to take forgiveness. It not only releases us, it actually gives us freedom too—to move on: the possibility of a fresh new start. But, it is also bigger than even that. It’s doing this life, God’s way, reflecting his own heart of forgiveness. You see, God’s forgiveness of us is just like Mr Uzomah’s statement. Tom Wright teaches that at the heart of God is the running Father of the story of the prodigal, longing to embrace those who are seeking his forgiveness.

But we need to understand, as Mr Uzomah did, that even though forgiveness is offered, someone must still take the punishment for the wrong that was committed.

The wonder of the cross is that in God’s way of doing things, he offers forgiveness AND takes the punishment himself, all as an innocent party, the consequences of our sin which would one day eternally separate us from him. It’s like the judge in the case, compassionately taking the accused’s place in the stand and taking the punishment himself for something he didn’t do.

That is the heart of the gospel.

That is the scandal of God’s grace.

That is the wonder of his forgiveness and restoration for us all.

So let’s forgive each other, just as in Christ God the Father forgives and restores us.

Forgiveness is never easy, but its practice can herald a new freedom and a fresh start, both for the one who is being forgiven and for the one who is choosing to forgive.

Rev Matt Taylor

Rector’s Letter July 2015

As I write this on June 15, with my electric heater on below the desk, I wonder, “When will summer arrive?” It will arrive, astronomically speaking, on June 21, I know. But that’s not what I mean. I am longing for some warm weather for my vegetable garden. Students are longing either for the end of exams or the beginning of the long summer holiday – or both! Some of you may be looking forward to a special holiday over the next two months, or perhaps a few summer evening barbeques or just some time spent relaxing in the garden.

While it is nice to be able to anticipate something special, we sometimes become so preoccupied by an imagined (nicer?) future time that we miss the opportunities and blessings of today. I remember once when discussing my distant, future plans with my grandmother that she warned me against “wishing my life away”! While she was happy that I was thinking ahead, she rightly sensed that I wasn’t giving sufficient value to the present and was in danger of missing out on what each day has to offer. As the years have gone by I have increasingly realised the truth in her observation. Yesterday is forever gone; we can’t be certain that we will see tomorrow; today is the only time that we actually have to give, to use and to enjoy. Are we making the most of today?

Sometimes a long-awaited event (a holiday, for instance) is a disappointment when it actually arrives. Did we also ‘waste’ the days or weeks beforehand simply in waiting? You may be familiar with the Latin phrase carpe diem (tr. “seize the day”). That’s good advice, but even better is what we proclaim in our morning worship week by week, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118.24

Rain or shine! Yours, Steve

Comments from the coming curate

As I type this, I have fourteen sleeps to go before my ordination as your deacon. I am very excited and slightly nervous about this, as I’m sure you can imagine.

My journey to ordination has seen me serving in two other Peterborough parishes – Grange Park, Northampton and St George the Martyr, Wootton – as part of my mixed mode training over the last three years. I have done all the academic stuff at St Mellitus College, London. Now that the study is completed, my family and I are ready to move to Rushden.

I am married to Jamie and we have four  children – well, I say children, but actually Sam, our eldest is a grown man and the three girls, Elissa (17), Megan (16) and Imogen (14) are well on their way to adulthood.

Jamie works for a company that is based in London. He is fortunate enough to be able to work from home most of the time, so I am sure many of you will see him around town during the week and not just on Sundays in church. The rest of the family are either at college, school or working. Life in the Brady household tends to be busy but we love socialising and I have a passion for coffee, so please feel free to invite me ‘round for a cuppa, or to pop in.

We have a black Labrador called Bronte, who has just retired from the Guide Dogs as a brood bitch, and we also have three chickens – CoCo, Squegg and Piri Piri – whom we re-homed from a farm.

As a family, we love walking, watching movies and music. I am involved with a kayaking club based in Emberton that oversees the safety for triathlons, but as the triathlons tend to be on Sunday mornings I’m afraid I will be hanging up my wetsuit in exchange for a cassock! But Megan and Imogen will still be doing them.

All your thoughts and prayers have been a real source of strength to me since you agreed to accept me as your curate. I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone as I settle into Rushden. It will be exciting to see where God will ask me to join in with you all in building His Kingdom. I have a real passion for prayer and discipleship, so I hope that these, and many other things, will be useful in my work within the benefice.   Natasha Brady