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Great Casterton Parish Council

Serving the people of Great Casterton

Clerk: Derek Patience
29 Priory Gardens, Stamford

Tel: 01780 753066

Revd Bob's August Newsletter

The theme of our Café Church in July was 'Witnessing the Good News'. At a time when there doesn't seem to be much good news about it is right that we should remind ourselves of the good news at the heart of our faith.

This 'good news' is all that has been shown to us by the life of Jesus; His many acts of healing, His wisdom and authority is given final authentication by God when He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. And now in this season after Pentecost we remind ourselves that this story did not end there nor did it end with his ascension or even at the last chronological event of the New Testament. The story continues and God continues to reveal His love to us by the presence of His Holy Spirit which inspires and transforms lives and communities.

The Acts of the Apostles is full of stories of the healing and transformation continuing with the disciples and the spread of new churches to announce this good news to more and more people. In our modern times it is all too easy to compartmentalise this truth as remote historic events. We may be quite happy to agree in the truth of the events described but we might also be tempted to think that our Christian faith is just remembering those times past. That would be wrong because we understand that our faith is alive and the presence of Jesus is to be encountered through the gift of His Spirit. The fruits of that encounter have concrete outcomes not just good feelings in a group of fervent believers but in changed lives and changed communities.

An encounter with the Holy Spirit is not to be underestimated or even to be considered unexpected. On the Day of Pentecost Simon Peter announced to the crowd that the time had come as had been prophesied for the Spirit to be poured out on all people … in the words of the prophet Joel;

'I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.' Joel 2:28

That time is still now, is still happening. At our Café Church I shared some of the recent happenings at Ffald-y-Brenin, a Christian Retreat house in Pembrokeshire, South Wales where experiences of the Holy Spirit have brought dramatic and real healing; physical, emotional and spiritual. This is all real and true and such experiences provide a ground of hope for those who feel sceptical of faith and those whose faith is wobbling. I invite you to read yourself the story of Ffald-y-Brenin and all that is still happening there NOW! The story is contained in a book 'The Grace Outpouring' by Roy Godwin; you will be amazed; and if you want to obtain more detail of their continuing activities or even visit then look on their website www.fflad-y-brenin.org

Of course this is just one example of God in action, of his real presence to be encountered, but God makes Himself known at any time and at any place; you don't have to travel to Pembrokeshire. This Good News is a reality to be encountered anywhere at any time and is a cause of joy and celebration especially when there is a paucity of hope in our world.

For this reason we have decided to hold our Summer Celebration on Saturday 12th August.

So this is also an invitation to celebrate the good things in life, to take a step back from the busyness of the everyday to take stock and to give thanks.

Following the success of our Garden Party last year to mark the Queen's ninetieth birthday we are arranging a similar event this summer as a general celebration and thanksgiving.

This year our theme is simply 'celebration' and we extend a warm invitation to everyone to join us on Saturday 12th August at the height of the summer. Like last year we have an outdoor jazz band and plenty of refreshments in the church hall. The churchyard is put to good use as a rather wobbly croquet 'lawn' and there will be exhibitions in the church and hall plus a treasure trail for all the family and plenty of time to enjoy a chat over a cuppa whatever the weather.

Our parish church is a treasure of a building so even if you don't come to our services you will be welcome to join us and have look round and share the relaxation and banter. Entry will be free but the day will provide the opportunity to return Gift Aid envelopes to make contributions to the upkeep and the continuing life of the church.

Also bring any enquires you may have about access to the many regular activities that we hold throughout the year and hear about our new Café Church, which is a monthly service for all the family and growing in popularity. If you have any questions about baptisms or weddings I will be on hand to provide the answers.

I hope you are able to join us,

Rev Bob