Lent is that season in the Church's Year when Christians prepare themselves for the celebration of Easter by identifying themselves more closely with Christ's sacrifice and Passion, and in earlier centuries it was the season of preparation for Baptism. Over the years, Lent has become mainly associated with fasting or giving up things. Originally, fasting was concerned with not eating until after Vespers in the evening and with abstaining from certain foods like meat, eggs or milk products. Gradually this fast was relaxed, but Lent is still primarily linked in the popular mind with giving up things. This can be in danger of seeming either trivial, negative or outdated, and yet it still carries a powerful message for us in today's obsessively consumerist and materialistic society. We live in a world that has exalted work and meetings as well as wealth and material possessions to an almost divine status, so that many people are working all the hours God sends to maintain a decent standard [Read more...]

Holy Week and Easter Services

We are delighted to welcome Fr. Dennis Berk of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield who will be spending Holy Week and Easter with us this year. He will be staying at the Vicarage but I hope that people will feel able to offer him hospitality in the form of inviting him to share a meal with them. He will be giving the addresses from Palm Sunday evening until Good Friday afternoon and on Easter evening. Palm Sunday (29 March) 10.30am Blessing of Palms and Parish Eucharist 6.00pm Joint Choral Evensong at All Saints Monday in Holy Week (30 March) 8.00pm Compline and Address at St James Tuesday in Holy Week (31 March) 8.00pm Compline and Address at All Saints Wednesday in Holy Week (1 April) 8.00pm Compline and Address at St James Maundy Thursday (2 April) 8.00pm Sung Eucharist and Vigil of Prayer at All Saints Good Friday (3 April) 10.00am United Service at the Transfiguration and Act of Witness 10.30am Children's [Read more...]

The Benefices of Kempston, All Saints and Biddenham

From 1 March, the benefices of Kempston, All Saints and Biddenham will be held in plurality by a single incumbent, the Revd Stephen Huckle, who will become the Vicar rather than the Priest-in-Charge. This will give greater stability to the ministry arrangements in the two parishes and will restore the freehold to the incumbent. It will put an end to the suspension of both benefices, pending pastoral re-organisation and make them a single legal entity for some purposes and, hopefully, this will be more attractive when advertising for a new Vicar. The Vicar will reside at the parsonage house in Kempston. The right of presentation will be exercised by the Bishop of St Albans as the patron of both benefices. Stephen

Lent Course for 2015

This year's Lent Course will be based on extracts from the film The King's Speech and will be held on Mondays 16 & 23 February, 2,16 & 23 March at St James's Barn at 7.30pm. The Stuff of Nightmares and the Power of Friendship Chasing the dream or Fulfilling the Calling Pressing Forward and Breaking Through Poisonous Words and Profane Responses Faith in our Voice Each session will include extracts from the film, group discussion of some of the issues raised, study of related Bible passages and prayer. All are welcome to join us for any or all of these meetings. Stephen

Introducing David and Suzette Maguire

David and Suzette Maguire will be joining us to work as Community Ministers in Great Denham and West Kempston from the end of January 2015. They have been married for almost 15 years, with two grown-up children and five grandchildren. They have joint hobbies that include walking – they have walked Hadrian’s Wall twice while living in the North East! – and visiting coffee shops, and separate hobbies that include gardening and wildlife (David) and friends and writing (Suzette). With a combined total of 29 years in Christian ministry, both Suzette and David are members of the Church Army Mission Community. Church Army people and projects share their faith through words and action in a variety of situations across the United Kingdom and Ireland: bringing hope, helping people live life to the full and transforming lives and communities with the Good News of the gospel, in whatever way is appropriate to where they are based. (See www.churcharmy.org.uk) Suzette and David have been [Read more...]

Natter Club in January – Visit from a Wildlife Photographer

We’re very pleased to announce that Derek Henderson will visit The Natter Club in January, to tell his story about how he became a wildlife photographer. Natter Club will be back in the New Year on 15th January from 2pm until 6pm, and Ruth Garner is running a Creative Corner for Children from 4.30pm onwards. Tea and cakes all afternoon, and everyone is welcome. Entrance is £1.00. Our final Natter Club for 2014 is on Thursday 18th December, from 2pm until 6pm. Come and join us for Carol Singing, a Christmas Quiz, sausage rolls and Christmas treats.

Introducing our Holy Week guest from Yorkshire

A special guest, who is a monk, will be joining us for Holy Week. Fr. Dennis Berk, who originally hails from “across the pond,” moved over to this side of the Atlantic Ocean five years ago. Born in the United States, he then went to Canada where he studied at the University of Toronto and took his degree in theology from Trinity College in that city. Ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1990, he served his title in the Diocese of Ontario followed by several more years of parish ministry there after his curacy. Eventually he returned to his natal land of the United States where he was engaged in parish ministry until he relocated to Mirfield, in West Yorkshire, in 2010 when he joined the Community of the Resurrection. Previously he’d been associated with these Anglican monks for nine years as an oblate, having first met them in 2001 when he was living in the U.K. as a graduate student in Oxford. Fr. Dennis serves as the Guest Brother of CR and he enjoys offering monastic [Read more...]

The Sanctity of Human Life

We thought it might be good to initiate discussion on ethical issues from time to time and so I am starting this off with some thoughts on what has become known as Assisted Dying. A Christian approach to this subject must begin from our belief that all life in some way or other ultimately derives from the work of God in creation. For those of us who are quite happy to embrace a Darwinian approach in terms of natural selection as to how this actually came about, we nonetheless understand that God is the unmoved mover and the mind behind the creation of the universe. A scientific explanation of creation tells us how this took place, but a theological explanation tries to account for why it happened and to supply us with some overarching meaning and purpose behind these events. This kind of explanation sees creation as the product of God's unconditional love and his desire to share that love with others, because quite simply, love is only truly love when it is shared with others and when [Read more...]