Reflecting on his former appointments in East London and Newcastle-on-Tyne of working as Methodist Minister, Hospital Chaplain and part time tutor with the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, Stephen is clearly committed to encouraging individuals and communities to be honest about their hopes and needs and finding how faith in God can help them be met in Body, Mind and Spirit.
Stephen is our Minister but is already known to us and well known on the Fylde Coast having lived and worked in Fylde for 18 years and prior to that he was a Minister in Blackpool.
As I write this message I’m wondering if anyone will read it. The weather forecast is suggesting that the “Beast from the East” is about to confine us to our homes as we are engulfed in a blanket of snow. I love snow, perhaps because I grew up with it, clearing pavements outside our house and shop before going to school, making enormous snowmen and sledging when I got home. Clearly, I didn’t spend my childhood years on the Fylde Coast!
Children will be hoping for a heavy snowfall that closes schools and then they can play in it. Parents hoping it doesn’t snow and they don’t have to miss a day’s work. Some are buying in extra supplies and making contingency plans just in case, others are carrying on as normal pretending forecasts are never right. Others are resigned to whatever happens, happens, and they will deal with it but some are worried how they will afford extra heating or get a coat that will keep them warm.
Snow on a Christmas card is pretty. Snow on the ground has an impact bringing beauty and hardship, pleasure and fear, a whole variety of reactions in between. Some will clear pavements and check on vulnerable neighbours because that’s how they are. Some will dodge work and have a ‘duvet day’ because that’s how they are. Some will take risks not because they have to but because they want to because that’s the way they are.
Could it be that the “Beast from the East” is an opportunity to look at ourselves, how we heed warnings or don’t, how we prepare for the future or don’t, how we think of others or don’t. As you see the beauty of the snow may you also see the beauty or not in you.