Sunday 30th July 17 – No Service at St Bartholomew’s,
there is a benefice service at St John’s, Rishworth at 10.00am.
Borough Market in London is a place I used to know well when I lived just a few miles away. Go down any time and it was like being drowned in smells and sounds and languages from around the planet. I once bumped into a television news foreign correspondent by a cheese stall – a man normally seen in a war zone somewhere remote. I wondered – but was too shy to ask – how he coped with moving between the two worlds: the world of unspeakable violence in parts of the Middle East and the world of safe, domesticated ordinariness of home.
This weekend the two worlds collided once again in the brutality of extremist violence on an ordinary evening in an extraordinary city. Two weeks ago it was Manchester, last week Coptic Christians in Egypt, this week mourners at a funeral in Kabul, and a day ago people getting ready for another working week in London.
Perhaps the most uttered prayer – even on the lips of those who claim no faith – might be that of Psalm 13: “How long, O Lord, how long…?” How are we to respond to yet another act of cowardly violence, and the prospect of more to come?
Borough Market runs alongside Southwark Cathedral – a place not just of prayer, but that attests to the reality of human life in all its colour. Here it is that Chaucer’s pilgrims met before embarking on their journey to Canterbury. Chaucer was clearly at pains to bring together a motley group of diverse people who had stories to tell, lives to share, fears to explore, deaths to face. They spare no hiding places as they walk and talk and laugh and weep and wonder at what it means to be mortal. Read Chaucer and there’s no escape from the fact that the freedom to love brings with it the freedom to hate; that the freedom to worship brings the freedom to mock the objects of another person’s adoration or value; that the freedom to fear accompanies the freedom to hope.
For some people freedom is precisely the problem: why doesn’t God stop it all? For others, prayer is the problem: if these crazy people would be rational, then they wouldn’t do these terrible things. But, prayer, even if it involves us opening our hearts to an expression of all we desire, is primarily an exposing of ourselves to reality: the reality that we are mortal, that loving in the face of murder seems weak, that giving in to the cycle of violence and retribution does nothing to solve the problem.
When people say they are praying for London, they will mean different things. But, for me and other Christians at least, it involves commitment to all the world can throw at us, never exemption from it. Like the man on the cross at Calvary, this commitment refuses to give violence, death and destruction the final word.
Terrorist Attack in Manchester
After a harmonious PCC at St Bartholomew’s last night, in which we celebrated the goodwill and energy of people in the church and in the village and all that is happening to welcome, support and value the community, I heard the news this morning of what has happened in Manchester.
My daughter was at the Arena just a few weeks ago, and many of you may have been to concerts there full of excitement and enthusiasm, looking forward to a great night out.
What are the family and friends of the injured and the dead feeling this morning? What they will go through over the days, weeks and years ahead?
An Old Testament prophet – Ezekiel – found himself amongst people who had lost their homes, their family and friends. Their lives and the lives of those they loved had been destroyed by war. Ezekiel said nothing for seven days. He sat with the people, overwhelmed, and shared their bewilderment.
I pray for the families and friends still waiting for news about their loved ones, and for all those who have been given news they never wanted to hear. I pray for the emergency services, police and medical professionals working to help people to safety and nurse others back to health. I pray for us all.
Revd Chris Ball
St Bartholomew’s is a Church of England church in the village of Ripponden, West Yorkshire, on the edge of the Pennines, and boasts both beautiful scenery and a vibrant community.
The church’s worship is traditional, middle of the road Anglican, with regular services on Sundays and Wednesdays, using both Common Worship for the main Sunday morning service and the midweek said Communion. The Book of Common Prayer is used for Holy Communion two Sundays a month plus Evensong on the first Sunday of the month.
It is a large, beautiful Church, comfortably able to seat 300 people.
The church has a wide range of groups for every age. We have a varied social calendar including, amongst other things, musical concerts , the annual Christmas Craft Fair, the annual duck race and garden party and stalls at the Rush-bearing Festival. You can see full details of groups and events on our web site.
The church is also a popular venue for Christenings and Weddings.
Wherever you are in the world, we hope you enjoy your visit and find the information and news about our faith, work and village life in Ripponden useful.
We will be ensuring that news and events are updated so keep checking the site. If you can help with fundraising donations then this is where you will find detail.
We have recently added some stunning images of our stained glass windows to the gallery, which we hope you will enjoy viewing.
Click to visit the Pilgrimages and Retreats link
Click to visit the Diocese new Renewal and Reform programme
Click to visit St.John’s Church, Rishworth website