Grenoside News

Each month a member of our ministry team contributes an article for the printed magazine Grenoside News. Here are those from previous editions.

March 2024 - Those we have loved

A few weeks ago I read a book from the church library; “Have a little faith” by Revd Kate Bottley. You don’t have to be Christian – or of any other denomination or religion – to enjoy the book. Kate’s written a personal message in the front to her friends at St Mark’s as she and her family were members of our church for quite a few years. The book is dedicated “For Mum (and Wilki)”. That dedication caused me to shed a tear or three. Kate’s Mum, Margaret, was a kind, funny and loving part of the St Mark’s family until she died just over a year ago. She helped with the children’s groups, loved craft work and encouraged my daughter’s sewing – a hobby which now takes over much of our dining table. Wilki (aka Dave) was a Reader at St Mark’s, about my age, and he had a generous heart for family, friends, fun and good music. He died just over two years ago. Dave encouraged me when I was considering Reader training – a role which now takes over much of my life. We all have people who have passed through our lives and made them better in one way or many. For years after my lovely grandad died I found myself looking for birthday cards for him. I grow the same tomatoes and clematis as he did to keep his memory alive. 

The loss of someone we love or admire is part of life, but agony. That pain stays with us, sometimes easy to live with, sometimes hard. Friends, family members, even some whom we might only have met once or twice, influence something in the way we think or feel or live. We remember and miss them; their words, their encouragement, their warmth and companionship. As Christians we believe in life after death, but not in trying to contact or get messages from those who have died. The Bible (particularly Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 18) gives warnings against this and Isaiah 9:19 says “should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” We believe in a living, present God who we speak to in prayer, not just praising on a Sunday morning in church, but at all times and in all situations. We thank God for the creation that gives us the beauty of a Grenoside sunrise or the light through the trees in the woods. We ask him for strength and health for ourselves and others. But we can also rant and shout and cry in despair when we are hurt and feeling lost and deserted, especially when someone we love is in pain or dies and we feel helpless and alone. The number of people who came to the remembering All Soul’s service in November showed there is a need for – remembrance? a sense of hope? closeness with God and others? answers?

From Saturday 16th March at 9.30am there will be “Open Time” - a half hour each month for anyone feeling sad or angry or lost to come into church and just be. We can’t promise answers to life, the universe and everything – only God can provide those – but there will be someone to listen, time to sit in silence, time to think or time for prayer. No set pattern, just space to breathe. 

Following Open Time, from 10am till 12 noon, we’re re-introducing the monthly Safe Haven Café in church. It’s a time to relax, chat, share a few cups of tea and a cake. Anyone who feels in need of a bit of company is welcome, all ages. We will have a craft table, jigsaws, music, shared experience and stories. Come for the whole time or just part of it. Come alone or with friends. We look forward to seeing you.

Jane Spooner, Focal Minister & Reader

praying for