Updated for December 2015 & January 2016
MJE 4/11/15

Welcome to St. Bertoline's, Barthomley, Cheshire

Why we're here today -

That the community may know that St Bertoline's is here to profess the faith, to celebrate it

in worship and prayer, and to share it in fellowship, so that we may say

"We would see Jesus".

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November 14th 2015 The Rectory


My dear Friends,

Advent marks the start of a new year of readings from the Bible, in particular the Gospel. Year A is based on St Mark, Year B St Matthew and Year C St Luke, which we are now beginning.

I have always been particularly attached to St Luke. Firstly, because of a great stroke of fortune. In revising the night before for the Gospel paper Advanced Level Exam I swotted up on the material in St Luke that is only in his gospel. There is a good deal of it – twenty-two passages in all, ranging from the Annunciation, and the shepherds in the Nativity story, through many of the most familiar parables, like the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Next morning, turning over the exam paper, there it was – staring me in the face, something like “Describe and evaluate the third gospel’s L source and its bearing on the evangelist’s religious outlook.” A gift! In fact I probably lost marks through spending too much time and energy on one question, at the expense of the other four. Never mind, it was a great boost to morale!

So from the Epiphany to the end of Lent, then from Trinity 1 to October we shall be hearing Luke’s record of the gospel and his special understanding of its bearing upon the Christian way of life – a view peculiar to him, perhaps in particular his emphasis on the poor and the rejected.

Before we can indulge ourselves in St Luke, there is Christmas ahead of us, with its eternal message of the total commitment of God towards his creation, and not least the promise of salvation for all who acknowledge his Son, Jesus Christ.

I am writing this while the news is full of the appalling outrage committed yesterday in Paris, carried out, yet again, in the grievously distorted name of religion. You may have read CS Lewis’s “Screwtape Letters” in which a devilish uncle gives his nephew instruction in the satanic art of leading men and women astray from the love of God. No better way than by persuading us that the depths of our depravity are serving God.

Yet we have this hope ever before us, as this afternoon at the supermarket when we returned to find the car in two inches of water, but a kind man in waterproof boots insisted on loading our car boot for us.

Thanks be to God! Uncle Screwtape would have been furious!!

The blessings of Christmas be with you all.

Darrel and Angela