From the Pen of Rev Steve

Recent copies of the minister's letters from Rev Steve. These are reproduced from the monthly Newsletter.

April 2023: Place, Pain and Prayer

Last week Lorna and I were on our annual leave. It was a rather hectic trip up north visiting family and friends. We slept in 7 different beds, in 6 different counties and saw 28 different people in total. The time away started with a reunion of 11 other people who met at Huddersfield Polytechnic 35 years ago, and an integral part of our lives was the Christian Union. Most of the people we have kept in touch with throughout that time, but two people we hadn’t seen since leaving all those years ago. Despite the passage of time the bond of friendship that we formed in our youth still gelled us together even though the gentlemen who were balding and the ladies hair colour came from a bottle!

A number of thoughts came out of that time last weekend that I believe have relevance beyond the group, and they are place, pain and prayer.

The place of Huddersfield defined the identity of the group and gave us purpose. It provided us with our degrees etc., but more than that it helped form us as individuals and gave us purpose. So to gather again at Huddersfield was essential, to visit the campus (which is now a University) was essential also. Despite the town and campus changing significantly since we left, it provided a palpable energy. Place can be important, the fabric is woven by memories. The memories are not always easy yet the fact that you have journeyed through a town, sometimes communally and sometimes alone leaves a mark on that space, and the space leaves a mark on you.

As part of our gathering each person was given the opportunity to contain the 35 years in a succinct 5 minutes sharing. Many people failed to contain their life into such a short time-frame but it was valued all the same. Whilst there was much joy in the stories people told, there was tragedy as well - horrendous tragedy that I cannot go into here. In fact everyone in the group acknowledged that life was at times really difficult. It reminded me that no one is exempt from trauma, yet to be held in that moment, and know you are loved all the same, was tremendously powerful. The comment was made that despite everything, we still gather. We were made up of people who were damaged by the experiences of life but we were not broken.

Finally as the weekend drew to a close we gathered for an act of worship. In the group of 13, all are still heavily involved in the church including musicians, elders, clergy etc. but in that act of worship we were all equal and the opportunity to read a bible passage, or say a prayer, was taken up by almost everyone. So to bind the weekend in prayer and praise was fitting for the foundation of faith that Huddersfield provided us with 35 years ago.

I hope that it isn’t another 35 years before we meet again, as we will all be close to 90! Yet wherever we meet a sense of place, of shared pain, and of prayer will be evident. I hope you too have places that have been pivotal in your life, that you know people journey with you in joy as well as sorrow, and that through prayer we know the deep peace of God in each of our lives.

Blessings to you all .

From the Pen of Rev Steve
The bond of friendship that we form in our youth still gells us together