Easter: "A new musical tradition"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams
'“Well, sir, if things are real, they’re there all the time." "Are they?" said the Professor; and Peter did not quite know what to say.'

C.S. Lewis actually refused to accept the idea that his children’s books were allegorical in this way. Undoubtedly he used them to wrestle with philosophy and beliefs with particularly Christian ideas. But they were not a direct allegory of the Christian Narrative.

Easter: "What is in a name?"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

What is in a name? Well not so much the name itself, but knowing it, and the person who it belongs to? When I was around 18 years old I started volunteering in the summer travelling around Quebec and Ontario, running Day Camps for young children, and being a ‘camp counsellor’ at a residential camp for younger teenagers. It was then that I developed skills with working with children, not by having my own or doing a degree in theology.

Easter: "Bread Broken, Given, Shared"

The Revd Antonio Garcia Fuente

Simone de Beauvoir, the famous French feminist and existentialist philosopher and her partner, the fellow existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, used to meet regularly with Raymond Aron and other philosophers in a trendy Parisian bar of the early 1930s, the Bec de Gaz. It was there, according to her autobiography, when, after a few cocktails, some of the key ideas of existentialism would came to be. These thinkers thought that philosophy had become too theoretical and they wanted philosophy to return to the true deep human experiences. Allegedly, one day Sartre himself, took an apricot cocktail (his favourite) and raising it in his hand said: “You can make philosophy out of this cocktail!”

Easter: "Faith, to the moon and back again"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

On the 20th July, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. I’ve been reading Moon Dust a book by a journalist, Andrew Smith, who interviewed 9 living moonwalkers to hear their stories. Among the many revelations, I’m struck by the way these Astronauts put their faith in the fledgling technology, equipment and people who put them on the moon.

Easter: "FanFic"

The Rev'd Robin Sims-Williams

What do the works of Shakespeare, Doctor Who, Star Wars and the Radio 4 comedy Cabin Pressure all have in common?

They all have inspired fans to write, perform and record their own stories… that’s right, they all have FanFic, or Fan fiction

In a way Shakespeare’s FanFic is the most mainstream as it’s lead to films like Shakespeare in Love or plays like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Easter: "Becoming the News"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Sometimes life is just too busy to take that moment to think. It can be so difficult to find the time to focus on the long term, to take a step back and look at the big picture. The urgent, the immediate always takes priority. It’s true in work, it’s true in our home lives, it’s true in our relationships with those around us. Sometimes it makes it easier, to always be busy, always be doing, never stopping, never asking why.

Easter: "A Fruity Bouquet With Hints of Lemon Zest"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Has it ever struck you as rather odd that at the very centre of our Christian religion is the drinking of an intoxicant? If we participate in the sacrament of the Eucharist, we receive bread and wine – wine, the fruit of the vine.

Wine started out in ancient civilisations as the means to orgiastic feasts and bacchanalian festivals: an intoxicant that stirred communities into ecstatic behaviour. Gradually, under the discipline of ritual, prayer and theology wine was tamed to become first a solemn libation to the Olympians and then the Christian Eucharist, offering a brief encounter with the sacred which has reconciliation as its goal. Wine: a drink just strong enough to cause you to smile at the world and the world to smile at you.

Easter: "Who Do You Trust?"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Who do you consider trustworthy? In a survey on who people would trust to sell them a car. Apparently builders are the least trusted with only 1% of people questioned saying they would trust them. IT professionals only slightly more trusted.

Sales professionals, accountants and lawyers are all in the same bag with 6% trusting them. The most trustworthy at a disturbingly low 25%, was priests and clergy. So if you want to sell your car, speak to Steve, Sally or I after the service. We will only take a small commission!

Easter: "A Good Day for Baptism"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Easter Day is a wonderful day for Baptism! Baptism is a dipping, a dipping into the darkness of Jesus suffering and a coming up, a rising, symbolic of the resurrection, cleansed, and your life reshaped.

Symbolised in your lowering into the font and rising with wet hair and dripping face. Symbolised by the pitch black at the start of the service broken by the entry of the lit Easter candle: the light of Christ, the light of God’s love and glory, breaking into the darkness of the world (echoes of the very beginning of John’s Gospel).

Easter: "Let it Go"

The Revd Brutus Green

You will doubtless know the story about an ordinary man, stuck on his roof as some West Country flood gets higher and higher, praying to God for salvation. While he’s praying along comes an old woman in a rowing boat and offers to take him away. The man politely declines claiming boldly that the LORD will provide. A few hours later, a team of Navy Seals surface with a submarine inviting him to jump below - to which, again, he politely declines. Finally, as he’s tip-toeing on his chimney, Tom Cruise abseils from a helicopter wanting to pull him away to safety but again he angrily insists, “the LORD will provide”.

Easter: "Dragons and Rainbows"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

I thought it was one of those Facebook hoax, Christians wanted to change the Welsh flag. Then I found it in the Independent, The Welsh Christian Party is campaigning to remove the ‘demonic’ dragon from the Welsh flag, to replace it with the gold and black flag of St David, to reflect Wales being a Christian country. Their concern isn’t new, they've been campaigning about it for a number of years. They link the red dragon on the flag to the dragon in the book of revelation that represents the devil. On the other hand, the English flag is feared by many as a symbol of nationalism gone too far, this despite being the Christian cross of St George, himself a Palestinian standing up for his right to worship his Christian God freely in a multi-cultural society.

Easter: "Kind Britain!"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Britain is getting kinder! ‘Kind Britain’ was the report headline this week. The legacy of recession has been a greater willingness to help others, the Organisation for Economic co-operation and Development (OECD) report suggests. Just as well, as on the same page an article that was headed ‘50,000 dementia carers forced to give up work’ stated that research for Public Health England shows that 1 in 8 are looking after someone with dementia.

Easter: "Happily Ever After"

The Revd Brutus Green

It’s a story every child knows from the age of Sunday school. The lead character is forced out into the wilderness, gathers a troop of odd followers, before being betrayed by someone they should have been able to trust, and left for dead. Then when all seems lost and the body is laid out for death - the miracle of love brings resurrection. The handsome prince kisses Snow White back to life, the twelve, sorry seven dwarves rejoice, the wicked step-mother, whose serpent-like apple betrayed Disney’s first princess, falls off a cliff, and she marries the handsome prince.

Easter: "The First Dawkinsian Christian"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

A few years back I was put on a Management Studies course. It was accredited by Lancaster University, but specifically designed for Airbus employees. As part of it the business gave us a project to work on in small groups. Obviously, the business was interested in knowing what our research showed as a way forward. The University was interested in the research, but they were also interested in us scrutinising the way we worked as a group.

Easter: "Perfect Peace"

The Revd Brutus Green

Imagine for a moment that your life is perfect. The little conflicts and problems are ironed out. Your relationships are at their best. Your liver no longer aches; your shoulders unhunch; your skin is as taut as a teenager’s; your boss has lost his voice. Forever. And the bank balance is smiling with surplus. The sun is shining, it’s a bank holiday weekend, and today; today you have to do nothing. How do you feel? Peaceful?

Easter: "Dead Man Walking"

The Revd Brutus Green
L’homme est né libre et partout il est dans les fers.

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they"; the striking first line of Rousseau’s most famous work The Social Contract. Looking at the lives of our politicians, you have only to think of Boris Johnson’s last interview to see his point. All our social relationships make pulls on us, controlling and conforming us in various ways. Actually it is the man or woman who has nothing left to lose who has the most freedom; once you have renounced the world, its people and judgements, you have only yourself to satisfy.