A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on Sunday, 24th February 2019, 16:09

Amanda Collinson

Priest-in-Charge

St John the Baptist Church

Northwood.

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Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com

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HELLO THERE!

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I struggled to begin my article this month: in the end my husband asked me ‘Well what does ‘March’ mean to you?’ The way he emphasised the word ‘march’ suddenly brought a vivid image into my mind – Warrant Officer Scarrett, the Parade Chief at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, standing in front of us new recruits and telling us, as I am sure he did every new entry, that we were the worst group of misfits he had ever seen and that it would take a small miracle to get us into shape for our Passing Out ceremony in front of the Queen….and then him shouting MARCH!
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I laughed – so ‘march’ does have some memories for me.  Reflecting on this I asked other people what March meant to them – and their answers were very different; a hare, daffodils, my wedding anniversary, spring.  I wonder what it means to you as you are reading this? Answers on a postcard to me…..!
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And that got me thinking – so what does ‘church’ mean to you?  Does it bring back memories of being dragged to as a child? The magical day when you got married? Somewhere peaceful where you can pray? A place where you found God? A place where you feel welcome or feel a stranger? A cold, dusty building or a beautiful ancient building down the bottom of the lane? Something that has played a part in your life or somewhere that doesn’t seem relevant to you?
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Church has changed significantly in the last century.  For a start the Church of England now lets women like me to be priests and even Bishops, but other faiths have changed too – the Roman Catholic church now has married men as priests and there are new churches that have evolved – Apex church is one in our own town of Cowes.  We are truly blessed to have such a variety of Christian churches within our area which offer a huge spectrum of worship and ways of exploring and following God for the local population… the enclosed leaflet gives all the contact details and services of the members of Churches Together In Cowes (CTIC).
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But it seems for some reason many people are still wary of church, despite having some faith in God or spirituality.  A national survey in 2016 found that 48% of those asked believed in God or a higher spiritual power and yet UK church membership is just over 10% of the population.  That is a big difference between these figures.  We were blessed to have hundreds of people come into church over the Christmas period with so many people saying to me ‘I have enjoyed this service so much, church is so different to what it used to be’ and yet sadly we do not have anywhere near that number coming to church each week.
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So, we at Northwood Church have decided to rethink our services to give an alternative opportunity for more people to explore their spirituality, not to necessarily become regular churchgoers but perhaps just to start or even restart a faith journey.
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As a result, we are beginning a new venture in Northwood this month.  On the fifth Sunday and every 5th Sunday in the year (namely the last Sundays in June, September and December) we are going to hold ‘Tea@3’ in the Scout Hut on Wyatts Lane, obviously at 3pm (!!!!) where we meet for tea and cake for half an hour and then have a simple short time of worship for another half an hour, ensuring we only take up a maximum hour of your afternoon.  Unusually but wonderfully Mothering Sunday falls on the 5th Sunday this month so it will be extra special for us to welcome you all to this first event.  We would love to see as many of you coming to the hall and sharing in this special short time of worship.
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March, Church, Worship – we have gone on a real rollercoaster of a journey in this parish mag article. Despite my struggling to start it, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this to you, sharing my thoughts and communicating my hopes and aspirations with you.  I always see it as a great privilege for me to ‘pop’ into your lives for 5 minutes or so each month as you read my letters and it has been a great joy for me to do this letter this month and to start this new adventure with the village – I hope it has been and will be as enjoyable for you!
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Wishing you a brilliantly blessed March!

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Rev’d Amanda

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