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Grange URC

Southcote, Reading

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Rev Robert Barthram's Monthly Letter

Welcome to the Rev. Robert Barthram's monthly letter


Here Robert will expore what is happening in the world and his life and how it affects his belief and his ministory.

By Rev Robert Barthram, Oct 5 2014 08:40PM

We celebrate many special occasions throughout our lives such as births and weddings and like to commemorate them annually. One such commemoration falls later this month when here at Grange we celebrate 60 years as a church. Coincidently my 30th year since ordination has just passed. A friend who celebrates the same anniversary as this has had his ordination picture posted on Facebook which has spawned various comments about missing hair, which I’m afraid, could be also directed at me. If folk looked at pictures of the Grange of 60 years ago I’m sure they could point out many changes.

With any anniversary one can’t help but look back and I’ve been rereading the short history written at our 50th anniversary. It is an inspiring story of: putting up a notice in a garden, ‘Anyone interested in a Free Church in Southcote, please come in;’ of meeting at first in a farm’s former milking shed; of calling a minister with 13 members, no building and no manse! (It is certainly good that the Rev Roger Hall is due to be with us this month.) The following years are no less inspiring with all their worship and service, good news being shared and lives changed.

Yes, it’s natural to look back as well as forward but probably more important is to look to the present, to our worship and witness now. 60 years is a diamond anniversary and a diamond is distinctive in the way it sparkles, as it reflects the light. It does so in a way that nothing else does in the natural world and as Christians we should reflect the light of God’s glory in a way that nothing else does and so that it cannot be missed.

A diamond is also distinctive in the cutting edge that it has, again quite like little else in the natural world. We too need deeds and words that make a difference that have an edge to them. Sometimes Christians can appear to be just nice people who will never upset anyone, which was certainly not the case with Jesus and his first followers.

As I write the paint is quite literally drying on some of the new things that we are doing now. Along with the other Christians in Southcote our Café Alive is certainly, to use a Council officer’s phrase, ‘a community hub.’ There is much to be excited about now and to challenge us to cope with the demands of all the good things that are happening.

We look forward to welcoming the Moderator of General Assembly to lead our worship on the 19th October and meeting together with old and new friends over the lunch to follow. Enjoy our anniversary and remember it is a diamond one, as a church we need to reflect God’s glory and have that cutting edge.

Yours in Christ,


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