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In this part of our site, we publish articles that may be of interest, written by members of our community.

Where's God in Leviticus?

Last Tuesday night between 11pm and midnight I found myself reading aloud from the book of Leviticus, as part of the URC Yorkshire Synod's Big Bible Read. On Wednesday evening at church, it was the end of 1 and the beginning of 2 Samuel that a few of us read together. And it was instructive on both occasions to remember some of the parts of the Bible we don't generally read out in church.

Covenanting with God: March 2009

As we ministers from CTBB gathered last month, we asked: what shall we do in Lent this year? And Sue Hobley said, ‘At St Mark's we're going to think about covenant.' Now I'm not too proud to borrow an excellent idea from a colleague - and I don't feel too bad about borrowing this one, for the whole idea of covenant has been important in our tradition of Reformed Christianity. So as at the beginning of March we survey the Lenten landscape, let's unpack that a bit.

Am I too late? February 2009

Sometimes it's a nuisance having a month's timelag between my writing this letter and you reading it. But just now I should very much like to be out of date. If only, by this time next month, political and military crises in Gaza, Zimbabwe, Congo and elsewhere were to be completely solved, leaving their inhabitants only the normal problems of everyday life to cope with! But sadly, problems that have built up over generations will not be so easily resolved.

Hogmanay ahoy! January 2009

It's another new year for us to welcome in, and for many of us at St Andrew's, another Hogmanay to celebrate - for any Sassenachs, that's the Scottish name for New Year celebrations, and celebrations is definitely the word! I have to admit that when I was studying at New College in Edinburgh, I'd always arrange to be away for Hogmanay - the street party outside my door on the Royal Mile was just too loud and enthusiastic for me to cope with!

What's so special about Christmas? December 2008

I've been having to think about Christmas harder than usual this year, for as well as our own festivities, there's also a Muslim-Christian dialogue at the beginning of December (on Sunday 7th December at 2pm at the Broomhall Centre, in case you're interested) on the subject of Festivals: what are our Christian festivals, and what do they mean to us? So this year I'm asking myself what Christmas may look like from the outside, from the perspective of another faith community which worships the same God as Christians, but understands its relationship with God very differently from the way we do.

Sinful saints and struggling souls: November 2008

With all the marketing of Hallowe'en these days as a ghoulish festival of trick and treat, it's easy to forget that originally All Hallows Eve wasn't as important as the two days following it, All Hallows or All Saints' Day and All Souls Day: the first celebrating those who have made it in the Christian life, and the second remembering everyone else who hasn't yet made the grade. Neat! Except for one detail: no one knows, and no one can know, which is which.

These are a few of my favourite hymns...

Someone I was visiting recently said wistfully, ‘We don't have many of my favourite hymns in church these days.' Of course, I immediately invited them to send me their favourites. Thankfully, they've taken me at my word; while I obviously can't promise to put everyone's favourites into every service - we might end up having Christmas carols every Sunday of the year!

What's the problem with prayer? September 2008

It's three years since I began my work at St Andrew's, so I'm going round catching up with people who aren't in crisis, so if you hear my voice on the phone asking whether you'd like me to drop in, don't panic - you're not in trouble! As I expected, I've experienced wonderful hospitality. But one thing I didn't expect bothers me: people's reaction when I've mentioned prayer.

What do you do? July 2008

Several times over recent months, people have asked me: ‘What exactly is it you do?' If you want to know the highlights of my work from month to month, just look at the Minister's Report in the Eldership minutes displayed on the church notice board outside the kitchen. However, in a more general way it's a very good question: for I am accountable, to God and to you, for how I spend my time.

The angel of St Andrew's: May 2008

Three years ago this month you and I began our partnership at St Andrew's. I don't know what you think of what's happened since then (and I'd love it if you told me, whether or not your views are complimentary!), but for me the time has flown by: getting to know you; becoming known in the local area; starting to find out something of what God's doing here and how we can join in.

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