Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Temptations of Jesus 1

As we progress through Lent we will share in a series of planned preaching taken from the Gospel lectionary. In the weeks leading up to each of the five Sundays we will contemplate  the elements of the text.  We start with the Temptations of Jesus. Why not start by reading the account from Luke’s Gospel 4:1-13

The first temptation was to turn stones into bread. This wilderness was not a wilderness of sand. It was covered by little bits of limestone exactly like loaves. The tempter said to Jesus, "If you want people to follow you, use your wonderful powers to give them material things." He was suggesting that Jesus should bribe people into following him. Back came Jesus' answer in a quotation of Deuteronomy 8:3 . "people need more than food to live—they need every word that the Lord has spoken.."

Jesus, like Moses before him, retreats into the wilderness where he fasts for forty days. Each temptation involves a seizure of power: this first temptation the power over the elements of creation by turning stones into bread. That Jesus was tested throughout his ministry was widely held in early Christianity. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us, "For do we not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathise with out weakness, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin." 

John Wesley said, “As the most dangerous winds may enter at little openings, so the devil never enters more dangerously than by little unobserved incidents, which seem to be nothing, yet insensibly open the heart to great temptations.”

Lord, you told of these temptations to your disciples - how else would they have known? Can I put words on my own temptations, the weaknesses or wickedness that draw me in particular? Can I see my temptations as you did, against the backdrop of the vocation to which you call me?

This day
and every day
as we face the day
daunted by expectations
others place upon us,
weighed down by burdens,
unsure of outcomes,
remind us
that you faced all this
and more,
that we might loose
the chains that bind us,
rise above and beyond
the troubles of this world,
and know peace
in your embrace. Amen

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Celtic Saints - Cuthbert

As a boy Cuthbert was interested only in sports. He was agile, strong, and quick-witted, so he excelled at every sport he played. At the age of eight he boasted that he had beaten boys of twice his age at wrestling, running, and jumping.

One day he was playing in a field with a large crowd of other boys. when a child, seemingly no more than three years old, ran up to him. The little boy spoke with the gravity of a man, scolding him for wasting his time on idle games, instead of training his mind and body to serve God. Cuthbert burst out in mocking laughter and the boy burst into tears. Cuthbert tried to console him, but the boy stared him in the eye, and said: “You are a stubborn fool.” The words went straight to Cuthbert’s heart, and the smile faded

from his face. He embraced the boy, thanking him for his boldness, and the boy instantly stopped weeping.

Cuthbert gave up all sport, and went to work as a shepherd in the hills above Melrose. There he spent many hours of each day praying and studying the Bible. One night he was looking eastward to the coast, and he saw a shaft of light rising up into the darkness.The next day he learned that at that very moment Aidan had died. He became convinced that the light was a sign from God, calling him to be Aidan’s successor at Melrose Monastery Lindisfarne. After a number of years Cuthbert found himself at Lindisfarne although he yearned to live as a hermit.

Eventually Cuthbert became weary of his responsibilities at Lindisfarne, and he sailed to Farne Island, a rocky outcrop several miles out to sea. Using rough stone he built a small hut for himself, a chapel, and a guest house.

At first he depended on bread brought by visitors. But he wanted to grow his own food, so he dug a patch of ground and planted wheat. By midsummer the wheat had not sprouted, so he planted barley instead. This grew and ripened. But as he was about to harvest it, a block of birds flew down to devour it. Cuthbert called out, “Why are you eating crops you did not sow? Is your need greater than mine?” The birds flew off, and Cuthbert harvested the barley.

Some time later the birds returned, and began taking the thatch from the guest house to build their nests. He called out to them, and they flew away.

Three days later one of the birds returned, and landed in front of Cuthbert.The bird’s feathers were ruffled, and his head was drooping, as if begging forgiveness. Cuthbert was delighted, and forgave all the birds immediately. Shouting at the top of his voice, he invited the birds to return to the island. The flock swooped down, carrying lumps of pigs’ lard. Cuthbert kept the lard in the guest house, and polished visitors’ shoes with it, saying to them: “If birds can show humility, so should we.”


Father, source of all holiness, 

help us to live in mutual love throughout this day, 

for according to your Word, 

we must shine in the world like beacons of light.

This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, our Lord. Amen

Friday, 25 February 2022

Celtic Saints - Owen

A Miller in Wales wanted his son Owen to be priest. So he saved up the profits from his mill, and sent his son to the school. Owen learned to read the Bible and also how to lead worship. After five years Owen was ordained, and returned to his village as a priest.

Owen wished to remain poor and celibate so that he could devote himself wholly to his priestly work. But while Owen had been away an older priest had taken charge of the village church; and Owen was shocked to discover that this priest had three women living with him, and that he lent money to the poor at extortionate rates of interest. Deciding that he could not work under such a wicked man, he began to serve the animals instead.

At night he slept in his father’s mill, and in the morning he went out into the fields to talk to the sheep and cattle. He always had with him a large Bible, from which he would read to

the animals; and at night he put the Bible under his head as a pillow.

At first the villagers thought Owen was mad.They laughed and jeered at him during the day, and at night they were afraid to go near him, for fear that he might attack them. But soon they noticed how much the sheep and cattle loved him, gathering round and listening to his gentle voice.

The old priest was so busy making money and enjoying himself that he had no time to teach the people. So two young men, hungry for true spiritual food, went out one day to join the animals. Impressed with Owen’s words, the next day they invited their

friends. Soon almost everyone in the village went into the fields to hear Owen preach — even on Sundays. So the village church was empty.

Eventually the corrupt priest died, and the people invited Owen to replace him. From that moment on the people never killed an animal for meat; they only took wool from the sheep and milk from the cows.They said that, since these animals had taught them to respect Owen’s madness, they must respect the animals.

A Prayer

Lord our Father, 

each morning you welcome us as we are; 

give us a heart that is pure and free, 

to receive your Word, 

and discover in our brothers and sisters 

the message of life that you bring us, 

through Jesus, the Christ, our Lord. Amen

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Celtic Saints - Brigid

As a young woman Brigid decided to become a hermit; and she built a hut for herself under a large oak tree. Soon large numbers of both women and men came to join, to live as nuns and monks; and within a few years Brigid’s monastery had grown larger than any town in the land.

Every evening after dusk the nuns and monks, led by Brigid, searched the lanes and ditches in the surrounding area, looking for those with no place to rest.They brought them back to the monastery, where they gave them a meal and a bed. Brigid also ran a huge hospital, where the nuns and monks nursed sick people from throughout the country.

Near the monastery was a large house where a wealthy merchant lived. He disliked religion, and openly expressed his contempt for Brigid’s monastery. Nonetheless she regularly visited him, and he could not help admiring the strength of her convictions.The merchant caught a fatal illness; and as he lay on his deathbed, he sent for Brigid.

By the time Brigid arrived the dying merchant could not speak. Brigid knew that no words could comfort him. So she reached down to the floor, where fresh rushes had been laid. She took a bundle of rushes, tied them into a simple cross, and placed the cross in the merchants hands. He lifted the cross to his lips, and kissed it.

A few moments later he died.

Galatians 6:14 - But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


God our Father,

Your light came into the world.

May we welcome him in our lives, 

and thus be a light for our brothers and sisters.

We ask you this through Jesus, the Christ, the Lord. Amen

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Celtic Saints - Comgan

St Comgan - Was an Irish chieftain, son of Kelly, prince of Leinster, whom he succeeded. Comgan was driven out by a coalition of neighbouring tribes, wounded in battle, and exiled to Scotland with his sister and her children, one of whom was Fillan. He settled in Lochalsh, near Skye, founded a small monastery, and lived devoutly for many years. Fillan buried Comgan's body in Iona and built a church in his honour. 

Here is a story instigated by Comgan entitles ‘The Grieving Widow’.

An old couple were admired by everyone in their village for the happiness of their marriage.They never quarrelled, and were always loving and affectionate toward each other. Eventually the husband died, and the wife was overcome with grief Her children and her neighbours tried to console her, but to no avail.Weeks and months passed, and still the old woman was grieving and inconsolable; tears of grief rolled down her cheeks from

morning till night.

Comgan heard about her. He asked one of his wealthy friends to lend him a ring with a precious jewel set in it. He took it to the old woman, and said to her:“l want you to find a family which has no sorrows, and give that family this ring."

The woman set off in search of a family with no sorrows. She visited every home in the region and talked to every family. Finally she returned home, and gave the ring back to Comgan. Her grief had gone.


You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart's eternal spark
You are the door that's open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day. 

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Celtic Saints - Columba

After Columba had lived on Iona many years, he received a message from Ireland, saying that the senior bishop there had decided to outlaw the traveling bards. 

7Remembering how successful he had been in winning converts through his songs; he decided to Sail to Ireland. to try and overturn the bishop's decision.

In addition to food for the journey, he stored in the boat two large turfs which he had dug from the Iona soil. When he landed on the Irish coast, he tied the turfs to his feet — so he would abide by the sentence never to set foot again on Irish soil.

He walked on these turfs toward Armagh, where the senior bishop lived. As he walked he sang his old songs. People ran from the fields and poured out of their homes to hear him; and many of them followed him. When he arrived at the bishop’s house, he was leading a huge crowd. The bishop told Columba that he disliked the bards because they conveyed the Gospel in their own words, rather than in words they had been taught by bishops and priests. Columba replied that they sang from the heart, so their words were sent by Gods Spirit.The bishop was frightened by the size of the crowd and relented, agreeing to rescind his Order and let Columba carry on his work.

Prayer of St Columba

Be O Lord,
a guiding star above me,
a smooth path below me,
a kindly shepherd behind me
and a bright flame before me;
today, tonight and forever. Amen.

Monday, 21 February 2022

Celtic Saints Aidan (d 615)

This week we take a look at some of the pillars of the early Celtic Church.  We start with Aidan, one of St Columba's monks from the monastery of lona, Aidan was sent as a missionary to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald, who was later to become his friend and interpreter.

Consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne in 635, Aidan worked closely with Oswald and became involved with the training of priests. From the island of Lindisfarne he was able to combine a monastic lifestyle with missionary journeys to the mainland where, through his concern for the poor and enthusiasm for preaching, he won popular support.

This enabled him to strengthen the Church beyond the boundaries of Northumbria.

Praised by Bede as someone who ‘lived as they taught’, Aidan continually studied the Gospels, taking care to live out their teachings and to encourage others to do the same. He was loved for his many virtues:

- an authentic man who reached out to all and who was truly himself with everyone, irrespective of their social status;

- a courageous man, unafraid to speak truth to power, yet always in a spirit of peace, humility and love;

- a patient man who persevered with those among whom he lived and to whom he ministered;

- a selfless man, who brought hope to the poor and oppressed;

- a creative man, willing to take risks for the sake of Christ and his gospel.

When Aidan was growing old, King Oswald gave him a very fine horse to spare his spindly legs and help him carry out his good work in comfort. Soon afterward, when Aidan was travelling through the countryside he met a poor man who begged him for help. Aidan immediately dismounted and overcome with feelings of pity and charity, gave the beggar his horse.

When King Oswald heard about Aidan’s action, he felt angered and hurt. When he next met Aidan he said, “You should not have given away such a fine horse which I had specially selected for you. I have many less valuable horses that are good enough for the poor.”

Aidan exclaimed, “What are you saying? Is the horse more important than the child of God to whom I gave it?” The king paused for a moment. Then he unbuckled his sword, throwing it aside, and knelt at Aidan’s feet. “I beg your forgiveness” he cried; “I shall never again question what you do with my gifts.” Aidan was deeply moved and blessed the king.

In our contemporary world, we have much to learn from Aidan. 

Everlasting God,

you sent the gentle bishop Aidan

to proclaim the gospel

in this land especially to the people Northumbria:

grant us to live as he taught

in simplicity, humility, and love for the poor. Amen

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Saturday recalls the Fellowship of the Saints

What is your perception of a Saint? Ian Fraser, a Christian Celtic writer says, “Saints are a rag-tag-and-bobtail army of those who look to God and fight alongside God to transform the world’s life to fulfil his creative intention for it. They may be prone to fail and fall, but they take hold of the grace of forgiveness and the promise of reinstatement. They can pick themselves up, dust themselves down and soldier on.”

‘Saints are not church-appointed but Spirit-anointed. Their lives may be prominent or quite obscure. They need not fit in with ecclesiastically preferred models. They need not be church-affiliated. They are Kingdom people, intent on Jesus Christ’s will that the whole world be transformed in justice, truth and peace.”

Celtic saints were referred to as "Pilgrims for Christ” and called their pilgrimage the "White Martyrdom". In many senses they were trail blazers, people who marked the way for others.

The New Testament sense use of the term Saint may help us understand a true sense of the Celtic Fellowship of Saints. Take the greeting in Colossians 1:2 “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”

I think that the truth about this recalling of the “Fellowship of Saints”, is found within the word Fellow-ship. Fellowship is derived from the Greek word koinonia and can be defined as “holding something in common” and describes the unity of the Spirit that comes from Christians’ shared beliefs, convictions, and behaviours. 

In particular it is perhaps important to honour the testimony of those who have gone before us and value the foundation they have left upon which we can build. As we find in Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,.”

Perhaps there is wisdom in C S Lewis’ words, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” 

God of the generations,

when we set our hands to labour6u,

thinking we work alone,

remind us that we carry

on our lips

the words of prophets,

in our veins

the blood of martyrs,

in our eyes

the mystics’ visions,

in our hands

the strength of thousands. Amen

Friday, 18 February 2022

Friday - We contemplate the cross

Many things in this world consume our minds and we can lead lives that are very busy leaving little time for contemplation. But this is damaging for us. Contemplation and consideration are important, especially when it comes to the things of God. The hymn writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote these amazing words in his hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Within Celtic Christian tradition, the symbol of the Cross not only speaks of death but of life too. Not only of darkness but of light too.

John Piper in his book, “Don;T Waste Your LIfe,” writes “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” 

Spend some time today contemplating the cross of Christ as you read, Peter Cooke’s Words

Before the Cross

Before Thy Cross I stand in fear and wonder,

And see that all my sins on thee are laid;

My heart by grief and guilt is rent asunder;

Bemused am I, and faint and sore afraid!

And then isn awe the matchless truth I ponder;

That by Thy chastisement my peace is made.

My heart is torn such selfless love beholding, 

(No love was ever seen like unto thine!)

A love which, reaching out, comes this enfolding

The sins of everyone - and sins of mine!

Healing my broken heart and then remoulding

The life which now I would to Thee resign.

Behold me, Lord, in penitence now bending,

And giving ev’rything I have to Thee;

Behind me is the past with its self-mending,

As I resolve to live eternally 

In answer thy dying love, transcending

All other love which ever called to me.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Thursday - Community Outlook

From the spiritual high of being filled with the Holy Spirit, Thursday sees the Celtic Christian turning towards thoughts of the community. In the Celtic Christian world every ‘church’ was monastic. So when talking about the Celtic church it is synonymous with the monastery, with people living in Community. It wasn’t simply a matter of just declaring truths but living out the gospel in community. They would have identified with Elisabeth Goudge in her paraphrasing of Francis of Assissi; ‘Francis went everywhere preaching the gospel and sometimes he used words.’ (Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words).

There is an emphasis within this Celtic notion of community  on the Trinity. It’s always good to remind ourselves as Christians, that Community began in the heart of God. That the self sufficient God who is love, is Community within Himself. And that all Community flows from this.

Today, many of us live lives separated from the kind of community that once characterised the ancient world. We live in isolated apartments or houses, interacting with our neighbours on only rare occasions. Health clubs and coffee houses offer places to meet, but then we disperse and go back to our dwellings.

The Celts’ practice of their faith was so integrated and wholistic. This was expressed through hospitality, mission, art, connection to the earth, women and men serving together, silence and community were all woven together as a seamless garment. Their unified faith that spread into every aspect of life can be a tremendous model for us as we seek to live in relationship with God in our fragmented culture.

This is what we find in 1 Peter 4:8-11 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

God in deepening relationships, God in continuing conversation: may we welcome each other with courage, knowing that being together changes who we are. We pray that through respectful relationships we transform the imbalances of power to allow each one of us to fully belong. And may it be that inholding silence and in listening well to each other, we hear your voice in the midst of us. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Wednesday - filled with the Holy Spirit

Following on from Tuesday’s meditation upon the incarnation, the Celtic traditional week turns to the blessing of being filled by the Holy Spirit. However, this is approached in a very down to earth terms. The Late Rev’d David Watson, in his book, “One in the Spirit” talks of the coming of the Holy Spirit as being, “Supernaturally natural and naturally supernatural.”

There is a tradition in Celtic Christianity of the peregrinatio, a pilgrim who wanders without destination. Much in line with the scriptural concept of “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

St. Brendan the Navigator is the most famous of the peregrinatios. St. Brendan set out in his currach without oars (A currach is a type of Irish boat with a wooden frame, over which animal skins or hides were once stretched), He trusted the Holy Spirit to fill the sails and lead him wherever he was meant to go. 

Lauren Burdette, in an article about St Brendan, “His story has captured my imagination. I have a painting of his boat that I use as an entry point to prayer. I imagine myself in the boat and I ask the Holy Spirit to fill my sails and lead me where She will, to points unknown. I feel my soul fill with hope and possibility as I practice trusting the Lord with my journey. In my interior life, I am a content peregrinatio.”

Jesus promise naturally finds its place within the Celtic Tradition - “If you really love me, you will keep the commandments I have given you and I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you always. I mean the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, for it can neither see nor recognise that Spirit. But you recognise him, for he is with you now and will be in your hearts.” John 14:15-17

Such spiritual wandering reminds me of the Hymn written by Joseph Gilmore (1834-1911)

1 He leadeth me: O blessed thought!

O words with heavenly comfort fraught!

Whate'er I do, where'er I be,

still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.


He leadeth me, he leadeth me;

by his own hand he leadeth me:

his faithful follower I would be,

for by his hand he leadeth me.

2 Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,

sometimes where Eden's flowers bloom,

by waters calm, o'er troubled sea,

still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me. Refrain

3 Lord, I would clasp thy hand in mine,

nor ever murmur nor repine;

content, whatever lot I see,

since 'tis my God that leadeth me. Refrain

4 And when my task on earth is done,

when, by thy grace, the victory's won,

e'en death's cold wave I will not flee,

since God through Jordan leadeth me. Refrain 

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Tuesday we reflect on the Incarnation

The incarnation is a deeply significant moment in history. The Celtic tradition was thoroughly woven through with the concept of the Cosmic Christ. That is, in the Celtic tradition:

  • Christ has always existed and has always been a part of the Trinity (a central aspect of Celtic Christianity, which was deeply Trinitarian)
  • Christ was around at creation, as reflected in the beginning of the gospel of John, one of the most influential biblical books in Celtic Christianity
  • the incarnation was a moment when the ineffable Divine restricted that glorious Divine self into a human body, right from the moment of conception, so the full human experience could be had.

For us today, the incarnation enables us to see that Jesus brings God fully into our world. He lives among us, in our country, our city, our neighbourhood. His love and his light radiate everywhere. We are all being changed by this. Christian tradition says that God became human so that human beings might become divine. I beg as the last grace of this year that I may let that wonderful truth sink in.

The essence of the incarnation within Celtic thought is that the presence of God is among us. Slowly and mysteriously Jesus brings light into the web of human history. Slowly his light overcomes our darkness, so that eventually everyone is enlightened. Our part is to look and see the light coming and bath in its radiance. 

The Incarnation is no mystery, Jesus.
You make it easy to understand.
Because you walked our earth
we are to see the face of the Divine
in every person we meet:
the friend who betrayed
the family gathered for a meal
the welfare mother
the man on death row
the clerk in the store
the teenage thug on the corner
those my government calls enemy and trains me to kill.

Every time I love,
the mystery of the Incarnation happens.
Every time I love,
I birth you on earth, Jesus.
I fall on my knees and beg you, Jesus,
deepen my living of the Incarnation.

— Mary Lou Kownacki

Monday, 14 February 2022

Monday reflects on creation;

Christianity first reached the Celtic people of Ireland and Britain as early as the second century and began to blossom by the fifth century.

This encounter between the Christian religion and Celtic tradition engendered a deep and distinctive spirituality rooted in the goodness of creation. Two essential strands that emerged was a love of God's creation and care for the environment and closeness between the natural and supernatural and became the bedrock of this emerging spirituality.

In turn this led to a range of creative activity as the Celts saw in the creation the deep love of the Creator, and they felt moved to create also. Their art was deeply symbolic. The Celtic knots that have become so popular in jewellery and art is symbolic of the love of God, which has no beginning or end.

Part of the appeal of Celtic Christianity in our time is this connection between the creation, artistic expression and our faith in God. As we experience God’s handiwork in nature, we may identify with the Celts who lived among the trees and hills and woodland animals, and who saw all of nature as an expression of God’s creativity and as a true gift from God.

As we engage in any artistic expression, whether it’s quilting or drawing or baking or making music or woodworking or writing poetry, we receive deep encouragement from the Celts who seamlessly integrated their faith and their art. They created art for the love of Christ and they held in faith to the words found in Isaiah - 40: 28-31 

Have you not known?
    Have you not heard,
that the everlasting God, the Lord,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth,
does not faint, nor is He weary?
    His understanding is inscrutable.

He gives power to the faint,
    and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
    and the young men shall utterly fall,

but those who wait upon the Lord
    shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles,
    they shall run and not be weary,


You are above me O God; You are beneath; You are in air; You are in earth; You are beside me; You are within.  O God of heaven, you have made your home on earth in the broken body of Creation.  Kindle within me a love for you in all things. Amen

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Sunday a place of resurrection;


We return to the earlier thought of how Celtic Christians had a rhythm of the week whereby each weekday they concentrated their thinking on one aspect of faith. As we look forward to Sunday tomorrow,  with them we anticipate the the day of resurrection. But what did they specifically mean by a “place of resurrection?” On a   pilgrimage, we are encouraged to leave behind our usual ways, our comforts, as we step into the unknown. Resurrection is about the trust we have that our steps will be led by the ever-unfolding presence of guidance in our lives – that which brings us hope, healing, renewal, liberation, transformation, rebirth. 

The old Celtic Church spoke of the purpose of peregrination as “finding the place of one’s resurrection.”  To find the place of one’s resurrection involved a willingness to be led into what one does not already know, repentance and restoration, dying to whatever was familiar, and finding new life.   The place of resurrection was one in which absolute assurance in God would become the new normal; this certitude would become the ordinary time in which these pilgrims now lived.  

It is a way of life that lives out the words of Jesus when he said to Mary, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world."

The early Celtic Christian’s held the resurrection as a keystone of Faith. For us too, faith in the resurrection helps us to live with an attitude of hope, sharing in the joy of the victory of the risen Christ over sin and death. It is because of the resurrection that Christ is with me on all of my journeys through life. Can I recognise his presence and open my heart to encounter him more fully?

We follow our hearts to best discern where we can serve, and how we can bring the spirit of resurrection to others.


Father of mercy, your love embraces everyone and through the resurrection of your son you call us all into you wonderful light.  Dispel our darkness and make us people of one heart and one voice, forever singing your praise in Jesus, the Christ our Lord. Amen

Friday, 11 February 2022

Sacred or Secular?

How often have you heard someone say, I’m not religious, implying that one can either have a sacred or secular nature. But for a moment let’s get a better understanding of what these two words mean.

Secular in earlier Christian times was understood to mean of the world as opposed to Sacred referring to the church. So in grammatical terms, Secular is an adjective that describes something that does not have any connection to church matters or religious matters. Whilst Sacred is an adjective that describes something holy, something religious or connected to God.

Now here is the problem. If as in yesterday’s devotional we stand by the first verse if Psalm 24 says, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” then there is nothing that is not connected to God.  As Paul writing to the Roman’s put it, “nothing can separate us from the love of God. So is the dichotomy between the secular and the sacred a human construct. 

A W Tozer puts it this way, “It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular; it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act.” It is therefore important that our spirituality must not be seen as a separate compartment marked sacred whereas real life is lived in all the other compartments marked secular.

The early Celtic Christians believed that nothing was secular because everything was sacred. Nothing is outside of God’s love and grace. It was a “holy worldliness” to use Bonhoeffer’s phrase where a holistic approach to life was expressed daily in the real incarnational ordinariness of life as it is. There was no false divide between the sacred and secular. Where an integrated life, of body and soul, work and worship, wonder and ordinariness; prayer and life are the norm. A sacramental outlook that because it sees God in everything, encourages a reverence for God’s creation and a respect for the care of his world. An everyday spirituality of ordinariness accessible to all. It is what Julian of Norwich believed that “The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything."


Lord, open the eyes of my heart. Heal my shortsightedness, my farsightedness, and the astigmatism of my soul. I want to see all things from your perspective, including the hope to which you have called us. To see with eyes of hope means that I will be able to discern your heart and hand at work everywhere. Amen

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Living close to Nature

Columbanus of the 6th century said  ‘If you wish to understand the Creator, first understand His creation.’ This appreciation of the creator and creation is not pantheism, which is a worshipping of the stones but an affirmation of the wonder of the One who made the stones. Not New Age extremes that substituted Mother Earth for Father God but love for, respect for the physical environment. In Celtic Spiritual terms it is seeing  the Cross in the context of Creation. That God in Christ redeems the whole created order. This was seen in the quiet care of all living things and a special affinity with animals that preceded Francis of Assissi.

The early Celtic Christians had a strong sense of place and knew the importance of the Land, of roots and identity. They spoke of thin places, holy ground. Many of the problem spots in our world are all about land, roots, identity, holy places.

We too can, by faith see the beauty of a sunset, the majesty of the ocean, the wonder of a newborn baby – God’s glorious creation is all around us. And we ourselves are part of that creation! Everything we can see, and everything we can’t see – it all came from God. For surely, as A B Simpson says,  “There are enough evidences of supreme skill in the structure of the human hand alone to prove the existence, intelligence and benevolence of God in the face of all the sophistry of infidelity.”

This is perhaps one of the reasons for Celtic spirituality being so popular. In a world of pending ecological disasters of over population, global warming, food shortages, pollution, Aids, traffic gridlock and industrial chaos, little wonder Celtic spirituality appeals. It is that which enables us to sing at the top of our voice and from the depth of our hearts …

Psalm 24

The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof,

the world and all who dwell therein.

For He has founded it upon the seas

and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?

Who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not lift up his soul to an idolb

or swear deceitfully.

He will receive blessing from the LORD

and vindication from the God of his salvation.

Such is the generation of those who seek Him,

who seek Your face, O God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates!

Be lifted up, O ancient doors,

that the King of Glory may enter!

Who is this King of Glory?

The LORD strong and mighty,

the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates!

Be lifted up, O ancient doors,

that the King of Glory may enter!

Who is He, this King of Glory?

The LORD of Hosts—

He is the King of Glory.


Be O Lord,
a guiding star above me,
a smooth path below me,
a kindly shepherd behind me
and a bright flame before me;
today, tonight and forever. Amen.

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church

Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.