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About the PDCGS

The aims of the Peak District Christians Golf Society are:

Matches

PDCGS play two matches each year, against Trafford Eagles and Poynton Baptists , venues alternating home / away in consecutive years.

Knock Out Trophy

There is an Annual Knock-out competition open to all Society members. 

Society Social Events

PDCGS runs a number of social events throughout the year.

Society Golf Days

PDCGS has a series of Society (Golf) Competitions six each Summer season and four each Winter, together with a Summer Away Day.

All golf matches are played at courses within reasonable travelling distance and times of the Peak District of Derbyshire, normally extending only as far as Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

A 2014 Message from Richard, our Chairman

I have been looking through the bookshelves with the idea of culling unwanted volumes, but to no success! The need to get rid of some comes from a decision to move back to Tideswell, for a variety of reasons. However, the scan of books reminded me of one I wanted to tell everyone of and keep forgetting. It is called ‘Twelve Words Jesus Knew’ by Irene Lipson, whose husband had a Jewish upbringing. First printed in 1998 under ISBN 1 85424 425 6 , it is a fascinating insight of ideas that we westerners don’t have as part of our cultural background, but are very useful for Christians to know and understand.

One chapter deals with Shabbat (the Sabbath, as we call it). I have for a few months wanted to send this reminder to the Society, hopefully as a blessing to everyone, and I quote -

‘When, in the hours before and during Shabbat, we say ‘Shabbat Shalom’ to one another, we are expressing the hope that Almighty God will bless us with all the concepts we have looked at in this chapter: that there may be an absence of persecution, illness, deprivation and, in their place, a sense of well-being. We think of the joy of fellowship in the synagogue, with its social intercourse. There will be the opportunity to renew strength in the study of Torah and the contemplation of holiness ..... All this will pour into the troubled, sometimes frightened, soul the powers of resilience needed to tolerate and survive in an intolerable, destructive environment.’

And she then tells that Shabbat means ‘rest’, which seems far from the reality in this world and the history of the people of Israel; but explains entering into God’s rest -

‘Quite simply, it was the rest of being where God told them to be, at the time of his choosing, under his direction; the rest of trusting him implicitly in the most impossible of circumstances of acting in absolute obedience to his directions. Shabbat-rest is what the people of God enjoy as we walk in covenant relationship with God, secure in his finished work of creation, of redemption; co-operating with his ongoing work of sanctification and of transforming the world; trusting him, obeying him; being what he wants us to be, doing what he wants us to do; in step with him.’

So, as we meet and say ‘The Peace of the Lord be with you’ or an equivalent, let’s remember the enormous blessing we are wishing on each other, and through that a blessing to the people we, PDCGS, come into contact with.

Chairman's Thoughts on the Gospel of John

A little bit of preparation homework. If you have never done it before – find out the true meaning and thought behind the Hebrew term ‘Shalom’. Many in our western churches seem to think it is a bit like the hippie greeting ‘Peace, brother’. It is so much more than that, and certainly so much more than many in my church think is behind ‘the peace’, which many seem to regard as ‘hello, how has your week been?’. But God’s ‘shalom’ has a lot to do with the gospel message to be found in both the Old and New Testaments.

So, enjoy our summer season outings – the company and the golf – and hopefully the weather.

Our chairman revisited Singapore where he spent some years of his working life and subsequently has produced an end of season / pre-christmas message - see below.

Before we begin, how have you got on with Shalom? There is a very good book ‘Twelve Words Jesus Knew’ by Irene Lipson, ISBN 1-85424-425-6 by Monarch Books 1998. She was married to a Messianic Jew and under the second chapter about Shabbat gives some insight into the meaning of Shalom.

So; back to thoughts on John’s Gospel.

One of the consequences of having a son and his family in Australia is that one sees lots of films on the plane journeys.

I watched Avatar on the last trip home – a great film for the computer graphics; the imagination of other life forms and the intriguing way the scientists changed between their human and their avatar forms; the battle of good against evil that turns out right in the end (although with ‘collateral’ deaths on the way); the outsider finally being accepted; boy gets girl and so on.

A film you could invite a friend to see with enthusiasm! And John’s story is meant to just as amazing and exciting too, and just the sort of thing you could invite a friend to hear.

Now, I admit that before I became a Christian I found it bewildering and incomprehensible. I felt that I didn’t understand a word of what was written in many of the passages.

It seemed as though there was no explanation of things – just like in Avatar, where one never knows how the changing of form from human to other life form works – they just jump into the machine and press a button, and off they go.

But now, I find that John’s writing is very structured. He has a message to tell – and it is not just a story of a sequence of events. He orders his events and thoughts to follow an argued (almost theological) case. This is why some people get confused and say that it doesn’t match up the sequence of events in the other gospels. John never intended that; he had other fish to fry.

The first chapter from verses 1 – 18 are a summary of the whole story. The parts that follow take up the themes he has introduced; explaining them; giving examples; expanding the thoughts with deeper discussions.

I presume most know that the original writing did not have chapters and verses. Those came in later, put in by translators as a help to readers who have the luxury of dipping into a book and reading it a little bit at a time. But back in those early Christian days books were uncommon, and it is likely that there were travelling ‘evangelists’, whose job it was to retell the story to gathered communities, staying perhaps 3 days, and then moving on. They would travel from city to city, from town to town, retelling the story as they went. People would hear the story in one go. Then after the evangelist had left, they could mull it over, discuss it and then rehear it the next time the ‘evangelist’ came to town.

John’s introduction.

Look for the themes in this section.

1. The Word. A concept that is written about in the Hebrew Scriptures. Who says the idea of the trinity was a later invention in 3rd century– read carefully and think again!
2. Beginnings. A belief in who, not how. Not even why.
3. Life and light. What is true life? The personification of light –what does that mean.
4. Darkness. Why is this in contrast to life and light?
5. Acceptance/Belief. Why should not all people accept this, after all it sounds good.
6. Born of God (ESV phrase). Did you think ‘Born Again’ only comes from the mouths of US preachers, or from TV adverts, or in chapter 3? read carefully and think again.
7. God on earth. The disciples who knew Jesus did not come to regard him as a ‘good teacher/prophet/man’. That is a later aberration from people who don’t understand.
8. What is God like? Full of grace and truth! But more, these have come to us!
9. Link with the past. John the Baptist is there to introduce him – but how and with what themes?
10. Law and Grace and Truth. How do all these fit together? Just how were these brought to us humans?

Now John ends this section with a statement about the God who no-one has even seen.

There were plenty of gods around at that time.

There was the god Caesar – who was all powerful in those days. He had the power of life and death.

What he said was done. He was regarded as divine. He had an army who enforced his will – brutally, if you got in the way.

There were the heavenly gods of Rome and Athens – who were a capricious and not very likeable lot. They seemed to delight in upsetting humans’ plans and lives.

There were local gods in the middle east – who had the power to give you things, at a cost – they were very demanding.

Child sacrifices were accepted and just part of the system in some places.

John says of his invisible God, that through Jesus we know what He is like.

Full of grace and truth! No wonder many people are attracted to the character of Jesus as written in the gospel stories.

The question is – what is YOUR god like? What are YOU like – full of grace and truth as well? Or are your god and you in ‘darkness’?

That is John’s challenge to us.

More to come later in the season! But do remember to clear your mind before each shot on the golf course. For those 30 seconds concentrate on nothing else.

Richard M-C

Part 2 - April 11th 2011

I now have for each member in the society:-

1x DVD in MP3 format with Riding Lights actors reading the whole of the New Testament, sponsored by the Bible Society.

2x CDs in audio CD format with Riding Lights actors reading John’s Gospel, taken from the MP3 version.

I will give out as many as I can at Allestree, and ask if people could take copies for other members not at that outing.

Reading takes a long time, but listening is easier and with all the different voices of professional actors, the passages ‘come alive’ in a way that a single voice reading does not achieve.

After the introduction to John’s gospel in March (I will send a copy to Ted Mellor as you were not on my email list then), we get to the first part of John’s story. But before that, it is good to remind ourselves that John writes at the end of his work - ‘Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’

Christianity is not an intellectual exercise, nor a political control system, not even a church filling exercise, but it is a life giving and life transforming exercise – and this is why John has such a structured story to tell.

Do you know the BA ‘change for good’ scheme? Giving you change coins of currency you no longer need as you fly home, so that lives of children in need all over the world can be ‘changed for good’.

That’s what John is all about ; what Christianity is all about – lives changed for good and for good. Beware though, it is not about your small change that is no longer needed. It is about handing in your whole being, self, hopes, dreams and future. Perhaps that’s why it is so difficult for us rich westerners.

Remember to look out for the main themes that are all part of the business of ‘believing’ – and remember that everyone in the story is given the chance and the choice to believe. It never comes across as a crowd, village, town, national or race thing that one is born into. All the new stories transcend that, but also bring it back down to individual decision. Remember to look out for the signs that tell us what ‘having life in his name’ means.

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‘The one thing we learn from history is, that we never learn from history.’

But John the evangelist is anxious that his readers should look back and remember all the signs and promises that the God of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob had given to ‘his chosen people’. A people, by the way, who were supposed to demonstrate to the rest of the world what it means to live God’s way – what ‘having life in his name’ meant.

So John starts his story with a wake up call that harks back what the old timers said – and John the Baptist is the poor guy whose job this is!

You don’t have to worry whether you have a pension or not when you take on his job. Read or listen to John, from chapter 1 verse 19 to chapter 2 end at verse 25.

Themes to ponder. They come right at the beginning and are very important. Get these under you belt before you carry on.

1. John the Baptizer refers back to saying from ancient Jewish history, and the people seem have been expecting something to happen. They seem to have expected their messiah at that time in history.

2. What would ‘make straight the way of the Lord have meant?

3. Why on earth would God want a Lamb?

4. Why does the ‘sin of the world’ need taking away; seems a funny idea.

5. We get a whole block about people ‘believing in Jesus’. There is John the baptizer, Nathanael from under the fig tree, the disciples after the wedding in Cana, the ‘many’ whole saw the signs he did at the Passover feast in Jerusalem. John starts his story with important things first, ‘believing in Jesus’ is one of them. What is it that makes people believe in Jesus, today?

6. What did people expect their messiah to do when he came? Well one thing was to clean up the Temple and its worship.

If you think the temple uproar scene is Jesus having a bad day and loosing his cool – think again. Think Biblically – not as a westerner with a ‘precious’ conscience.

7. But this temple scene also introduces the important idea of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Will you, like the disciples, remember this at the end of John’s story?

Well, have a good outing at Allestree – any South Africans among us will still be on cloud 9, I suppose.

Part 3

We are now into John chapter 3, and if ever there was strange conversation reported in the Bible, here it comes.
A man called Nicodemus comes with some decent questions for Jesus, but goes away with a flee in his ear.
Do you ever think you have questions for God that are very important, but when you ask them God says:‘That’s NOT the important thing, you really need to get hold of what is important about life .’?

Before we start, here is a quote from the last chapter of Bishop Tom Wright’s book ‘Surprised by Hope’. If you want to get on the track of what is important about life, then read this book. I put this here, because is exemplifies how easily we are distracted away from the important towards the secondary – which may seem good, but which draws away all our thoughts and energy in the wrong direction. It also gives the best explanation I have read for why the NT includes some writings and not others.

"The Bible is not, in other words, simply a list of of true doctrines, or a collection of proper moral commands – though it includes plenty of both.

The Bible is not simply the record of what various people thought as they struggled to know God and to follow him - though it is that as well.

It is not simply the record of past revelations, as though what mattered were to study such things in the hopes that one might have one for oneself.

It is the book whose whole narrative is about new creation, that is, about resurrection,

so that the gospels each end with the raising of Jesus from the dead, and when Revelation ends with new heavens and new earth populated by God’s people risen from the dead, this should not come as a surprise, but as the ultimate fulfilment of what the story had been about all along.

This, by the way, is the deep level reason why the ‘other gospels’ were not included in the canon (of scripture (ed.)). It isn’t that they were the really exciting or subversive bits that the early church excluded in the interests of power and control. They were the books that had stopped talking about new creation and were offering a private, detached spirituality instead. The sudden enthusiasm for these ‘other gospels’ in certain quarters of the western world in our own day is a token, not of the rediscovery of genuine Christianity, but of the desperate attempts to avoid it. New creation is far more demanding – though ultimately of course far more exhilarating – than gnostic escapism."

When we get hold of this emphasis in the NT on resurrection, then Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus starts to make sense. Jesus is steering Nicodemus to ponder on and work out THE important thing about this life – the Kingdom of God (aka Kingdom of Heaven). It comes at the beginning of John’s book because it is, again, so important a theme to understand. The consequences are spelt out plainly at the end of the conversation, and the immediately subsequent sections of John’s story illustrate what this means.

Read or listen to John Chapter 3.

Again look out for:-

Would you go to a carpenter who has no first hand experience in preference to one who has? Of course not – but many people seem to think that is the way to handle religion!

Part 4

August thoughts on John’s Gospel. (Started in June, but got delayed)

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As we get further into the gospel it becomes more difficult to be concise, because so much is going on.

However, let’s have a go!

In May, we saw the Nicodemus and John the Baptist stories in Chapter 3 being used to set up claims for Jesus – who he is and what he came to do.

Now the narrative continues; and as you might expect John introduces the ideas of :-

1. Is there any proof we can point to to support these claims?

2. What are reactions of various people to these claims?

3. Are the ideas expanded in any way – with clarifications or further claims to be made?

Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 deal with these themes. A long stretch, but well worth the effort if you can either read or listen to it all in one go.

People’s Reactions

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Later on, after Jesus has been crucified and resurrected and his disciples are busy talking about things, a wise old bird named Gamaliel says “let’s see what happens” – because there have been a number of men like Jesus who promised a lot, but their following fizzled out. We can imagine that in Israel, at that time, people had high hopes of someone coming along who would free them from occupation and bring in the new glorious age – the promised Messiah, in fact. Historians tell us that this is exactly what it was like – lots of small uprisings, rumours and hopes raised.

What would your reaction have been? What sort of ‘proof’ do you need?

Have your hopes been dashed by disappointment too many times already?

Do you have an interest in the ‘status quo’ that is threatened by Jesus and his message?

We see in John’s narrative

a foreign woman, from Samaria, and her fellow villagers,

Jesus’ growing group of followers,

the country folk who lived in the region of Galilee,

the city folk who lived in Jerusalem,

the people who held the keys to religion and power,

‘large crowds’ who follow the entourage because ... well, it seems for many reasons,

the educated people of the time,

individuals who need various sorts of healing,

a dead man who comes to life again.

The word ‘religion’ comes from Latin roots, as does our word ‘ligament’. Our ligaments are the connectors of various bones in the body. ‘Ligare’ in Latin has the meaning of connect or bind – so ‘religion’ has the sense of re-connecting; reconnecting or rebinding people with their God. That is what religion is supposed to do – when it is working properly. So it comes as a surprise when religion is manipulated to serve power positions. Or is it? I have been reading Melvyn Bragg’s work ‘Book of Books’ about the history and influence of the King James Version of the Bible. It is truly dreadful how power grips people – and yet it seems to be part of the human condition that we need freeing from. People will use anything to hand to keep power over others, and religions have always been seen as one of many a useful tool. BUT, there are many religious people and religious systems that are NOT like this. We meet both types in John’s story, and we have to be careful to distinguish between them. Jesus celebrated the festivals that were supposed to remind folk of how God had acted powerfully in the past for good. Jesus took time to explain what the truth was all about to an inquisitive Pharisee seeking answers to perplexing questions.

So, all the reactions we come across today – thankfulness and gratitude, amazement and wonder, nice but too good to be true, misunderstanding, lack of knowledge, tunnel vision thinking, scepticism, opposition – we also see in John’s writing. And you can work out their motives for yourself!

Proof supporting the claims

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The ‘proof’ is seen in terms of ‘signs’ that, as Nicodemus put it, “No-one can do these signs that you do, apart from the presence of God”.

They are signs that would mean a lot to the people around Jesus at the time. They were both practical and symbolic. They were both meeting current needs and fulfilling ancient prophecies.

They were proofs, that if your mind was set that ‘these don’t happen’ would never convince you – just as they don’t convince people today whose minds are set on ‘these things cannot happen’.

It is not a coincidence that John includes healings of blindness and deafness and then takes their meaning into spiritual things to associate our spiritual blindness and deafness with needing ‘an act of God’ to take them away! It is as if the New Testament writers are saying ‘Sorry, we are so stuck in our own ways of thinking that we need a miracle to happen to enable us to see things from God’s point of view – these are things we cannot work out for ourselves by a purely intellectual exercise; and anyway, if we could, we wouldn’t really want to believe it ’.

Further Claims

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Oh yes! An amazing claim, perhaps in coded language that today we don’t recognise. John says it in the opening summary – It is God the only Son who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him know. The claim that this man Jesus is in some way God – the claim that caused him to be killed by the people in charge of God’s laws and honour because this was blasphemous and dishonouring to God (if not true). The claim that, if true, challenges everyone – ‘Whose side do YOU want to be on’?

Next time, we shall look at the character of this God. Is this God one whom you would want to follow?

Does this God have our best interests at heart?

Does this God challenge us with a way of life that is worth ‘spending our time, resources and life for’?

(Part 5) September Thoughts

A bit shorter, because perhaps John wants us to ponder on the ‘I am’ sayings to consider the character of the God we believe in, serve and love.

Jesus gave himself this ‘I am’ title, and got into trouble for doing so because people at that time knew this was the title their God had used way back in Moses’ time. In Exodus chapter 3 we read Moses saying ‘... and when they ask me ‘What is his name?’ then what shall I tell them? God said to Moses ‘I Am who I Am’. This is what you are to say to the Israelites ‘I Am has sent me to you’.

The people of Jesus’ time immediately knew what he (Jesus) was claiming – and wanted to kill him because of that!

The ‘I Am’ we write is the name of God in Old Testament times, YHWH, that comes from the verb ‘to be’.

Chapter 6 I am the bread of life.

Chapter 8 I am the light of the world.

Chapter 8 Before Abraham, I Am.

Chapter 10 I am the gate for the sheep.

Chapter 10 I am the good shepherd.

Chapter 11 I am the resurrection and the life.

Chapter 14 I am the way, the truth and the life.

Chapter 14 Philip asked ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’

Jesus replied, ‘Have I been with you all this time and you still don’t know me? Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father.’

Chapter 15 I am the true vine.

A lot of imagery, but you may have noticed, as you read the passages, that all these ‘I Am’ characteristics are good for us.

Think about it, and then as our preacher said two weeks ago, ‘Think what your response is’.

Richard M-C

Richard's end-of-season and pre-Christmas message:

Hi everyone,

I thought you might like to hear about some of our happenings while abroad. We visited our son and his family for 4 weeks and timed it to coincide with a celebration weekend at our previous church in Singapore. I wrote the below as an article for our parish church in Tideswell, but thought the content would be of interest for the Society as well – after all, we enjoy our golf together and often reminisce about past good times, but must never forget what our life is about – in an overall sense.

For those of us who are Anglicans, and going through the mission Action Plan process as my church is – this is meant to be an encouragement from a church where everything seemed to be about to fall apart, but which after prayer and listening allowed God to act.

I am looking forward to meeting some at the presentation dinner, and perhaps during the winter outings.

In case I don’t, then a Very Happy Christmas to all.

Richard

ST GEORGE’S CHURCH, TANGLIN, SINGAPORE. 100th Birthday Celebrations.

Leo Teeney celebrated his 90th birthday (see Village Voice for October 2011) and my mother will soon have her 98th birthday, but neither of them match the 100 years of the building of St George’s Church in Singapore. It started life as an Anglican military garrison church, with the pioneering work of by Major C Malan in 1869. After he left in 1871, Rev. Samuel Dingley was appointed as the first ordained chaplain to the Tanglin Barrracks and a first church building was erected in 1884. This was later replaced by the current impressive one, building work being finished in October 1911.

After independence and the withdrawal of British troops, the building became a civilian church after the last military service was conducted on 24th October 1971. The congregation came under the under the care of four clergymen who worked there on a part time basis. Then first vicar, Rev Bruce Winter, was recruited in 1972 and was appointed priest-in-charge in May 1973. Members of the congregation of 1971 told us of memories of that change from military to civilian church. One week they, as civilians, were only allowed to sit at the very back. The next week, they we allowed to sit in the front pews – they were thrilled about that!

Liz and I had been members from 1991 to 1995, while I was posted to Singapore with BP. It was a mixed congregation in our time, with about one third Singaporians of all ethnicities and two thirds expatriates, also a pretty mixed bunch. Now it is more like a 50/50 mix. They, with some of us who managed to travel join in the event, all met to have a Celebration weekend – and being in Singapore that naturally involved lots of tasty food! There was a ‘Down Memory Lane’ evening –with food - on the Thursday (unfortunately our plane landed too late to get to that). There was a ‘Youth Praise Event’ – with food - on the Friday evening (a bit too loud, and anyway we were still jet lagged). There was a ‘Mission Breakfast’ talk – with food - on Saturday morning. There was a ‘Celebration Dinner’ – with food and speeches – on Saturday evening. There was a 3 hour Celebration Service on Sunday morning – followed by food!

It was so good to meet with past friends, many moved to other lands but of course many who call Singapore their home. It was good to hear the speakers remind us all of what was good during the time we were there. It could well be called a ‘missionary church’, both within the parish it served and outside Singapore. Here is just a taster.

The Bishop’s Talk.

One of the Curates of our time there, Rennis Poniah, is now a Bishop in Singapore. Rennis spoke about what has happened, and what is still happening at St George’s. He likened it to the church at Antioch, of which it was said in Acts Chapter 11 ‘The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch’. He mentioned 3 characteristics from that Acts passage that may have caused people outside to say ‘well, they are Christians, aren’t they’. Read it and see what he might have meant.

Mission Abroad in Cambodia.

Nicola told us in last month’s parish magazine of the time she spend in a refugee camp on the Thai border with Cambodia. What a small world!

One of the last missionary to leave Phnom Penh in Cambodia on the last plane out before the capital’s fall in April 1975, Don Cormack, and his family were at St George’s while we were there and often spoke of his wish to go back ‘someday’. He had had to leave his Cambodian friends behind when the Khmer Rouge swept through – and most of them were killed for being Christian. He, too, spent many months in those refugee camps on the Thai border, doing what he could to help in a dire situation before eventually finding himself in Singapore with OMF, which was based round the corner from and had connections with St George’s. Then do you remember the time when it seemed like a miracle and the Khmer Rouge were in their turn swept away? Prince Sihanouk, for reasons best known to himself, invited the Anglican Diocese of South East Asia to set up a church in the capital, Phnom Penh, and a group from St George’s with the now ordained Don Cormack went back. Don’t think it was easy It was incredibly hard – and there have been casualties, emotional and otherwise. Don spoke about it for 90 minutes on that Saturday morning, and at the end you could have heard a pin drop.

It wasn’t only Cambodia. A group from the church started working in Laos, too. Not as a church, as that was impossible, but as a language school staffed by people who lived out their Christian values and help the local Christians with their outreach and bible studies. Again a hard and sacrificial work.

Mission in the Parish.

The vicar, Rev John Benson, of the time we were there spoke of when he first arrived in 1987. The church was mainly expatriate then. Now, you may know that expatriate communities change very quickly because people are posted in and out without a lot of warning. When John arrived the majority of the church leaders were posted away, and he and the remainder were left wondering how the church would stand still – let alone grow! Their equivalent of a MAP was done and it was decided that their mission was to help everyone who passed through the church to take one significant spiritual step forward. While we were there they started the first small groups to enable effective pastoral care and discipleship to happen. They started a ‘Christianity Basics’ course and then the very first alpha course in Singapore to enable everyone to ask all those questions about the faith that they had always wanted to ask. Liz and Mee Wha got a Mums and Tots group going and growing, that catered for the needs of young mums who had lost all the support systems of ‘home’ life and community. We started a men’s group. The youth group started, although we didn’t understand a word the other leaders said – they came from the U.S.! Working parties cleared the overgrown grounds and renovated some unused church buildings so that children and youth could catered for. They started a new evening service for those who liked a less formal service – don’t be misled, the early morning and mid-morning services were, and still are, those you would recognise here, and involve cleaning and beautiful flowers in the church building and a choir(though without robes or procession); but the church leaders recognised that not everyone is the same and ‘one service doesn’t fit all’.

John Benson told me the faith is not about fondly remembering the past and sighing wistfully. He ended has talk by saying –

“Do you remember the significant step YOU made while you were here? What is the next significant step that God is calling YOU to take now?”

Back Home Again.

Yes, it was good to go there and meet old friends, and to be sad over those who have died in the intervening 16 years. It was good to fondly remember the past.

It was good to be reminded that what God wants is for us to make that next significant step forward spiritually. It sounds remarkably like where the Parish Church in Tideswell is right now.

What significant spiritual step forwards is God wanting YOU to take, now? What significant spiritual step forwards is God wanting the parish church to take, now?

Happy Christmas,

Richard Moore-Coulson

Richard's Christmas Message

As I won’t be able to join the outing to Chevin next week, this will be the means of wishing you all a Happy Christmas.

I hope you have enjoyed our outings this last summer season; and are able to use the winter as the best time to test out any grip changes to make your game more enjoyable. ‘Dr Golf’, John Jacobs, says don’t be afraid of making changes and trying out new things. He teaches that the classic grip is made with the ‘V’s made by the thumb and forefinger of the left and of the right hand pointing in the same direction
– somewhere between the right shoulder and the chin for a right-hander and the left shoulder and chin for a left-hander. The exact direction will affect the ‘strength’ of the grip, and depends on each individual player. If you try playing with these ‘V’s not in line, it will cause extra strain on your wrists, and make the swing much more difficult.

For next season, we are already nearly finalised with the venues we wish to book in the summer, with some old favourites mixed with new venues.

While everyone is getting ready for Christmas, it is good to remember that this all leads to the events of Easter. This is our last look at John’s gospel, and like the other 3, it finishes with Easter the event and what happened immediately afterwards.

It is interesting to note the reactions of the principle characters in the story; the men who had followed Jesus, for example. Luke tells of two disciples who were sadly walking back to their home town of Emmaus, some 7 miles from Jerusalem. They were talking about all they had hoped – but it all now had gone pear-shaped. All the hopes dashed. So what now? Back home to the normal routine. John tells us about the fishermen who after three years also had their hopes dashed – and who then went back to the old life of being fishermen.

None of them could understand what had happened, so they did the typical man thing – they went back to what was familiar to try to forget the dream and get on with life, as best they could. We all do that, don’t we. Perhaps we had high hopes of our beliefs – but these hopes have been dashed by .... well all sorts of reasons. For some it is the abuses of our religion by people of, and in, power. That has caused an enormous amount of misunderstanding and antagonism. So we hide the disappointment and pain by going back to the familiar. We forget that ‘Christianity’ thing and shut down when people talk, too embarrassed to say anything. My parents used to says ‘you don’t talk politics, sex or religion, dear’.

Christmas is a time to read the end of the gospel story as well as the beginning.

We have been looking at John’s story, so read the last chapter and see what happens to the fishermen disciples when they throw their nets out on the other side of the boat. It is an intentional repeat of the first time they had met this man Jesus while they were out fishing. Then Peter, the rock, gets called Simon, the bendy reed, again! Ouch, that must have hurt. But Jesus has a different view of things. ‘It is not all for nothing. OK, you messed up, but that’s not the most important thing. I know what you are really like inside, so follow me again because I have work for you to do.’

Peter and the others still don’t understand, but they responded in trust to that call to continue to ‘follow him’. Understanding and ability to carry out that challenge came later. They are so much like all of us.

The call to ‘follow him’, even though we have messed up in the past has always been interpreted by the Christian church as referring to all people at all times. This is one reason we can say – have a Happy Christmas.

Richard

Trophies and Current Winners

The society has a number of trophies, some of them "shared" with other Christian Golf Societies and some wholly within the PDCGS.

PDCGS

is centred around the Peak District of Derbyshire, many members coming from Bakewell, Buxton, Chesterfield, Matlock and Tideswell but also as far afield as Doncaster and Nottingham.

e-mail general enquiries to our Membership Secretary, Nick.

Links

Church in the Peak (CITP)
Buxton CITP
Chesterfield CITP
The Source Cafe in Buxton

On this page:

Summary of our activities
Our Chairman's thoughts on the Gospel of John
Our Chairman's end-of-season and pre-Christmas 2011 message
Our Chairman's Christmas 2011 message