War Memorial Gary Trouton

Parish Newsletter for St Andrew's Northwold etc

July 2004

Keith gives us details of services and happenings within the combined parishes of Norrthwold, Wretton, Stoke Ferry and Whittington

The Parishes of St. Andrew, Northwold; All Saints, Wretton with Stoke Ferry;

and Christ Church, Whittington.

For more details contact me, Keith MacLeod at West Barn, Ryston Road, West Dereham

(01366 500960) (07766 766 137) (email: keith.macleod@virgin.net)

Diary for July 2004

27th June (3rd Sunday after Trinity)

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion at

St Andrews

4th July (4th Sunday after Trinity)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

11th July (5th Sunday aftyer Trinity)

9.30am Service of the Word at Christ Church

11.00 Matins at St Andrews

18th July (6th Sunday after Trinity)

8.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

9.30am Holy Communion by Extension at


25th July (7th Sunday after Trinity)

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion at


1st August (8th Sunday after Trinity)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

Rotas for Church cleaning & flowers

July Christ Church Mrs N Achurch & Mrs J Allen All Saints Mrs P Willis and Mrs H Durrance

August Christ Church Mrs Pat Voutt & Angie All Saints Mrs P Willis and Mrs P Durrance

Sunday School - All Welcome

There is a Sunday School during the main Sunday services at St. Andrew's Church, Northwold (except for Sunday's with All Age Worship). This is open to any school age child living in the villages of Northwold, Wretton, Stoke Ferry, Whittington and Brookville. If you are not able to stay with your child please drop them off by 10.50 and collect them by 12.15.


As I write, we are having to consider deferring the Wretton Church Open Day, set for 26th June, because our current lack of resources, plus some recent disruptions in the time available to the team involved, have made it impossible to adequately set up, advertise and promote it. The ground under our feet seems to be ever shifting. Of what can be certain? Most people are probably still either revelling in or trying to recover from the shock of the recent Euro and Local elections. None of our (party) political certainties seem to remain. A year ago Blair and Bush were riding the crest of the wave. Now they are as surely in the trough.

In our personal lives, we can be subjected to extraordinary shocks - unaware till they hit us of realities that have been kept hidden from us.

At least until recently, I think most of us have tended to give scientists a lot of credit - we have thought of them (and probably we still do, despite some of the difficulties they have faced over tragedies like BSE) as the founts of knowledge, providing a bedrock upon which we can rely, while society and economics and religion are far more vague. The word "science" derives from the Greek for knowledge. Scientists (or most of them) are, however, only too aware that it is knowledge that they seek, not that they have. The excitement of science is the search for truth, not the knowledge of it. One of the most famous of scientific theorems is the one that states that every hypothesis only holds good until it has been disproved. Most of the time, scientists refine, moderate and evolve hypotheses towards better fits with the observed phenomena about them, using ever more precise and varied methods of measurement and experimentation to find their way. At times, they see real paradigm shifts, where whole bodies of hypotheses are put to one side or very substantially adjusted by a new grand hypothesis - so Newton's Laws of Gravity were firmly put into their place by Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

So apparently, science is NOT a source of certainty. Is anything? Most members of the main religions would claim to have certainty - certainty in their knowledge about the God they worship. Yet the population at large would probably think that blind faith in unprovable, mystical religious ideas was a pretty shaky basis for anything - not a basis for any sort of certainty. This is all a little topsy turvy! Our scientists upon whom we rely for the safe and safer bases for our way of life claim to know little that is truly fundamental - they only know how to measure what happens and to be able to make some predictions based on that limited knowledge (consider weather forecasting!). Whereas priests and their followers, basing themselves on contestable and contested stories, make very sure predictions of what is to come. In whom should we have faith? Well, of course, as a committed Christian, I will say - BOTH. I believe that my God created the universe and all that is in and of it and that he is firmly interested in my welfare and will be there for me whenever I need and call upon him. I believe that he is beyond human knowledge, revealing only as much as he finds appropriate. I believe that it is proper for mankind to try to find him and that we are made curious deliberately. As science develops its body, not of knowledge but of understanding, so they are finding a better image of God's creation.

But I make these statements predicated upon belief - I offer no scientific formulae or legal evidence and could not do so without making God less than I believe him to be. So where does my certainty come from, what value is it to me and how can I pass it on to others? They are questions that have to be faced but they are not easy to answer. In the first case, the faith comes from without and from within. I was brought up with the stories of Jesus and of the Christian Church - so I find the language easy and familiar. I was, later in life, exposed to Christians, whose inner joy and peace was to be envied and from whom I sought for explanations and how to join them. Finally, I was brought face to face with my God within my own being, in ways that I cannot describe here - not a blinding flash of conversion, but a growing awareness of the light within me. This answer to my first question is useless to you readers if I cannot answer the third question!

The value of my faith is inestimable - it is so much more than, but certainly includes, the truth of the Footsteps story, with which most of you are probably familiar.

How can I persuade you of the truth of my faith? Well that is not actually my purpose in life and should not be. It is for me to provide a witness (to use the jargon) to that faith, by how I live and by how I behave to those with whom I am in contact - just as the good Christians I met twenty or so years ago did, which opened my heart and thus enabled the message of Jesus to be delivered by him personally.

Many of you who have had the patience to proceed this far with me will be feeling pretty impatient with the apparent nonsense of what I am saying - you will believe but only after you have come to believe - until then you are outside the magic circle. As I say it is not for me to try to persuade. What I would ask is that all doubters and straight non-believers should apply the scientific method and observe the evidence. The evidence of the existence of a loving God is not so much in the stories of Jesus, but in the lives and behaviour of those who love the stories of Jesus. If they are sloppy, soft people, self-consciously engaged in their own religious practices, then withhold judgement. But if, like (even pale) shadows of Mother Theresa, their lives are devoted to making those around them better then look for their motivations. They may well be Christians, living lives of quiet, private and certain joy, which you should wonder whether you could share.

Keith MacLeod


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