Our Minister is the Reverend Peter Hibberts and he joined us in the September of 2016. He was a school teacher before joining the ministry and still loves to work with families and schools as well as folk of all ages!
He is married to Katie and has four children: Ellie (11), Olivia (8), Joseph (4) and Daisy (1)
You can contact him directly by email or by telephone (01636 812166)
A welcome from our Minister
I'd like to personally welcome you to our website and thank you for stopping by. We'd love to meet with you in person and connect with you in some way. It would be great to see you at one of our events or services where you are sure to get a very warm welcome.
Minister's Monthly Message
“Make us great again!”
This seems to be a popular phrase at the moment - at least if you substitute us for any one of several groups. I’ve heard, “Make America Great Again,” and “Make Britain Great Again,” to name just two. The problem with this approach, it seems to me, is that it always seems to be making one group great to the detriment of the others. For the USA it might mean tariffs imposed on other nations who will encounter economic hardship, whilst the USA’s economy is boosted. For Britain it might mean taking control of our borders and not paying money into Europe in the midst of a refugee crisis. There always seems to be a loser.
Perhaps the potentially most tragic example is indeed the refugee crisis. As I write, the Aquarius, a refugee vessel in the Mediterranean sea, is poised dangerously with 629 souls on board. Popularist governments in Italy and Malta have refused it the opportunity to dock, endangering the lives of all on board. Both countries seek to protect their own interests above the needs of the refugees who would not have embarked on such a dangerous journey were they not desperate.
It seems nations throughout the world (and indeed smaller groups) want to protect their own interests regardless of others needs - each seeking to be the greatest.
In the Bible there was a similar scenario when Jesus followers got into an argument about who would be the greatest. Jesus’ answer was simple but difficult, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Matthew 9:35 NIV) It’s about preferring the needs of others over our own. If anyone is to gain, we must all serve each other.
I wonder what Jesus response to the rise in popularist politics would be? How can a nation be last? Well, I think we saw something of relevance in the case of the Aquarius. It was in the decision, by the Spanish, to accept the vessel and its 629 souls. In this move, some would say, Spain gave Italy and Malta (amongst others) license to refuse further vessels and created a precedence; It was a risk for the Spanish. But at the same time I think they possibly made the move because of their socialist character - they were willing to put the needs of others before the needs of their own nation (the opposite of popularist politics). This was becoming last of all on a national scale and potentially saved the lives of 629 people - not counting the unborn children who were also on board!
What would this look like in our daily lives? Well, that’s potentially even more challenging. It could be as simple as giving someone right of way on a road when it isn’t their right, letting someone with particular needs in front, in a queue. But it could be much deeper, in the relationships we have, and in our community. It may mean sacrifices. One thing I’m sure of: as long as we choose to be protectionist in our outlook (the ‘self preservation society’) community will never work properly. The goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ which was ultimately made possible by Christ’s sacrifice of the cross is not to make us great again but bring us together again - that’s the point at which humanity becomes great and there are no losers.
FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION AND PREVIOUS MONTHLY MESSAGES HEAD TO THE MINISTER'S BLOG 'BEYOND REASON 315'.