Visit of Rev’d Helen Kirk
By Ron Lucas
It was a joy to have as our preacher on Sunday 20th June 2021, the Chairman of the Chester & Stoke on Trent Methodist District, the Rev’d Helen Kirk, to lead our morning’s worship. After the limitations on our meeting throughout 2020 and early 2021, we were able to return to weekly in-person worship each Sunday from early June, so Helen’s visit was most welcome even though Covid safety rules still applied.
Helen directed our thoughts to two stories of Jesus from Mark’s gospel, chapter four, and she reminded us that Jesus was always telling stories. So, we have the stories of the Growing Seed and the Mustard Seed and how we should never underestimate the power of the smallest amongst us. We jump to the harvest, and we assume that growth is the important thing, as growth is part of our current culture in life and in business. Similarly, we live in a church which is obsessed with growth, but we overlook the rhythm which is in the first parable, the planting and tendering, the sprouting and growing followed by the harvesting. “Sleeping and rising, dormancy and activity, death and resurrection are, perhaps, a rhythm which is part of us and there are seasons to our faith”, said Helen. She described the rhythm of her walk from Melrose to Lindisfarne during her sabbatical some years ago, and the changing rhythm of the seasons observed during her early morning’s dog walking. “What does this rhythm mean for the church?” asked Helen. Acts of worship will change, including duty and habit but the story of the mustard seed is that it gives shelter, not growth, not its size but its inclusivity. “Do we nurture the truth? Who are we listening to? Is it ourselves or God’s Kingdom?” After closing prayers, we moved into the car park to sing a closing hymn following which Helen gave us the blessing.