Stanwick Group of Churches

July 2019 letter

During the half-term holidays we spent a few days in Upper Wharfedale at the Christian Community and retreat centre, Scargill House. The theme for our break was ‘Pooh Bear’ and around the house and grounds were the characters and their homes and lots of wisdom from Winnie the Pooh and his friends.On friendship:

‘If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.’ Winnie the Pooh

‘We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh’, asked Piglet. ‘Even longer’, Pooh answered.   

During one of the teaching sessions on the theme of love, friendship and adventure we were also reminded of the wisdom of some 4-8 year olds in a study some years ago who were asked ‘What does love mean?’ My favourite is four year old Billy’s answer: ‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.’

That’s how it is with God. We are loved even longer than forever and our names are safe in God’s heart and God’s mouth.

There may be times in our lives when we feel like our name isn’t safe or known or remembered. This may be the case for children moving or leaving school at the end of an academic year. It can be an anxious time as children part from friends who they love and who have helped them to find their own identity. I always feel a little sad at the end of a school year to see the empty pegs knowing that the names and little pictures will be taken down.

Whether it be sweatshirts, autographs, or even a specially made up song, no doubt the leavers in our local schools will find a way to keep one another’s names safe as they go their different ways. I hope too that you feel your name is safe, that your name is said with love today.

At Scargill we reflected on how if we feel that our name is safe it may be that we can more easily hear God’s call to adventure and be open to new possibilities and ready to take risks.

More wisdom from Winnie the Pooh: ‘I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I have been.’

While school leavers are called to adventure in a new place, often we are called to adventure in the places where we are. This can be the most challenging yet exciting kind of adventure.

Sometimes the bravest journey of all is the journey inside – the journey to self-awareness, forgiveness, conversion and transformation. I am reminded of another child’s answer to the question of ‘What does love mean?’ For seven year old Matthew love means: ‘When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more.’

Without even knowing it, this seven-year-old, had grasped something of the unconditional nature of love; love that is not earned, that just is; love that grows with intimacy and embraces those hidden bits of ourselves that often we find too difficult to own, never mind share with another. Love that keeps our name safe in its mouth.  

Love calls us to adventure; onwards, upwards and inwards. Love calls us to be open to one another, to be open to new possibilities, new journeys, new hope, new joy, and new life for body, mind and spirit.

May God bless you in your adventuring,



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