Coracle and Tide

Postings which were formerly made in the category ‘Reflections’ are now being made on a weekly basis on Coracle and Tide, also published by Tides and Tidings.

To visit Coracle and Tide please click here.

Tides and Tidings will continue to report on church events and occasions. Tides and Tidings represents the mother ship. St Giles Parish Church, Rowley Regis and Coracle and Tide the Christian journey and reflections of one member of the crew.

A Coracle, still used today is a small and seemingly flimsy craft, but used much by early Christian saints and missionaries in bringing the Gospel to the people of Scotland, England. In times when the only good, safe roads were those left behind by the Romans, they were used often, to travel along Rivers.

Solitary pilgrims in a small boat, travelling only with God’s Spirit to guide, and keep them from harm, navigating treacherous currents and tides, reached inaccessible places with God’s Word and love. Their only motivation was that God should be known, hearts filled with the knowledge and love of God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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Praise the Lord on a Monday

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The children are counting down the days to back to school, some counting down the days to starting school for the first time, and Rosy Mouse is watching the crab apple trees.
‘I like September’ she says, ‘And Autumn and Harvest Festival,’ of course,
she’s counting down the days to her share in Autumn’s bounty. But that’s Rosy, dreaming of apples, pies, crumbs … and she’s started knitting, 16 tiny hats and scarves to keep her family warm during winter months!

One thing about our little mouse. She is always cheerful, always humming, always squeaking hymns, psalms and songs of mousy praise.

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
Lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
Stormy winds that do his bidding.
You mountains and hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
Wild animals and all cattle,
Small creatures and flying birds,
Kings of the earth and all nations,
You princes and all rulers on earth,
Young men and women,
Old men and children.

Psalm 148: 7-12

Well, you can’t get much smaller than Rosy, but she had a big heart and wishes all small people-persons (children) well, as they start new school term.

Oh, by the way if you could put some nice juicy pears in your harvest basket, St Giles Harvest Festival is Sunday 2nd October, she would much appreciate it!

Not Just By Water

John the Baptist said;
“I baptise with water but among you stands one you do not know, He baptises with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus said:
“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God, unless they are born of water and the Spirit”

The Spirit and the bride say,
“Come! And let the one who hears say, Come! Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

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(Baptismal Ewer, St Giles Church)

Sarah’s Work Placement

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Birmingham Cathedral (Anglican) in its 300th Year

Sarah, aged 15, is a year 10 student at St Michael’s (C of E School) and this week has been on work placement at St Giles – a taste of what work may be like when school is finally finished and the rest of Sarah’s life begins.

Sarah, thinks she might like to work with the church. So this week is all about looking at the various roles and ministries of a church inside its building and out.

So far, Sarah has visited a family with a newly baptised child and Mary, an older person no longer able to attend church. She has created and designed a poster to publicise the coming, Churchyard Tidy, when anyone in the Rowley Community is invited to come along and join us in a bit of hard work tidying up our large Churchyard. Sarah has not only designed the posters but helped to deliver them to local shops, saying hello to people she has never met before, in the company of Revd. Shelton. I bet that was scary for shy, and softly spoken Sarah.

I think this year’s Churchyard Tidy, should really be called Sarah’s Project, she walked the site, taking notes for the Risk Assessment needed for Insurance Purposes, and typed it up together with the ‘sign in sheets’ needed for Saturday Morning. Oh, and she’s coming to work with us, exchanging her smart office clothes for jeans and sun cream.

Taking photographs of church items came next, rather involved that one, since accurate measurements and identity markings had to be included in the photographs. The photographer allowed her to take a few shots with his very expensive, professional camera and so far I think that has been the highlight of Sarah’s week.

Today, a visit to St Philips, Birmingham Cathedral comes first, then a behind the scenes look at the Diocesan Offices in Colmore Row, Birmingham.

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(Stained glass -Birmingham Cathedral)

By now, Sarah has come to know,that there is far more to church than Sunday Services, and many more jobs and roles needing filling than the sermon slot, or organ stool, the church is truly a body, and needs all of its bodily members to be able to function properly.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)

Whatever life holds for you, Sarah, we wish you well. Thank you for choosing St Giles for your Work Placement and helping our work, this week.

Growing up and good little mice

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The Tailor of Gloucester (A Beatrix Potter Tale) ~ Display/Vera Round/June 2016

The church lectionary says we are now in Ordinary Time, the frontal and falls in church are green, sometimes that serves me as a reminder, green things are growing things and the scripture readings for this long period Trinity Sunday to All Saints Day have all something to teach us, to help us grow in grace as Gods children, little ones
s in Christ, should. Perhaps it is easy to forget that the Saints celebrated on All Saints Day also needed to grow and learn.

Vera, who made the display pictured above, always underestimates what she may achieve but always, always tries and gives “it a go” that is part of growing up too, we learn by giving “it a go” ~ I guess Saints give love, and the Christian disciplines, graces another go, time after time after time.

Having never read the story before, I picked up the picture book also on display and gave the story of The Tailor of Gloucester a go. The tale of the kindness of little mice in completing the Tailor’s work whilst he lies sick with a raging fever is contrasted with the spitefulness of his cat. By the end of the book, the cat has learnt the lesson of kindness but I won’t give the ending away, just in case you have n’t read it.

This is the lesson I am still learning

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Yes God knows us through and through, and yes, none of us knows anything yet as we ought to know. I praise God, wonderful in his patience, gentle in his upbringing and teaching of me, his little child and mouse, by every means at his disposal, every day the most important lesson of all. Perhaps I don’t see him face to face, but I sense as a blind person might, his face is ever towards me, and sense too his invitation to reach out with baby fingers and explore that beautiful face.

Love is the lesson the Lord teaches and his story the never ending one.

And now these three remain. Faith hope and love. But the greatest if these is love.

(Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13)

We can only go forward

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(Image Superjew/Wikimedia Commons)

We can’t go back
We can only go forward

This is true none of us can go back to those wonderful days of childhood,to that heart stopping moment when our eyes fixed on our.beloved spouse. Neither can we re-visit and fix that time when we were so in the wrong; if only we hadn’t said,or we hadn’t done this or that.

As it is with our earthly life’s journey, so it is with our spiritual pilgrimage. We have decided to follow Jesus and we can’t, we mustn’t go back. Hasn’t Jesus explicitly warned us, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’

Yet our God knows there are times, and they are many, when we need to stop, rest, eat and drink – he himself is our rest, our food, our drink. This is what i have found, I have been young and now am old, but I am still following on and finding it’s an upward climb, here’s a well loved hymn from years gone by,

Wr are marching upwards to Zion
Please follow link to listen on YouTube


We are marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.

A song is always a good companion whether we are a solitary marcher or a company. Pilgrims have always packed them in their rucksacks.

Here is one Jesus could well have sung on his journeys to Passover in Jerusalem

Psalm 121

I lift my eyes to the mountains
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harmg—
he will watch over your life;

8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and for ever more.

When I find the going hard, life tough and rough, or maybe fear I may be a little off track, I rest prayerfully, look up, and put my best foot forward I’m marching upwards.

When you forgive, you love

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The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt/Hermitage Museum (St Petersburg)

When you forgive, you love”

(Jon Krakauer)

Praise the LORD, my soul,
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits –
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself,
to forgive.
FORGIVE EVERYBODY.”
(Maya Angelou”

When we forgive then we mirror God’s love perfectly and he forgives perfectly.
But always remember the same faults and failings we see in others are the very same faults and failings they see in us. No one is perfect, God is still working on us.

Called By Name

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(Photo by Damian Peach posted on BAA website)

He knows my name. He knows yours

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
His understanding has no limit.

I look up at the night sky and marvel.
I look into my heart and marvel more.
He knows and calls me by my name, he knows me, understands me, and yet still loves me.

Now that’s a marvel!

Psalm 147: 4-5 (NIV)

Just A Sparrow

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House Sparrow (RSPB)

Used to be that the first thing heard as sleepy eyes welcomed the new daylight was the cheerful chirruping sing-song of House Sparrows under the eaves.

No more.

I miss them lining up along the fence, like neat little brown uniformed soldiers watching eagerly for breakfast crumbs. Nowadays House sparrows are very much a rare sight in our parts of the Midlands. Although their cousins the Tree Sparrows are still content with their lodgings among the shrubs and trees in my backyard.

We used to sing as children:

There are hundreds of sparrows, thousands, millions,
They’re two a penny, far too many there must be;
There are hundreds and thousands, millions of sparrows,
But God knows every one and God knows me.

Teacher told us didn’t she? That Jesus (Matthew 10: 29-31) said that we, small, chirpy birds were worth more than many sparrows, and that our Father in heaven knew exactly how many hairs we had on our heads!

Wow! We were important! The small, and ordinary were important. So very important that God, had bothered to count the number of our hairs.

Have you noticed that no-one, absolutely no-one likes to own up to being small or ordinary anymore? There is such pressure nowadays to be someone to be the one who shines brighter than the lights on the Christmas Tree, life is all about being the One on Top, the Celebrity … Yes, it’s true, I feel that it takes hard work to achieve the top jobs, the big bank balance, the fame (or notoriety) of the Stars but when we have got there, will it be worth it? Will we truly be happier than the ones that don’t?

I woke up this morning and I felt happy.
Happy that I have a home, a safe place to lie down and sleep, sleep that had come easily to a head untroubled about tomorrow with no worries, no anxieties . I’m the little sparrow who found a home (Psalm 84:2) -l lay my weary head on my Father’s breast because God knows every one and God knows me.

I am glad to be a little sparrow.
I wouldn’t trade my ordinary life for fame, fortune, position or power …
I am happy with the nest I have, and in time of trouble or distress, I hide beneath the Almighty’s feathers: He is no Sparrow but He loves me!