Can you tell me about baptisms/christenings?
A baptism is a beautiful memory of a day shared with family and friends, and of course, the family of God. It's the day on which the infant gets welcomed into the Church, but more than that, it marks the starting point of our lifelong journey with God. Sadly, the promises made by Godparents are often neglected, even if the day is fondly remembered. A key point to remember is that the Church is always here for you, and we'd like to think it's not just for check-ins, marriages and check-outs. Here's something you may never have considered: the church is't built of bricks and cement, but of people. Relationships are what holds the church together and baptism day is the start of that relationship. But like all relationships, it needs investment. Without investment, a relationship will dwindle to the point of nothing. So, it's a happy day but also a serious commitment.
For more on baptism, click here, and you could also check out the Church of England Christenings website, which contains guides for parents, godparents and next steps following a christening.
Catholic, Methodists, Evangelical? It's all Greek to me
As far as denominations go, you're either a Christian or you aren't, regardless of denomination. Whatever denomination you happen to be right now, you're always welcome at St. Paul's. We subscribe to the view that we need to get ever closer to our sister churches in the area, and that's why signed a covenant with them as well as hosting the ecumenical prayer breakfast and Churches Together events.
I have an 'empty feeling'. What is this?
The fact is that, as human beings, we need both physical and spiritual nourishment. That 'empty feeling' you have is due to lack of spiritual nourishment. The only way that's ever going to get better is by getting right with God. The good news is that He is waiting, but you need to take the first step. As Martin Luther King Jr. said:
"To expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith, but superstition." If you'd like to discuss this further with someone, please contact us.
I don't feel like I fit in at Church so I don't bother coming
That may be because you are viewing the Church as a building rather than as a living thing made up of people and relationships. We encourage you to introduce yourself to us. You can use the contact us form to tell us about yourself, so that we can look out for you. Remember, the church is a key part of the community and the community is a key part of the church. We each of us have a role to play.
What are the entrance requirements for the kingdom of heaven?
In Matthew 7, verse 21, Jesus states:
"Not everybody who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter."
Don't all paths lead to the same place i.e. heaven?
In Matthew 7, verse 13, Jesus states:
"Go in through the narrow gate. the gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it."
How come the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus don't tally?
The author Nick Page covers this quite nicely in his article 'A man, not a metaphor', here.
How can the words of Jesus still be relevant in today's society?
Because they cover the same issues which still trouble us today. Issues such as:
Makes sense, doesn't it?
Don't Christians just blindly follow the bible without questioning anything?
That's a big 'no' to that one. When you read the Bible, you should be asking yourself:
- What's happening in the account I'm reading? What's the actual message? Why should I care?
- Why is this account important? What was the writer trying to get across to me? Why did they use certain symbology etc.?
- When was the account actually written? When did the events written about take place?
- How is the account actually constructed? What would the reaction at the time have been to the events? How much danger was the writer putting themselves in because of recording the events of the time? How am I supposed to apply the teachings to my life in contemporary society?
- Who wrote the account? Can I trust that it's ultimately provided by God for my 'digestion'? Who did the writer mean to read the account? Who are the characters referred to?
- Where did the events of the account take place? In what place was the account written?
Church services seem very old-fashioned to me.
There's no getting away from the fact that, compared to today's hectic world, church services are an extreme contrast. That's because we live in a world in which there are umpteen different things competing for our brains' attention, many of them noisy. The church offers the opposite: an opportunity to reflect peacefully and to nourish the spirit. Because it is so different to what's going on outside, there is a natural feeling that it's 'going against the grain'.
The service we use to worship is based on words that have been honed over the centuries - words that are profound and leave us with a sense of contentedness. When you leave after worshipping, you can't help but feel uplifted.
How am I supposed to find time for God?
There's no doubt that life is a distraction, isn't it? So many things competing for your attention, whether it's your favourite 'soap', or surfing the web, twittering, facebooking, listening to tracks, but ultimately all that adds up to is 'noise' - it could all be filed under the category of 'distraction'. The problem is, us humans don't tend to like quiet, because that makes us think about reality too much - stuff like 'the meaning of life', which really gets our nerves twanging. The fact is though, unless you make time for God, you'll never know what it is to experience 'the peace of God that passes all understanding'. So, go on - have a bit of a Spring clean and make some time for The Creator. You'll be glad you did.