A Thought by Revd. Stephen Monk 29.10.17

This week my family and I went to visit the National Space Centre in Leicester. It was very busy but also extremely fascinating. One of the most interesting areas was the Planetarium, where it was explained that all people are made from the same chemical components as the very universe. Over twenty minutes, we were told the story of the birth and development of the universe. One of my boys said ‘but Dad, do you believe in that story or in the Bible?’

Isn’t it sad that – due in part to the Enlightenment, to radical atheism, and even to fundamentalist Christianity – we feel the need to make this false distinction? The beautiful, poetic reality of the Bible, and the amazing work of science as it seeks to explain the hitherto unexplainable, are two parts of the same story. If we read the opening chapters of Genesis with the eyes of Science, we will still find the unity and wonder of Creation.

The Will of God brought our universe into existence. The Love of God the Father holds it in being, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit helps our world be all that it can be. God invites us to use our minds and our intellects, as well as the words we find in the Bible, to know something of His Wonders.

An American, who went in to space, prayed this part of Psalm 8:

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?      You have made them a little lower than the angels  and crowned them with glory and honour.   You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

May we always reverence Science, Theology, Poetry and all that teaches us something about God. May we have humility to understand that whichever way we think, the most important thing to remember is that you and I – and all people of the human family – are Children of God.

With my prayers & thoughts.

Revd. Stephen Monk

A Thought

A Thought 19.08.2017


“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” – Charles Spurgeon


“God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” – Augustine


I was in Bakewell the other day feeling very righteous that I’d resisted the wonderful puddings and custard!! Then we walked by the river and saw the ducks appearing to stay still on the water. Yet the ducks were paddling like mad. There was complete frenetic activity underneath the water. In the Autumn or late Summer, we need to remember that life throws a lot at us. We, like the ducks, are paddling just to keep up sometimes.

But our Christian Tradition calls us to live a balanced life – one of work, prayer, rest and exercise. Too much of any one of these can quite literally throw us out of sync and damage our mental, physical and spiritual health. In our Community we have some great church buildings and these should be places of refreshment and revitalisation. They should be places of spiritual enlivening and spaces where we can meet our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. In these building there should be a warm welcome and a feeling of love, forgiveness and peace, but also on other occasions, joy, excitement and hopefulness.

So the two themes in this letter are firstly, we all need to remember in our busy lives find time for rest and relaxation – these two things are not optional for a healthy life. Secondly please do not be afraid of our churches.  The churches of Darley Dale, South Darley and Winster are your churches. They do not belong to a ‘holy few’; they belong to all of us, broken people who need God’s loving mercy in our lives.  Our churches are places where you will always be welcome.

So, finally, may I wish you and your family every blessing and love and peace, in God’s name. Amen


With the kindest of regards

Revd. Stephen Monk



Thoughts 13th August 2017

A Few mini thoughts for the week ahead

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”    Augustine of Hippo


“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbour — such is my idea of happiness.” Leo Tolstoy


“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”  John Lubbock



“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.”    May Sarton



A Thought

This coming Tuesday is the ancient feast of Mary the Mother of God. This was the first title given to Mary during the Council of Ephesus. It is important because it points to the reality of Jesus being fully human and fully divine. Important because in His divine nature Jesus was able to redeem humanity and creation and in His human nature He could empathise with humanity. He could understand what it was to be a human being. So as in all families (for better or worse) Jesus was formed by His mum and His stepfather. Our parents form us in so many ways and these can bring about positive and negative attributes.

Mary is an example of a good mother – a mother who was humble in her ‘yes’ to the Angel; a mother who was broken by the cruel world she lived in; a mother who lost endless nights’ sleep because of worry about Jesus and His development and His chosen path to serve His Father. Mary is an ecumenical figure in that she is the Mother of all Christian traditions. For which son would not want all people to respect their mums? And the life Mary lived is an example to all of us. This example is an aid to how we can walk closer to God in our daily lives. Her example calls us to trust in God’s call; to be open to God’s promptings and to worship the Lord whatever happens in life. May we not see Mary as a plaster cast model but as a real woman, a model Evangelist and an example of what a Christian’s life should be like. Let’s not be sectarian and see Mary as only belonging to one tradition but as the mother of all Christians.

May you have a very Good week. Take care and God Bless.



Thoughts 6th August 2017

6th August

A Mini Thought

“The new heavens and the new earth are not replacements for the old ones; they are transfigurations of them. The redeemed order is not the created order forsaken; it is the created order – all of it – raised and glorified.” ― Robert Farrar Capon

“To put it simply: The Holy Spirit bothers us. Because he moves us, he makes us walk, he pushes the Church to go forward. And we are like Peter at the Transfiguration: ‘Ah, how wonderful it is to be here like this, all together!’ … But don’t bother us. We want the Holy Spirit to doze off … we want to domesticate the Holy Spirit. And that’s no good. because he is God, he is that wind which comes and goes and you don’t know where. He is the power of God, he is the one who gives us consolation and strength to move forward. But: to move forward! And this bothers us. It’s so much nicer to be comfortable.” ― Pope Francis


A Thought

Today we celebrate one of the greatest feasts of the Christian Church. We remember the words of the Book of Genesis – God created all this and it was good. Our world has the potential to be ‘good’, to be ‘amazing’, though our world is fallen and is darkened by sin and brokenness. There is still the faintest echo of that Good World but when Jesus was transfigured he was seen as he really was – blessed, beloved, divine. We are called to be part of that amazing relationship. Inspired by the Holy Spirit we are called to recall our blessedness, our belovedness.   As one prayer goes: ‘Where Jesus has gone we are all called to go. He is the pioneer and the first born’. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is familial – He is our brother.

Today we remind ourselves that we are called to life in all its fullness. That fullness is ours as long as we are faithful to our calling to serve this world in creation, in humanity, in standing for Gospel Values and the most important calling – to worship God our Father, in the Son, and through the Holy Spirit.  Let us all remember that on this feast day we are called to be the people God dreamed that we could be and let us all listen to the voice of Jesus Christ today and every day.  The following poem helps us reflect on this feast:


We want to know you, Jesus.

We want to cherish and hold Adore and revere Esteem and glorify you.

Keep you in our hearts Glimpse you in our lives Trace you on our paths,

Comforting the homeless Grieving with the mourners Forgiving our sins Healing our wounds Raising our dying

We are afraid, awed, overwhelmed at your glory. We are touched, moved, transformed by your love. We are cleansed, renewed, refreshed by your forgiveness.

We thank you We praise you We love you.

You… the transfigured One. You… the resurrected One. You… the One…

“This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.”


[Author unknown]