Hull Team Churches

Ministers thoughts for the month

From Simon

Summer gardens

Most houses come with a garden. So when moving house, you leave one and inherit another. So we are leaving a large and rambling garden for a smaller more manicured one. The previous owner has left us instructions about the care of plants and bushes that she loved and tended for many years. I hope she doesn’t come back to check, as we have already dug up many plants that we do not like, and are presently dominating the garden. We propose to take some plants with us, but I am sure the gaps will be filled pretty quickly. And when we finally settle in our new abode, I am sure we will grow new plants – we are inheriting a greenhouse !

I am not a real gardener – I mow the lawn and pull up the odd weed. It is Elaine who plans and decides what goes where. The previous owner liked big, bold brash blooms. There are going to be some subtle changes ! The Chelsea Flower Show demonstrates each year the variety of gardens on offer, and we all have differing tastes. Some gardens are wild (like our present one), and others you are afraid to sit in because you will be blocking the view of a well-tended border.

Jesus was not a gardener, but He was a sower of seeds. He knew that with the right conditions, and with a little bit of love and care and nurture, the seeds will reach their full potential. The Christian life has a message about growth, and blossoming. Looking back, we have been too concerned about finding the weeds and digging them out. Weeds of course are only plants growing in the wrong place – what is more beautiful than the daisy or the dandelion 

Our task as Christians is to help things grow – new ideas, new expressions of Church and more importantly people – made in God’s image.

So enjoy your gardens this Summer, and if you haven’t got one, go and find one and sit in it and enjoy it. But if you come round to our house, you will be set to work !

                                                                                           Simon Swailes

 From Chris


As we reach the longest day, we (hopefully !) have the best of the summer weather before us. Even as I write in early May, I have started to harvest the first crop of salad leaves. By the time you are reading this, I hope to have a bumper crop of strawberries and gooseberries and maybe even a few tomatoes and cucumbers.

But of course, some things never really get off the ground. Some things are planted and never really get off to any start- just ask me about asparagus peas ! Other things start slow and then grow while other things just race from the start.  Some things need moving; my lavatera has now flourished because I moved it to a different place in the garden.

So it is with as our Jerusalem plan. Some things have worked well, some things have started slowly but show potential and others have never really got off the ground.  Some things might be in the wrong times or locations. Some might need tweaking to make them better.  Some are lessons learned. It’s now time to start thinking about what we finish off in July, what we move to different slots and what we continue.

We’re only a few months to welcoming our gappers and they will have a significant impact on our capacity to do things. Four young people with time to support what we are doing and they will no doubt have some ideas of their own.  They will help us grow but let’s not extend the gardening metaphor too much here !

What I think we’re now doing is a lot like any cycle of the seasons – tilling, planting, tending, harvesting and planning what to plant next year.  Year on year things will change and grow as does any garden.

Please just continue to water this one with your prayers.

Chris Dowd