Our Minister Rev John Bentham  
John's letter for November

 From the Manse








Dear Friends,

I do not find it the easiest thing in the world to write an article for the newsletter, as I do not wish it to sound like a sermon, but nevertheless one feels that it must carry a message.

On my travels I came across an article in a church magazine – an article that I thought I would like to share with you.

First I would like to ask you to read it slowly than hurry to find the punch line. Please follow my advice as I share the story with you. It is a true story so please travel slowly.

The place is a metro station in Washington D.C. USA. The day is a cold January morning in 2007. The time: Rush hour.

A man with a violin, standing behind a hat, is playing six Bach pieces for almost an hour. During that time about 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged mas notices a musician playing. He slows his pace, stops for a few seconds – and then hurries on to keep his schedule. After 4 minutes, the violinist receives his first dollar: a woman throws the money into the hat without stopping, and continues to hurry on.

6 minutes later, a young man leans against the wall to listen to the violinist, then looks at his watch and starts to walk on again. 10 minutes later a 3 year old stops – but his mother, clearly in a hurry, tugs him along. The kid stops to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushes hard and the child continues to walk, however, turning his head all the time… Several more children repeat this action. Every parent, without exception, forces their child to move on quickly.

45 minutes later the musician continues to play without stopping. Only 6 people stop and listen even for a short while. About 20 give him money – but continued to walk on at their normal pace.

After 1 hour the violinist finishes playing, having  collected a total of $32. Silence takes over. No one notices he has stopped. No one applauds or recognizes his efforts in any way beyond the $32…

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played some of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars…

Two days earlier he had played to a sell-out concert at a theatre in Boston, where seats averaged $100 each. This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the Metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about taste and peoples priorities.

These are some of the questions raised by the experiment:

In a common place environment an inappropriate hour; are we capable of perceiving beauty?

Will we stop to appreciate it?

Can we recognize real talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, on one of the most beautiful instruments ever made… how many more things are we missing?


Your friend and Minister



                                           John's Letter for December/January


 Dear friends,


For so many, the next few weeks will be extremely busy ones, hurtling from one task to another. We know, though, that the busier we are, the more we need to spend time with the Lord. Don’t let all the activity shut Him out! Try to set aside a time of quiet at least once each day, to spend alone with our Lord. It is especially at hectic times that we need to be aware of His Presence; we need His special Peace, to know His guidance in great and small things, to be inspired and encouraged, to laugh and experience His joy, to be strengthened when we are feeling weary – to be blessed and know He loves us so. And more importantly, to grow in the knowledge and love of Him!

  wish you this Christmas, and in that wish I wish you everything.

I do not wish you ‘Merry’ Christmas for that is too small a wish, too limited in a single mood, too fragile an expression to carry the magnificence of Christmas, too narrow in vision to catch Star-gleam song and shepherds’ awe.

I wish you Christmas and with that I wish for you life’s great good news.

I do not wish you ‘Season’s Greetings’ for that is too vague, too impersonal, too void of warmth and love. I wish for you far more than a few days of festivity and a few hours of fun which will vanish too quickly… Though I hope that festivity and fun are yours.

 But when I wish you Christmas, I wish for your long-reaching gladness and joy which stretches far down the year before you, into new days, whether bleak or bright. Through all the year’s seasons may you be surrounded by the goodness of Christmas news!

I wish you Christmas and in that wish, I wish you Good News. I wish you Christmas and in that wish I wish you Jesus Christ. An infant at Bethlehem, but more… A man of sorrow, laughter, compassion and judgement. And more. A Saviour! I wish for you, the sin-forgiver, the life giver, the death conqueror. I wish you Jesus Christ.

I wish you Christmas for when I wish you Christmas I wish you God, nothing less for nothing less will do, and nothing less than that is given at Christmas.

 I wish you God. I wish you Christmas.

 Your friend and Minister