St. James Hope, 3 Vicarage Close, Salford, M6 8EJ
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Midweek Musings

Neil’s Reflections

What does it take for you to say: ‘I was wrong’?

Three words that are so hard to say.


Is it because we don’t want to look like we made a mistake? Or that we aren’t as smart as we think? Or that we made an unwise choice? Or because it just makes us feel vulnerable.

Some of you might live with people who never allow those three words ever to pass their lips. It may not make life any easier for you to know that they may have a lot in common one of the men that would change the course of history.

The man we meet in Acts 9.

Of course, it is an amazing story. Saul is a young religious high flier – on the lookout for Jesus-followers that he can bring to the courts in the hope that they’ll be at least imprisoned, and, if some need to be killed for the sake of the purity of Israel – then so be it.

He’s a man who is on speaking terms with the High Priest, who can enter synagogues hundreds of miles from home to check that they are backing the right horse: none of that ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ stuff is to be tolerated.

Most of all he was a man who was right – and knew it.

What would it take for him to come to terms with the fact that he might have been wrong?

Like some of us, it took something dramatic: he needed to be thrown to the floor, blinded by a light, addressed by a heavenly voice that called him by name. That’s what it took for one man’s plans for his life to come to an end and for a wholly new direction to begin.

Much of the story is about the specific acts that get Saul’s attention. But the fundamental similarity is that in meeting Jesus, he had to come to terms with the fact that he had been wrong for years. Wrong about what it meant to serve God. Wrong about how God saw other people. Wrong about Jesus. Wrong about the new Jesus-followers. Wrong about his own ambition. Wrong about his own plans.

The meeting on the Damascus Road was a severe mercy. It was God getting hold of a man so that he could join in with God’s plans for the world. It was God telling a man that he had been wrong.

Q. What did it take for a man to say he was wrong?

A. God.

It still does!

It’s the challenge offered in the new song by The Killers, My Own Soul’s Warning:  

If you could see through the banner of the sun
Into eternity’s eyes
Like a vision reaching down to you
Would you turn away?
What if it knew you by your name?
What kind of words would cut
Through the clutter of the whirlwinds of these days?


One of the earliest commands in the Bible is to honour the elderly. Every generation stands on the prayers of the previous generations.

In our church one of the people who has prayed daily for our church is Vera, now 94 years old.

She’s frail, bed-bound, waiting for heaven. Watch her speak. Give thanks for her.

And determine that you will pray for the next generation.



1. Our Gatherings

Sunday gathering

The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:

Meeting ID: 836 810 848

Midweek Gatherings

This week we have 3 prayer meetings during this week:

On Wednesday between 1-2pm we offer prayer ministry.

You may feel anxious and just need someone to pray for God’s peace over you. You may be ill or be concerned about someone who is sick; we can pray with you for God’s healing. You may feel low or confused; we can pray with you to know God’s joy and guidance in these strange days. Whatever your reason, we would love to pray with you and for you.

Meeting link:

On Friday 10.30-12.00 there is a prayer meeting that doesn’t need Zoom! We use Whatsapp and it works great. If you want more information contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.

Thursday at 7.45-9.00 All Church Prayer Meeting

The link is here:

3. Stay Connected: ‘Virtual Vine Wednesdays’

‘Virtual Coffee Morning’ – Wednesday 10.30-11.30am

Since closing we’ve missed chatting to people and we know some of you have missed popping in for a brew and a catch up too. So, whilst it’s not as good as the real thing, we thought we would try meeting up online instead. So, grab yourself a brew and join us. There may even be games and live music!

Meeting link:

If in doubt

All the links to the meetings are in Church Suite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website:

4. You’re not alone

There is a group of people in the church who form the Pastoral Team. They are the ones who at the beginning of lockdown said they would contact you from time to time to make sure that you’re doing ok. Each of them have around 10 people to connect with from time to time and to pray for every week. It’s good to know that someone is coming to God for you – asking for his blessing for your life. This is the team:

Debbie King
Ian Peacock
Julian Gittings
Gill Oldham
Lorna Plura
Charlie Blundell
Paul King
Alex McGregor
Maggie Hudson
Janet Downs
Judith Thompson
Nev Plura
Just letting you know:

Neil and Maggie will be away on holiday from 18-26 July.

Links and Resources

1. Children’s Resources

Morag and Ian have put together a couple of films for children at different ages. Having said that, whatever your age you might want to take a look!

But if you have children that fall into these groups, I know that they will really value your feedback.

You can watch them here:

2. Activate Conference

Some of you may remember that Ian and Morag led worship at the Activate conference last year. You might also remember Ian raving about it. This year it’s online so you can be part of it from your front room. It’s on Saturday 25 July 9.30-12.00 or Wed 29 July 7-9.30pm. Tickets can be bought here.

3. Keswick Convention

Many of you might know about the Keswick Convention. It’s a Bible teaching conference that normally runs over a few weeks in the summer. This year, like everything else, it will be online from 27-31 July.

There’s more details on their website and you can watch a trailer here:

4. Just a thought

On Sunday we read from Acts 8:26-40 and how the treasurer of the Candace royal household came to faith in Jesus. The Candace queens were royal rulers of an ancient, very prosperous empire. If you want to read about them you can do so here. It’s a really good website if you want to get background information on things that happen in Biblical times.

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