St. James Hope, 3 Vicarage Close, Salford, M6 8EJ
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Midweek Musings – Australian birds, miracles and stories

What happens to a species if the music starts to die, or when their songs become corrupted or their singers have never heard the original tunes?

Apparently, male regent honeyeaters, an Australian bird, have stopped singing the songs that attract females and so are in danger of dying out. They are imitating other songbirds, without a sniff of romance.

You don’t need to have a degree in theology to see a connection with our own lives. Your song is your story. It’s specific, particular to a time and place, is worth sharing, and once you do share it, it encourages others. (I can’t promise anything to do with romance though!)

Every other week up to 45 people meet in housegroups and normally reflect on the practical implications of the sermons. But this week is going to be different. This week we are setting time to ask one another a simple question: ‘Why are you a Christian?’

We’re doing it because we are still in sight of Easter – that central truth that orients all our lives around a remarkable and to-our-eyes-impossible event: that the one who came to rescue us was killed but refused to let the grave have the final word.

And we’re doing it because it reminds us that miracles happen: that God gets our attention, reveals himself and begins to help us make sense of life in a brand new way. And that gives us hope that he will do it again, for those we love and work with and are concerned about.

And we’re doing it because it’s good to practise our stories with each other. Some of us were brought up listening to incredible testimonies which made us wish we could match those stories. Mine would have been:

I was a gangland criminal at the age of 5;
I was knocked off my Harley at 11 on the road to Doncaster;
I have never had a moment’s doubt ever since.

But I knew a scrawny kid from Halifax wouldn’t be able to pull that off. No wonder I felt my testimony was inadequate. But my story is as remarkable as yours and just as amazing even though to be honest I was quite a decent teenager, who made quite a rational response to a simple question, and have lived with the joys and disappointments of faith, though never regretting that commitment I made as a 16 year old. And when I share it, and you affirm it, it gives me confidence.

We’re doing it because when you tell me your story, you let me in to your life and I know you a bit better. As we have been talking about the gifts of hospitality we can offer one another, maybe sharing stories is the ultimate form of hospitality. I create a space where you can tell me who you really are.

And we’re doing it because if we lose the ability to sing our songs, our authentic songs, we will die. Our songs are about what God has done for us and in us.

So, come along and listen and share yours. You will be welcomed and you will be encouraged.

And if you are wondering what that bird sounds like, you can read the story here:

Watch & Enjoy

1. Here’s the latest song from Ian’s back catalogue.

2. The Bible Society put some short films together showing where some of the Easter events took place. You might enjoy watching them here.

Coming up

Alpha Online

Starts Monday 12th April, 7-8.30pm

Following the success of our previous online Alpha course, we are offering another chance for people to explore the big questions of life and faith in a friendly and non-judgemental atmosphere. 

There will be 12 weeks to discuss questions such as ‘Is there more to life than this?’, ‘Who is Jesus?’ and ‘How can I have faith?’. Here’s a teaser:

If you know anyone who might be interested in trying the first session, do invite them along and share with them – it will give them a taster of what to expect and how to sign up if they’d like to join us.

It will be facilitated by a team of great people: Andrea Catherwood, Emmanuel Isibor, Yvonne Simms, Dave and Chris Swindells. 

An Offer of Counselling Support

One of the ministries we have as a church is the Community Counselling Service. During this Covid crisis we have continued to offer Counselling remotely via zoom or telephone. There are however, limitations with remote sessions.

We are now offering Walk And Talk Counselling to anyone from church who would benefit from counselling or those known to church members. We would agree a time to meet at the Tea Kiosk in Lightoaks Park and would walk at a slow pace for the 50 minute session.

If you feel you would benefit from this please don’t hesitate to contact Judith Thompson, Neil, or Ian or fill in the form on the church website.

Family Zoom Service

Sunday 18th April

Further details next week 🙂

Our Regular Gatherings

Sunday Service

Sundays at 10.30am

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848

And on Salford Elim Church’s YouTube page.

And at 10am, led by Hannah:

If you would love the privilege of praying for our Sunday morning service, then we need you! Log on to the Sunday morning Zoom using the link above at 10am and we’ll go into a break out room for 15-20mins, to pray together for those involved in the service, as well as for the service itself.

I’d love to see you there xxx

Lunchtime in Exile

Each week on Tuesdays from 12.30-1.30, there are lunchtime sessions exploring the Book of Revelation.

The link for the series is here:

Meeting ID: 843 1953 5601
Passcode: 757553

We know that not everyone will be able to come along at that time, but we will record all the sessions so you can catch up later so you can watch them at whatever time works well for you. The link to them is here:

Wellbeing Course

Thursdays, 1-2.30pm

Are you living on empty? Maybe it’s time to refill.

The Wellbeing Journey is a new series exploring holistic wellness: body, mind and spirit. It is based around 6 key areas of wellbeing: physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial and vocational, to help you discover how to run on a full tank.

There are eight sessions to explore together, lasting between 60 and 90 minutes, which includes a video and time for discussion.

If you know someone who would benefit from discussing their wellbeing in a friendly and supporting environment, do invite them.

Here’s the link:

Every Part Of You Matters

Coffee Morning

Wednesday at 10.30am.

A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz.

Meeting link


Thursday at 7.30pm

The home groups meet every other week, and spend time reflecting on the Sunday sermon, in particular thinking about its relevance to our own situations in life. If you are not part of a group, but would like to join in, please contact Neil and he’ll send you the link for the evening.

Prayer Meeting


Contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.

If in doubt

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

You’re not alone

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058.

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