Bitterne Park Parish - Southampton

Welcome to Bitterne Park Parish, a Christ-centred, sacramental and inclusive Anglican parish, trying to reach out to the wider community. We're pleased to offer rooms to hire to the local community.

Welcome to our website. Our mission statement declares that the Parish of Bitterne Park believes in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and is a community dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus by radical inclusive hospitality, healing, reconciliation and wholeness.

There's always lots going on at the Church, so have a look at our events page to see what's happening this week. You can also join us on Facebook.

Every Sunday you are invited to refreshments between the 9am and 10:45am service.

The Ascension Centre has a café and a range of rooms available for hire. It also has some stunning stained glass windows and some fine bells.

 

A July letter from Alex Tarling, Churchwarden

Dear Friends,

When Andy asked me to write for the newsletter, I panicked a bit - this is not my natural territory. But with all the change we have gone through as a parish, and as we move on together building God's kingdom here in Bitterne Park, I thought I would share a blog post I found on thinkinganglicans.org.uk. This meditation on Thomas and his experience of the risen Christ is written by Rosemary Hannah.

"I think that if I were inventing a resurrection story, I would have had him reappear as victor over death with gaping unsightly wounds healed up. I would not, I suspect, have thought to have him going around with a hole in his side big enough to put one’s hand into. I might, I suppose, have run to some discreet scars and a little bitterness over how he was treated.

The Jesus who bursts back into Thomas’s life is much better than anything I would have imagined. His wounds are still open, with one plenty large enough to put a finger into. His preoccupation, though, is not with the past, but the future. He is moving his disciples on to a new world, where they take up the role he has carried. Jesus’s old work of forgiving (or not) will become their responsibility, and they will struggle to make others believe what they can never see.

So we enter a world where we know something new about healing, which is that probably we will never really be healed, although we may well be resurrected. What we are offered is a new life, not a patched-up old life.

I struggle to get my mind fully around this, just as I struggle to imagine writing the story that John writes of Jesus’s resurrection. There are memories, and actions, which I would like to be able to wipe out, to fully expunge from the record. I would like the ‘forgiveness’ or which Jesus speaks to mean that these things cease to be. But I think that that is not what is on offer. I suspect, reading this story, that forgiveness actually means that I will carry these holes in me forward for ever. A hole in my side wrenched by a mercifully lance and cruel damage inflicted intentionally to hurt me. They are mine forever.

I am not offered that these things will vanish. Instead, what I am offered is that they will become for my good, and for the good of others. If, in some ways, they will always define me, they will also become creative. I think, and I say this very tentatively, I think this is true. I suspect that the more I try to turn my face towards all that is good and positive, the truer it becomes."

Alex Tarling
Church Warden