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Sex talk at St Mags

Over the last few years, we have had a number of talks about relationships, porn, sex, sexuality. Some of these are first thoughts as part of the conversation some are things that Mark (the vicar) is thinking along the way. 

You can find a few links below to the original articles or talks.

At St Mags we want to try to talk about these things well and honestly. We will often not agree on everything, but we encourage you to take time to think deeply, to reflect on your journey and engage with the bible and culture.

In your conversations with others we encourage you to be loving, gracious and take the time to listen. In talking about these things we may not always use the right words and on occasion even speaking will offend but I encourage you to reflect, speak, listen and engage. God is good and loving.

If there are things that you would like to talk through with Mark then please do get in contact.

Enjoy, and be part of the conversation.

God bless

Mark

Sex is Good! + Resources

Porn on the brain

Sexuality, a different response 

Love Hurts


 


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Christmas Greeting

Thank you for being part of the St Mags family this year. We are not a building or even an institution but a gathering of people who are following Jesus and learning how to live life to the full. It is a privilege to be here with you.
 

 

Coming up this week

Christmas Eve 5.30pm Christingle Service - Carols, Drama, Candle and some Holy Chaos - Please come dressed as a nativity or in a Christmas Jumper or just show up, either way, don’t miss it. (NB Christingle making will be happening at 10am st St Mags, please join us if you can.)

Christmas Day 9am Communion

Christmas Day 11am Carols, Coffee and Croissants - all age cafe-style worship

New Years Day - 9am Communion only (No 11am that day)

Services001


Growing Family

This year at St Mags we have welcomed a number of new people to serve on team and others who have stepped up to more formal roles. Nathan and Brigit, Rob and Cam, John, David and Ingalill. As well as having many people join the church family. We have started some new ventures like Access, pushed deeper into others like The Living Room and even had a gift day where you gave over £7000. The heart of our mission strategy is not a program or a course, but you and me. It begins when we stand in front of another person and simply ask the Holy Spirit how today we can play our part in sharing the good news of Jesus. You have all be doing this in extraordinary ways and it is deeply moving. Thank you for helping to live the vision of, Jesus: Full  Life for All.

We Are St Mags
(Image of St Mags Family locations 2016 - a church in mission)
 

Tough and Hopeful

In many ways, it has also been a tough year. A number of people in the church family have experienced significant loss through the death of a loved one, or things just not working out as you had hoped. Sometimes these things have been external but for others, the struggle has been in our thinking and mental health. One of the things I love about the St Mags family is that we are not afraid of these painful things. There is no need to hide away, but in fact, you can (and are specifically invited) to live with these things in the context of community. As together we make that daily choice to worship so we will begin to see things from God’s perspective.

Looking at the wider world we have also seen significant change and hardship. Brexit, Trump, continue terror attacks, Calais Jungle and Syria to name a few. How are we to handle our personal difficulties as well as society? Isaiah 9 gives us a hint.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called
    Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


We have hope not by ignoring the difficult things, but in the context of them. Into this world a child is born, a son is given. He is our wonderful counsellor and the prince of peace and his government is increasing daily.

So I pray that you will have a happy, peaceful and hope-filled Christmas.

God bless you loads

Mark and Meg


 

Mark Searle, 22/12/2016

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The Densmores are coming 

I am excited that we can soon welcome Rob, Cam, Max and Ralph Densmore to Torquay. Rob has been studying at Dukes in the USA for the last few years and will be a curate (vicar in training) for the next 3-4 years. Cam grew up in the area and they will be moving back in August and they  are coming to be part of the St Mags family in September. 

Densmores

They will be part of a growing team here at St Mags. Rob is being ordained on Sunday 11th Sept as deacon, Nathan Kiyaga is being ordained priest on 25th Sept and we hope to also add a SWYM youth work trainee to the team very soon - watch this space.

Please pray for Rob, Cam, Max and Ralph as they prepare to move and that they would settle in well. 

Mark Searle, 27/07/2016

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Gathered in and around hope 

It has been quite a week. Some are pleased with the results of the referendum, while other are troubled, hurt or even angry. But this morning at St Mags, however people voted, we all gathered in the name of Jesus, to worship, prayer and seek first the unshakable kingdom of God. Each of us laid bits of paper around the cross as a simple declaration of hope.

Hope1000

This is what communities that are trying to follow Jesus can be like. So proud to be part of St Mags, so full of hope that lives are changing. 

Mark Searle, 26/06/2016

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Tools for All 

Video of the third talk in the series on "Praying in Freedom.
 

Mark Searle, 19/06/2016

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Double Marathon 2016 Brighton and London 

 

At some point in the past this seemed like a good idea. But now I have to move from idea to reality. Bags are packed. Training done. Just got to complete 26.2 miles... twice in 8 days! But how did I get here?
 

This will be my fourth and fifth marathons (2008/12/15). I had entered the ballot for the London Marathon 2016 but did not get in. Disappointed but still determined to run in 2016 I secured a place in the Brighton Marathon. A few weeks later I got the offer of running for Exeter Cathedral in the London Marathon. A choice needed to be made, which one to do? Then I had this idea. What if I did both. Brighton for The Living Room, the community Cafe that is run by St Mags. London for Exeter Cathedral, the city that I grew up in the Mother Church for Devon. Double Marathon for churches old and new. So I said yes to both.

Each person runs for different reason, for me it is often a way to process anger prayerfully. This is why I run. 


The charities I am running for are very close to my heart.

The Living Room is five years old this month. We give coffee, cake and bacon baps to anyone who needs it for no charge. We welcome in people from every walk of life and are seeing many people find faith and turn their lives around. It is also run by St Mags the church that I lead in Torquay.  

 

The Living Room Chistmas dinner in a bap, 

 


The Cathedral is the mother church for the place a work - Church of England in Devon. I grew up around this place, spend   far to many evenings the worst for wears on the green. But I was always engaging with conversations of faith and the presence of such a great building inspired me. It is over 900 years old and in need of a bit of TLC. The community is also deeply engage in caring for people the town centre and my Mum and Dad are also not part of this lively Christian community. 

 

Me at the Cathedral with Dad on the day he became a Cathedral Canon

You can support me in the following ways:

1. Like this post (or comment) this will encourage me loads (yes this is an occasion to be that shallow)

2. Donate to one of the causes below (you are a hero!)

3. Donate to both of the causes below (you are a super hero and you have my permission to make a special costume and wear it in public just because you can!)

Marathon one: Brighton 17th of April for The Living Room, the community cafe that is run in my church. We have 80-100 people in each day we open, give away the coffee and bacon baps and make no charge... https://my.give.net/thelivingroommarathon

Marathon two: London 24th April for Exeter Cathedral. It has been open for over 900 years and with your help it will be there in another 900... http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=mark-searle-551d055939dbd2-84598541&pageUrl=3

Thanks Loads, Mark

 


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the all day drinker dances 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The last few weeks have been filled with so many painful stories that could have the power to rob people, including me, of hope. This is my reflection, that simply says, that in the face of pain, that God changes lives again and again and again. "The all day drinker dances"...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sunday afternoon in a Devon village pub. We are jammed in like its Friday night having just been paid. The five piece band play a strange array of instruments and have pulled in a very different crowd. But the locals still hold up the bar.

The all day drinker taps his foot. He has heard so many less than average folk bands that have not distracted him from daily pints. But today something stirs within him. A melody long drowned in a sea of cheap bitter. The rhythm takes an unexpected turn with discordant vocals sliding into elegant, energetic harmony. The all day drinker slides off his familiar stool, stumbling into a long forgotten move. He’s dancing. Side stepping with ease and hips in time. Our all day drinker dances to a tune heard by all but the rhythm for him is one of happier days, before this place became his home.

The song’s over and with a fist pump he returns, comforts his dogs and orders another. Who knows if next weeks band will get him to his feet?

I have seen so many like him, our all day drinker. But when I meet them on my turf they have an encounter with a different song. Today's man had been into church a few times before and it hadn’t gone well. He had interrupted in slurred voice, as best I could, I listened and engaged. Rather than all day drinker, this guy was drugs binger. His sight awash with shots, maybe last night, maybe breakfast. We talk around the issue but time to cut to the heart. I offer to pray and clarify with him how. It’s not at home or on my knees, but now. Freedom is on God’s agenda. Our Father’s heart breaks to see ones he loves breaking in attempted self medication.

We begin the prayer and then the dance. It is one I’ve seen so often. Suddenly a man, no matter what chemicals tear at the fabric of his mind, is transported by a different and unexpected tune. Caught up for a moment in the song of heaven, embraced by the Spirit of God. Touched by the grace and mercy of their Father’s love won by Jesus. 

Sounds odd? It is. A man so transported that his body becomes peaceful and lips twitch as the Spirit intoxicates him for a moment. I have seen grown men become children, filled with hope and shrouded in safety as they rest in their Fathers arms.

But it passes and this man wrestles back his wounded, well worn identity. Somehow it is easier to wear for now.

The ways of coping with the pain work for a time. We medicate with drugs or drink or work. For some the covering is clearly destructive, reaping it’s havoc on body and mind. For others the inner wounds are dressed in apparent finery but they still separate and kill the life that was supposed to be so full.

Over time our ways don’t work. More pints needed to dull the pain. More wealth or drugs or sex. Maybe then we will feel something, we are so desperate to feel something, anything other that this.

For the man transported in the moment a seed has been sown. He may not even be conscious that his spirit has been awakened by the creator of the universe. I am learning patience. 

There is this old idea in the bible that the presence of God is represented by bread. That sweet smell fills the air. Jesus declares himself to be the bread of life, God! Once people have had a taste of that bread they start to get hungry for more. So many return. Not on my timing but on theirs and his. Only when they are ready or stirred by the changing rhythm of God’s song do they rise again from those bar stools and begin to dance.

The all day drinker still drinks. He has danced and returned to his stool. He’s be transported for a moment but returns to his familiar place. Unchanged and unstirred he stumbles home drenched in sorrow.

For the ones stirred by the memory of being truly held by the fresh presence of God there is the hope of new beginning and transformed living. Our turf, our church is filled with men and women like this. They return again and again until they are ready to be held in the tender arms of their heavenly Father and return to a childlike place. Ready to walk in hope and life. They get back onto the dance floor of life and move the the unforced rhythms of God’s grace. So no matter what I see, no matter how destructive, I have hope because I see the rhythm of God’s grace bringing the hurting to their feet to dance. 

Mark Searle, 13/03/2016

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Older Posts

Sexuality - a different Response?
Baptisms July 2015 
On Slowing Down 
Jobs at St Mags
Love Does 
Police drugs raid on local church!?! 
It was messy but exceptionally beautiful
The next step is a leap 
Million for Mission
Sex is Good! + Resources
Prayer Promise 
Bring it on
Christmas Video from Tara
Give us one word to describe St Mags
Thanks to Torbay Council
Weekly News
Christmas Live
Porn on the Brain
Sneek Preview of Next Term
The living room opens for a third day
Life at The Living Room
Hall progress
Groundbreakers 2013
Prayer
Pew Art
Placement Paul Barton
New Ways to Give
Upton Reception Class come for lunch
500 one by one Update
See Change
Anode need Food
Thanks and New Starts
Summer Olympics
Baptisms and reaffirmations July 2012
Baptism Video
Baptisms on Sunday
7:14 Prayer in Torquay
Amazing Grace
Honoured
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That's My King
Street Pastors on BBC
Here's the plan (almost)
Book - There is always Enough
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Carol Service Videos
The Blame Game
Great talk on using Words
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Engaging with the Bible
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Getting Growing
New Wine 2011
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The Story of Everything
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Lovin it
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Learning to tell the story
How to tell the time
Digital Nativity
Lights On
Googling God
Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!
Making Space
Church Family
Remembering AND resolving?
NewWine Summer 2011
Growing Church