There is a danger that many Christians shy away from having conversations with atheists or agnostics about the existence of God. All too often we are on the defensive and short of arguments to counter theirs. This is a great shame as we can have good friendly discussions which both sides feel are constructive, informative and beneficial. Listening to each other is a good thing.
Justin Brierley, does just this on his Christian radio channel. He is open to discussing this subject with anyone, including the arch atheist Richard Dawkins. He normally facilitates debates on a variety of subjects but in the video attached he is on his own and talking about why he is a Christian. This 35 minute video is well worth tuning into as he explains how to talk to atheists, giving 3 incredible reasons why there is a God. These are explained in a very clear and compelling way. They will reinvigorate existing Christians’ beliefs and make atheists and agnostics think very deeply about their intellectual positions.
Phil Denver, a member of the circle, achieved 50 years membership of the Catenian Association in July. To mark his achievement he was presented at our July meeting and dinner with a suitably inscribed scroll by the Association’s G.B National Vice President, Roger Lillie. Phil is prolific golf participating in Catenian golfing tournaments at Circle, Province and National level. So if you are a catholic golfer living in the Sutton Coldfield area and would like to find out more about joining the Catenian Association and Sutton Coldfield Circle and also probably improve your handicap, please complete the Get In Touch Formand we will contact you.
John Lennox, a world renowned speaker, explains why he is a Christian. A very short video which is in simple terms and extremely relatable to everyone. It is not just theory but a person. Many people suffer great mental distress, anguish, fear and just feel lost, with no hope but trusting in Jesus gives us peace and is transformative.
Quite by chance I watched a video about the Turin Shroud, thinking it was a very interesting medieval forgery. Well, it is not! There is no evidence of any paint, dyes at all on the cloth. Indeed, the image of a crucified man cannot be replicated by any scientist even today. The image is located on the top fibrils of a herringbone weave; this is approximately a tenth of the size of a human hair. The image when photographed has a unique quality, it is in 3D! The image shows a man with thorn wounds in his skull, over 300 whipping wounds across most of his body, nail wounds in his wrists and feet and a deep lance puncture wound on his side. There was no sign of body decomposition, so it could not have been in the shroud for long. Pollen taken from the linen originated from Jerusalem, Edessa, Constantinople and France reflecting its ‘journey’ over the centuries. The Jerusalem pollen includes those from a thorn plant native to Jerusalem. They also found dirt around the nose and knees of the man. This originated from the Jerusalem too. The blood is AB type, typical of a Semitic person. The blood was very red caused by Bilirubin which separates out when the body is under extreme stress and pain. The blood beneath the lance wound also has a colourless serum, like water which occurs when the heart is punctured and is under extreme stress. The shoulders demonstrated that the man had carried something quite heavy. The man had a pony tail indicative of a holy man. He was also tall (approx. 5’ 11”).
Three scientific tests indicated the shroud was approximately 2 thousand years old. A carbon dating test indicated an age of between 1260 and 1390. However, this has now been debunked as it was made on a medieval repair which had cotton threads, an anomaly, as the rest of the shroud has no cotton but is made of flax. A separate head cloth, called the Sudarium of Oviedo had blood marks, pollen and dirt totally similar to the shroud. The shroud is 8 by 2 cubitts, a traditional Jewish size for burial coverings in the 1st century (approximately 14 foot by 4ft). The shroud is also high quality, usually reserved for a Jewish priest doing an important service. From the evidence, the scientists involved in the examinations deemed the man in the shroud to be Jesus.
The evidence they found matches the descriptions in the gospels. I seek evidence about most things, so the meaning and implications of their findings is extremely unnerving and has preoccupied me for days now. The shroud is unique and it yields scientific evidence that is tantalisingly close to corroborating the resurrection: not yet but it certainly triggers lots of questions.
The best factual and evidence- based explanations are found on www.shroud.com
Sutton Coldfield 232 Circle has signed up to be a part of a Province 6 initiative ‘FUTURE PROOF’. Mark McGrail, Peter Westbrook, Tony Walsh, and Steve Broom have volunteered to assist the initiative by providing coaching for friends and family of all Catenians seeking employment. It can be interview techniques or help with writing a CV (curriculum vitae). So, should any brother need our help or know of someone who might benefit from our help, just let us know!
We will then upload the request for assistance on the FUTUREPROOF website and get the ball rolling for you!
Another year and another new President. Peter Westbrook is the new President of Sutton Coldfield Catenians. An old photo of him is attached!! The installation was held over Zoom and presided over by the retiring President, Tony Walsh. Tony did a tremendous job in keeping the circle together and coordinated throughout the pandemic. We are in his debt. He was superbly supported by a former President, Steve Broom who organised all the Zoom meetings.
Peter wants the monthly meetings to be memorable events, so with this in mind he has contacted a number of very interesting speakers who should help generate interest. The speakers include:
Andrew Mitchell, MP (His reflections on the current state of politics).
Simon Ward, Mayor of Sutton Coldfield (the plans for the Town Centre).
Bob Mackenzie (an extraordinary life from Tea Planter, Commercial Tea Taster to being the MD of the UK’s leading organiser of leadership and management speaker events; Benchmark For Business Ltd).
Peter Hutton, founding partner in Ipsos Mori, the leading survey and polling company.
Dave Price, Film and TV extra, shortly to be seen as the Earl of Suffolk in the new TV series Ann Boleyn.
Adam Barsby, well known artist, specialising in classic cars of the 60s and 70s.
Adrian Nixon, one of the UK’s leading authorities on graphene, the new ‘wonder’ material.
Stephanie Perraton, the incoming President of the Birmingham Area Law Society.
Richard Fallon, President of St Pauls Club and an important facilitator of support available to companies from our local universities.
Jane Finlay of Finlays, one of the UK’s foremost commercial Landscape Gardening companies.
The speakers will in addition to other planned activities. We want everyone to be buzzing when they leave!!!
Finally, we all reflected on the life and service of Prince Philip. A man of many talents who instigated so many worthwhile new institutions including the Duke Of Edinburgh Awards and St George’s House (a venue and meeting place for people from all around the world inviting great speakers and conferences to discuss the major challenges facing us). God Bless him and may he be a inspiration to getting ‘good things’ done.
We are thrilled to announce the birthday of Mick Hurd who was 90 Years old on 28th February 2021. He still regularly attends meetings and is a frequent letter writer to Catena. He has wide ranging talents and interest despite having 5 children (James, Sarah, Daniel, Rebecca and a little later on Jessica) with his late wife Cecilia.
Mick trained as a Quantity Surveyor and eventually joined Hart Gilmore Associates which became one of the three leading Quantity Surveyors in Birmingham. He specialised in office developments, schools and churches as well as housing. Some notable projects included – National Building Society Headquarters, an Office Block in Princes Way, Solihull, McClaren House in Birmingham City Centre, and the Citadel, Dale End and Multi storey Car Parks. A major part of Mick’s work was taken up with managing the Chichester office and the partnership housing schemes from Brighton to Cranford Heath
Mick was a founding member of the Sutton Coldfield Circle which was established in 1966 and took on the Circle’s Presidency (first time). Mick started the Circle’s first ‘Song Contest’ at the Town Hall where they had over 200 Brother’s. Many and varied were the performances including Tony Quirke’s notorious fireworks display, which nearly set the fire alarm off with his smoke bomb (He also set the musical accompaniment tape at double speed which upped the key a bit). He went on to serve 6 years as Provincial Councillor, and was instrumental in driving the creation of a Benevolence fund. On one visit to Mansfield and the Dukeries Circle he proudly witnessed benevolence in action when a Brother arrived at a meeting saying his factory had burnt down the night before and he had little money to survive. The Catenians responded effectively and quickly, as when he left the meeting, he carried £10,000 worth of cheques!
Not only was Mick a successful professional business man, an active Catenian, a proud family man but also a keen sportsman – a great Wicket keeper (unflinching behind the stumps), a good hockey player with Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club, a fair squash player, 5 a-side footballer, and a winning golfer and somewhere along the lines a champion conker winner.
Mick has been an inspiration to many, we all wish him well.
Crucial to the Christian faith is the role of St Paul. He was an incredible man and it is worth knowing a bit more about him. A link below is a very enlightening conversation between Tom Wright and Tom Holland. It focuses on just a few points, but it is a great conversation and well worth investing your time in listening to. Tom Wright has just written a biography of St Paul and Tom Holland has just written a book called Dominium about the rise of Christianity in the Roman world.