Tag Archives: Alpha

Self Examination

Florida in January!

January 2021 has been a momentous month. The political fervor in the United States had been whipped up to a crescendo, which had its explosion in the storming of the Capital buildings, while Joe Biden’s presidency was being confirmed in congress.

After the event I remember seeing a photo of a man standing, with his head bowed, holding a life sized cross on the mall, with rioting confusion in motion all around him. For me this was one more sad realization of how misdirected parts of the church body had become, when it whole heartedly endorsed a ‘spirit of politics’, rather than work through the Holy Spirit and the example of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt this has been a very painful time for the body of Christ; from those believing they were striving through a prophetic word with all the zeal they could muster, to those who perceived them turning a blind eye to the complete lack of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and consistent lies.

Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

However, God can and will turn this situation into a time of self examination, because the whole body of Christ has suffered through these polarities. Jesus always called us to stand together knowing how important that was, he prayed at length in John 17 for our unity.

 ‘Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.’

Jesus prayed that the church could follow in his ways, his teaching and his name. If we are able to move closer together as one church, it will be a healing opportunity. A healing opportunity I recognize I need.

Our News

Christine Hales
Christine Hales

Christine has been working on two icon commissions, one is the last supper and the other depicts St. Teresa of Avila with St John of the Cross. She has also completed another online icon teaching class which was very well attended. Also an application has gone to the Prince’s School in London to pursue doctoral study of contemporary iconography and its place in Western Christianity.

The Last Supper Icon in progress
Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

Michael’s work as Chaplain to an elderly community is running another Alpha program in person. He has found people in their 80s, and 90s respond really well to the program and are able to share personal spiritual experiences of their childhood which had formed life long rejection of Christianity. Alpha is available on line [alphausa.org] and is being held all over the world, especially during the present lockdown; for elderly people the challenges they face with the internet requires they use in person programs. Unfortunately sharing a meal, usually enjoying a meal together is a central part of an Alpha evening, we are unable to do that with restrictions.

Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

Another initiative has been to set up an ASK [ask, seek, knock] e mail list; where people can share and put out prayer requests. Many of the seniors can handle using e mail rather than social media and this has been getting a lot of use. Having people connect after such a time of forced separations and loneliness is a needed healing for us all.

Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

Our prayer in this time is for the church to work together, using all the variety of gifts and view points we have, to build it up; as Paul writes 1 Corinthians 14:26

“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

Let us know how we can pray for you and thank you for your prayers.

Sending Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Michael’s Photography Christine’s Icons

Alpha at Freedom Village

Dear Friends and Family:

Alpha at Freedom Village

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

One of the wonderful developments this month for me has been re connecting with the Alpha program. Christine and I ran the program ten times at local churches in New York in the mid 90s and it was very foundational to our introduction to the Holy Spirit.

I am now running an in person Alpha program at Freedom Village, which is bringing a lot of fresh thinking about Christianity to the group who are in their 80s and 90s. My two co-leaders are both in their mid nineties and doing a great work.

The elderly community, Freedom Village where I am Chaplain, is getting opened up again with tight restrictions and precautions; I will be running a weekly grief support meeting, Bible study and in person Sunday Vespers, as well as the Alpha course. So we are trying to enable some normalcy but with tight precautions, as the community is so vulnerable to Covid.

Christine’s Icons

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Christine has led another online teaching class, again with wonderful results, and people are signing up for future classes she is offering in  November, 2020   and  January 2021 . She is breaking new ground with the online classes, but also, her spiritual perspective as she teaches, is also being warmly received.

This last class the icon of   Archangel Raphael,  was written and the next class will be on the Vladimir Madonna in November, 2020 . Click here for more information about her classes.

Remembering Timothy

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

For me, one of the hardest issues was the passing of my brother Timothy, in England, and being unable to attend any of his last months of deteriorating health and funeral. We were able though to have some good phone conversations and prayer times. Grief of lost ones is ongoing and little sparks of memories bubble up at different times pushing themselves without excuse into our daily lives. I remember Tim’s ability to double up in laughter, with great gasps for air, as the pathos of humanity, was celebrated and dissected with humor. We all miss him. I created a short video relating to some of our conversations, ‘God wants you too’.  Click here to view.

 

Continue to Pray For Our Country

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

The many difficulties America faces, can really consume all of our thoughts, if we allow that to happen. I love what Paul says in Philippians 4:8, and especially the translation which uses the word lovely, it seems like such a complete word for how to kindle our thoughts in this season.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Please let Christine and me know how we can pray for you, and please also hold us up in prayers.

Sending lots of love,

Michael and Christine Hales

Michael’s Photography    Christine’s Icons