How hard is it raining?

Pentecost 1c – Sunday 26th May 2013 – Trinity Sunday
John 16: 12-15

Oldham has a reputation for inclement weather. Completely justified, I must add. In our house, in preparing to start the day, the shout usually goes up: “How hard is it raining?” The most foolproof method to answer this question comes by looking out the window and looking over to Counthill School. If you can see the school it’s raining lightly, if you can’t see the school it’s tipping it down!

Counthill School grandly stands atop Moorside in Oldham, less than a mile from our house. Our children were educated there, in fact, Debby completed her secondary school education there in the days when they still had a sixth form college! It dominates the landscape with its majestic views over Oldham, Lancashire and Greater Manchester. It’s motto was Animo Atque Fid, which means courage and yet also faith.

One day last week the shout went up, “How hard is it raining?” One cursory glance from the dinning room window told me all I needed to know. “It’s torrential”, I replied. So imagine my surprise when I went out the front door to discover quite a pleasant spring morning! I rushed back to the dinning room, and sure enough there was no sign of Counthill School. So why wasn’t it raining? The answer was Counthill School had been demolished! The iconic clock tower no more. The grand frontage flattened. How are we ever going to know now whether to wear our light raincoats or our sowesters!

Counthill School Waterhead Academy

Counthill School actually closed last year. Merged with Breezehill School it became Waterhead Academy. It now sits on Huddersfield Road on the site of the old Orb Mill. We knew there would come a day when the old school was knocked down and the land readied for new housing. It was just a shock that it crept up on us like it did. And so, Counthill School is no more, mourned by meteorologists and old school pupils alike.

It’s part of life’s journey.

Jesus spent a tremendous amount of his time preparing his disciples for life’s journey. He knew that they would find the way ahead difficult without him by their side. That’s why the disciples were promised the Holy Spirit …

“…But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.”

The gracious Spirit of God still takes us by the hand, still walks with us, still equips us, still journeys with us. Which is a good job, because we all have trouble navigating the path before us. When relationships break down, when jobs disappear, when finances become tight, when illness strikes, when a thousand and one other challenges come our way we need all the help we can get. And God provides it by sending his Spirit.

The impression is often given that the Holy Spirit is a gift for the Church. Exclusive. Completely. That couldn’t be further from the truth. God’s gift to you and to me is his Holy Spirit. He fills us with his strength, he equips us with his gifts, he leads us into his truth, he walks by our side, he holds our hand.

My prayer at the start of each and every day is always, Come, Holy Spirit, Come.

As approach Trinity Sunday we reflect that God is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sustainer, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And even though I tell people to believe wholeheartedly that we are an Easter people, we also need to live a Pentecostal life. Filled by the Holy Spirit to repair our brokenness, to joyously lift our hearts and to prepare us for life’s journey.

Anyway, got to go. Just looked out the window … it’s another sultry, scorching Oldham day. Where did I put my Bermuda shorts? Oh yes, next to my umbrella.

Happy days


About Neil Chappell

Husband, father, Congregational Minister and football fan all rolled into one convenient package.
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2 Responses to How hard is it raining?

  1. emma19981 says:

    A google search of my old school is the reason I stumbled upon this blog site reading your blog Reverend Chappel made me smile and recall the 1st time that I NOTICED COUNTHILL SCHOOL WAS MISSING FROM THE HORIZON. A strange empty feeling came over me one that even now I can not explain. Being new 2 this site my nxt click was 2 check out your profile + see who predicted the weather with a glance put of a window. That’s when 2 my suprise I realised we have met a few times + Mrs Chappel has helped 2 educate both my daughters Chelsea Lloyd + Lola Chadwick. Chelsea left Greenacres Primary 2 ATTEND COUNTHILL her 1st year of secondary education was at my old school the same school I was attending when I discovered I was pregnant with Chelsea. Lola is still a pupil @ Greenacres Primary School (Y2) + often speaks of Mrs Chappel although I hear on the grapevine that those days are numbered as your wife is due to leave the school on the 25th 0ct. . . I just want 2 wish her all the best and say THANKYOU from both my girls and myself for all her support over the years I want 2 wish you both all the best for your future xx

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