Meet the writer: Terry Hinks, New Daylight January–April 2021
Terry Hinks is a United Reformed Church minister, serving two churches in the High Wycombe area. He has had a longstanding interest in Christian unity, community engagement and the care of God’s creation, alongside a deep love of the Bible, stillness, and prayer. He has long enjoyed writing prayers and mediations arising from his reflection on Bible passages and sharing these in worship quiet days and publications. His book of prayers and reflections on the gospels – Praying the Way – was published by BRF in 2018. He enjoys walking with his wife Elizabeth, bread-making, gardening and more recently stained glass making.
We asked Terry about his new series of reflections for New Daylight: ‘Dear divided church’ (Sunday 24 January 2021–Saturday 6 February 2021).
What do you enjoy/value most about writing for New Daylight?
On a grey damp day I can find the idea of getting out for exercise an unattractive prospect, but having done so I generally feel invigorated and refreshed. The same can sometimes be true for me with working with Bible passages and writing reflections. I find the discipline of tackling a book of the bible in depth and trying to relate it to our own difficult times deeply challenging but ultimately deeply rewarding. God’s Word is not trapped in the past – it leaps out of the page into our present times. Like God’s love it is fresh every morning.
What inspired your series on 1 Corinthians and what did you learn from writing it?
I have long found the Apostle Paul a fascinating figure – both in his extraordinary insights into the gospel message and his deeply human and fallible character. You can feel the emotion oozing out of his letters to those churches that he founded or played a part in growing. His letters to the church in Corinth are especially absorbing because they give us a portrait of a church with all kind of faults, disputes and problems. That is why I entitled my reflections, ‘Dear Divided Church’. This is a church that is dear to Paul yet broken and divided. It’s a church in difficulty, but it remains a church of Jesus Christ: the body of Christ has been torn – but it is still the body.
What is the key thing you hope your readers might take away from the series?
I hope readers will take away a sense of the ordinary humanity of the Corinthian church and Paul himself, with their range of emotions and perspectives, but also the extraordinary grace of God at work there through them (and sometimes in spite of them). That I hope will encourage us all as we seek to dwell in Christ and be a useful part of the body of Christ today. May our focus return again and again to the love of God for all, shown in Jesus Christ.
Follow the link below to download Terry's reflections, 'Dear divided church: 1 Corinthians' which feature in the January–April 2021 issues of New Daylight and New Daylight Deluxe (large print format).
Two half-completed glass panels gather dust in a classroom cupboard at the moment. I was working on them in March 2020 when the lockdown came into force and I haven’t been able to get back to the class since. Creating stained glass pieces has become a fascination for me ever since I went to my first class in this craft back in the autumn of 2018. I was rather nervous the first time I drew the cutter over the glass. Now with a little practice I enjoy the whole process of creating the design, drawing the ‘cartoon’, selecting and cutting the coloured glass, cutting the leads, pinning and then soldering them into place, cementing and finally rubbing it down to reveal the finished panel.
It requires patience and persistence but is immensely satisfying too. In this it has much in common with writing. Bringing words together in a way that can help and encourage others is very rewarding. You are conscious that what you write will be read differently by each reader, according to their own background and situation, so your words need to be chosen carefully and prayerfully. Words can heal but also can harm. The task is all the more awesome given that you are reflecting on scripture – attempting to allow the Word of God to speak fresh through your words, seeking God’s light of love and truth to shine out.
That reminds me of the glass – dark while there is no light shining through it, but radiant and beautiful when the sun shines. That is my hope for all who read the New Daylight notes – that in the famous words of John Robinson to the Pilgrim fathers ‘There is yet more truth and light to break forth from God’s Holy Word’. I pray that for the series I have written on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. I hope that Paul’s words to that difficult and divided church of Corinth will speak in fresh and powerful ways to people today, pointing us all to the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ.
One of the wordsmiths that has inspired me in my writing is the 17th century poet and priest, George Herbert. In his poem The Elixir (sung today as the hymn ‘Teach me my God and King in all things thee to see’) he gives this picture of someone (woman or man) looking at glass:
Let’s look through the glass and glimpse the glory and grace of God.