I recently went for a walk with the kids and the dogs to Wayford Woods, near Winsham, which is one of our favourite places to go. For the uninitiated, it is a horseshoe shaped wood, about 30 acres, set around three sides of a small valley, at the bottom of which is a large open area of grass and wetland. There are numerous paths, streams, and areas of woods to explore, and as much of the woodland was established as a private collection as part of the land of Wayford Manor, the flora and fauna is incredibly diverse.
We tend to favour one particular route through the woods which takes us on a lovely circular walk. However, on our last trip we decided to deviate and explore the open space in the valley. Eventually though this meant having to take a slightly different route back to the car to finish the walk, something that caused great concern to Andrew who is not a fan of things changing!
After much negotiation (we just about avoided having to call the UN) we agreed on a different route altogether. On that route we found a pond we did not know existed, and even an old truck (from the 50’s by the look of it) hidden in some undergrowth! It was great fun, and discoveries were made that we didn’t even know we were looking for!
As things continue to recover from the lockdown we are faced with a not dissimilar challenge in our church lives. We have been in new places, and indeed still stand in those places. The old path is behind us. We now have to choose where we go. It may not be comfortable or familiar, but if we have open hearts we may just discover things along the way that bring joy.
Last week I invited you to engage in a challenge to pray and to listen to what God might be saying to you about where he wants to lead us as we respond as churches, communities and to the world around us. I repeat that invitation and do follow this link for more information:
After the Annual Parochial Church Meetings at the end of this month I would like us to put together a framework for church services, both in church and online, that is sustainable; has a natural rhythm for each parish; can nourish our existing needs; and has the flexibility to respond to what will be a fluid pastoral context for a long time to come as we learn to live and understand each other in a post pandemic world.
Please do therefore spend some time reflecting now on what you think your church needs be doing (and not doing!). Do have a conversation with me, Revd Judith, or a churchwarden, or send me an email with your thoughts. Here are three points you might like to think about to help your discernment:
1. Thinking back to life before March 2020; what aspect of church life did you value the most? And the least?
2. During the pandemic; what has been of most value? And the least?
3. What do you hope the church might look like in say 5- or 10-years’ time?
PRAYER & WORSHIP
You can find dates and times for all upcoming worship to the end of May here.
Thursday 6 May at 7:30pm – TEZ:
Online prayer and worship on Zoom at 7:30pm. This week we will be doing a contemporary service of Compline using liturgy by the late Anglican priest, Jim Cotter.
Meeting ID: 851 5624 4352
Sunday 9 May:
10am St Michael’s, Chaffcombe. Holy Communion – Revd Philip
10am St Stephen’s, Winsham. Holy Communion – Revd Judith
Wednesday 12th May:
11am St Michael’s, Chaffcombe. Holy Communion – Revd Philip
Thursday 13th May – ASCENSION DAY:
6am (yes you read that right) St Mary’s, Thorncombe. OUTSIDE. Relaxed dawn service of Holy Communion for Ascension Day. Weather permitting. Revd Philip
7:30pm – Thursday Evening Zoom (TEZ) will be an online service for Ascension Day.
It was great to restart St John’s Toddlers last week! It is on again this Friday (7 May) 10am – 12. You can find more information here, including how to book a place:
ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETINGS
APCM’s will be happening in all the parishes at the end of May. They will be taking place within the weekday services as advertised on the service rota (available here) Under COVID restrictions we are unable to hold ‘in person’ PCC meetings until after May 17th, but look forward to recommencing regular PCC meetings as soon as possible thereafter.
We pray for those we know who are sick, and those we don’t know, including those we are asked to pray by name for:
Bishop Peter Hancock; Jan Knott; Hannah Knott; Rob Allen; Lynne and Bruce Applegarth; Phyllis Baker; Margaret Bandy; Sue Bennett; Sue Cheese; Terry Conway; Nick Frankau; David Goodwill; Mike Heywood; Joy Howard; Ann Jarvis; Frank & Celia Long; Peter McHugh; Diana Rowlands; Ann Ricketts; Jim Tucker; Rosemary Walley; Rosemary Walton; Vivien Wheaton; Alan Wills, Anna Woodward; Pamala Young; Milly granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin; Gillian Muggeridge; Chris Gould; Brian Griffiths; Peter Hathway; Dorothy Down; Max Woehrle; Michael Mutch; Kelvin Yendell; Winnie Barge; Izzie Luty-Wells; Tracy; Mary Butler.
We remember all those whom we love but see no longer, and pray for all those bereaved. We remember June Ball, whose funeral will be in Thorncombe on 18 May at 1200.
Please also pray for the following couples as they prepare for marriage in the next 3 months:
Charlotte Down & Nick Hawker
Lindsay Blackshaw & James Spurdle
Ashleigh Chislett & Keiren Pope
Julie Hampshire & Chris Bingley
Thomas Palmer & Lisa Bicknell
And please also hold the filming of ‘The Rev’ in Thorncombe this week in your prayers, which takes place over the weekend of 7-9 May.
SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
A poem from R S Thomas with reflection from Jim Cotter:
I chose this poem from Cotter’s book ‘Etched by Silence’, as we have been experiencing some dramatic weather! It also speaks quite well to the reading above.
It is alive. It is you,
God. Looking out I can see
no death. The earth moves, the
sea moves, the wind goes
on its exuberant
journeys. Many creatures
reflect you, the flowers
your colour, the tides the precision
of your calculations. There
is nothing too ample
for you to overflow, nothing
so small that your workmanship
is not revealed. I listen
and it is you speaking.
I find the place where you lay
warm. At night, if I waken,
there are the sleepless conurbations
of the stars. The darkness
is the deepening shadow
of your presence; the silence a
process in the metabolism
of the being of love.
R S Thomas, 1975
In reflection on the above poem; ‘… the divine and the human intimately bound up with the whole universe… the revelations of the telescope and the microscope, wonder at every scale, and the darkness ‘the deepening shadow of your presence’… the text of this other book of Revelation written in the script of science.’ Jim Cotter, Etched by Silence, p73