On Monday 19th, unless there is a very unexpected turn of events, we will be able to exercise a lot more freedom in our day-to-day happenings as the final step out of COVID lockdown is taken. For many it is a very welcome step. For many others it is far from it, and will bring deep anxiety. The raw data appears to show that there are still a huge number of infections, and those are only the ones known about. However, it also appears to show that the vaccination program is working and the numbers becoming seriously ill, and worse, are not anything like what we have experienced so far.
The press have labelled Monday as ‘Freedom day’. And perhaps it is. But let us not overlook the complex ethics of that freedom. Freedom means the right to do something, and also the right NOT to do it. Freedom is the right to make an individual choice, but not at the expense of others; because then you have taken their freedom away.
As Christians we receive good guidance from scripture in this area. Jesus tells us that the most important commandment of all is to love. To love your neighbour as yourself. In other words, treat others as you would wish to be treated. St Paul explores the practical application of this in his letters to the Corinthians, and in particular in 1 Corinthians 8&9. In urging caution to the Corinthians in exercising rights that they are entitled to he says, “take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block”… “for though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all” Essentially he is saying ‘even though I can, doesn’t mean I should’.
As churches in this Benefice we will follow the best practice and guidance as it is given by the Government and the Church of England for the use of our buildings. Notwithstanding that official guidance forthcoming, from Monday it will no longer be mandatory to wear masks in church or social distance. We will be able to sing hymns too!
However, please be aware that even if you feel safe and comfortable in this freedom, there are many others who for very good reason do not, and these relaxations bring real anxieties. Love each other, and be aware of each other.
The Church of England will publish up to date guidance later this week on worship in churches after 19 July. I will discuss that with Churchwardens at our meeting next week with a view to agreeing a position of preferred best practice in churches at this time.
Sunday 18th July – Trinity 7
10am St John’s, Tatworth – Holy Communion
10am St Stephen’s, Winsham. Family Service for Sea Sunday – in aid of Mercy Ships. This service will take place in the Jubilee Hall (opposite the shop).
Wednesday 21st July
11am Mary Magdalene’s, Cricket Malherbie – Holy Communion
Thursday 15th July – TEZ
7:30pm: Benedictine Spirituality. A short evening worship on Zoom:
Meeting ID: 859 2035 4599
In case you missed it – the YouTube link for the online service last Sunday on Costly Grace is here: https://youtu.be/I0aWvaxNuJk
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:
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; Millie (granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin); Gillian Muggeridge; Chris Gould; Brian Griffiths; Peter Hathway; Dorothy Down; Max Woehrle; Michael Mutch; Kelvin Yendell; Izzie Luty-Wells; Tracy; Mary Butler; Tom Down; Mary Marsh; Diana Kershaw; Dave Roughton; Reg & Barbara Fawcett; Jill Bishop
We remember all those whom we love but see no longer, and pray for all those bereaved. We remember Winnie Barge at this time. Winnie’s funeral will be in St John’s, Tatworth, on 29th July at 1200.
Congratulations to Julie Hampshire & Chris Bingley who got married in Cricket Malherbie today. A wonderful occasion indeed – definitely the first time I have had a wedding with a dog present as a bridesmaid, complete with dress!
Please pray for Thomas Palmer & Lisa Bicknell and their wedding in Tatworth on 17th July. We pray with them in their final preparations, in thanks of their union, and their lives ahead together.
Carl Sheehan & Karen Boyland
Olivia Bale & Sebastian Rowland
Lindsay Blackshaw & James Spurdle
Congratulations to Charlie Connett on his Baptism in Winsham last Sunday.
Please hold Charlie Hunt and his family and Godparents as they all prepare for his Baptism in Chaffcombe this Sunday. Also for Harry Rattew, his family and Godparents, and his Baptism in St John’s next Sunday.
SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK – Mark 6:30-34,53-56
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
A prayer from ‘Radiance of His Glory’ (SPCK):
God of peace,
whose son Jesus Christ returned from the dead
to become the Great Shepherd of your sheep,
guide us into the ways of peace and mercy,
equip us to do everything that is good
and build us to be a holy dwelling place for you our God;
through the same Christ,
who with you and the Holy Spirit
are one God, now and for ever.