Dear Friends

Isn’t it fantastic to be having all this sunshine!!  It is hard not to feel a lift in the spirits when we get bright days such as these, and many of us will have been venturing into our gardens to enjoy this spell.  In calendar terms, springtime began on Sunday (20th March), but in reality we have been enjoying the onset of spring for a little while now.  Early daffodils are already over, and the birds have been busy nesting – the daily clatter coming from our eaves in the house tells us that…
Over the past couple of days we have begun to prepare our garden for new growth – getting some new areas for wildflowers ready, feeding roses and starting on the veg patch.  Amongst the jobs was getting our little poly greenhouse up.  It is one of those ones that is made up of slot together poles to make a frame and a large green polythene cover that goes over the top.  When taking it down before winter I was careful to tie all the poles together and put all the connectors in a box, so that for putting it back up again I knew I had all the bits.  However, what I forgot to do was put the instructions away safely.  Gone.
So, there I was on the lawn faced with a sea of various lengths of poles and connectors and not a clue as to how they all go back together.  The temptation to make a frame of my own design was very tempting – lego style – but the problem with that was that the poly cover is shaped for the intended frame and will only fit one way.  I tried Google, to no avail, and eventually decided that the only way this was working was trial and error.  Several attempts later of various stages of build, take apart, and re-build – including one infuriating version that ended up with one pole and one connector left over – I finally had it built.  And I was ecstatic!   In fact – I think far more glad than if I had actually had the instructions…
In Lent we are going through a process of discovery and building.  It is about learning about ourselves and about God, and deepening that relationship with Him in readiness for the revelation of His glory at Easter.  God has made us who we are – all those bits and pieces that are us are of God.  They didn’t come from anywhere else!  And somehow they all go together to make something quite wonderful – the person that is you; the person that God made you to be.  The journey of Lent and into Easter is that discovery, and of realising that, in Jesus, God meets us in that brokenness – and our instruction manual is, in many ways, the Cross.  And when we get there, we are filled with Joy; as is God!
In our Lent course this week we explored stories of Good Friday Pilgrims – people who had been through terrible times but, in the embracing of the Cross, had seen transformation in those events to new life and hope that was barely imaginable before.  As a practical exercise we took broken pieces of tiling and made mosaics to represent how brokenness can be transformative and life giving through faith.  You can see some of those creations here:  https://www.facebook.com/tatworth.st.john.the.evangelist/
Lent Course:
Approaching the Cross.  Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm in the Church Rooms at St John’s, Tatworth – ALL welcome.  Tuesday 29th March, ‘The Way of the Cross’; exploring the Stations of the Cross.
TEZ – Thursday Evening at 7:30pm 24th March.  A 30 minute online service of reflection, music and prayer, following our lent theme.
Meeting ID: 861 9258 3366
Passcode: 236460
Sunday 27th March – Mothering Sunday:
8am – Holy Communion (Said), St John’s Tatworth.  Rev Philip
10am – Holy Communion, St Mary’s Thorncombe.  Rev Philip
10am – Family Service for Mothering Sunday, St Stephen’s, Winsham.  Lay team.
6:30pm – Evening Prayer for Mothering Sunday, St Michael’s Chaffcombe. Anne Perez. 
We continue to hold the situation in Ukraine in our prayers, all those involved in that conflict, and all those living in fear.
Please hold the following people from our parishes in your prayers:
Dave and Terri Boyland; Sheila Clement; John and Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Rosemary Walton; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Tony Meech.
We remember those who we love but see no longer, remembering especially at this time Janet Seaward, Terri Butler-Pierce, Raymond Haines.  Raymond Haines’ funeral is in St Mary’s Thorncombe at 1430 on 1 April.  
We pray also for those couples preparing for marriage, and particularly the following, whose Banns are being called this Sunday:
Alison Rixon and Philip Fletcher, to be married in Cricket Malherbie on May 7th.
Olivia Henry-Riley and Lee Goodland, to be married in Chaffcombe on May 28th.
The Collect for this week:
Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
My blessings to you all
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286
PASTORAL EMAILS – please to: twoshiresrector@gmail.com
HOME PRAYER & WORSHIP:  https://twoshires.wordpress.com
Rest Days – Mondays (Tuesdays where following a bank holiday)
For non-urgent enquiries please allow up to a week for responses.
Mornings are best times for phone contact!

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