Dear allIt has been a few weeks since I last wrote – Covid has been ourunexpected post-Easter guest in the vicarage.  As grim as it has beenfor a fortnight, I am all too aware how much worse it could have been,as it has been sadly for so many.  A lost holiday and seeing family isa small price to pay in perspective.Perhaps the great theme of the Easter season, which we are in until26th May, is summed up as ‘turning sorrow into joy’.  Almost everystory that we hear during this time carries this subplot.  Easteritself of course is about Resurrection – new life – new beginnings –new possibilities, and during this season we are reminded that thisneeds to be the drumbeat of our own lives.  Rubbish stuff happens.  Toall of us.  Things cease to be, things go wrong, we struggle and welament.  Often there are no adequate answers.On Good Friday I led an hour of meditations at the Cross in Thorncombeand Winsham.  As part of those I used a reflection from the IonaCommunity based on Jesus’ words spoken from the Cross.  Here is anextract reflecting on Jesus’ words of ‘My God, my God, why have youforsaken me?’ that when I first read it I just wanted to say ‘yes!’‘Lord Jesus, by your cry of desperate honesty,rid us of superficial faithwhich is afraid of the dark.Not so that we might be justified pessimists,but so that we might discover profound joy,give us, when we need it,the courage to doubt,to rage,to question,to rail against heavenuntil we know we are heard.We do not ask for easy answers to hard times;there are many who can offer these.We ask for a sense of your solidarity,that will be enoughto let us knowthat we do not walk or cry alone;that will enable us to go through the darkand find light again in the morning.’This Sunday we hear the story from The Acts of the Apostles of Petertravelling to Joppa and bringing a dead woman (Tabitha) back to life.He has just healed a paralysed man (Aeneas), commanding him to get upand pick up his bed.  These acts of healing are very reminiscent ofthe works of Jesus, which we find so often in the Gospels.  Now we arehearing about the Apostles continuing that work, all in the name ofJesus.  It is not easy – in fact it’s really hard – and given thecontext, incredibly dangerous.  But sorrow is being turned to joy.Both in those receiving the ministry, and in those delivering it.All of us will have things in our lives that deeply trouble us, worryus, hurt us.  Things we wish were not there, and yet they are.  Lifein faith does not ask us to forget those things or pretend they arenot there – or even make light of them.  In fact it is quite theopposite.  It is about owning it, embracing it, and in doing soseeking the solidarity with Jesus that is there and knowing that hetoo carries that weight with you, and in that place there is joy.SERVICES THIS SUNDAY (8 May):8am – Holy Communion (BCP), St Stephen’s, Winsham – Rev’d Philip10am – Morning Worship, St Mary’s, Thorncombe – Lay Team10:30am – Holy Communion, St Michael’s, Chaffcombe – Rev’d PhilipMIDWEEK:Wednesday 11th May – 11am Holy Communion, St John’s Tatworth.PRAYERS:Please hold the following people from our parishes in your prayers:Dave Boyland; Sheila Clement; John and Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott;Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Rosemary Walton; Margaret Bandy; DorothyWhite, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls, Hester Down.In preparation for marriage:Alison Rixon and Philip Fletcher (Cricket Malherbie 7 May)Olivia Henry-Riley and Lee Goodland (Chaffcombe 28 May)Banns of Marriage:David Brown and Gemma Evans (Winsham)Katrina Herrod and Luke Edwards (Thorncombe)Alex Woodruff and Jonathan Vincent (Cricket Malherbie)Stephen Aston and Alexandra Trask (Tatworth)Emma Waldron and Alex Barbett (Winsham)In preparation for Baptism:Olivia Henry-Riley; Eli and Dulcie GoodlandEdward RendellWilfred MorrisonBlessings to you allPhilipThe Reverend Philip ButcherRector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham,Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)The Vicarage3 Home FarmTatworthChardTA20 2SH01460 221286PASTORAL EMAILS – please to: twoshiresrector@gmail.comHOME PRAYER & WORSHIP:

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