Dear all

Over the weekend I took the children on a walk that included crossing a bridge over the River Axe.  We love going across bridges, I think it brings out the child in all of us, and I’m always up for a game of Pooh sticks.  We played it with leaves, as the bridge was covered in them, and had great fun dropping them over the edge and watching them come out the other side.  Bertie (one of our dogs) decided this was all far too exciting and needed to also be in the water…  
What is it that is so exciting about a simple game of Pooh sticks?  You drop a stick (or a leaf) off one side of the bridge and wait excitedly for it to appear on the other…
It is the expectancy, there are those few seconds when you can’t see what is happening and therefore there is that renewed joy when it reappears, having travelled in the water through the darkness under the bridge.  You know that it will, but that expectancy is never diminished.  
In a similar vein, on the 16th November the NASA rocket ‘Artemis’ lifted off on its journey to the moon.  A precursor to a later lunar manned mission, it is a 25 day test flight to the moon and back.  As part of the flight, on Monday Artemis orbited the moon and, for 34 minutes, was without any communication with Earth as it passed round the ‘dark side’ of the moon. For those at NASA HQ those 34 minutes were a time of waiting, wondering, expecting – followed by complete joy!  There was nothing they could do – there was no communication; Artemis was on her own until she had completed that part of the journey.
On Sunday we enter the season of Advent.  It is the period of waiting and watching, of expectancy of what is to come.  Of course we know what is to come.  It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  But that does not diminish the joy of the expectation realised – as long as we immerse ourselves in the waiting.  We must place ourselves on the bridge, in the space centre, waiting in expectancy with nothing but ourselves.  Because when we do – then we meet Jesus anew, afresh, with fresh understanding, renewed excitement, and overflowing joy!
8am – Holy Communion, St John’s Tatworth
10am – Holy Communion, St Mary’s, Thorncombe
6:30pm – BCP Evening Prayer, St Michael & All Angels, Chaffcombe
6:30pm – Service of Light, St Stephen’s, Winsham
On Thursday evenings in Advent I will be holding an online Zoom service at 7:30pm, link below.  This will be a service following the ancient monastic spiritual exercise of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), and will journey through the major themes of Advent.  The service will last about 20-25 minutes and we will keep the link open afterwards for any catching up!
Passcode (if needed):  twoshires
WILD CHURCH – 3pm 3rd December
The next Wild Church is at 3pm on Saturday 3rd December and is a Christmas special, journeying through the Nativity.  ALL WELCOME!  Link:  (3) Facebook
BABY HUB – Friday 2nd December 10-11:30am
The Baby Hub (free clothes exchange) is open at St John’s, Tatworth, from 10am to 11:30am on Friday 2nd December.  This runs concurrently with the St John’s Toddler Group, which meets as normal on the same day in the church room.
There will shortly be a Christmas Services and Events information sheet coming round on email.  Services will all be in the Link and JPM magazines too so look for those from early next week.  
Please hold in your prayers all you know who are struggling in any way, in body, mind or spirit.  We are asked to pray by name for:
Dave Boyland; Terri Boyland; Sheila Clement; Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott; Jan Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls, Hester Down, Stella Hutchison; Oskar Lee; Margaret Shields; 
We also remember all those who we love but see no longer, particularly at this time Clifford Staples, whose funeral will be in Thorncombe on 6 December.  We pray for his family and friends in their mourning, and all those we know who are bereaved at this time.
The Collect for Advent
Almighty God,give us grace to cast away the works of darknessand to put on the armour of light,now in the time of this mortal life,in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;that on the last day,when he shall come again in his glorious majestyto judge the living and the dead,we may rise to the life immortal;through him who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, now and for ever.
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286
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