Sunday Services and Easter Letter

Dear all

Pope John II once said, “Nobody is so poor that he or she has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich that he or she has nothing to receive.”
At Theological College at Cuddesdon once every term there would be something called ‘Guest Night’.  It was an evening of wining and dining, followed by a disco in the common room.  Once a year you would be on the guest list, and you were allowed to bring another guest with you – hence the name.  It was deliberately over the top and very ‘Oxford’.  For the other two terms (when you weren’t a guest) you had to serve.  You were allocated roles, such as pot washing, serving at the bar, waitering, and cleaning afterwards.  There is something powerful and humbling about being served by, and serving, your peers.  It reminds you that under the veneer of our lives we are all the same, and that no-one is ‘better’ than anyone else.
The Easter story, and in particular Maundy Thursday, show us this starkly.
Jesus hosts the disciples in the upper room for a meal.  He even knows that one of them will betray him – but he invites Judas anyway.  Even though he is the host, he is the one who washes the disciples’ feet, much to Peter’s consternation.  It is deeply moving, and in that humble act we begin to see the revelation unfolding of what comes over the coming 3 days.  That simple act of unity in the presence of diversity is echoed the following day when, as he dies on the cross and the soldiers gamble for his clothes, he summons the energy to unite his beloved friend John and his own mother Mary; he said to his mother “Woman, here is your son”.  Then he said to the disciple, “here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
As we enter these final days to Easter and beyond, like the disciples we find ourselves perhaps wondering what Jesus’ death on the cross is all about.  It is a really important question because without it then the meaning of the empty tomb on Easter morning is quite lost.  It is the difference between conundrum and wonderful mystery; of unfathomed puzzle and true faith.  As Christians it is actually existential, and it starts with being prepared to receive what Jesus gives – which is not found anywhere else other than through the cross.
Henri Nouwen sums it up beautifully; “It asks for the inner freedom to say, ‘without you I wouldn’t be who I am’.” (Bread for the Journey, 2006)
SERVICES from Maundy Thursday to Sunday 23rd April
Maundy Thursday (6 April) – Agape Meal 6pm at St John’s, Tatworth.  All Welcome.  A shared meal with prayers, readings and music.  The church will also remain open into the evening for The Watch – a time of silent meditation.
Good Friday (7 April):
10am – Messy Good Friday, St John’s, Tatworth.  A particularly family friendly gathering to explore Good Friday and Easter in a fun and active way.3 hours at the cross – St Mary’s, Thorncombe.  3 hours of guided and individual space for prayer and meditation for Good Friday.  Times for the led elements are below.
12pm Stations of the Cross1pm At the foot of the cross2pm Meditation at the tombHoly Saturday – 8 April, 8pm – Easter Vigil and first Eucharist of Easter – St Mary Magdalene, Cricket Malherbie.
Easter Day – 9 April:8am: BCP Holy Communion; Forde Abbey10am: Family Easter Holy Communion; Thorncombe10am: Easter Day Holy Communion; Winsham10:30am: Easter Day Holy Communion; Chaffcombe11am: Family Easter Holy Communion; Tatworth
Sunday 16th April:
10am – Holy Communion, St John’s, Tatworth
10am – Morning Worship, St Stephen’s Winsham
6:30pm – Service of Light, St Mary’s Thorncombe
Wednesday 19th April – 9:30am Holy Communion, St Mary’s Thorncombe
Sunday 23rd April:
8am – Holy Communion, St John’s Tatworth
10am – Holy Communion, St Mary’s Thorncombe
6:30pm – Evening Prayer, St Michael & All Angel’s, Chaffcombe
6:30pm – Service of Light, St Stephen’s Winsham
Morning Prayer
Morning Prayer (Celtic) will continue on Tuesday’s in St John’s, Tatworth, at 9:30am every week.  All Welcome.
BIBLE STUDY EVENINGS – Easter to Pentecost, Thursdays from 27 April to 25 May
I will be hosting a series of Bible Study evenings here at the Vicarage between Easter and Pentecost.  ALL WELCOME.  We will be looking at passages of scripture from Luke 24:13-end; Acts 1; Acts 2.
7:30pm at The Vicarage, 3 Home Farm, Tatworth, on Thursdays 27 April, 4 May, 11 May, 18 May, 25 May.
The weekend of 6 May is the Coronation Weekend with the Coronation of King Charles III on the Saturday 6th May.  There is a lot going on in the various parishes over that weekend at community level – so please do look out for that information locally.  After much discussion we have decided that our main service to commemorate the Coronation will be a 6:30pm special Benefice service of Holy Communion in St Stephen’s, Winsham on Sunday 7th May, followed by celebratory drinks and cake.  There will also be an early 8am service of Holy Communion (BCP) at Forde Abbey.  We have kept the centre of the day clear so that we do not clash with the various community events and lunches that are happening that day.
The Church of England have produced a prayer pamphlet with daily prayers for the period from Easter to Coronation Day, and I will be putting a small handful in the back of each church for people to help themselves to.
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; Jan Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls, Hester Down, Stella Hutchison; Oskar Lee; Margaret Shields; Andrew de Pury; Frank Long; Cyril Larcombe; Valerie Palmer, Nan Austin, Ron Bone; Bob Stacey, Lynn Ranson, Keith Legge.
We remember all those whom we love but see no longer; particularly at this time Jean Dodd, Hannah Knott, Bob Hendy, John Scrannage
Easter Day Collect:
God of glory,by the raising of your Sonyou have broken the chains of death and hell:fill your Church with faith and hope;for a new day has dawnedand the way to life stands openin our Saviour Jesus Christ.
p.s. Rev’d’s Michelle and Philip will be on post-Easter leave from 10-19 April inclusive


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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