Dear friends

My eldest son, Jim, will be taking part in the Ten Tors orienteering competition this coming weekend.  It is an arduous annual event, organised by the Army, which sees teenagers in teams of six doing an unsupported 2 day walk on the wilds of Dartmoor, during which they have to navigate to and from 10 Tors (hills).  Jim’s team will be doing the 35 mile expedition, carrying everything they need on their backs for those 2 days.
Embarking upon such an expedition is not something you just turn up and do.  It requires training and lots of it; and not just physical training to build up the strength and stamina needed – but also mentally to learn how to navigate a landscape such as Dartmoor and how to look after yourself and each other in that extreme environment.
One of Jim’s most important tasks on the expedition will be to encourage and motivate his fellow team members.  His coach has told him that he is the entertainer!  His job will be to focus on the team morale and encourage in the times when things are hard.  Anybody who has ever undertaken a long trek on Dartmoor will know that it is not a case of ‘if things go wrong’, but ‘when’.  It is an unforgiving place that throws up constant challenges – especially as tiredness and cold begin to kick in.
St Paul often used the analogy of a journey, or a race, to illustrate Christian teaching; and he recognised that that undertaking was a team pursuit.  The Christian life is one of community; it is one of being in a team with a common goal and meeting the challenges of life as they arise together.
In his letter to the Thessalonians, which was chosen yesterday by the Church of England as part of the daily prayers in preparations for the Coronation, he says this:
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.‘ 1 Thes 5:11
What I particularly love about this verse is that it does not just teach us that we should encourage each other – it also in itself encourages us through affirmation; ‘as indeed you are doing’.
As Christians we can know with all confidence that, whatever our circumstances or our perceived frailties, God loves us and trusts us.  It is through that affirmation that we are commissioned to encourage each other – in short, to love each other.
Sunday 30th April – Benefice Service at 1030am; St John’s Tatworth
A Service of Holy Communion.  We will be thinking about what is happening in a service of Holy Communion through the lens of The Road to Emmaus.
Coronation Weekend (6-8 May)
The Coronation of King Charles III is on Saturday 6th May.  There are a number of community events happening in the various parishes, so please check locally about what is happening in and around your area!
As a Benefice we will be celebrating the Coronation with a special commemorative service at 6:30pm 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) that day 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.
Morning Prayer
Celtic morning prayer is held on Tuesdays 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 Vicarage is at 3 Home Farm, Tatworth, TA20 2SH.  To find us it is by far the easiest to park at St John’s church, cross the road and walk down School Lane (road opposite the church) about 50metres – Home Farm is the driveway on the left.
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,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, John Scrannage, Ken Johnson, Tony Meech, Joan England, Jackie Scott, and Joan Hawker.  Please do ring or email for funeral dates and times.
Collect for the 4th Sunday after Easter
Risen Christ,faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:teach us to hear your voiceand to follow your command,that all your people may be gathered into one flock,to the glory of God the Father.
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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