Sunday Services – 14th May

Dear all

The Gospel reading today is John 15:1-8; ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’.  I include it in full below and I invite you to spend some time today, or this week, with those words.
This is a time of year when things growing outside seem to go into overdrive – you can almost see the grass growing; especially with the intermittent rain, humid air, and warm late spring sun.  Suddenly our hedgerows have erupted into cow parsley, ‘sticky weed’, and all other manner of lush green vegetation.  Roses are budding up with flower heads, and summer bulbs are poking through the soil.  Everywhere you look there is green.  Indeed, talking to someone the other day who was in the UK for the very first time, their overriding impression was ‘your country is so… GREEN!’
And so it is!
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us to ‘see how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?’ (Matt 6:28-30)
There wasn’t much green on show at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, but there was an abundance of just about everything else!  What a spectacle the Coronation was!  It was a marvelous occasion, full of grandeur, pomp and ceremony as befitting this most significant of moments; and yet also full of moments of deep sacredness and vulnerability that pointed so vividly to the meaning and solemnity of a Coronation.
Anybody who followed the Coronation service can be in no doubt that whilst the service was a celebration and heralding of our new king – it was also the recognition, and celebrating, of the role of Monarch as servant to the ultimate King – Jesus.  Charles’ first words in the ceremony were in response to the greeting of a chorister, “Your Majesty, as children of the Kingdom of God we welcome you in the name of the King of Kings” The King: “In his name, and after his example, I come not to be served but to serve.”
The first part of the Coronation itself was the annointing, which saw the King first being de-robed, stripped down, to his shirt, and then privately annointed.  This was a moment of intimacy and vulnerability, and as Archbishop Justin explained in an interview, the most sacred moment between the King and God.  It is in essence akin to those words from John 15.  A recognition that we are connected to the true vine, and part of that preparedness for fruitfulness is embracing our vulnerability.
As we tend our gardens, enjoy the spring flush all around us, reflect on that, and the words below, as analogous to our own lives in God.  Yes we need to discard the areas that are passed, but so to do we have to prune and tend to those areas that are life giving – which does require an element of vulnerability and will no doubt hurt – but from that new life will flourish.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)
SERVICES – Sunday 14 May
8am – BCP Holy Communion; St Stephen’s Winsham
10am – Morning Worship; St Mary’s, Thorncombe
10:30am – Holy Communion; St Michael & All Angels, Chaffcombe
Ascension Day
Ascension Day is on Thursday 18th May.  We will have a special evening service of Holy Communion at 7pm in St Mary Magdalene to celebrate The Ascension.  All Welcome.
It was a wonderful weekend and thank you to everyone who organised, helped with, attended, supported in any way, anything that happened across our communities.   If you weren’t able to follow the Coronation service, or would like to look at it again – here is the link to the words of the service along with commentary.  23-24132 Coronation Liturgy Commentary_02 May.pdf (
BIBLE STUDY EVENINGS – Easter to Pentecost, Thursdays from 27 April to 25 May
The next bible study evening is tomorrow (Thursday 11 May) at 7:30 here in the vicarage.  All welcome, and you do not need to have come before!
This week we are looking at Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:1-11 (The Ascension).
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.
Wild Church is back on Saturday 13th May at 3pm outside St John’s.  ALL WELCOME! This week we will be going for a gentle nature walk and returning to St John’s for refreshments.
As many of you know, we have a successful Baby & Toddler group that meets every Friday at St John’s, Tatworth, from 10 – 11:30am.  We would dearly love to expand the team that helps with that, and so if you feel you may be able to offer regular help with that group – in any way – then please do have a chat with either myself Rev Michelle and we would be delighted to explore that with you.
The Yorkshire Mixtures are performing in aid of the Ukraine Nightingale Charity in St Mary’s Church, Chard, at 7pm on 16th May.  Billed as ‘from Mozart to Mama Mia’, tickets are £12 and available from Dave Bostock Smith.
The 27th – 29th May sees the return of the Bienniel Chaffcombe Flower Festival.  There is a full programme of events across the 3 days at various venues in the village.
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, Ron Bone; Bob Stacey, Lynn Ranson, Keith Legge, Margaret Golesworthy, Sonyia Garland.
We remember all those whom we love but see no longer; particularly at this time: Jean Dodd (funeral held on 2 May), John Scrannage (funeral in St John’s on 4 May); Ken Johnson (funeral in St John’s on 9 May); Tony Meech (funeral in St Stephen’s on 11 May); Joan England (funeral in St John’s on 5 May), Jackie Scott (funeral in St John’s on 17th May); and Nan Austin (funeral in St John’s on 8th June).
Finally, here is a prayer for us all in response to the Coronation:
Gracious God, in company with our King, we rededicate ourselves to your service.Take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them,take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you and your kingdom;that here we may have your peace,and in the world to come may see you face to face;through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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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