Ascension Day and Services for 19th May

Dear friends

Today is Ascension Day – the day that we celebrate Jesus’ return to Heaven and the start of the 10 day period to Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  It is both a goodbye and a hello – because it is a moment of unification, a moment when Jesus goes ‘universal’ precisely because he is no longer physically present.  It is a paradox that, like the disciples who find themselves staring into empty space, we have to understand that in the absence is also the presence.  I love this poem from R S Thomas which sits in this space and cleverly weaves around the absence and the presence in both spirit and secular (using science) and thereby demonstrating that God is there in all places.
The Absence
It is this great absence
that is like a presence, that compels
me to address it without hope
of a reply. It is a room I enter

from which someone has just
gone, the vestibule for the arrival
of one who has not yet come.
I modernise the anachronism

of my language, but he is no more here
than before. Genes and molecules
have no more power to call
him up than the incense of the Hebrews

at their altars. My equations fail
as my words do. What resources have I
other than the emptiness without him of my whole
being, a vacuum he may not abhor?

Ascension Day Communion Service – Tonight, 7pm in St Stephen’s, Winsham; all welcome!
Thursday 9th May – as above
Sunday 12th May
8am – BCP Holy Communion; St Stephen’s, Winsham
10am – Morning Worship; St Mary’s, Thorncombe
1030am – Holy Communion; St Michael & All Angels, Chaffcombe
Tuesday 14th May – 9:30am Morning Prayer; St John’s, Tatworth
Wednesday 15th May – 9:30am Holy Communion; St Mary’s, Thorncombe; followed by coffee morning
Sunday 19th May  – PENTECOST
8am – Outdoor early service for Pentecost – Vicarage garden, 3 Home Farm, Tatworth; followed by breakfast
10am – Family Sevice; St Stephen’s, Winsham
1030am – Holy Communion and APCM; St John’s, Tatworth
We hold in our prayers all those we know who are ill or struggling in any way, and we are asked to pray by name for the following.  If you would like to add someone, or yourself, to this list, then please do get in touch.
Margaret Bandy, Dave Boyland, Ann Jarvis, David Arnold, Nicola Cunningham, Mary Marsh
In memoriam:
We remember in our prayers all those whom we love but see no longer.  Particularly at this time we remember Alastair McArthur, Sheila Holloway, Andrew De Pury, and all their friends and families in their time of mourning.
Collect for Ascension Day:
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ
to have ascended into the heavens,
so we in heart and mind may also ascend
and with him continually dwell;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
With every blessing

The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286
Rest Days – Mondays (Tuesdays where following a bank holiday)
For non-urgent enquiries please allow up to a week for responses.
Mornings are best times for phone contact!

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