Pastoral Letter - 11th September
GOD IS LOVE AND THOSE WHO LIVE IN LOVE LIVE IN GOD AND GOD LIVES IN THEM 1 John 4.16. GOD CREATED US IN HIS OWN IMAGE Genesis 1 v 27. LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW Romans 13 v. 10. THOU SHOULDST LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL AND WITH ALL THY MIND AND THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF Luke 10 v 27. AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, SO YOU TOO SHOULD HAVE LOVE TOWARDS EACH OTHER John 13 v. 34. BY THIS SHALL ALL KNOW THAT THOU ART MY DISCIPLES, IF THY HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER John 13 v. 35.
Dear Friends, It is crystal clear, from the very first verses of the scriptures to its culmination in the teachings of Jesus Christ, that relationships are core to who our creator is and how He has created us to live. If God is a relationship of love which exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He has created us in His own image, so we too are called into relationships of self giving love, if we are to live a whole and holy, full and fulfilling life. Over the past two weeks we have considered the beauty of the natural world and the time and opportunity to attend to the things which make life more whole and wonderful for us, and again, heartfelt thanks for all your contributions. This week I offer you what you have written to me of your gratitude for people, for the relationships which you have in many cases a renewed appreciation of as a result of what we have all been going through and as we have helped each other through them. Intrinsic to this is the sense too that for many of us our relationship with God has been deepened in recent months, which you have expressed to me through sensing Him in the beauty and wonder of the natural world; through opportunities to reflect and be still, contemplate and pray; through what you may have been reminded of by these Pastoral Letters and through our ongoing worship, courtesy of Zoom. Relationships are at the life giving heart of who we are and so any Anthem of Gratitude must surely include such thanksgivings. Here again are just a few of the tributes some of you have paid to the people and bonds of love and for which you have offered your heartfelt thanks. Thank you again from me, for being prepared to share them with me and now with one another. Blessings galore and all good wishes, Jeff
ANTHEM OF GRATITUDE, PART 3.
Lord of beauty, Lord of time, Lord of life: we give you thanks and praise for the many ways in which you have stimulated and sustained us through the challenges of these recent Covid months, specifically, Lord of life, we give you thanks for all the relationships of our lives, for giving us people to love and be loved by, to value and cherish and to feel valued and cherished by, to serve and to be served by. As we give thanks for all the relationships which have warmed our sense of humanity and deepened our joy in being alive, we give thanks for our relationships with you and for those we meet and interact with through you in the gift of your Church. Lord of life, we give especial thanks: For all the relationships of our lives. For the chance to get to know our neighbours better in recent months and feel that we belong in a deeper way to the community in which we live. For the love and care we feel that we have been on the receiving end of. For the opportunity to deal with the problems some of us have had in our relationships with other family members, so that the experience of lockdown was made more positive and more possible to survive. For those who have had a positive impact on how we live, through offering guidance at the appropriate time, for those who have helped us realise the importance of certain things at whatever stage of life we are currently at. For spontaneous laughter with another. For conversations begun with those we didn't previously know, because of the sense of togetherness in the shared experience of lockdown. For new friendships which have come about due to the current circumstances of Covid. For teachers who have gone beyond the call of duty to engage children and transform a challenging time into one of opportunity and enjoyment. For affirmation of the love and care shown by friends who immediately offered support such as shopping etc. For family and friends who have kept in constant touch during lockdown and who sensed when to get in touch. For neighbours who suggested a socially distanced coffee morning in our adjacent gardens. For the NHS staff and other key workers who have enabled us to be fed, taken our rubbish away and allowed us to live in safety. For the sense of togetherness on Zoom services and for Zoom itself which allows us to see and not just hear others and thus help us feel more closely connected with them and reassured that they are alright. For those in the local community who have smiled, supported and continued to be positive. For our corner shops and for those who work in them. For the chance to learn more about our partners' struggles and to value the unstinting, unconditional love which they offer. For the chance to reach out to people on the `phone to offer support. In thanksgiving for those with listening gifts which make such a difference to those who confide in them. For the way people have relinquished their "English reserve" and reached out to others in friendship. For the cheerfulness of staff at the CO-OP and other convenience stores, for the way in which they have enabled us to keep nourished and feed our families. Thanksgiving for a deeper appreciation of those with whom we live and for a renewed sense of togetherness. For the fact that, in our darker moments, when one of the family contracted Covid, we all expressed our love and commitment to each other more fully and freely than we may previously have done. For the opportunity and excuse to get in touch with people we have drifted away from in recent years. In thanksgiving for those who have been there for us when things have gone wrong and when things have been challenging. For the generosity and kindness of others. For the sense of not being on our own in recent months. For those who have made sure some of us have had or daily news paper! For those who have bought and cooked food and delivered it daily. For those who have provided meals and delivered them to Kings College Hospital and London Prisons. For those who work as Critical Care Consultants and for the care they give to countless frightened and needy people. Genuine gratitude for those who have remembered that we exist over Lockdown and not relied upon us taking the initial step to make contact. For the care, kindness and communication of so many which is astounding and amazing and for which we are so grateful. For those who serve us in supermarkets, whom we may have taken for granted hitherto, but will try not to in future! In gratitude for marriages, even later on in life for those of us who thought such a gift would not come our way, and for the manner in which this has blessed and given strength during recent months, offering an experience of togetherness and companionship. For those of us who are single: gratitude for the invitation to be part of other people's extended families, and for the sense of worth and value which this has given. Gratitude for opportunities to get to know others in the congregation in ways we would not usually have been able to do, due to the request to be part of the contact group. Gratitude too for the hope of meeting the above for real, when we are able to reassemble for worship again in church! Although aware of the immense sadness and loneliness being experienced by some, others of us are moved with gratitude for the moments of empathy that have been shown by people since March. Gratitude for those who have developed technology to such an extent that it has transformed our experience of Lockdown. Where otherwise would we be without Skype and Zoom? Thankfulness for the unexpected bonus of Lockdown to be with our families in a new way. Appreciation for the sensitivity of those who have delivered things to our doors, when needed, being careful to keep a safe distance to secure our wellbeing. Gratitude for the `phone, but even more, for the hope of seeing people in person again! Thanksgiving for those I now appreciate in a deeper way, whose friendship means more to me than I had previously realised. Gratitude for conversations some of us have had with those on our Christmas card lists, whom one usually only writes to once a year, but whom one has felt able to phone for a chat in recent months. "I am thankful that my Mummy can cook and that we have been able to spend more time together and do things as a family." (contribution from one of our youngest members) Gratitude for the health we have known during this terrible time. Gratitude for the support and comfort that has come from being part of the church community. Thankfulness for the extra time with children who were supposed to have been at University. Gratitude for the understanding and camaraderie of work colleagues as we learn to work in new ways and relate to one another in different ways too. Thanksgiving for the kindness of strangers, from those who have recently had hip operations and are struggling with Zimmer frames, for help crossing the road and getting out of cars safely. Gratitude for the chance to do fun things with friends on Zoom, which has helped raise spirits and deepened bonds of friendship and love. Thanksgiving for the sensitivity and persistence of neighbours whom we have got to know better, despite our giving the impression that we preferred to be independent and find it hard asking for help. Thanksgiving that people have been far more open to chat: neighbours, fellow allotment gardeners, choir members, people from church, which has been hugely enjoyable and much appreciated. Thanksgiving for our parents` resilience. Gratitude for Dame Vera Lynn, who not only raised spirits and morale during World War 2 but also during the Lockdown with her rendition of "We'll meet again." Gratitude for the inspiration of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who has warmed and cheered our hearts through his dignified determination and his amazing fund raising efforts for NHS charities. Thanksgiving for friends and family members who have put up with us, despite knowing who we really are! Great gratitude for the fact that since the school has been closed our children have had no more nits!!! Gratitude for the sense of God's presence and love, which has never been more real to some of us than recently. For these and so many other things we express out gratitude and thanks O Lord. For making us in your image to be part of the energy of love which exists between Father, Son and Spirit And in joyful expectation of being part of the great company of Heaven, we offer heartfelt thanks. AMEN.
Please join us on Zoom for our service on Sunday 13th September, when we will be keeping Holy Cross Day
Almighty God, who has opened for us
A new and living way into your presence:
Give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
To worship you in spirit and in truth,
This we ask through Jesus Christ Our Lord
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
One God, now and for ever. AMEN.
1 John Chapter 3 verses 1-2
Matthew Chapter 6 verses 9-13
I am sure we all missed terribly the Church Fair that had to be cancelled this year because of the Pandemic. Not only did we all miss out on stocking up on new plants for the garden, those must have books or those oh so delicious cakes, the bric-a-brac, the BBQ – well, the whole Church Fair experience, but most of all the church and our charities missed out on the very valuable and much needed funds that we raise at this event.
So we have decided that we would try and do something about that and we are going to hold The Silent Auction to try to raise some of those missing funds and try have a bit of fun at the same time.
The first part of the Silent Auction is getting the gifts of things that we can auction. In the current climate we have been reluctant to contact our local businesses for gifts although some had already generously offered prizes pre-lockdown, and so we do need to have more items to include on the list. We are therefore appealing to everyone to see what they might be able to offer as a prize for us to include in the auction.
For example, if you could donate some time as a gardener, or a handy man – these have proved really popular in the past. Or if you have a skill or talent you could pass on - via a Zoom class or similar – that would be marvellous – in the past we have had French and Maths and Career coaching - but there must be many more hidden talents in our community.
You may also know someone who would be willing to donate something to the auction – all ideas and suggestions gratefully received!!
We will be gathering the prizes over the next few weeks. We will put the list up on our Website and Facebook pages and announce the cut-off date, and then the bidding can start!! The bids will be by email, text or a phone call to advise the item being bid for, and the amount bid. Full details later….
So please, think whether you have something you or someone you know could offer (within the boundaries of our Covid world) and either:
complete our quick form on the website here:
or send your auction prize ideas to Chris and Liz Webborn on email@example.com by the 20th September.
As you will recall, in recent years we have had a collection for the Richmond foodbank at Harvest.
We are pleased to hear that people have been extremely generous in donating food during the pandemic lockdown and they have been able to more than keep up with increased demand. This year they do not need additional harvest food to be collected and are therefore suggesting something different. At the moment they have a pressing need to fund an additional and larger foodbank van for their collection and delivery services across Richmond Borough and beyond. If you would like to make a donation to this year's St Mary's Harvest Appeal, please either send a cheque made payable to St Mary's Church Twickenham, sending it to The Parish Office, Church St Twickenham TW1 3NJ clearly marking it "Harvest Appeal" or else hand in your contribution in an envelope when attending Evening Prayer in the garden.
If you need any help making this donation, please feel free to contact the Parish office on 020 8744 2693. I am sure we will all feel moved to contribute to this important outreach venture as generously as we can. Many thanks. Jeff
GIFT FOR PIOTR
We were all very sorry indeed to hear that Piotr will be leaving St. Mary's in October to take up the exciting post of Chaplain at Brunel University ... Julie Hall with the children and their teachers at the Sunday School are organising their own very special present for Piotr and his family.
We know however, that everyone will want to contribute generously towards a fitting present from the whole Parish. If you can give by Bank Transfer, St.Mary's Bank details will appear on your current Direct Debit or Standing Order paperwork or they may be requested from the Parish Office by telephone or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, a cheque made payable to St. Mary's Church and marked ' For Piotr' would be great. Thank you very much in advance...
Judy and Barbara
APCM and Vestry Meeting
Dear Friends, As you will know, it is a requirement in law that each church holds an annual meeting. This year, due to the Covid Lockdown, we were unable to do this and had dispensation from The Bishop to delay. We have now been sent instructions to hold this by the end of October 2020. This being the case, the Standing Committee has decided to hold the meeting at 10.30am on Sunday 4th October. Please would all those on the Electoral Roll of St Mary's Church Twickenham, make a note of that and make every effort to join us, either by `phone or the internet. The meeting will take the usual form and will include the election of Church Wardens, 5 Members of Deanery Synod and 4 members of the PCC. It will also receive key reports such as those relating to Safeguarding and Finance. The invitation to the APCM will take a similar form as that for the Zoom Service and will be accessed in a similar way. Many thanks for your understanding and support for us at this challenging time in our life together. Blessings and best wishes, Jeff