Pastoral Letter - 24th September
Please read below of possible problems accessing the church on Sunday morning 26th September, due to The High Tide event in Church Street, and also the note below concerning a delay in the planned Walsingham morning, which was to be held on 2nd October. Thank you.
As you know, we have been celebrating the Eucharist in church at 9.30am for a few Sundays now and it is marvellous to see so many of you joining us for that service. For those of you who are unable to do so, however, we are happy to continue the Zoom service, details of which are toward the end of this mailing.
Last Sunday we celebrated the Harvest and I apologise for not having much of a voice on that occasion, made significantly worse by the fact that the sound system didn’t appear to be working! I think I am right in saying that almost all the other celebrations in the Church’s year are connected with moments in Jesus’ life on earth, His birth, infancy, Baptism, time in the wilderness, teaching, the events in Holy Week, then His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven and the sending of the Holy Spirit. All the other Sundays which are not about Him, are about those who followed Him, whom we call the saints. The only occasions when this is not the case that I can recall are Harvest and Remembrance Sunday, both of which come at this time of year of course.
It is a very special time of year for many of us, especially perhaps the changing light. I have had to delay taking the dogs out for their morning walk for at least half an hour recently as it`s just too dark at our usual time. The sun, when it rises, seems more majestic and golden, the mists are more ethereal, the leaves are turning red and amber before swirling down before us and the scents from the vegetation are more pungent too. And it is at this, the cusp of the year, poised as we are between light and darkness, warmth and cold, Summer and Winter, that we celebrate these exceptions to the usual sequence of services: Harvest and Remembrance Sunday.
The Church has always differed from those who would celebrate "Harvest Festival" believing that it should more appropriately be called "Harvest Thanksgiving." What is the difference you might ask.......? Perhaps we get a clue in the story of the Ten Lepers. If you recall, all ten were healed but only one returned to give thanks to the source of his healing. As followers of Jesus Christ, we do not take as no more than our due the way in which creation, and by implication our Creator, provides for us, we give thanks to the source of our blessings and, not only that, we pledge ourselves to do all in our power to share our wealth with those who have not got access to the riches we enjoy. Why? Because such as they are not only important to God, they are part of who He is and in serving them, we are serving Him. God has entrusted His creation to us, to tend it, respect it, nurture it, cultivate it, not to exploit it for our own benefit at the expense of others, but to act as good stewards, ensuring that all have what they need in order to live. And thank you to those of you who brought Harvest gifts to church last Sunday, where they were blessed and from where they will be distributed to those locally who are in need.
So yes, let us give thanks for the food we have which sustains us, which is provided for us in this country far more comprehensively and consistently than in other lands; let us be mindful of those who transport our food and serve us in the shops; let us also remember the farmers who have not been able to harvest the crops due to lower numbers prepared to do such work; those whose crops have failed due to famine, flood and fire and who may go hungry this winter. But let us also recall that the word Eucharist means "Thanksgiving" and be aware of all the many ways in which God has nourished and nurtured us, providing for us through the gift of each other in the human family, the gift of His creation and the gift of Himself. Let us be aware that ours is a Creator God who invites us to share with Him in the caring and the cultivation, the respecting and the reverencing of His creation, so that it may continue to thrive and provide for generations to come.
Let us not merely keep Harvest Festival, delighting in the provisions which meet our needs, let us keep Harvest Thanksgiving and acknowledge the source of our blessings and pledge ourselves as we are able, to use what we have, share what we have, in serving Him in each other. That truly would be a creative act that appropriately celebrates the essence of what we mean by Harvest.
With blessings and best wishes
HIGH TIDE FESTIVAL AND CAR ACCESS FOR 9.30 AM EUCHARIST ON 26 SEPTEMBER
Setting up staging for the High Tide Festival means that car access to Arragon Road/Church Street south of Richmond Road will generally be blocked off from early morning. To gain access to park near the church or in York Street car park please tell the stewards at the top of Arragon Road that you are attending the service. They have been briefed to let you through!
Do not try to drive down Church Street as it will be closed from 9 am. Please leave, if at all possible, by 11 am latest.
It has been decided to postpone our Walsingham morning, on 2nd October, until another time. This is due to several reasons, including the fact that Fr. Jeff is still recovering from a recent illness and that only a small number had indicated that they were planning on attending. This will also give us an opportunity of liaising with Fr Sergei and the parish of All Saints Hanworth, who have expressed an interest in sharing this event with us. Thank you for your understanding.
TO THOSE WHO HAVE FAITHFULLY PHONED AROUND THE CONGREGATION OVER THE PAST 18 MONTHS: Dear Friends, May I take this opportunity of thanking all of you who have been telephoning each other to keep in touch and reach out with the hand of friendship to those you knew and did not previously know before March of last year. I know how grateful we have all been to those who have been in touch with us with a friendly word and the reassurance of their prayers. I would also like to thank Betty and Emily for making arrangements for these connections to have been made. When I first realised what was happening in the early months of last year, I asked them both if they would help to organise a telephone network to help us all feel connected and in communion with each other when we were not able to meet in church in person. I am so grateful to them for the diligent and sensitive way in which they have done this, and `phoned so many people themselves as well. When we look back at this time in months and perhaps years to come, I hope that like me, you will see this as a profoundly significant and deepening experience we have had as a community, where friendships have been made and have grown into the strong bonds we now enjoy. Thank you to you all for your positive, compassionate and loyal friendship to each other and to me during these challenging months. I give thanks to God for you all. With blessings and best wishes, Jeff
Collect for this Sunday: Almighty God, You have made us for yourself And our hearts are restless Until they find their rest in You: Pour your love into our hearts And draw us ever closer to Yourself; And so bring us at the last to your Heavenly City Where we shall see you face to face. 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
WELCOME to our worship at St Mary’s on this the 17th Sunday after Trinity whether you are joining us in church or on Zoom.
Today at both the 9.30am Eucharist in church and the 5pm Zoom service online, we shall be reflecting on the Gospel passage, which this week is Mark Chapter 9 verses 38-end.
The hymns we shall be singing this week are: 212, 63 and 188. No booking is necessary for the 9.30am church service. Please use the hand sanitiser provided before entering the church. We would ask that you place your collection envelope in the basket as you enter the church which will be brought up to the altar at the Offertory (or use the contactless/tap payment card facility close by). We would strongly recommend the wearing of facemasks throughout the service for all other than those exempted from doing so on medical or age grounds. Please do not come to the church if you are displaying any Covid symptoms and please seriously consider whether it is wise to attend if you have cold or ‘flu symptoms, in fairness to others. Communion will be offered in the form of the consecrated host, which you may receive in your hands and which we would ask you to consume immediately. You are welcome to join us in the Parish Hall for refreshments after the service.
5pm Zoom Service
We very much hope that those of you who are not able to join us in church for our service, join us online instead. This will take the same form which we have used from last April. Please have a candle, matches, bread and wine to hand. Click Here to download the Order of Service
There are three main ways to join the Zoom service:
1.click on this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85685339742 2. Go to zoom.us (or use the Zoom app) and enter the following Webinar ID: 856 8533 9742 3. If you want to join by telephone dial any of these numbers: 0203 481 5237 or 0203 481 5240 or 0131 460 1196 or 0203 051 2874 and then type in this Webinar ID when prompted: 856 8533 9742
(Please note that these details are the same every week) 10am Wednesday. A Eucharist will be celebrated on Wednesdays in the church, to which you are all invited. There will also be an opportunity to pray for healing for yourselves or for others, until we are able to resume the Healing Services in church on Sunday evenings.
If you would like to know more about the ongoing life of St Mary's and its activities , please see our website: www.stmarytwick.org.uk