VICAR'S LETTER

 

 

 

 

 

   

21st May,  2020.

Happy Day Ascension Day!

Thought for the day from Bishop John, Bishop of Warwick 

Last week we celebrated Matthias, the apostle chosen by lot after the suicide of Judas. Acts 1.15-26. Chosen by lot because this was not to be a human decision, but God’s. Peter and the apostles were clear, though, that whoever it would be should have been with and around Jesus from the days of the baptism of John all the way through to His ascension. In other words, an apostle must be a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. So it is that Paul can claim his own apostleship to the sceptics in Corinth ‘Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the Lord?’ 1 Cor.9.1. Apostolein in the New Testament means to send or to commission.

But apostleship was too important to leave with those first apostles. The life, character and identity of the whole Church is to be apostolic. Each one of us is both called and sent, to play our unique part in the mission of God.  For this we need the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us. My prayer is that each of us personally, and all of us corporately, may grow in that longing for and asking for the Holy Spirit. God says to us, through Jeremiah, ‘When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.’ 29.13.

‘Zoom’  - worship!! This is a screen shot of our service via Zoom last Sunday – thought I’d share it with you!    Also on Facebook and our website!

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'Thy Kingdom Come’  - Join the global wave of prayer calling all Christians to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. 

Thy Kingdom Come 2020 will take place between Ascension Day (21st May) to Pentecost (31st May). It will look a little different to previous years, but there are still plenty of ways we can get involved.

Care for those you are praying for, pray for those you are caring for

During these difficult and trying times, we believe that now more than ever, presents an incredible opportunity for the Church worldwide, to unite in prayer so that our family, friends and neighbours will come to know the love and peace of Jesus Christ for themselves. One of our Key themes for Thy Kingdom Come is prayer and care. As we are praying for those we love to come to know the hope and love of Christ we also are encouraging all to see how they can show God’s love towards them. By caring for them. Here are 5 ideas on how we can care and love those we know, even when we are socially distanced:         

1. Keep up contact. Make a phone call, send an email, letter or card saying that you are praying for them at this time.                                                                                               2. Keep an eye out for the anniversaries of life events. Make that phone call to let people know you care.                                                                                                                                        3. Send a small gift or book purchased on line, maybe insert life words etc.                                                                                                                                                                   4. Serve where you can in delivering groceries or medications.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           5. Make sure the people you pray for know how much you value them by whatever means you can find.

Pray 4 Five

Praying for people to come to know the love, hope and peace found in Christ. This is at the heart of Thy Kingdom Come. Pray specifically during this period for five people you can think of who you would like to know God as you do. Pray for them during your morning and evening prayers each day.

Watch this from ‘Thy Kingdom Come: https://youtu.be/MNIZooHYgl4

A online Quiet Day offered by Bishop John

I would strongly recommend to you this Bishop John is offering an online Quiet Day on Saturday 6 June from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The day is entitled: Being real with God and letting God be real with us.

It is open to all, but you must register at https://coventrydtp.typeform.com/to/Z7UOF4

Bishop John says:

“This short retreat will run from 10am to 3pm.
There will be three reflections offered at 10 am, at 12 noon and 2 pm and a closing prayer at 2.55.
As it is a retreat, not a conference, it is hoped that you will be able to keep the times between the reflections just for you and God and free from emails, screens and work.
Dedicated time for God and with God is never wasted.
"

 

 

 

 

VICAR’S LETTER. 6th MAY, 2020.

Thought for the day: Bishop of Warwick

‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.’ Eph.4.32.

Be kind to another - People get this. So many people are saying this now, irrespective of any faith position. It is being printed on T-shirts and on cards. People get what it means and that it matters. It is human and not religious. Jesus comes to bring life in all its fullness, to help us become truly human. What a ‘bridge’!

Tender-hearted - How much thought do we give to this? To keeping our hearts soft. Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd cent.) wrote ‘Keep your hearts soft and tractable, lest they lose the imprint of his love.’ We are warned again and again by God ‘Harden not your hearts.’ What is the state of our hearts before God? Have they become hardened or calloused by unforgiveness, by bitterness, by pain or grief not released to God? Or, more subtly perhaps, by pride, vanity or egotism?

Is this the time to do what it says on the tin? ‘Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.’ Prov.4.23. In the midst of all that is going on around us and within us, might we want to ponder the question ‘is God waiting for a ‘heart to heart’ with us?’   

From the Right Reverend John Stroyan, Bishop of Warwick

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Prayer requests: For anyone wanting prayer at this difficult time for themselves or a loved one - friend or family, please contact one of the Listen and Pray team listed below.

Alan and Mary Boddington  263643, Becks Bartlett   Rebecca.bartlett@rockstile.co.uk

Bob Macvie  551767, Brenda Whitbread  266078, Jackie Daniels  266637, Jane Ireland 297321

Liz Talbot 296829, Sarah Cushing, Susie Fletcher 298738

 

Sue and I are wanting to have the first meeting of the Christian Book Group next Wednesday 13th May at 7.30pm via Zoom. If anyone is wanting to be included but has not contacted me, then please do so.

 

 

From The Robsons: Just a  reminder for ‘musicians’ to get in touch to request their ‘In Christ Alone’ instrumental parts. We want to involve as many good players as possible in this. A good number of replies so far, but there are more to come!

Email: therobsonfamily@hotmail.com.

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You will certainly be blessed by this: https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U

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Be aware: From someone in Shottery - My elderly friend told me of a phone call purporting to be from an officer concerned with Fraud.  He invited her to ask him any questions to verify his authenticity 

He said that a lad had been picked up who said he was her grandson and who was in possession of her credit card. She said that he was very plausible and she let him speak on for a while. 

She then said firmly “my credit card is here and it’s SAFE” firmly. Then she rang off.

This has happened to another lady we know, please be careful!

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From Barry Jukes; You are probably aware that I am Chair of the mixed auditioned Choir ‘Tarantara’.  St Andrews Church is our ‘home base’ for our Annual Concert and when we are asked to perform by the Hospice. We have 70 members and 32 of us were brave enough to record ourselves at home to provide one of our techi members with the opportunity to do the necessary 'knitting together'.  Our MD Jonathan Hill dressed up for the occasion in his back garden and our accompanist Chris Long appears to have found a spot by the river in Pershore to record his contribution.

A rousing piece associated of course with the Rugby Union World Cup. Nevertheless, we are chuffed to have done something to raise spirits. Enjoy !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSKBQ_vRr4M

God bless you

Reverend Craig.

 

 

Vicars’ letter  28th April, 2020.

I was thinking this week about our Christian journey with all the challenges we are facing during this present time. Particularly I have been thinking about following Jesus how we actually ‘see’ Him. In John’s gospel we hear of some Greeks who came to Philip saying; ‘Sir, we want to see Jesus!’ (John 12.20). This coming Sunday evening at 7.30pm we will have ‘Atrium’ informal worship once again and I have taken this as the theme for that service ‘Seeing Jesus’. I will talk little about this then, but it seems to me that seeing Jesus is being willing and open to see Him in others. This pandemic and subsequent lock down is providing many examples of God’s love being practically shown  - in the NHS, through care workers - especially in our residential homes - and through numerous acts of love like Team Shottery as well as one to one contact on the phone and online.  I have been so heartened hearing of the many examples of love that people are showing. We may be stuck in our homes but through our acts of love we are making huge differences to people lives. In this, people are seeing Jesus. You might not feel you are doing much but let me draw you to this quote from Mother Theresa

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”. So be faithful and offer your “small things” to God and neighbour with all the love you can muster. And in so doing, may you find yourself blessed."

 

Church Finance -  I am really anxious that the current situation doesn’t affect our church financially.  St. Andrew’s, as all churches, rely on your generosity to support our mission and ministry. We have of course lost the income generated through our church hall as well as the money given on the collection plate each week. Many of you I know give regularly to the church by standing order and for this I am very grateful. Many others give in cash when the collection is taken in a church service or when visiting the church. People obviously will not be able to give in this way whilst our church building is closed. I suggested a few weeks ago that if you give through the envelope scheme then please (if circumstances allow) continue to do that each week but keep your envelopes safe somewhere until we are back together in church when you can then physically offer them. 

I am aware too that many individuals are going through financial uncertainty as a result of lost or changed employment during the restrictions, and as a result their giving may be affected. This means therefore that it is even more important that those who can give are able to do so now, when our churches are in greatest need. I would like you to consider setting up a Standing Order (Direct Debit is not an option at the moment) –  It really does help us as a church if most (if not all) of our giving can be through this method. This is what we call planned giving. It enables us to plan financially, to forecast more accurately and to budget effectively as we know what income is coming in each month. The problem with cash on the plate is that it fluctuates and is very hard for us to plan ahead. 

Can I really encourage you to think about setting up a standing order with us.   Anne Challis is the person who administers Standing Orders. If you give Anne a call (298388) she will be able to tell you how you can do this – it really will help us enormously.

 

 

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus. During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will:  Deepen their own relationship with God, Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Christ and pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness.

From the TKC website: After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with together, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing. Through the centuries Christians have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition.

We are praying that the Spirit will inspire and equip us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our friends and families, our communities and networks. It has been amazing how many varied ways there have been in which people from every tradition have taken up this challenge. The effects have been remarkable.

It is our prayer that those who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and his love for the world will hear it for themselves, and respond and follow Him. Specifically, we again invite each and every Christian across the country to pray that God’s Spirit might work in the lives of 5 friends who have not responded with their ‘Yes’ to God’s call.

Whether you have joined in ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ before or not, we invite you to take part this year – along with churches from over 65 different denominations in 178 countries around the world.

“In praying 'Thy Kingdom Come' we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities." Archbishop Justin Welby.

More information can be found on the website https://www.thykingdomcome.global/about-us

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has launched a free national phone line as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus. Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.

The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restriction.

Upcoming events for your diary:  All on ‘ZOOM’

Wed 29th, 7.30 – Social natter together, ending with Compline.

Sunday 3rd May.  10.00am Agape Service,                                                                                                                 7.30pm Atrium Informal service (Theme: Seeing Jesus)

Wed 6th May “quiz evening’ with Naomi & Anthony (more info’ to follow!)

God bless you all, in Jesus,

Reverend Craig

                  

Dear friends,
 
The latest broadcast from the vicarage 
 
Let me know if you are interested in being a part of the 'Christian Book Club' that I talk about on the video. If so, I'll organise a Zoom get-together to talk through the idea a bit more. 
 
 
God bless you, in Jesus
 
Craig. 22nd April, 2020.

 

 
 
 
The Listening and Prayer Team are still ‘meeting’ via Zoom each Sunday at  11am and pray as a team for those on the prayer list.

If you would like a prayer for a friend, loved one, yourself or a general prayer for the current situation, contact the parish office phone number – 01789 293381

(which is now back on) and leave a message or a phone number so that you can be contacted.

Craig holds a list of people happy to give their numbers out to people wanting to keep in touch with other members of the congregation.

Contact the parish office phone number – 01789 293381(which is now back on).

 
Also throughout the week: A reading of John's gospel read by Rev Paul. Log log onto this audio link at any time during the day - wonderful to hear John's Gospel read to you! Here are the links for each day:
 
John's Gospel. Part One. For Palm Sunday.
 
John's Gospel. Part Two. For Monday of Holy Week
 
John's Gospel. Part Three. For Tuesday of Holy Week.
 
John's Gospel. Part 4. For Wednesday of Holy Week.
 
John's Gospel. Part 5. For Maundy Thursday.
 
John's Gospel. Part 6. For Good Friday.
 
John's Gospel. Part 7. For Easter Day.