Week beginning Sunday 1st May

Excitement is growing as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee inches closer and plans for colourful and joyful celebrations are getting underway. I wonder if any of your friends or family members have taken part in The Queen’s Green Canopy?- a scheme which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. Trees are the longest living organisms on planet earth and therefore a fitting tribute to her Majesty’s long and loyal service and sign of her faithfulness.

Growing Older is the focus of this Sunday’s Open Church at St.Mary’s at 10am. The Bible graphically describes different facets of old age- both gains and losses. On the one hand faithful disciples are ‘Like a tree planted by streams of water with leaves that do not wither (Psalm 1:3) and ‘in old age they will continue to bear fruit and be vigorous and in full leaf.’ (Ps.92.14). Conversely, old age may result in decreasing autonomy – something Jesus alludes to when giving Peter a window into his later life. In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus tells Peter: ‘When you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go. (John 21:18). You are warmly invited to come and add your voice to the conversation on valuing and supporting older people and those who care for them, in response to Jesus’ teachings.

This Sunday follows our usual pattern for the first Sunday of the month as follows:

10.00am St.Mary’s Open Church Rev. Diane Simms and Andrew Cooper

10.30am All Saints Holy Communion Rev. Lizzie Kesteven

6.30pm St.Mary’s Holy Communion Rev. Lizzie Kesteven and Rev. Diane Simms

We have our usual midweek services :

Wednesday 4th May Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints 9am

Thursday 5th May Holy Communion at St. Mary’s 10am

Saturday 7th May Review of Service Patterns at St.Mary’s 10am-12

Revd Lizzie writes: “The review will be a chance for information sharing , discussion and listening. All Saints will also get a similar opportunity later in the year as we look to shape our patterns and worship in a way that feels most connecting to the community as a benefice and as parishes. As we do this then please pray for the churches that we may be open to listening to God and each other as well as those who we seek to share God’s love with.”

Looking ahead to Services next Sunday 8th May

08.00 – Holy Communion at All Saints

10.00 – Holy Communion at St.Mary’s (followed by Annual Meeting APCM)

10.30 – Messy Muddy Church at All Saints

During this Easter season we rejoice and proclaim the risen Lord and we give thanks for the new creation that the resurrection holds out to us all in hope. With this in mind, the lectionary recommends us to focus our prayers on gratitude for God’s creation and our responsibility to care and tend his garden. So to close, here is a prayer that has been written for the tree planting ceremonies for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. May it remind you, whatever your age, to look out for those ‘tiny shoots of green grace’ that are bearing fruit in the ‘backyards of ordinary lives’ (Eugene Peterson).

God our creator,
by your gift the tree of life
was set at the heart of the earthly paradise.
We thank you for the trees being planted
to remind us of our Queen’s long and loyal service.
As the tender saplings grow stronger day by day,
fill our hearts with the joy of the salvation
which your Son Jesus Christ won for us on the cross,
who is alive and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

Every blessing,

Revd Diane