Week beginning Sunday 15th May

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

Greetings friends,

What a commandment we have been given! Not one that starts with a foreboding ‘Thou shalt not’, but one which starts with LOVE.

As we have been loved by God, so Jesus tells us to love others in the same way – it’s a love that’s sacrificial, humble, full of grace and truth. This is to be the hallmark of who we are as the people of God.

As God’s beloved people we’re gathering in different ways this coming Sunday 15th May, the Fifth Sunday of Easter:

10.00am at St Mary’s – Creative Church making Jubilee Bunting

10.30am at All Saints – Holy Communion

6.30pm at St Mary’s – Evensong with Revd Lizzie

And in the week ahead, we have:

· Wednesday 18th May – 9.00am Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints

· Thursday 19th May – 10.00am Holy Communion at St Mary’s

Next Sunday 22nd May, there will be

· 8.00am – Holy Communion at All Saints

· 10.00am – Holy Communion at St Mary’s

· 10.30am – Café Church at All Saints

Famous writer and poet, Helen Steiner Rice takes her inspiration from these verses of John’s gospel for her poem: Love One Another As I Have Loved You.

"Love one another as I have loved you"
may seem impossible to do -
but if you will try to trust and believe
great are the joys that you will receive...
For love makes us patient, understanding and kind,
and we judge with our hearts and not with our mind...
For as soon as love enters the heart's open door,

the faults we once saw are not there anymore,
and the things that seemed wrong begin to look right
when viewed in the softness of love's gentle light...
For love works in ways that are wondrous and strange,
and there is nothing in life that love cannot change,
and all that God promised will someday come true
when you love one another the way he loves you.

May these words inspire you this week to live out that wonderful commandment to love others as God has loved us, and may that love so shine from you that others see and know that you are His.

Every blessing,

Revd Janey

Week beginning Sunday 8th May 2022

This weeks readings take us deeper into the meaning of Easter, and what it can mean to be a Christian. We return not to the end of John’s gospel but in the middle of it. Chapter 10 finds Jesus in Jerusalem for the Jewish Feast of Dedication. Here he speaks to his followers about the relationship that binds God to his people, using the imagery of shepherd and sheep. The sheep “Listen to my voice. I know them. They follow me”. Those are three big things to unpack. How do we hear God? How do we understand what is being said? How do we discern what God might be saying to us as individuals and as collective communities and as a Church?

What Jesus assures his friends is that he knows them. We are known to God. That can be both comforting and uncomfortable often.

Finally we are assured that we have someone to follow. We do not have to furough this path alone or for the first time, there is someone who goes ahead of us. For me this week that has been a huge comfort.

This week we worship together in the following ways.

8am – Holy Communion – All Saints

10am – Sung Holy Communion – St Marys

10.30am – Muddy Messy Church – All Saints

St Marys also has its APCM after the 10am service this week so please join us for our Annual General Meeting to vote for your PCC and Churchwardens.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Wednesday 11th 09.00 – Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints Church

Thursday 12th 10.00 – Holy Communion at St Mary’s Church

Sunday 15th 10.00 – Creative Church at St Mary’s Church

10.30 – Holy Communion at All Saints Church

18.30 – Evensong at St Mary’s Church

Our Collect Prayer for this week to reflect and pray with

Almighty God,

whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:

raise us, who trust in him,

from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,

that we may seek those things which are above,

where he reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen

Looking forward to being with God and people this weekend in different ways

Blessings

Lizzie

Week beginning Sunday 24th April

This Sunday we continue to rejoice in the new life that God offers us through the resurrection of Jesus. We can see how much that new life is needed every time we hear news of what is going on in our world. War, poverty, and hunger are not new, but the scale of misery that they can inflict has grown. Today, human greed, carelessness and selfishness can cause suffering beyond what we can truly comprehend. In Christ, God has shown us that there is a different way of being, a different way of looking at the world and a different way of living that can bring new life into a sinful world.

This Sunday, at All Saints, we will be starting a new series of Café Service discussions about what that might look like. These will be based on Graham Tomlin’s book, Why being yourself is a bad idea. This book takes some of the central themes of Christianity and looks at how they challenge assumptions about how the world is. From God the creator and the incarnation to love, justice, and freedom, the book contrasts a Christian outlook with the attitudes shown in the world.

Also this Sunday, we have said Holy Communion at All Saints at 8am and Holy Communion at St Mary’s at 10am. The gospel reading at these services tells the story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples behind locked doors. Jesus wishes his disciples peace and breathes the Holy Spirit on them. It is in following Christ in the power of the Spirit that we can know the peace of God and bring that peace and the life of the risen Christ into the world.

In summary, this Sunday’s services are as follows:

8.00 am – All Saints- Holy Communion (said)

10.00 am – St Mary’s- Holy Communion

10.30 am – All Saints- Café service

We have our usual midweek services of Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints on Wednesday and Holy Communion at St Mary’s on Thursday. Next Sunday follows our usual pattern for the first Sunday of the month as follows:

Wednesday 27th April – 9.00 am -All Saints – Celtic Morning Prayer

Thursday 28th April – 10.00 am – St Mary’s – Holy Communion

Sunday 1st May

10.00 am – St Mary’s – Open Church

10.30 am- All Saints – Holy Communion

6.30 pm – St Mary’s – Holy Communion

Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe”. May we all know what it means to believe and be blessed.

Mark

Easter Sunday 2022

“Goodness is stronger than evil; Love is stronger than hate; Light is stronger than darkness; Life is stronger than death; Victory is ours through Him who loves us.”

(Desmond Tutu)

On the 26th December – Boxing Day – 2021 – Desmond Tutu died. The world mourned an inspirational man, a deeply committed Christian and one of the great influencers for good of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

This might seem odd, but I have struggled to think of Desmond Tutu as having died. That might be because my connection to him is remote; he is a brother in Christ, but I never met or knew him personally. However, I think I have struggled to think of the Archbishop of Cape Town as dead, because he always seemed so very alive, regardless of how he aged. And even though he has passed from this world physically, his strength of faith and especially his resurrection faith, make it seem possible that he is still very much alive.

That is the power of faith and of a faith that is joyfully woven and committed to the resurrection. Tutu’s resolute joy and belief in the power of goodness over evil, of love over hate despite all the worldly challenges that surrounded him, has given us a beautiful example of what it might look like to know the power of the resurrection not only in our own life (and death) but what that can mean for others. His infectious joy was I suspect due to his utter security in the truth of how God wins. Of how Love wins. “Of how victory is ours through him who loves us”. Join us this Easter for that same infectious faith driven, Easter shaped and resurrection hope filled worship.

Blessings to you and all those you love this Eastertime.

Week beginning Sunday 10th April 2022

Holy Week starts this Sunday. This week we enter into, as the very first friends of Jesus did, the celebrations of Palm Sunday, the intimacy of Maundy Thursday, the desolation of Good Friday and then the hope and resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. It is a week of different moments. It is a week that seems to compress into it every possible human emotion and experience. It is a week that speaks of a God who loves the world in death and resurrection life. No Holy week is the same. This year is different to last, and the year before that. Even before a pandemic, no Holy Week was the same. Each year brings something new to our spiritual journey with God as individuals and as communities, and each year I am often struck by one of part of this last week of Jesus life, as chiming in some way that is pertinent to my own and our own as churches. I hope and pray that as we gather in different ways this coming week, to remember as God’s people this most precious and important journey, that we are also renewed, refreshed and met on the way by God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I re-read this week a poem by Malcolm Guite that focused on the cross and Jesus word from St Luke 23:34 I leave it for you here.



Father, Forgive


Father, forgive, and so forgiveness flows;
Flows from the very wound our hatred makes,
Flows from the taunts, the curses and the blows,
Flows through our wasted world, a healing spring,
Welling and cleansing, washing all the marks
Away, the scores and scars of every wrong.

Forgiveness flows to where we need it most:
Right in the pit and smithy of our sin,
Just where the dreadful nails are driven in,
Just where our woundedness has done its worst.
We know your cry of pain should be a curse,
Yet turn to you and find we have been blessed.
We know not what we do, but heaven knows
For every sin on earth, forgiveness flows.

Blessings for this most holy of weeks ahead

Revd Lizzie

Week beginning Sunday 3rd April 2022

Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you…

Philippians 3:12

Dear Friends,

The 5th Sunday of lent is the start of Passiontide. It’s a ‘hinge’ point in the season of Lent. Until now, the penitential focus has been on ourselves as we walk a journey of reflecting on human sinfulness and our own part in it. With Passiontide, the focus shifts to God’s response of love to our sin – that is, the redemption bought for us by Christ’s passion and death.

In Passiontide, we are invited to enter into Christ’s passion – to suffer with him – that we may also come to share in his victory and resurrection. In the words of our reading from Philippians:

All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow, I also may be raised to life. I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So, I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize.

Philippians 3:10-12

Our Services for this coming Sunday 3rd April, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, are:

10.00am at St Mary’s

Open Church with the theme of ‘Growing Up’ – focusing on children and families

10.30am at All Saints

Holy Communion with baptism of Ethan, with Revd Lizzie and Revd Janey

6.30pm at St Mary’s

Passion Music with Revd Lizzie

In the week ahead, we have:

Wednesday 6th April – 9.00am Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints

Thursday 7th April – 10.00am Holy Communion at St Mary’s

Next Sunday 10th April there will be:

8.00am – BCP Holy Communion at All Saints

10.00am – Palm Sunday Holy Communion with procession of Palms at St Mary’s

10.30am – Palm Sunday All Age Service at All Saints

Passiontide is traditionally a time to reflect on the Five Sorrowful Mysteries – those Stations of the Cross that specifically relate to Christ’s passion. Franciscan Friar, Jack Wintz, has offered some focused reflections on these Five Mysteries, available here, which I hope and pray will inspire and bless you this week as you continue to ‘press on to take hold of that for.

Every blessing,

Revd Janey

Week beginning 27th March 2022

The bible often challenges us to rethink and to re examine. Even the simpilist of ideas such as “who is my family” is something that Jesus asks us to consider deeply. “Mothering Sunday” is a great opportunity to ask this question again. Jesus, at the most critical moment before he dies, offers his own Mother to be cared for by his disciple and friend John. He offers his mother another chance to “mother” in his friend John. In this act he binds two people together in a family unit, not of blood, but of love. This is one instance in which that question “who is my family” reconsidered – there are lots more.

As a Church family we come together for a myriad of reasons this Sunday and with it we bring ourselves, our stories, our lives to our church family. A place where people are not bound by their inherited genetical bloodline, but by the recreation of what family means, with a people who gather around the revolutionary message of love that Jesus brings. In that way we will celebrate this Mothering Sunday with our church family.

REMEMBER THE CLOCKS GO FORWARD!!

Services of worship this Sunday – 27th March 2022 – Mothering Sunday

8am – All Saints – Said Holy Communion – Revd Janey

10am – St Marys – Sung All Age Holy Communion – Revd Lizzie

10.30am – All Saints – Sung All Age Holy Communion – Revd Janey and Dave Williams.

Attached are the weekly sheets, readings and an activity sheet. Please note that the All Saints APCM is on the 3rd April after the 10.30am service. Please make every effort to attend so we can share and reflect on what has been 2021 together.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Monday 28th 10.30 Tiny Tots – All Saints Hall

Wednesday 30th 09.00 – Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints Church

10.15 – Funeral at St Marys Wendy Bignell

Thursday 31st 10.00 – Holy Communion at St Mary’s Church

11.30 – Funeral at St Marys Gwen Fothergill

Friday 1st 11.00 – Reflection followed by refreshments & tabletop sale for Marie Curie

1.30pm – Linda Waldren Celebration of life at All Saints

Sunday 3rd 10.00 – Open Church at St Mary’s Church

10.30 – Holy Communion with Baptism and Junior Church

at All Saints followed by the APCM

6:30 – Passiontide Service with Special Music at St Mary’s Church

I leave you with this image for reflection and prayer.

465A8BA187CF4871BF1D153CB0BB4F64.jpg
By Howard Finster

Blessings

Revd Lizzie

Week beginning Sunday 20th March 2022

Traditionally, Lent is a time for reflection on our lives and identifying anything that we might want to change. This Sunday’s readings all warn against the consequences of complacency. In the Luke 13.1–9, Jesus warns his hearers to repent, to change their attitudes to avoid the judgement to come. In 1 Corinthians 10.1–13, Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth of the fate of the Israelites in the desert who turned away from God. But it is the Old Testament reading, from Isaiah 55.1–9, which calls us to turn to God and seek his ways:

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

This Lent, let us reflect on our lives and see what leads us away from God and his righteousness. Let us turn again to God and seek his ways afresh. Let us seek out God’s mercy and live out that mercy in our lives.

This Sunday we have creative church at St Mary’s, where we will be making Easter cards. There is Holy Communion at All Saints and, in the evening at St Mary’s.

10.00 am

St Mary’s

Creative church (Easter cards)

10.30 am

All Saints

Holy Communion

6.30 pm

St Mary’s

Holy Communion

This week, we have the usual midweek services. Next Sunday is Mothering Sunday, so we have all age Holy communion in the morning at both All Saints and St Mary’s. In addition, there is a said Holy Communion at 8 am at All Saints.

Wednesday 23rd

9.00 am

All Saints

Celtic morning prayer

Thursday 24th

10.00 am

St Mary’s

Holy Communion

Sunday 27th

8.00 am

All Saints

Holy Communion (said)

Sunday 27th

10.00 am

St Mary’s

Holy Communion (all age)

Sunday 27th

10.30 am

All Saints

Holy Communion (all age)

In addition, the Living in Love and Faith courses continue this week at All Saints on Tuesday at 2.00 pm and at St Mary’s on Wednesday at 7.30 pm.

We are hoping to ruin the Family Café at All Saints again during the Easter school break. Attached is a poster giving the details for anyone that is interested in helping.

I pray that this Lent, you may grow in the likeness of God, in whose image you were made, walk in the way of Christ, who is the way, and be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the one who is alongside us in the way.

God bless,

Mark

Week beginning Sunday 13th March 2022

“…our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 3:20

Greetings friends,

The above verse ‘jumped out’ at me from this week’s readings. Expectations shape our actions in so many ways – expectations about lifestyle, relationships, holidays, weather, church, food, results – the list goes on! And of course, right now we are all waiting expectantly to know how the war in Ukraine will unfold and – we pray – will be resolved with a lasting and workable peace.

It’s good this week to be reminded that as citizens of heaven, all our expectations are met by Jesus – he gathers up the desires of our hearts, our worries, our unknowns in his love and redeems them all through his big story of salvation for the whole of creation.

Who we are in Jesus – citizens of heaven – is the biggest and truest expectation we can hold. And we can allow that truth to change how we live, how we relate to others, what we value and work towards – we can allow it to give us hope for the future in a fragile and hurting world, and to lead into newness and fulness of life with Christ.

Our Services for this coming Sunday 13th February, the Second Sunday of Lent, are:

8.00am Holy Communion at All Saints with Revd Lizzie

10.00am Holy Communion at St Mary’s with Revd Lizzie

10.30pm Messy / Muddy Church at All Saints with Rev Janey and Elisa. Please encourage and invite those you know with children of any age to come along and join in!

In the week ahead, we have:

· Wednesday 16th March – 9.00am Celtic Morning Prayer at All Saints

· Thursday 17th March – 10am Holy Communion at St Mary’s

Next Sunday 20th March, there will be Creative Church at 10am and Holy Communion at 6:30pm at St Marys, and Holy Communion at 10:30am at All Saints.

I’ll leave you with the words of a modern hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (which can be sung to the well-known tune ‘Oh Jesus I have promised….)

We're citizens of heaven; we know where we belong.
O God, your love surrounds us; we sing your kingdom song.
The grace of Christ transforms us; in him our life is found;
We sing with joy and gladness, for we are heaven-bound.

We're citizens of heaven here in an earthly home;
Lord, it can be a challenge to live as you have shown.
With loyalties divided, we wonder what to do —
To follow wealth and power, or bravely follow you?

We're citizens of heaven; renew our sense of call.
Lord, deepen our commitment to serve you over all.
For we are your creation; by grace, we are your own.
Forgive our sinful wanderings and bring your people home.

Lord, give your church the courage to love and serve you more —
To worship you more gladly, to welcome in the poor,
To pardon as you pardon, to give in all we do —
That, heaven-bound, your people may daily live for you.

May you know afresh this week, that your citizenship is in heaven and from there, our Saviour comes to give us hope and fulness of life. Amen.

Revd Janey

Week beginning Sunday 6th March

Greetings!

I wanted to greet people this week with a Happy Ash Wednesday, or even a Happy Lent. But the word “happy” jars slightly when linked to Lent in the same way perhaps that the word “Good” always feels slightly at odds with Friday.

Is there such a thing, or could or should there be such a thing as a Happy Lent? And this year with this the sudden and devastating war in Ukraine the self examination and reflection that Lent requires as individuals seems morphed by the bigger global challenge of this war in Europe.

Lent is a time of wilderness and it should be both deeply challenging on a personal and community level. Lent is a call to prayer for others and the world. Lent is a call to fast, so that we can know the physical hunger that is a daily occurrence for so many in this world. Lent is a time of giving, tithing, when something that belongs to an individual is given over to be shared among many in community. Lent is a time for repair and healing, a chance to be brave and make amends where that is needed and necessary.

Lent is in all these things a call for us as individuals to reflect on the purposes of our own hearts, and try and realign then to the greater needs and purposes of how God wants the world to be. It is a giving over, a spilling over, from the individual little boxes that we inhabit so that we might be connected to others. It is ultimately about a conversion of the heart.

This week as we begin Lent there are a variety of ways we can worship

10am – St Marys – Open Church – Looking at Lent through the theme of forgiveness

10.30am – All Saints – A Holy Communion with Hymns and Junior Church

6.30pm – St Marys – Sung Evensong with Sermon

During the week the Living in Love and Faith course start at All Saints on a Tuesday at 2pm and St Marys on a Wednesday at 7.30pm in the evening. Please let Revd Lizzie know at this stage if you are wanting to join one of these groups as there are still spaces left in both. Groups are also being held at St Anne’s and Easton Christian Gamily Centre as well as one online course. Please email admin@citydeanery.co.uk to book a space.

If you wish to make donations to charities that are currently collecting for the crisis in Ukraine then amongst others there are the below charities that have launched emergency appeals.

The British Red Cross The British Red Cross |Médecins Sans Frontières | MSF British-Ukranian Aid are helping the injured (britishukrainianaid.org)

I want to leave with you a picture that I am going to reflect on this Sunday, it is mentioned in the foreword of the Lent Reflections Book 2022. It is a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1559) called “The Fight between Carnival and Lent”. It has so much going on in it, including the fight on pulled trolleys between Lady Lent and Carnival, a possibly allegory for the internal conflicts that we all bear in different ways.