Thought for the month(s) - July and August 2019
Posted: Thu, 4 Jul, 2019 (1 month ago) by Mark
“They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit also Philip… ...who was presented to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:5-6).
Throughout the bible there is the principle that God calls particular men and women for particular roles, that they are set apart for that role and that there is the release of the Holy Spirit to empower them in the role. In the Old Testament we see this many times—for example, David, called by God to be King or Elisha as prophet and then in the New Testament, the appointment of leaders for the church.
So in Acts 6 we see this with the first Deacons. They are set aside to physically wait on tables in order that fairness is observed in the distribution of food. They are called, set apart for the role and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands. Although this role as those who wait on tables is where we get the word deacon from, they are quickly shown to be more important than that, as Stephen is martyred after witnessing to Jesus and Philip goes on to bring an Ethiopian to faith and so found the Ethiopian church.
I write these words just before Andrea’s ordination as Deacon on June 29th. This service also follows this threefold pattern—it will recognise her call from God to serve him, that she is being set apart for this new role and she will be prayed for and receive the laying on of hands. As a symbolic mark of this new role she will put her dog-collar on for the first time on Saturday morning, and will receive a white stole at the service.
As a Deacon Andrea will be able to lead and preach at services, lead funerals, lead projects in the parishes and do other things as directed by me.
Then next year she will be ordained priest (or presbyter or elder) as a sign that she is ready for further responsibilities and leadership. But as a recognition that Christian leadership is “as one who serves” and following the example of the servant King, she will remain a deacon, as do I, Sally, and all other priests and bishops in the Church of England. We may be called into leadership, but we are also called to serve.
Over the next three to four years, while with us here in Mattishall and Tudd Valley, Andrea will be discovering more of this call of God upon her life and why He has called her into ordained ministry. She will gain skills that she will need for the future and will have opportunity to grow into the person God is calling her to be as an ordained minister of the Church of England.
This training is a kind of apprenticeship, which is why we have such an amazing privilege in all this. God has chosen Andrea, but he has also chosen us all, as the members of this benefice, to help Andrea discover more of what God has planned for her. It is not an academic training (she has already completed that) but practical training in the very warp and weft of parish life.
So please continue to uphold Andrea, Tim and us all in prayer as we discover what all this means for her, for them and for us.
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Cakes on a plate!
Posted: Sun, 26 May, 2019 (3 months ago) by Jackie
The cakes on a plate are going well.
So well that we have had to order another 72!!
They are being so well received, so I urge you to think of a reason to make/acquire a cake and take it round to someone. One recipient told us, ‘a cake is edible love’!
I am aware there are 20 new homes, which have been occupied off the main road in Mattishall at Walnut Tree Fields with more to be occupied. We need 20 cakes!!!
The plan is for you to pick up a plate from ASM, the office or your own church and bring it along to the estate at 6.30pm on Friday 14th June. If you can’t make it, ask a friend or contact me as I am happy to pick your cakes up.
If you can’t bake, ask a friend or supply someone with the ingredients. It doesn’t have to be fancy, maybe the simpler the better so we have cakes to deliver which aren’t exotic, so please come down to my standard of a Victoria Sandwich or similar.
This is such a simple way of showing God’s love, Edible Love!
See you on the 14th!
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Thought for the month - June 2019
Posted: Sun, 26 May, 2019 (3 months ago) by Mark
We live in a world full of management jargon. “Moving forward” to mean do something in the future. “Low hanging fruit” to mean something is easy to do. “Run it up the flagpole” to mean try it out. “Communication Strategy” to mean planning how to talk to people. And most phrases like these are despised by those who endure them.
Now I don’t know if God ever had a Communications Strategy Meeting with the Archangels Gabriel and Michael to discuss Moving Forward with communicating his Mission Strategy and whether to Run It Up the Flagpole… But the bible shows God’s communication strategy anyway: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
God communicated with us, not with a document, or strategy, or a text or WhatsApp message, newsletter or magazine, but with a person – his own Son Jesus. God’s eternal message to his world came and lived among us.
God got it just right when he sent Jesus. All other attempts since tend to fall short.
That includes the way we communicate with you. Historically our communication has only really been the Benefice News, supplemented by word of mouth and notices at services. However, this has not always been very efficient, and has cost a significant part of our shared benefice office expenses.
Last year we updated our website, matvchurch.uk, which is now the best way to find out about events, and which gives you the ability to find out about updates daily, weekly or monthly. We try to keep the website as fresh as possible so you will always have the most up to date news via the website update.
We do recognise that a paper supplement to the website is important – that it’s not an either/or but a both/and way of communicating. So last year when we started the new site, we cut down to a simple 4 page booklet, not least because we wanted to minimise the amount the benefice office costs us all.
Unfortunately, in our attempt to be good stewards of the money you give, we recognise that we may have become a little too spartan. Sorry. Therefore we will be changing the MATV News sheet so that it is printed on colour paper, has more content and graphics and is useful for those who don’t have access to the Internet and those who do, to those who are regular parts of the church family and visitors. However, it will also be slimmer than the old Benefice News so we keep our shared costs to a minimum.
But if you do have the internet, please use the website update emails. They really are the best way of staying in touch with what is going on, and we will never pass your emails onto anyone else. Just go to updates.matvchurch.uk to sign up, select all groups and then we will keep you in touch the best we can.
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Path of Reflection at Welborne
Posted: Mon, 20 May, 2019 (3 months ago) by Alan
All Saints' Church, Welborne, has constructed a "Path of Reflection" in the churchyard. The changing views across the fields from the church lend themselves to reflection and contemplation. Do take a few moments in your busy life to stop and take a look at the beauty around us from our new path to the north of the church.
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New Bishop of Norwich announced
Posted: Fri, 3 May, 2019 (4 months ago) by Alan
The new Bishop of Norwich has been announced. Please see https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/article?id=4120 for details.
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Thought for the month - May 2019
Posted: Tue, 30 Apr, 2019 (4 months ago) by Jackie
When I want my brain to be ‘idle’, I sometimes play Solitaire on my tablet. I find it quite restful, because there is no jeopardy. There is a ‘hint’ button that I can use when I get stuck to show me the moves and I can’t see for looking! I receive congratulations when I win but then, if the cards beat me, I am simply offered a button to press which says ‘new game’ and I can start again. There is also an option to replay the previous game, so that I can make different choices. There is no record of how many games I lose, just how many I win.
If only life were the same. When things get tough, messy or too painful, it would be great if we could just hit a ‘new game’ button or opt for a replay and have another go. If only we could do that with our planet at this time. The stark reality of ‘progress’ in human terms, without recognising, or in some cases caring about the consequences on creation has now reached critical. If we could hit ‘replay’ we would hope to do things differently and take much more care. It certainly puts the debacle of Brexit into perspective. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. However…
We have just celebrated Easter and journeyed with Jesus through His last week to the cross. On the cross He re-set the future, pressed the ‘new game’ button on behalf of all of humankind. He gave us a future that wasn’t there beforehand and amazingly, He offers each of us that ‘new game’ button every time we get stuck. We still have the worldly consequences to deal with, but Jesus will wipe our slate clean with Him when we ask. He gives us an opportunity to ‘replay’ and make different choices, without keeping a record of how often we lost the game. What a gift!
Not just that, at the resurrection He won the game of all games! He took the victory and that will never leave His hands. When things in our world look so bleak, that is our hope. He offers us the light that can never be consumed by the darkness. Can you see it? If not, turn to Him and ask to press that ‘new game’ button and let Him show you.
With every blessing
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Thought for the month - April 2019
Posted: Sat, 30 Mar, 2019 (5 months ago) by Tom
On the lead up to Easter we consider the ordeal that Jesus went through on the way to the Cross. He was betrayed, convicted by an illegal court, flogged, mocked, spat upon and then tortured to death in the most cruel way. At no point did he retaliate; he was the perfect example of non-violence in a brutal world.
I like to trawl through the charity shops at the second-hand DVDs and enjoy a good action adventure. However, I've noticed how nearly every single cover has someone holding a gun on it. The message is clear: if you want to be a man you have to have a gun - and be prepared to use it! Not to be left behind, increasingly female action leads are seen gun-toting.
The news talks about the "knife culture" in London and our soap operas are full of verbal violence.
As followers of Christ, should we not be following His example? Should not non-violence be at least an aspiration? I believe that we should be preaching a radical gospel of non-violence. After all, on a national level we have the army to protect us and on the local level, the police. We are in a most fortunate position to really try and do this.
Non-violence in our actions is so fundamental that I do not propose using up precious space on that.
Non-violence in our speech is something a lot closer to home. A word uttered in anger can leave a wound that will last a lifetime. In the Bible, James chapter 3, the author lays out the responsibility we have to keep our tongues in check. Or, as Psalm 141 puts it, " Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips."
So that's that... or is it? What about our thoughts? Should we aspire even to non-violent thoughts?
C W Leadbetter was a Christian priest in Edwardian times. His writings are a bit dated nowadays, but full of sincerity, humility and compassion. He claimed to be a clairvoyant who could "see" thoughts given off by people. Different emotions, apparently, have different colours and habitual thoughts cling round a person to form an envelope of colour known as an aura. I do not know the truth of that, but I do know that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that thoughts were "real things" and not to be dismissed lightly.
Lusting after someone is paramount to adultery, while nursing hatred is equated with murder.
We are always judging people and news events. It becomes a habit. Everything has to be registered by our mind as either "good" or "bad." Why? Much of what happens are merely events and us passing judgements is at best a waste of mental activity. At worst, it is most unhelpful, because our judgements are invariably ill informed, or harsh.
John Watson was a 19th century minister who said, " Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." It is sage advice indeed.
Let us be honest, with our fallen nature, complete non-violence does not come naturally. Even if we restrain ourselves from hitting someone we dislike, we enjoy gossiping about them behind their backs. We want to feel resentment and have little fantasies about them coming to harm. It might be human nature, but it goes directly against the message of Jesus Christ.
I tell you, love your enemies. Matthew 5:44
Turn the other cheek. Matthew 5:39
Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do. Luke 34:34
St Paul wrote about conforming to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8.29). Let us, this Easter, try to conform our lives to that of the Son of God, practicing non-violence in our actions, our speech and our thoughts.
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ASM Communicates January 2019
Posted: Sun, 3 Mar, 2019 (6 months ago) by Jackie
This was posted 3/3/2019 and is for historical purposes only.
Heating: we’re nearly there folks! Keep wearing your thermals until we confirm but not long now! The heating system is due to be commissioned 7th February 2019 so hopefully we should be warmer from then. Please pray that all will go as planned.
All being well, Little Angels will return to the church on the Wednesday after half-term which will be a great blessing.
Electoral Roll: this year is a complete refresh (which happens every seven years) so we all need to fill out a form again if we wish to be on it. Forms are at the back of church or available from the Office. If you have any questions, please speak to Mark or Alan Cossey.
Events and services: There have been some fabulous things going on in the church over the last few months, with a lot of people coming into the church building who would not normally do so and many have experienced the love of God through the lovely welcome and service they have received. Thank you so much to all of you who were involved in the different services and events and for reaching out to the community in this way. The biggest thanks goes, as always, to God for His amazing blessings.
We have already started planning this year and over the page you will see those dates that we already have in the church diary. Please put them in yours too. Many of these events and services depend on us all being willing to serve and give of ourselves. As His church, this is a huge part of our job in this community - to show God’s love to those around us and one of the key ways we can do that is by serving them. God has given each of us amazing gifts and talents and this is one way in which we can use them to glorify Him.
Prayer Breakfast: you may recall that we asked you all how we could arrange things so that we spend time in prayer together, outside of a Sunday service. One suggestion which seemed to be popular was a Saturday morning once a month. The first one will be Saturday 16th February 9.30am - 10.30am. There will be toast, tea & coffee but not much chatter, as the idea is that for the best part of an hour we pray together. It will be guided in a very gentle way and will include some silence, so that we are listening to hear what God wants to say to us. There will be absolutely no expectation on you to pray out loud if you don’t wish to. The important thing is that we are together in prayer. Please come along if you can.
Intercessions Training: following on from this first Prayer Breakfast, there will some training for those who wish to go on the rota for leading prayers at a Sunday service. It will be for a maximum of 45 minutes. Even if you are on the rota and would like a refresher, do come along. Please let me know if you would like to be part of it.
APCM: This year’s meeting is on Wednesday 27th March 7.30am in ASM. The reports will be in church two weeks beforehand . Please make sure you pick up a copy and see just how much goes on in different areas of church life. Nomination forms for PCC vacancies and Churchwardens will also be available. If you contribute to the annual report, please submit your items to the office as soon as possible.
Mothering Sunday is on 31st March this year and we will be holding an outreach service. More details will follow but it will undoubtedly involve food! Please put the date in your diary and watch this space.
Easter Sunday falls on April 21st and around that time we are hoping to do something different to share the Easter story, particularly with the children, linking in with Little Angels and the schools. Again, please watch this space and if you would like to be involved in planning or the event please speak to Sue or Mandy.
Blessings to you all and thank you for all you are and all you do.
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