Thought for the month(s) - July and August 2019

Thought for the month(s) - July and August 2019

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.

Mark McCaghrey




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Cakes on a plate!

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!

Jackie Crisp




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Thought for the month - June 2019

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,, 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 to sign up, select all groups and then we will keep you in touch the best we can.

Mark McCaghrey



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Path of Reflection at Welborne

Path of Reflection at Welborne

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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Thought for the month - May 2019

Thought for the month - May 2019

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

Jackie Clay



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Thought for the month - April 2019

Thought for the month - April 2019

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.

Tom Cross


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How do we respond in these times of uncertainty?

How do we respond in these times of uncertainty?

I am not a political person. I avoid reading the papers and would not choose to watch the news on the TV. However, it is surely impossible to avoid the uncertainty, confusion and conflict dominating the UK news now. It can be overwhelming, leave us feeling anxious, fearful, frustrated, even angry. 

We will all respond to differently, depending on many things but as Christians, how should our faith influence our response?

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds says this:
“... in these current dangerous circumstances of division, insecurity, and growing fear, the Christian tradition has something more to offer: hope.”
“...Christians are not driven by fear; we are drawn by hope. It is a hope that comes to us from the future: resurrection. It is a hope that should not be confused with fantasy. It is committed to the life of the present — in all its complexity and muckiness — but refuses to see the present reality as the end or the ultimate.”
“Christians must love the light by looking at the world — and our politics, and our media — in the light of the Christ who is the light of the world. Don’t just look at Jesus: look at the world through his eyes, say what you see — always with the humility that we might be myopic or wilfully blind — and be trustworthy and faithful.”

These are excerpts from a lecture the Bishop delivered earlier this month on “How Christians should respond to populism”.

I must confess, I don’t even understand the title! However, what he says here works for me. It reminds me that we are part of a far bigger picture, an infinite and eternal timeline, way beyond the arguments between Theresa and Jeremy, the UK and the EU, in or out. It reminds me too that when we try to look at the world through the eyes of Jesus, the perspective changes. Jesus sees through the flaws to the potential, past the bickering to the heart of those striving to do their best job amidst the turmoil. However, I think we can safely say He won’t be happy with the lack of compassion, the personal criticisms and the division it is causing between friends, families and communities.

When it all gets too much, we have a mighty weapon in our armoury – prayer. Perhaps we can share this one together:’


Gracious God,

As we move through uncharted waters, we look to You.

You are our anchor and our hope, help us to keep our eyes on You
 For all involved in negotiations and decisions please bring wisdom, tolerance, integrity and empathy.
You are our anchor and our hope, help us to keep our eyes on You
Lord, as nations in the United Kingdom, may we always be people of hospitality, compassion and kindness, welcoming the stranger, the lost and loving our neighbours as You call us to do.

You are our anchor and our hope, help us to keep our eyes on You
Lord, remove all fear of the future from our hearts and help us to look at the world through Your eyes. In Jesus' name, Amen


Jackie Clay      


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Drop In Coffee Morning

Drop In Coffee Morning

We hold a coffee morning on Thursdays from 9.30 until 12.00 which is a nice place to meet new friends and to chat to those you already know. There is no specific charge but we do suggest a small donation of £1 to cover our expenses. We serve hot and cold drinks, as many as you want, cakes on the tables and at around 11am we serve toasted tea cakes. We have celebration events such as our Christmas Dinner and occasional buffet lunches which are all great fun. We can also arrange lifts for anyone unable to walk there or who is without transport so it is ideal for those who can not always get out and about.

The majority of people are aged over 50, however we have had some younger people come along recently and that is great. It is important for us to have events that cross the generations. It also means that we could then have some younger people who can help out in the kitchen.

At the moment anyone on the rota for helping out in the kitchen is on duty around every 4 weeks. This does not however give us much scope to cover holidays or illness so we would really love to have a few more volunteers on our list. The more people we have the less often each person is on the rota. It would be great to get us back to a situation where each person is only on duty once every 6 weeks.

It is actually quite rewarding being in the kitchen. Part of the duty is to greet people as they come in and ask what they would like to drink. If it is someone new you may be the first person they speak to. There are always at least 2 people in the kitchen together so you are never just left there on your own. It only involves making drinks, collecting up cups and washing up. Toasting the teacakes is usually done by one of the regular helpers, although it is fine for anyone to do that as well.

If you are interested in coming along and/or helping out just turn up on a Thursday and ask for Lizzie.

If you would like to ring me my number is 01362 850491.

(You do have to announce who you are as we have call guardian to stop all those nuisance calls getting through.)



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