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ST MARYS MORCOTT. A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY COMMUNION. 11.00 am SUNDAY 16th September 2018

ST MARYS MORCOTT. A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY COMMUNION. 11.00 am SUNDAY 16th September 2018

Malcolm Saunders 

is celebrating 57 years working as a priest, in the ministry.
On 23rd September 1961 he was ordained Priest
in Peterborough Cathedral by  Bishop, Robert Stopford,
so this September marks 57 years .
In all, 40 years in active service and 17
retired and supporting us in this Benefice.
He has always been based in the Peterborough Diocese and was for 10 years at Ketton.
and since 2001 has been retired living in Barrowden .
He feel it has been an enormous privilege to have been able to serve God
and His people in this way for so long. ‘ I certainly would live it all
over again ( if you see what I mean).’
Please come and support him on this special day.
In celebrating the service at Morcott,

he will be supported by The Very Rev. Christopher Armstrong.

CHURCH SERVICES: SUNDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER 2018

CHURCH SERVICES: SUNDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER 2018

All are Welcome at any of our Services

across the Benefice this Sunday, Trinity 14

• 8.00 am Barrowden Church                 Holy communion (BCP)( CA)
• 9.30 am Duddington Church       Holy communion (CA)
• 11.00 am Morcott Church                     Holy Communion (CA)
• 6.00 pm South Luffenham Church     Evensong (BCP)(AR)

Readings: James 1. 17-end Mark 7. 1-8, 14 -15, 21-23 BCP Gal. 5. 16-24 Luke 17. 11-19

CA = The Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong   AR= Mrs Anne Robinson (Reader)

BCP= Book of Common Prayer

Report on Morcott’s Patronal Songs of Praise

Report on Morcott’s Patronal Songs of Praise

Morcott held a Songs of Praise service on 15 August 2018 to mark the Assumption of St Mary the Virgin, the church’s patron saint. Morcott has not held a ‘patronal festival’ for many years, so offering a mid-week service in August was a bit of an experiment!

Members of the congregation had previously nominated their favourite hymns, which were whittled down by Christopher and Astrid into six well-known anthems which formed the backbone of the service. These, together with a bible reading, a poem and a musical interlude from Jane Page and Astrid Hazelwood, all linked by brief words from Christopher constituted a short and celebratory service enjoyed by more than 40 people.

Afterwards, the PCC offered wine, canapes, coffee/tea and biscuits and, on yet another warm summer’s evening, people stayed for over an hour to share fellowship. Feedback has been entirely positive, and it may become an annual event.

The photo is of one of Barrowden’s statues of St Mary, which we borrowed especially for the occasion – statues not being Morcott’s style!

CHURCH SERVICES – SUNDAY 15th JULY 2018

CHURCH SERVICES – SUNDAY 15th JULY 2018

All are Welcome at any of our Services across the Benefice this Sunday Trinity 7.

• 9.30.am South Luffenham Church:     Morning Praise (AR)
• 11.00 am Barrowden Church:               Morning Praise (AR)
• 9.30 am Tixover Church:                       Holy Communion (CA) (BCP)
• 11.00am Morcott Church                       Holy communion (CA)

Readings:  Eph. 1. 3 -14    Mark 6. 14-29    BCP. Rom. 6. 19 – end   Mark 8. 1-10a
CA = The Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong AR = Mrs Ann Robinson, Reader
BCP = Book of Common Prayer

Five Myths about Prayer as preached 7th May at Morcott

Five Myths about Prayer as preached 7th May at Morcott

Five Myths about Prayer

As  preached on 7 May at Morcott –background reading for the  Spring Study Group on The Lord’s Prayer

 

In the winter of 1871 The Prince of Wales fell ill from Typhoid. It was assumed he caught it in Scarborough during a hunting party.  His health declined and a committee including the Archbishop of Canterbury and The Prime Minister William Gladstone decreed that the nation should pray for the Princes recovery on the next Sunday, 10 December.  The following week the prince’s health took a turn for the better and in February 1872 a grand service was held in St. Paul’s Cathedral to give thanks for his recovery led by the queen herself.

We are approaching a period of special prayer in the life of Our Church: Rogation-tide, Christian Aid Week, The Archbishops’ Novena of Prayer which began on Ascension Day (Thursday) and a spring study group on The Lord’s Prayer starting on 21 May. So this morning I want us to think a bit about prayer and especially 5 myths which are commonly held about prayer.

Before we get into the 5 myths, just what is prayer?  Let me offer you a simple definition: prayer is seeking union with God. I had a conversation recently about holding people in our prayers.  I do a lot of that but what exactly am I doing?  If we hold onto that definition of prayer as ‘seeking union with God’ we can test it by exploring these 5 myths.

 

Firstly, there is the myth of the slot-machine God. This God is supposed to answer our prayers on demand.  It is a mechanical and random exercise.  We don’t always win because God seems to be biased against the user and in favour of the casino.  What is more, we seem to be guessing the answer to our prayers as if we knew what God’s will might be.  This sort of prayer to the slot-machine God put us at the centre of concern and not God.  Are we really seeking union with God or just displaying our selfishness?

 

Secondly, there is the ‘health and wealth’ myth – the expectation that God wants the best for us.  Well of course he does!  He wants us to have life in abundance (Jn. 10.10)! If we’re not careful, this is a prayer for material blessings and only one response is acceptable to us.  This seems to be a prayer to baby Jesus associated with Christmas presents and ignores the suffering Christ on the cross. Jesus too prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup of suffering would be taken from him.  It wasn’t; but the cross allowed us all to see and participate in a more abundant life.

Life takes many twists and turns.  We can only say, with Jesus, ‘nevertheless, not my will but thine be done’. How do we see the hand of God in all of it?

 

Thirdly, there is ‘feeding the meter’ God.  Regular prayer is critical and if we miss out on an opportunity then we think the lights will go out. Such regularity in prayer is important but it can be mechanical or superstitious, rather like professional footballers running on to the field and making the sign of the cross for good luck. Professor David Wilkinson of Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ fame talks about taking his family to Yorkshire for a Christmas break.  The cottage had a very thirsty electric meter and demanded a daily run to the bank and a convenient chair next to the meter so that the place could be kept warm.  However, they soon discovered that the oven was on a separate circuit so they basked in free heat for the rest of the holiday!  This is not like a God with whom we can have a personal relationship but rather a robot.  A union with such a robot is dehumanizing.

 

Then fourthly, there is making ready for a miracle.  I once went to an evangelical church in a carpet factory to observe what went on.  After a great deal of hype and emotion, the leader called people forward to be healed.  A blind student went up and a great fuss was made in prayer.  The result? Nothing – except for one distraught woman.  Sometimes in our prayers we ask God to break the very laws of nature he has established.  Why should he do that for one person?  How can God manage the expectation of the Norfolk holiday maker praying for fine weather and the Suffolk farmer wanting rain for his crops?  Surely, we seek a union with God whose presence must be predictable, reliable and generous?

 

Finally, ‘prayer doesn’t change anything’.  Billy Graham used to say that God answered his prayers except on the golf course!  If the laws of nature are immutable and nothing can change then there is no point in praying or even getting up in the morning!  We can’t change anything!

A simple scientific observation will tell us that this is not true. When water cools it actually contracts until it gets down to 4 degrees centigrade and then it expands, contrary to popular opinion. As we know to our cost this year, spring does not arrive on any given day. Humans are good at variation; the laws of nature are flexible and since the scientific revolution quantum theory and chaos theory have been discovered which have shown scientists that there is not so much predictability in the physical world as had been supposed.  It is an open system and it is here that God can work, in the variation and variety of life as we know it and much else that we don’t know about.  It is here that we come up against the mystery of God’s work which we must take into account as we seek a closer union with him.

 

We have explored 5 myths about the practise of prayer, mainly in connection with prayers of intercession.  This last myth – that nothing can be changed – leads us into the mystery of God and a whole new exploration of God in terms of listening, loving and waiting in simple adoration.

Jesus himself spent much time in prayer, often alone.  He taught his disciples to pray and encouraged his followers to pray. It was through prayer that Christianity first spread through the Mediterranean world like a blazing fire.  We too have the opportunity to work with that power for the glory of God. Amen.

Easter 2018 at Morcott

Easter 2018 at Morcott

A good congregation of 50+ people gathered at St Mary’s Church in Morcott on Easter Sunday. We were grateful to the Rev Helen  Rayment of Ketton for covering for us, since Christopher can’t be in five churches at once! Coffee/tea, biscuits and Easter eggs were served after the service. Here are some pictures from the day.

 

CHURCH SERVICES: ADVENT SUNDAY 3rd December 2017

CHURCH SERVICES: ADVENT SUNDAY 3rd December 2017

All are Welcome at any of our Services across the Benefice this  Advent Sunday,

  • 8.00 am   Barrowden Church                 Holy communion  (BCP)( CA)
  • 9.30 am  Duddington Church                 Holy communion (CA)
  • 11.00 am  Morcott Church                       Holy Communion (CA)
  • 4.00 pm  Morcott Church                        Advent Sunday Service (CA)
  • 6.00 pm  South Luffenham Church        Evensong (BCP)(AR)

 Readings : Isa.64 1-9 Mark. 24 to end BCP   Mic.4 1-4 6-7  Matt.21. 1-13

CA = The Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong   AR= Mrs Anne Robinson (Reader)

BCP= Book of Common Prayer