BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 9TH MAY 2021

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 9TH MAY 2021

Sunday services for the sixth Sunday of Easter 

 

9.30 am  South Luffenham Church                     Holy communion (CA)

11.00am Zoom service                                             Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Readings:  Acts 10. 44 – end    1 John 5. 1 – 6    John 15 . 9 – 17

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30 pm  South Luffenham                                    Holy Communion (CA)

Readings: Acts 1. 1 – 11 Eph. 1. 15 – end  Luke 24. 44 – end

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom
SERMON FOR EASTER 5 2ND MAY 2021

SERMON FOR EASTER 5 2ND MAY 2021

TALK FOR EASTER 5B 2021

One of the things that I enjoyed very much when we were in France was to see the vineyards, especially in Epernay where the champagne grapes are grown. One year we went later in the year and saw the grapes harvested and great lorry loads tipped into the crusher. The end result was good too!

In Biblical times vines were also very important. The ground needed to be prepared and the plants nurtured, with the vines two metres apart to allow for growth. They were pruned and trained in different ways. The branches which were cut off were useless because the wood is too soft for it to be used for anything and so can simply be destroyed by burning. The branches which remained were strong and bore fruit. Sometimes the bunches of grapes were so large that they were carried on a staff between two men. The vineyards were often guarded by watch towers and vines were one of the seven species God gave to Israel in the promised land. Wine was not for pleasure but was often drunk with the stale water from the cisterns.

The vines were also used symbolically for God’s people of Israel. The fruitful vine represented obedience to God but Jeremiah showed the other side. He wrote in ch 2 v 21: I planted you like a choice vine from the very best seed. But look what you have become! You are like a rotten, worthless vine. Didn’t mince his words about Israel’s wickedness!

So the Jews were familiar with the symbolism of the vine and here we have Jesus saying that he is the true vine and we are the branches and can either be fruitful or be cut off. What a terrible picture of being cut off from Christ!

The word which stands out in the reading we heard from St John is abide. It is used eight times in the few verses and has a great impact. It has several meanings: to bear, tolerate; to withstand; to await; to accept without objection. When Jesus asks us to abide in him he is inviting us to remain in a deep relationship with him, to accept his invitation. It is a most beautiful invitation!

I am the true vine is one of the seven I am sayings of Jesus. I am the way, the truth and the life, the gate and the good shepherd among the others. He states that we are the branches and we have the choice as to whether we are useless or fruitful. We can refuse his invitation, we can accept it and pay lip service to him or we can run away from him. How often do we do these things?

So how do we abide in him? Jesus spent much of his time in solitary places with his Father and refreshed both his relationship with his Father and gained strength for what was happening in his life. To maintain our relationship with Christ we need to make time to be with him. Relationships do not flourish unless the effort is made to keep in touch and that is what it is like with Christ. Prayer can be difficult and some say that we should only pray when we feel like it! W.E.Sangster quotes Forbes Robinson as saying : Do not mind about feelings…We do not want to feel better and stronger; we want to be better and stronger. We would not miss an appointment with a friend so how can we be less courteous to our Lord?

We must also be ready for the pruning fork. If we look at our innermost selves we will probably see a very murky looking place where there is much that needs to be sorted out. We cannot do that on our own because it is too easy to continue as we always have; we like a quiet life. That is not what Christ offers us but he offers us so much more.

We are now at the 5th week of Easter and we need to sustain that experience of utmost joy we shared on Easter Sunday. The Sunday after Easter is known as Low Sunday because it almost seems like an anti-climax and as Easter fades it is too easy to slip back into our old ways. But Jesus offers us great love to help us retain the momentum. He invites us to abide in him, to remain in his love and that involves obedience. We stray far from him and so we must allow him to prune out whatever is bad in our lives and accept that, knowing that he loves each one of us more than we will know. Let us accept his command to abide in him and he in us.

Risen Lord, you are the true vine and we are the branches. By your Spirit, produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, and patience in us for others to taste and enjoy. Keep us from hanging on to love for ourselves. Prune all selfishness from us and fill us with your love. Amen.

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices  Sunday 2nd May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices  Sunday 2nd May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices

 Sunday 2nd May 2021:  Easter V

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Jean Bowser; Sylvia Martin, Margaret and Derek Barker, Suzie Clements and Jane Williams. Pray to for the departed, including Peter Bowser.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Next Sunday we are in church at South Luffenham, 9.30am and on Zoom at 11 am
  • The Rev. Dr Sam Wells (Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields) is giving the first Peckard Lecture for Peterborough Cathedral on Zoom, 6 May at 7.30pm. Book via the Cathedral Website. He is very good and worth £7!

 

MORCOTT: the church will be open for prayer every day from 1st May.

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

Sunday 9th May 9.30am Holy Communion (CA).

Thursday 13th May 7.30pm Ascension Day Communion (CA).

Sunday 23rd May 9.30am Communion by Extension (AR).

APCM’s WEDNESDAY 19th MAY 6.30pm in Church.

Church is open daily from 10am-4pm.

 

MEDITATION:

Time is a very strange concept, isn’t it? During the various degrees of lockdown time has become even more extraordinary and often quite difficult for many. We use many phrases about time; take your time, as we rush to get everything done; don’t waste time as we enjoy a few idle moments; time will heal as we suffer and Benjamin Franklin said time is money.

 

However, we look at time it is important to all of us and even more significant is what we do with it. At the beginning of the first lockdown I made a list of all the things I could do in the enforced interval; I think I can cross one thing off! What are we supposed to do with time? I’ll leave each one of you to answer that question!

 

W.H.Davies wrote a poem called Leisure which epitomises time. Here is part of it:

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 

Many of us during recent times have spent more time appreciating the beautiful natural world around us. We often need to spend time simply being and there are often times when we need something beyond ourselves. When life is difficult there is an answer. The writer of Hebrews wrote (Hebrews ch 4 v 16):  Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Let us come to God who is always with us.

 

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

 

 

 

Sunday 2nd May 2021 

9.30 am Duddington Church                                              Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                            Morning worship  (AR)

 

Sunday 9th May 2021

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                                     Holy  Communion   (CA)

11.00am  Zoom Service                                                              Morning Worship   (CA)

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30pm South Luffenham Church                                            Holy Communion   (CA)

 

Sunday 16th May

9.s0am Tixover Church                                                                 Holy Communion (CA)

11.00am Morcott church                                         Holy communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00am Zoom Service                                                                     Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Sunday 23rd May 

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                        Holy Communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00 am  Barrowden Church                                                     Holy Communion (CA)(AR)

11..00 am  Zoom  from Barrowden Church                                                                                   

 

  • Sunday 30th May 2021

10.00 am Morcott Church                                                        Holy Communion  (CA)(AR)

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom

 

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 2ND MAY 2021

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 2ND MAY 2021

Sunday Services for fifth Sunday of Easter

 

9.30am Duddington Church                               Holy Communion (CA)  

11.00am       Zoom Service                                     Morning Worship   (AR)

Readings:    Acts 8.26 – end     1. John 4. 7 – end  John 15 1 – 8

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom
SERMON FOR SUNDAY 25TH APRIL 2021

SERMON FOR SUNDAY 25TH APRIL 2021

The Beautiful Game?

Sunday 25 April 2021.

St. John, Ch. 10. vv. 11 – 18.

 

Avarice!

This last week has seen the world of football caught with its trousers down. What has been revealed is a shocking display of greed as several of the top teams in the country announced that they would be forming a European Super League with other foreign clubs. The League would be self-contained with lots of money for itself and little if any chance for smaller clubs to join, effectively cutting off the element of competition which is both attractive and motivational. The top of the soccer pyramid would be creamed off.

The outcry was immediate and overpowering.  The thugs were taken by surprise and the whole idea of a Super League imploded within 72 hours.

We know that the best football is to be found in the industrial heartlands of the country where the game gives hope, colour, entertainment and identity to so many people who have been historically robbed of these vital ingredients.

Of course, there is a back storey: excessive wages, income from gate-money stopped with clubs and their owners running out of money. A new source of income was vital. If not, the whole organization would need a serious review. That is where we are today.

 

The Hireling.

This whole sorry story is judged by the parable of the Good Shepherd which St. John (10. 11 – 18) shares with us today. At the first sign of trouble, the hired hand runs away but The Good Shepherd, totally committed to his flock, will do anything for their welfare, including laying down his own life.

As we will know from our own rural context, rogue shepherds do not last long around here. Their insincerity is exposed by the demands of the job.

So, are the owners of our football clubs in it for the money or for the future of the game? This row exposes the rogue owners.  It’s not that owners and directors should not expect a fee but it must be proportionate. 

The uproar this week shows just how far removed some of the club’s owners are from their clubs and the fan-base.  Foreign owners will struggle to understand the culture of our soccer clubs and the furious passions which they evoke. And there is a lesson here for any potential leader: they need to be close to their community.

The image below is of a 3rd century Syrian sculpture of The Good Shepherd.  See how closely his hair is identified with the fleece of his sheep!

Pope Francis tells his pastors that they must be willing to take on the smell of the sheep if their work is to be effective. By this intimacy their leadership will prove to be genuine.

This parable of The Good Shepherd is a damning judgement on some of our football leaders: they neither know their players nor the fans. The revolt was inevitable.

Humility.

The parable ends by the shepherd being willing to lay down his life for the sheep in true humility.  There are foreign owners who act in the best interests of their soccer clubs and the communities they serve.  They are generous and sensitive. Without them the clubs would fold. However, this crisis does illuminate the cracks in the system and a thorough review is now overdue.  There is talk of a suitability test for potential owners with the fans getting a voice.  That can be very exciting and bring a greater wholeness to the world of soccer.

The Good Shepherd may not yet be redundant. Amen.

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

 

 

 

Sunday 2nd May 2021 

9.30 am Duddington Church                                              Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                            Morning worship  (AR)

 

Sunday 9th May 2021

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                                     Holy  Communion   (CA)

11.00am  Zoom Service                                                              Morning Worship   (CA)

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30pm South Luffenham Church                                            Holy Communion   (CA)

 

Sunday 16th May

9.s0am Tixover Church                                                                 Holy Communion (CA)

11.00am Morcott church                                         Holy communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00am Zoom Service                                                                     Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Sunday 23rd May 

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                        Holy Communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00 am  Barrowden Church                                                           Holy Communion (CA)

11..00 am  Zoom  from Barrowden Chur                                 Morning worship        (CA)

 

  • Sunday 30th May 2021

10.00 am Morcott Church                                                        Holy Communion  (CA)(AR)

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom

 

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 25TH APRIL 2021

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 25TH APRIL 2021

 Sunday  25th April  Easter 4

9.30am South Luffenham Church                               Morning Worship  (AR)

11.00am  Barrowden Church                      Holy Communion  and Zoom  (CA)

Readings: Acts 4.  5 – 12. 1 John 3. 16 – end. John 10. 11 -18

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom

 

 

BENEFICE NOTICES FOR SUNDAY 25TH APRIL 2021

BENEFICE NOTICES FOR SUNDAY 25TH APRIL 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices

 Sunday 25 April 2021:  Easter IV

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Margaret and Derek Barker, Jean Bowser, Suzie Clements Sylvia Martin and Jane Williams. Pray to for the departed, including Peter Bowser.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Next Sunday we are in church at Duddington, 9.30am, Morcott at 11am and on Zoom at 11 am
  • The Rev. Dr Sam Wells (Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields) is giving the first Peckard Lecture for Peterborough Cathedral on Zoom, 6 May at 7.30pm. Book via the Cathedral Website. He is very good and worth £7!

 

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

Morning Worship in Church, led by Ann, at 9.30am on Sunday (25th April).

Zoom Coffee on Monday 26th April at the new time of 3pm. Email sally@saltlane.com or phone 01780 729515 for details. 

Church is open every day from 10am – 4pm.

 

MEDITATION: The Brick

The bricklayer laid a brick on a bed of cement.

Then, with a precise stroke of his trowel spread another layer.

And without a by-your-leave, laid on another brick.

The foundation grew visibly.

The building rose, tall and strong, to shelter people.

 

I thought Lord of that brick buried in the darkness at the base of the big building.

No one sees it, but it accomplishes its task, and the other bricks need it.

Lord, what difference whether I’m on the roof-top or in the foundations of your building, as long as I stand faithfully at the right place?

 

Michel Quoist

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

SERMON FOR SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2021 EASTER 3

SERMON FOR SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2021 EASTER 3

Easter III 2021.

The Duke and the Wounded Church.

 

HRH.

The life, death and funeral of The Duke of Edinburgh will have been much in our minds and in our prayers recently.  His qualities have been paraded before us by the media and his weaknesses have also been explored but what I wish to do this morning is to explore his ability to spot weakness and make it into an opportunity for these relate to our gospel this morning.

The whole world admires the way Prince Philip has modelled his life to support the Queen in her duties. He belongs to the OSB Club: One Step Behind. As we all know, this came at a great cost to the Prince and his naval career. However, out of this grew three important initiatives which have had a lasting effect upon our culture generally and young lives in particular.

The first initiative is the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 1956. It grew out of the Duke’s experience at Gordonstoun School where he discovered discipline and the value of initiative.  It also came at a time when post-war youth, with no chance of conscription, could find an alternative to the BP organizations without the need for a uniform.

Secondly, the Duke’s enquiring mind and restless faith wanted to explore the truth behind the pat answers he often heard in sermons. In 1966 he teamed up with The Dean of Windsor to open St. George’s House, a conference centre focussed on the rhythm of prayer and worship in the chapel for leaders of society and senior clergy to discuss at leisure some of the most pressing problems of the day.  Courses lasted up to a month and it was an opportunity not only to nurture wisdom through debate but also to show how integrated matters of religion were to all elements of life, business and politics.

Finally there is the Duke’s interest in nature conservation where he was way ahead of his time. He became president of the World Wildlife Fund in 1961 and for its 25th anniversary he took it to Assisi for the celebration, neatly linking the care of nature to the creator God whom he worshipped.

These three concerns – young people, integrated faith and conservation – were all overlooked at the time the duke made them priorities. They were wounds in the side of humanity into which he poured energy and bound them up into something stronger.

 

Gospel Values.

Our reading today (Luke 24. 36 – 48) takes us to the end of St. Luke’s gospel and records the appearance of the Risen Lord to the frightened disciples in the upper room. His wounds are still obvious and yet Jesus can greet them with words of peace. There is continuity here between the crucified one and the Risen Lord. The wounds confirmed belief for doubting Thomas but they have been taken as even more important to the emerging church. They saw those wounds as points of future healing. In Peter’s First Letter (2.24) – which is widely seen as a baptism sermon – we are told, ‘By his wounds you have been healed’.

The duke’s vison embraced the weaknesses of his day and made them stronger. He was drawn to them, sympathized with them, saw their potential and built them up. I have known clergy who were so wounded that their hope of preferment was small but because of their weaknesses they made great pastors.

The Wounded Church.

In a good year, we would hope to take a summer holiday high up in the Swiss Alps, on the edges of a ski resort called Anzere. Each Sunday we would join the main mass of the day. It was a modern church with a striking crucifix hanging over the altar, showing the crucified one with his body lacerated all over with gashes. It was not a comfortable sight – and neither is our current church with its obvious defects: child-abuse, racism, sexism and many other isms, including you and me.

There is an important truth here: the crucified body was not perfect; the risen body still bore the wounds and now The Body of Christ, The Church, is very obviously not perfect.  Through his wounds, the Risen Lord can identify with our weaknesses. How can we make them our strengths? Think how odious the church would be if it were perfect!  Who would identify with it? And yet there are elements in church and society who want a perfect church and use it as a reason not to get involved.

As a church we must be aware of our weaknesses and seek to build them up, just like the duke did in his vision to strengthen society as he saw it.  Our aim is to be perfect just as our heavenly father is perfect and to cling to that vision. But perfection is different for each of us, just as a full egg-cup differs from a brimming reservoir.

One of the most painful symbols for me in the Christian Church is the breaking of bread at the heart of our Eucharist. Yet, if the body is not broken, others cannot share. It challenges our narrow parochialism, our poverty of passion, our reluctance to invite others to the party. These are some of the weaknesses I can identify. You will have your own observations. How do we turn them into our strengths? Amen.