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BENEFICE NOTICES FOR SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2021

BENEFICE NOTICES FOR SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 18 April 2021:  Easter III

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Jean and Peter Bowser; Sylvia Martin and Jane Williams.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings and especially for potential wardens to emerge in Barrowden where the current wardens are due to retire after many years faithful service. A limit of 6 years maximum has now been placed on warden’s service in Barrowden.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Friday 23rd is St. George’s Day. Holy Communion (BCP) at 12 noon in Barrowden Church.
  • Next Sunday we are in church at South Luffenham at 9.30am and in Barrowden 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:

The Church is open every day from 10am to 4pm.

Holy Communion by Extension this Sunday (April 18th) at 9.30am in Church.
Next Sunday (April 25th) at 9.30am in Church, Morning Worship led by Ann.

 

MEDITATION:  “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21)

Bardsey Island – long-inhabited sacred place; often called the ‘burial ground of twenty thousand saints’; steeped in the spiritual intent of many pilgrims through the ages.

Making the arduous journey in devotion and faith would surely bring some encounter with God – some outward, objective sign of presence. But let us come in our imagination to where pilgrim poet RS Thomas stands, bemused; prompted to turn his attention inward:-

“……… Am I too late? / Were they too late also, those / first pilgrims? / He is such a fast /

God, always before us / and leaving as we arrive…….

……… Was the pilgrimage / I made to come on my own / self, to learn that in times / like these and for one like me / God will never be plain and / out there, but dark rather and / inexplicable, as though he were in here?”

London – long-inhabited metropolis, steeped in power and everything of this world – where lives easily slip into ruin.

Here we find poet Francis Thompson: ill, addicted to laudanum and in despair; down and out; alone and homeless. In our imagination, let us come to where he tries to rest, sleeping rough under a bridge, staring into cold darkness – and, making his inner cry, experiences a vision of Christ walking towards him over the wintry river.

 

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)

Cry: – and upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder

Pitched between Heaven and Charing Cross,

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,

Cry – clinging Heaven by the hems;

And lo, Christ walking on the water

Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!

 

 

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

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

BENEFICE SERVICES SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2021

BENEFICE SERVICES SUNDAY 18TH APRIL 2021

Sunday Services for Easter 3

 

9.3o am Tixover church                                                        Holy Communion (CA)

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

11.00 am Zoom                                                                   (CA)

 

Readings: Acts 3. 12 – 19  1 John 3. 1 – 7   Luke 24. 36b – 48 

BCP:  Ezek. 34. 11 – 16a  1 Peter  2. 19 – 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
SERMON FOR SUNDAY THE 11TH OF APRIL 2021

SERMON FOR SUNDAY THE 11TH OF APRIL 2021

Easter II 2021.

‘Line of Duty’ (St. John 21. 15 – 19)

 

Line of Duty.

So here we are, in the HQ of AC 12, the anti-corruption wing of the Police Force. It’s Sunday night in ‘Line of Duty’, the latest police drama and the air is full of intrigue. Sly glances are shared among the officers for a cloud of suspicion hovers over the whole force which is charged with rooting out bent coppers. The camera pans into the office of Superintendent Ted Hastings – the boss – who is talking to his trusty colleague Inspector Steve Arnott. This is not an interview situation in the glass box where two or three officers grill a suspect mercilessly with a formal recording. No. This is a discussion between two of the main and trusted characters.  Nevertheless, Hastings is probing the reliability of his assistant in the light of unusual meetings which have been reported. How trustworthy is Arnott?  Much will depend upon the answer. Hastings wants to support Arnott for another series so he does not hold back on a variety of probing but friendly questions.

 

St. John’s Gospel, Conclusion.

In our bible reading today, the Risen Lord takes Simon Peter aside to quiz him.  Peter has been out fishing and the two have just had breakfast together. The other disciples are seated around the fire and Jesus takes Peter aside: the dodgy disciple.  Here is a young man who has shown much promise but he is a hot-head. He picks fights when it is not necessary; he swears undying allegiance to Jesus one minute and then, at the trial, he denies Jesus three times. And the cock crowed.

So Jesus takes Peter aside and puts these three questions to him. He asks if Peter loves him. But in true Hastings fashion, each question is gently nuanced. Jesus uses two different Greek words for love: agape, meaning unconditional love and philio meaning friendship. Most translations gloss over this difference but St. John chooses his words precisely and for a purpose so I have used the J.B. Phillips translation because it makes clear the difference:

                Jesus says twice to Peter, ‘Do you love me with all your being’? And Peter replies twice, ‘You know that I am your friend, (I like you, we meet in the pub together on occasions’).

Jesus notes the distinction which Peter makes so he lowers the bar for the 3rd question and uses Peter’s word, philio, friendship. This gets Peter annoyed. He is ‘deeply hurt’. And why?  Peter is honest. He doubts his ability to love his friend unconditionally and he has been rumbled.

 

Our Commitment.

Now I hope you will forgive me for this departure into biblical criticism. Perhaps it is self-indulgence on my part but what is being laid out before us is part of our human condition. How trustworthy can we be – in our job, our DIY, our marriage, our faith, our diligence in the garden? Hastings needs to know just where Arnott stands for the continuing of the operation. Now he knows. He has to make a decision. So it is with Jesus. Can Peter carry the next chapter of the gospel on his shoulders, given that his commitment is not total? We know the answer to that.

So what does Jesus do?  He gives Peter a job! Jesus doesn’t get the answer he wants but Peter’s commitment will grow as he does a job. And as Peter answers the three questions, Jesus increases the responsibility that he expects from Peter: feeding lambs, caring for sheep, growing the whole flock.

We too are challenged in our discipleship by this passage. Where do you position yourself?  Are we merely onlookers, well-wishers or do we express our commitment to the Risen Lord in some way? Yes, we are all followers – that is the last thing that Jesus says to Peter, ‘Follow me!’ – but what else is the Risen Lord asking of us? Are we buttresses or pillars in our local church?  What does it need for its further development? We will all have our views on that one but if we keep them to ourselves we will get nowhere together!

In this Easter season, people change. The confidence in the Risen Lord, the support of the Holy Spirit enables us to lift our commitment just a little. Peter’s gaffs for the gospel fizzle out and he learns to carry the weight of the fledgling church on his shoulders precisely because he knew his weaknesses as well as gathering knowledge of his strengths.

Do I need to press the point further? No, the Holy Spirit, working in your heart will do that.  Arnott will go back to his desk and suck his pencil; Hastings will pace up and down in his transparent office –but – please God – the show will go on. Amen.

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE APRIL SERVICES 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE APRIL SERVICES 2021

Services for Holy week and April

 

Thursday April 1st

Maundy Thursday

Rome, Italy: detail of the painting under the altar inside the Saints Peter and Paul’s church .

 

6.00pm  Walking Meditation on U tube   (CA)

 

Friday April 2nd 

Good Friday

 

3.00pm Meditation (AR)

 

Sunday 4th April  Easter Day

 

 

9.30 a.m. South Luffenham Church           Holy Communion by extension (AR)

11.00am  Barrowden Church                           Holy Communion and Zoom  (CA)

 

 

Sunday 11th April Easter 2

9.30 am  Duddington Church                                           Holy communion  (CA)

11.00am  Morcott Church                            Holy communion by Extension (AR)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                                                          (CA)

 

Sunday 18th April Easter 3

9.30am   Tixover Church                            Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am Morcott Church                            Morning Worship   (AR)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                                    (CA)

 

 Friday April 23rd  St. Georges Day

12.00 Noon  Barrowden Church                Holy Communion  (CA)

 

 Sunday  25th April  Easter 4

9.30am South Luffenham Church                               Morning Worship  (AR)

11.00am  Barrowden Church                      Holy Communion  and Zoom  (CA)

 

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.  Sunday 11 April 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.  Sunday 11 April 2021

 

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 11 April 2021:  Easter II.

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Jean and Peter Bowser; Sylvia Martin and Jane Williams.
  • We give thanks for the long life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: for his humour, energy and devotion to duty in the service of The Queen, country and Commonwealth.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings and especially for potential wardens to emerge in Barrowden where the current wardens are due to retire after many years faithful service. A limit of 6 years maximum has now been placed on warden’s service in Barrowden.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Next Sunday we are in church at South Luffenham and Tixover at 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!

BARROWDEN: There is a Book of Condolence for the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in St. Peter’s Church, Barrowden available for messages of sympathy.   The Church is open from 10 am. to 4 pm. every day.  Please bring your own pen if possible.

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:
The next service in Church is on Sunday 18th April at 9.30am (Communion by Extension led by Ann).
Coffee Zoom Monday 12th April at 3.30pm.  Email sally@saltlane.com or phone 01780 tHE729515 if you would like the details. 
Our Church will be open for private prayer every day from 10am to 4pm. Please pop in to have a look at the Easter flower arrangements. (Thank you to the Flower Arrangers).

 

MORCOTT:  There is a Book of Condolence available for the Duke of Edinburgh in the church porch should anyone wish to sign. 

 

LOW SUNDAY MEDITATION:

The Anglican Lectionary calls this the Second Sunday of Easter. I’ve always known it as Low Sunday. There are many popular explanations for the name. A quick Google search will come up with a few.

For more than twenty years I sang in a church choir. Easter meant immersion at the heart of a rich pattern of liturgy. On Low Sunday we were given a rest. During that time, the Passion story always felt relevant, personal, profoundly real. Last year Easter disappeared. I was in a state of shock and can remember almost nothing about it.

 

For the following year, Government required us to abstain from the activity which makes us who we are; to accept that the virtual is a substitute for the material; to face the stark reality of grief.

 

As I reflect on Easter 2021, I’m struck by the similarity between restriction for the common good and the meaning of Christ’s passion. Easter confronts us with sacrifice. We begin to trust and hope in the things which we can’t actually experience. We believe that though night is a time for tears, joy comes in the morning.

 

Today’s lectionary’s readings offer both challenge and encouragement. Though I’m still exhausted by recent events, everything is possible if I follow the one who has already risen.

 

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

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

Benefice services for Sunday 11th April 2021

Benefice services for Sunday 11th April 2021

Sunday 11th April Easter 2

9.30 am  Duddington Church                                           Holy communion  (CA)

11.00am  Morcott Church                            Holy communion by Extension (AR)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                                                          (CA)

 

Readings:  Acts 4. 32 – 35  1. John 1..1 – 2.2   John 20. 19 – 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
EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE HYMN SUNDAY 4TH APRIL 2021

EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE HYMN SUNDAY 4TH APRIL 2021

         

 

Singing the final Easter Hymn

‘Thine be the glory’

outside the church in the Spring sunshine.

After many months of Zoom services we were able to attend a live Easter communion service at Barrowden.

Outside we could all sing a hymn of thanks giving and celebration. 

EASTER SUNDAY SERMON

EASTER SUNDAY SERMON

 

 

Easter Day 2021. Barrowden/Zoom.

Risk-taking.

Change.

The saintly Archbishop of Paris, preaching on Easter Day, recounted a story of 3 young lads who decided to annoy their local parish priest. In they went to the confessional, one after the other, no doubt telling whacky stories of imagined evil to their Father–in-God. As the last boy was about to leave the confessional the priest said to him, “For your penance, I want you to stand in the middle of the church, look up at the giant crucifix and say, ‘I know you died for me but I don’t care a damn’.“ The boy went to the centre of the church, looked up at the crucifix and began the sentence but couldn’t finish it. “I know that story to be true said the archbishop. I was that boy.”

People change and Easter is all about change. Certainly this year, with the roadmap underway, we are very conscious that change is in the air.  So it was when St. Luke tells this story (Acts 10. 34 – 43) about Peter being invited to a party at the house of Cornelius, the Roman centurion. Peter is the one who denied Christ 3 times at the trial but now he is a changed man; he has picked himself up out of despair. He is taken to the centurion’s house and dares to cross the threshold for it was forbidden for Jews to mingle with gentiles. No matter, Peter was on a mission and begins his speech by assuring Cornelius and his family that God shows no partiality. Christ is for them – for Romans – just as he was for Jews and anyone who wishes to know him.

Now the Acts of the Apostles is one of the most racy books in the bible. It is about the rapid spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, yes, but it is also written by St. Luke who has a strong interest in the outsider, the stranger, women, the poor. So this story of Cornelius is about a centurion and his family on which change is about to fall.  He and his guests are about to begin life again as Christians.

 

Christ the Stranger.

Peter’s party speech in the house of Cornelius compresses many details in the life of Christ but he labours the point about the resurrection appearances. Christ appears not to all but to some who are chosen as witnesses: those who could give evidence about the Risen Lord. As we also know, those witnesses were not always sure of the evidence.  Mary, at the empty tomb very early in the morning mistook Christ for the gardener, a stranger.  The apostles, gathered together in the upper room with the doors locked where frightened rigid when Christ appeared among them. His appearance had changed though they recognized his wounds.  Could this be the Risen Lord? They went on  worship him in faith, ‘though some doubted’ as St. Matthew says. Then we have the couple on the road to Emmaus who only recognized Jesus when he said the blessing over the meal. EThey scampered back to tell their mates about The Risen Lord. Finally, the disciples return to their fishing habits, but who was this chap on the shore with helpful hints about fishing from the other side of the boat?  Could that stranger be Jesus?  Well, it was. He welcomes them ashore and cooks breakfast for them.

 

Taking Risks.

Someone has described the work of a priest as one who comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comforted.  This adage could well be applied to The Acts of the Apostles.

Peter goes into the very heart of an alien family to talk about Jesus. Cornelius courts him but he could just as easily have crucified him. It was a risky visit. Of course, the world–changing encounter in Acts is between Stephen – who was arrested for his faith – and a stranger called Saul who stood and watched the stoning of Stephen. Later, he was contacted by those early Christians and his conversion to Christ gave added thrust to the work of evangelisation.

The Acts of the Apostles is full of such risks, people crossing boundaries for the sake of truth and joy and satisfaction. We need only think of the thousands last year who took a risk to take part in vaccine trials around the world, resulting in the most amazing progress in science and safety. Their risk resulted in our security. Such risk-taking allows us to break down barriers and this is just what happened in those early days of the church as it suddenly exploded in growth.

If this risk-taking is seen as part of church history only, then we are the most to be pitied. It has to be part of our church growth strategy too. It is so easy to do but requires an adjustment to our thinking.  We have to shift our weight onto the front foot.  Let me share a clear example with you.  Last week, two of our churches – and probably their hard-working churchwardens – distributed Palm Crosses to every church-going family in the village. Commendable, yes. But why stop there? There will be other people in those villages just waiting for permission to interact with the community of faith but we don’t allow it!  We erect our own barriers then wring our hands about not growing the church!

Now I acknowledge that there is a slight risk of rejection but in our villages it is not likely to result in crucifixion. Christ died for those too who live beyond those doors which weren’t visited!

When Peter visited Cornelius he was acutely aware of the risk to life and the danger of crossing cultural boundaries. But the man who denied Christ had been forgiven and was joyful in the presence of the Risen Lord.  He was happy to take risks for Christ.  We must stand with him. Amen.

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE APRIL SERVICES 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE APRIL SERVICES 2021

Services for Holy week and April

 

Thursday April 1st

Maundy Thursday

Rome, Italy: detail of the painting under the altar inside the Saints Peter and Paul’s church .

 

6.00pm  Walking Meditation on U tube   (CA)

 

Friday April 2nd 

Good Friday

 

2.00pm Meditation (AR)

 

Sunday 4th April  Easter Day

 

 

9.30 a.m. South Luffenham Church           Holy Communion by extension (AR)

11.00am  Barrowden Church                           Holy Communion and Zoom  (CA)

 

 

Sunday 11th April Easter 2

9.30 am  Duddington Church                                           Holy communion  (CA)

11.00am  Morcott Church                            Holy communion by Extension (AR)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                                                          (CA)

 

Sunday 18th April Easter 3

9.30am   Tixover Church                            Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am Morcott Church                            Morning Worship   (AR)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                                    (CA)

 

 Friday April 23rd  St. Georges Day

12.00 Noon  Barrowden Church                Holy Communion  (CA)

 

 Sunday  25th April  Easter 4

9.30am South Luffenham Church                               Morning Worship  (AR)

11.00am  Barrowden Church                      Holy Communion  and Zoom  (CA)

 

CHURCH NOTICES FOR EASTER SUNDAY 4TH APRIL 2021

CHURCH NOTICES FOR EASTER SUNDAY 4TH APRIL 2021

Church Notices

EASTER DAY

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 4 April 2021:  Easter Day.

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey; Jean and Peter Bowser; Sylvia Martin and Jane Williams.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings and especially for potential wardens to emerge in Barrowden where the current wardens are due to retire after many years faithful service. A limit of 6 years maximum has now been placed on warden’s service in Barrowden.
  • Today, we are back in church! South Luffenham at 9.30 am and Barrowden at 11 am (with Zoom).
  • 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 11 am and on Zoom at 11 am.
  • ‘The Lord is Risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia’!  A Happy Easter to you all from the ministers and wardens in the benefice.

 

MORCOTT:

The church is open all day on Easter Sunday for private prayer. Please follow Covid rules. 

SOUTH LUFFENHAM
There are still spaces available out our Easter Sunday Service (Communion by Extension led by Ann) in Church at 9.30am. Please email sally@saltlane.com or phone 01780 729515. 
There is a large wooden cross outside Church – ready for you to decorate with flowers. 
Easter Egg Windows Sunday and Monday around the village. Mini chocolate eggs for children on the Village Green.
Our Church will be open for private prayer every day from 10am to 4pm. Please pop in to see the fantastic Easter flower arrangements. (Thank you to the Flower Arrangers).

 

The Meditation: Cracking Easter

The sale of Easter Eggs will have soared in the last few days and rightly so. Eggs have become a fashionable symbol of new life, which is at the core of our Easter celebrations. A bottle of Gin doesn’t quite hit the mark. I’ve tried to find a bottle for a close friend, but her favourite tipple is out of stock.  It will have to be an Easter Egg after all.

 

Easter Eggs are very attractive, very accessible but – in my experience – they can be disappointing.  What promises to be an egg full of luxury chocolates is found to be enclosing a cellophane pack of disappointment. Cracking eggs is easy; finding satisfaction is illusive.

 

How then do we crack God to find that promised joy and delight? Well we don’t. Rather it is God who has to crack us. God is the unmoved mover whose power lies in and beneath all life as we know it and yet He seems to struggle to speak to us directly. True, we sometimes hear him loud and clear; we feel his direct touch; we see his influence all around. But then He disappears; He becomes illusive; He even disappoints.

 

Could this be because God can’t get access to us – or we won’t allow it? We can be pretty closed up, inaccessible – the fashionable term is self-sufficient. God of course could wield the heavenly sledge-hammer to break us open but that is not in his nature. Yes, He is all-powerful – or so we believe – but forcing himself upon us would not be consistent with the God of Love and neither is there much evidence that He worked that way in the past. Rather, He bides his time. He shares his gifts with us; He gives us all the rope we need (sometimes to hang ourselves); He even gives his own life for us on the cross and crowns it with resurrection. He is all gift. And so He waits. ‘The Hound of Heaven’ waits. He waits for us to respond, which is what worship is all about. It is why our ancestors built our beautiful churches, to house his worship. And still He waits – and when we concede and cracks appear – when we respond – there is joy in heaven as He pours into our broken lives the balm of contentment. Happy Easter!

 

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

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens