A MESSAGE FROM THE VICAR
Over the last few days, I have been struck by how nationally and globally humanity has responded to the Coronavirus outbreak. The best and worst of humanity has been on display. Many of us are fearful of what is to come, and on television and as evidenced by the images of empty shelves are taking steps to prepare and protect themselves. Contrast the words put into the mouth of Yoda in the Star Wars films; “Fear leads to anger and anger to hate and hate leads to suffering” with those of St Paul writing to the Romans “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5.3-5). This moment in our national life is I believe not one to be trapped in fear, but rather to remember that we Jesus who came and lived and experienced that darkness of the world, in a time where there was no NHS or means of even beginning to develop vaccines and medication as there is today. Only three months ago we read in our worship from the beginning of John’s Gospel that the darkness cannot put out the light of Christ. As the situation develops, I pray for us; the Theydon Parishes; that we to hold onto our faith, look towards the light and be united in heart and mind.
As we have already experienced, there have been some changes to the way in which we worship together, and in the last few days the Archbishops have asked that our regular public worship services are paused for a time. Of course, prayer and worship can take place anywhere, the worship which God desires is in “spirit and truth” and there will be some resources available in due course to support this. In addition at St Mary’s TB the church bell will be rung for 3 minutes before each midweek service or time of prayer to remind us all of the presence of the church as a sign of the presence of Christ in the world and a reminder to us to pray, perhaps using a prayer such as this:-
God of healing,
Surround us with your love as together we negotiate the complexities of coronavirus.
Guide us all as we seek to support one another.
Help us to be attentive to the lonely, the isolated, the fearful and those who are ill.
We pray for everyone involved in the effective provision of food, medical
supplies and pastoral care.
In the name of Jesus Christ who walks alongside us in our difficulties. Amen.
One way in which we can show the love of Christ is the way in which the vulnerable are cared for. In the Benefice we are blessed to have people with caring hearts who will be working to do all we can organisationally to support those in need – but please do not let this stop all of us phoning and checking in with those we know and offering practical support when we can.
Reading the pages of Scripture, the people of God have gone through challenging times before and will no doubt do so again. May we together remember through the days of challenge ahead that (as written in Lamentations 3.24-26) “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him”.
MONDAY - THURSDAY
The churches of the Benefice are open during the week, and the clergy are maintaining a rhythm of prayer. A suggested Order for personal prayer will be circulated by email, and is available in printed form on request. The church bell at St Mary's TB will be rung for 5 minutes before Morning and Evening Prayer are said, and all are invited to join this prayer wherever you are.
SOCIAL EVENTS IN THE BENEFICE
All social events in the benefice have been cancelled until further notice. The worshipping life of the benefice continues; please see the website for up to date information.
The Mothers’ Union will feature on this week’s Songs of Praise on BBC One. Theprogramme, which will be hosted by Katherine Jenkins, will showcase the incredible work of Mothers’ Union in Worthing including how they support women through difficult times. The programme is due to be broadcast this Sunday at 1.15pm.
soon. Membership is open to all who live in the parish or have attended church regularly for a period of 6 months. The dates when the rolls is open will differ in each church; please look out for the notices in your church over the next month and complete the forms which will be found at the back of each church. For more information, please contact Sam Spencer at St Mary's TB, Kate Faccini at All Saints TG and Ann Padfield at St Mary's ST and St Michael's TM; in all cases through the Benefice Office, to where forms for any church may also be returned.
NEW EMAIL ADDRESS FOR NOTICES
Please send your submissions and all service details for the notice sheet to email@example.com.
Please note the new deadline for the weekly notice sheet. Could all submissions please be sent by Tuesday at 5.00p.m.
VICAR'S REST DAY
From the beginning of October, John, our Vicar will be swapping his regular rest day to a Friday.
CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!
Epping Forest ReUse has good quality furniture, household appliances and other goods for sale. Do come and visit. The charity is 5 mins from Epping Station on the Bower Hill Industrial Estate. See www.eppingreuse.org.uk or ask Janet Whitehouse for information 01992 812503.
In the Theydon Parishes, we welcome children and adults to join the church through Baptism, either in our main services or on occasion in special services. To inquire about booking a baptism, please contact Sarah Bowen using the Benefice office email or phone number in the first instance. We are no longer offering preparation in a session held monthly, instead this will take place by arrangement between a member of the Benefice clergy and the candidates and/or their family.
One of the most powerful things that followers of Jesus Christ can do is to pray for matters or people which concern us, James wrote to the early Church "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5.14). Beginning next week, there will be a section of the sheet entitled "Your prayers are asked for", If you would like to make a prayer request for yourself (or for someone else with their consent) to be included please contact the clergy, who are also able to arrange pastoral visits. There are also prayer boards where requests can be made in each of the parishes.
Regular prayer is an important part of following Christ, and there are lots of opportunities to come together as a Benefice to pray. Morning Prayer is said on a Monday at 9.30am and on Tuesday at 8.45am in St Mary's TB. Both are said services, use contemporary language, and last about 15 minutes. On Tuesday BCP Evening Prayer (traditional language) is said at St Mary's TB at 5pm. Holy Communion is celebrated during the week on Tuesday at 10.00am at All Saints TG and on Wednesday at 10.00am at St Mary's TB.
SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS AT HOLY COMMUNION
For any who need it, gluten free bread is available for Communion on request.
WESTMINSTER ABBEY PARISH PASS
The Benefice Office now holds a parish passes for each church in our group. Each pass can be used on 6 occasions, and allows a group of up for 4 people entry for free each time. Passes can be borrowed from Sarah Bowen.
CONTACTS IN THE UNITED BENEFICE
Email contacts for the Vicar and Benefice Administrator have changed, please use firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to contact John or Sarah. Our Vicar is trying to be more disciplined in using email, and will not have access to email on the move, so sometimes it may take a little longer for a reply to be sent.
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