A message from Revd. Lee

 

 

 

 

 

Dear friends,

As I sit to write this letter for the September Magazine, I have just returned from our first ‘Play & Stay’ session at Ruishton Village Hall. It was an amazing if not hectic session. What stood out for me the most was not how well the team worked together, neither was it how well all the children behaved. It was not the fact that at lunch time we managed to serve about 45 meals in under 15 minutes. It was the simple gratitude shown by the children and parents for what was a relatively simple and humble act of service. If you were part of the team, please do not feel devalued at all by that statement; you all worked incredibly hard. I simply wish to point out that in many cases, it’s the simplest of acts that reach people. The simple and quiet act of providing a little fun and food is loudly telling of God’s love for His people.

It is this model of Mission and Ministry that really sets my heart ablaze in its Christ-like approach. We see time and again Jesus meeting people where they are and simply pointing His listeners and followers to His Father. We have the added benefit of not only pointing to our Heavenly Father but also to Jesus Himself. In my opinion this is best done humbly and gently and this is what I see, shown by you, as a strength in this Benefice.

There will be many more opportunities to serve in this way in the weeks, months, and years ahead. By the time you read this letter, we will be in September. (Donna-marie and I hope we all had a good time at our BBQ, and that none of you became ill afterwards!!!) We will be collecting food at our Harvest Festivals for the Foodbank; you may be pleased to know that I have now moved my annual leave back to October so I can now be here for all three Harvest Services. The first Harvest Festival in our benefice will be at St. George’s Ruishton and we will share refreshments and CAKE!! after the service, this will be for the first time since Covid. Please do remember to note that we have changed the time to 11a.m. for the Harvest festival service at Holy Cross, Thornfalcon to accommodate a lunch afterwards. This 11 a.m. service time will be the same for St. Michael’s, Creech as they hold their Harvest festival along with a Bring and Share lunch afterward on the first Sunday of October. I very much look forward to all our Harvest Festivals and will deliver a fresh sermon at each, so please do feel able to support each Service without having to listen to the same sermon three times. I am sure we will collect enough food to get the Foodbank off to a great start for the new Autumn season of need.

As you will no doubt notice from the Services pages we are to have a new shape to our weekly services. We can enjoy Tuesday Evening Prayer on Zoom, and alternating venues between the meeting rooms of Ruishton and Creech for either Morning prayer or Holy Communion on Thursday mornings. We are also looking to restart Gleaners by the beginning of November, if not before. I also hope to be able to authorise singing in Church once again, but I suspect that will be whilst wearing face masks. It truly feels great to be with you as we begin to return to regular pattens of worship. We are entering into an exciting time where God is very much alive and active. I can hardly wait to see where God is going to lead us all next.

We are also introducing brand new Orders of Service across the Benefice. We are meeting as a team to look at what this looks like towards the end of the month. If you have any particular views on what you value in a Service of Holy Communion, please do get in touch with me. The shape of the Service will remain largely the same with familiar words and prayers. The main change will be how the booklet flows from one page to the next.

We are also to start a prayer chain, or rather a prayer team, as prayers that come our way will be communicated via email, so not a traditional chain. A prayer chain is a group of people, in our case the Ministry Team, who share prayer requests and commit to pray for needs as they arise. The prayer chain is completely confidential within the team. Prayers that come into the team will not be shared in news sheets, intercessions, or in wider discussions or groups, unless the person who has requested the prayer has explicitly given consent to do so. You can trust that prayer requests that come to us via the prayer chain will not be discussed with the wider church family.

Let me offer an example using a fictitious scenario: ‘Jim’, has an upcoming hospital appointment, due to feeling unwell for some time. Jim is a private man and would not speak widely of his concerns. He has not yet told his family of his appointment as he does not wish to make a fuss. Jim has a deep faith and even though he is a private person, Jim would like trusted Christians to pray for him in confidence. Jim calls (or emails) the Rector and explains the situation. The Rector then emails the prayer chain who, in turn, begin holding Jim in prayer. The prayer chain knows they should not mention the prayer request to anyone, not even Jim himself, so as to avoid any awkwardness. If the prayer chain team are at all disturbed by a prayer request, they may of course talk to each other or the Rector, but to no one else.

Another example might be: ‘Julie’, a member of our Church, has just learned that her friend has an important, yet confidential, job interview and Julie has asked her friend if she would like prayer. Julie’s friend would love prayer and appreciates that this is in confidence. Julie contacts the prayer chain coordinator, in this case the Rector, who then emails the prayer chain who begin to hold Julie’s friend in prayer.

Whatever your prayer requests, they will be treated respectfully and in confidence unless you explicitly ask us to share them with the wider church family. We hope that you will find this new service helpful and supportive in times of need. We can still of course share non-confidential prayer requests with each other in the way that you have always done; the prayer chain is simply a way to know that more sensitive prayers can still be offered to God without the whole Benefice needing to know. And, as the Rector, I am always happy to hear your prayer requests and they can of course simply stay with me if you would prefer. If you have any questions about this, please do speak to me or another member of the Ministry Team. If you have a prayer chain request, please do contact me via email or by phone.

In the meantime, I pray that you are all able to enjoy what is left of the summer.

With all Blessings,

Lee