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New toddler group

All parents/carers and toddlers welcome! 9.00 Tuesday mornings in St Andrew’s.

May 2021

This month our letter comes from Rev Nigel Freathy

The disciples of Jesus had made great sacrifices to follow Jesus. They had left their homes and occupations and for three  years they observed from close quarters Jesus’ miracles and listened to His teaching. Then came the nightmare of His arrest, trial and execution. Had it all been a mistake?

Three days after Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples started to see Jesus again in the flesh. They could touch Him and see Him eat. For forty days on numerous occasions they met with the risen Jesus. Following Jesus had not been a mistake after all. The love of God in Jesus had conquered death and the sin  of humanity that had put Jesus on the cross in the first place.

Then one day they went to a mountain in Galilee and met Jesus once more and there he gave them His final instructions along with the promise that He would be with them always to the very end of time. St Mark tells us that  then Jesus is taken up into heaven as does St Luke who also tells us that, despite the fact that the disciples are not going to see Jesus in bodily form again, they return to Jerusalem with great joy.

The reason that they are so joyful is that Jesus has promised them that He will be with them always and in St Luke’s account of the incident in the book of Acts Jesus specifically says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” So they return to Jerusalem full of joy and there they await God’s promised gift.

This month we celebrate the ascension of Jesus on May 13th and the subsequent coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples at the Jewish festival of Pentecost which this year is on May 23rd. Like the disciples we can rejoice that through His Holy Spirit Jesus is indeed with us here in East Devon empowering each one of us to carry out His mission to the world for we are His body here on earth.

April 2021

Opening

The word April is thought to be derived from the Latin word meaning ‘to open’ and it is thought that this is due to its association with the opening of flowers in springtime.  The opening of flowers is not only a thing of beauty but in most cases it is necessary for their survival as they ‘communicate’ with one another through the shedding of pollen which can be transferred by wind, water, birds, bats and especially insects, in order for seed production to occur in due course.  It is though that the close relationship between flowering plants and insects is how the abundance of colour came to our planet, probably over 200 million years ago as the first dinosaurs populated the earth. 

Whatever the history, the flush of new blooms is something to raise spirits, particularly after the long ‘winter’ of lockdown and the promise of some normality of living opening up once again in relative safety and a different sort of colour returning to our lives – a chance to reopen old relationships and activities as well as the possibility of new ones.  It is indeed the case when we open up to one another that something of the meaning of our basic humanity is realised as it is clear from modern behaviour as well as the history of the humankind that we are indeed a social species.

Easter this year falls in early April and on Easter day we celebrate a different opening – that of the tomb on Easter morning.  The open tomb is a sign that evil, death and destruction do not have the ‘last word’ but the risen Christ brings hope and promise. As we open up ourselves to the reality of the cross and resurrection then new colour can indeed flow into our lives as our relationship with a heavenly Father is renewed and his goodness and blessing can flow into our lives and, in addition, to colour the lives of others whom we know and love

Charles

The Lantern Shop re-opens

GREAT NEWS!

17th May:

We now have more volunteers (and would welcome still more) so the shop will open:
MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS and SATURDAYS from 10 until 1
and
TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS and FRIDAYS from 10 until 4

We are not taking donations at the moment.

Messy Mothering Sunday Church

This Sunday 14th March is Mothering Sunday. Linda Joy has posted a video online for us, ‘While we can’t hug‘.

Messy Church will meet in St Andrew’s churchyard on Sunday at 4.00pm, and all are welcome. Please could families who want to come email Linda on lindajoychildrensworker@gmail.com.

March 2021

A few thoughts from Linda Joy – Children & Families Worker – Holyford Mission Community

As I sit and write this short piece in early February news has been announced of the death of Captain Sir Thomas Moore (fondly now known as Captain Tom by many).  In April 2020, at the age of 99, Captain Tom started to walk the length of his garden, with the aim of walking it 100 times before his 100th birthday.  He hoped to raise £1,000 for the NHS Charities Together, but by the end of his birthday has raised over £32 million. 

Captain Tom inspired the hearts of the nation with his actions and his quotes “Tomorrow is a good day” and “I’ve always believed things will get better.  The sun will shine again, the birds will sing and we’ll all have a lovely day tomorrow” (The Guardian, December 2020).

As I write we are still in our third national lockdown with the Government rules of ‘Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives’.  The reality of this is that many young families are desperately trying to work from home, while juggling childcare and home schooling.  Many older people are feeling isolated and unable to see their families and grandchildren, and many more people are reporting poor mental health and low well-being. 

Never more have we collectively wished for a “good day tomorrow”.

However, spring, and the joy of Easter, are just around the corner and we can look forward expectantly for the sun to shine again for us all. “The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” (Numbers 6.24-26)

Let’s put one foot in front of the other, like Captain Tom did, and together it may be amazing what we can achieve as we wait expectantly for that ‘good day tomorrow’.

Every blessings,

Linda

February 2021

From the Rector

I hope that this finds you well.  I am writing this in the middle of January, deep in lockdown. Our churches have remained open for individual prayer, but several of the PCCs within our benefice have decided that we should cease public worship for now. At the time of writing a lot still seems to be up in the air. We hope that there will be some public worship back in some of our churches during February—please see our website (Holyford.org) or contact me or a churchwarden for information. 

Despite not gathering in person as a church on Sundays, the services and prayers continue, individually in church, online, over the ‘phone and on Zoom.  Please be assured of my prayers for you all, every day.

There is a general feeling that we are on the ‘home straight’, but that the immediate future will still be tough.  President Joe Biden in his inaugural speech included a quotation from the Psalms: ‘Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30.5). This is an important and powerful prayer during this period of heaviness.  Yet we know it will pass, and joy will come in the morning.

February sees the beginning of the season of Lent; a time of penitence and preparation for Easter. It is about preparing for joy, but in a deep and measured way, with patience. As we hope and prepare for the future, we have learned over these past months that we are unlikely to return to normal with a whizz bang and a party (more’s the pity!) So we must be watchful of the expectations we place on ourselves and others.

The last words of St David to his followers, who were facing many challenges and problems, come to mind: ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things’.  Little by little the heaviness will become lighter and the morning will come.  ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things’. We will get there.

With every good wish and blessing,

Fr Steven   (tel. 01297 553180)

January 2021

From the Rector

It is always tempting at this time of year to make predictions and resolutions. Whilst it is no bad thing to begin January with ideas or dreams of what we wish to achieve, it seems more difficult than ever to know or predict what will be likely, or even possible, as we make plans for the next twelve months.

            The only thing I can predict with any degree of certainty is that, unless I stop snacking between meals, my clothes shall grow even tighter during 2021…

            Setting to one side thoughts of biscuits etc., allow me to turn our attention towards the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What can they teach us about plans, resolutions and predictions?

Their plans, intentions and new year’s resolutions went by the board that first Christmas. Yet in all the uncertainty, Mary trusted and embraced her future with God, as she accepted the call to be the mother of Jesus. This upset various plans. After the shock of learning of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph’s compassionate intention to quietly release Mary from their engagement, is overturned.  After he learns the truth from an angel, the depth of Joseph’s goodness is revealed in his decision to heed God’s call and support his wife-to-be. He and Mary travel the long distance and begin their family in the temporary and uncertain surroundings of the stable. Soon after the birth, despite the visit of the Kings and the promising signs, they are forced to flee and become refugees. So begins the rather underwhelming and uncertain earthly life of God. Yet great things happen.

            The Holy Family clearly lived very much in the present during those days, dealing with what was in front of them calmly. I think one of the most striking things about the account of Jesus’ infancy is the remarkable equanimity which shines through as characteristics of Joseph and Mary. Their plans have gone out of the window, yet they remain calm, faithful and hopeful.  They had with them the child: Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.  God with us in good and bad, certainty and uncertainty, there in love for us however we feel, to share in whatever we take to him and no matter what form of words our prayers take. 

Our Christmas services went well across the parishes. My thanks to all those who attended for their patience and cooperation with the various Covid-measures we have in place. It has been good to hear that people have not only appreciated the services, but also felt safe whilst in church, and of course, at our outdoor Crib Service in Colyton. 

As we enter Tier Three restrictions (as of 31st December), our churches will remain open for public worship. We continue to have strict social distancing measures in place and everyone is taking great care to ensure the churches are places where we can feel safe and confident. We continue to pray for all who are unable to be with us in church at this time.

            We have aimed to provide access to church services for all, whatever situation you find yourself in during these times. Those remaining at home can join us via the online service, those at home without the internet can join us via the telephone service on Sunday afternoons. There are a range of services you can attend in church, too.  We have the usual Sunday services, often with music, provided by choristers at a safe distance; or if you are worried about gathering in larger groups, there are smaller, shorter Eucharists at St Andrew’s on Wednesdays at 10am or Sundays at 8am, or daily Morning Prayer (Mondays to Fridays at 8.30am), or Evensong (Tuesdays to Fridays at 5pm) where groups of around 5 to 15 gather.  You may wish to attend one of the smaller village churches, perhaps Southleigh or Northleigh, where there is plenty of room available for people to spread out. Details of our services and church opening times can be found via our website Holyford.org or Facebook page, @holyfordmission.

            Whatever lies ahead, we continue to celebrate the wonderful fact that God is with us. As you plan for what will hopefully be a brighter year, may you know God with you and continue to draw strength from the power of his love.

            With every good wish and blessing for the New Year,

            Fr Steven.

Posada location

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Posada journey this Advent. The locations of the photos for each day can be seen here.

The Lantern – delayed re-opening

COVID 19 UPDATE

Due to the the recent rapid spread of the  new variant of Covid 19, we have decided our responsibility is to reduce the possibility of infection in our community. This is to protect our volunteers, customers and the NHS, which is under great pressure just now.

Therefore, with great regret ,we will not be re-opening The Lantern shop as planned this Monday, 4th January, and will review the situation on a weekly basis. As soon as it becomes safe to do so, we look forward to welcoming you back.

Thank you for your continued support.

Posada 24 December

Journey’s end. The 26 locations of the Posada will be published on FB & the website in the week commencing 4th January 2020. In the meantime, if anyone thinks they know all of them please email to office@holyford.org to be entered into the prizewinning competition.

Posada 23 December

Posada 22 December

Posada 21 December

Posada 20 December