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Ninebarrow Concert

Hosted by FoStA at St Andrew’s, Colyton on Saturday 16th July, 7.30pm

Holyford @ Prayer

June: when we celebrate a great Jubilee and a significant Birthday

On Sunday 5th June the Church celebrates two great events: the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen and the Feast of Pentecost (otherwise known as Whit Sunday). Pentecost is celebrated each year as one of the key festivals, like Christmas and Easter. It focuses our attention on the Holy Spirit—the third person of the Trinity (which is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  Pentecost occurs fifty days after the celebration of Easter and marks the occasion, fifty days after his resurrection, when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to accompany his disciples in their faith and assist in their ministry. It is an event recorded in the Bible (in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2), where the disciples—fearful about how they would keep the faith and do all the good that Jesus had asked them to do in the face of many trials and challenges—were filled with a surge of love and encouragement which drew them together to form the Church. The Holy Spirit transformed a group of fearful disciples (meaning ‘followers’) into a courageous band of apostles (‘ambassadors’). In a very short space of time, thousands learned of Jesus and were baptized. This is why Pentecost Sunday is celebrated as the birthday of the Church.

What exactly is the Holy Spirit? It is often explained as the ‘breath’ or ‘energy’ of God, but there is no single, adequate word to explain what Christians essentially understand as a mystery. It is an indescribable help and tangible power which is at work in us as a gift from God. We use many signs and symbols to help us to understand the nature of the Holy Spirit, including fire, doves, and holy oil, his is because Christians often pray to the Holy Spirit for grace, energy, power, peace and healing.

The prayer of the first followers of Christ—indeed every follower of Christ—is that God will assist us and give us everything we need to live a good and useful life, even when we fail or feel overwhelmed. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.

Six months before her Coronation service, the Queen asked all people of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth to: ‘Pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life’. This is what we do each week at least two of our services, and shall be doing on Sunday 5th June in the Holyford Mission Community when we will celebrate the Jubilee. What has the Holy Spirit got to do with the Jubilee, or the Queen?

Seventy years ago, on 2nd June 1953 the Coronation was televised—all apart from one moment, which was deemed too sacred to be shown on television. It is where, after a prayer to the Holy Spirit is sung (the Veni creator), the Queen was anointed with holy oil—a symbol of the Holy Spirit coming upon her in affirmation and to assist her in her life’s work. As Handel’s majestic anthem, Zadok the Priest echoed around Westminster Abbey, the cameras turned away as a canopy was brought to cover the Queen to enable her some privacy. This is because at this point in the service some of her clothing was removed. All the symbols of her earthly status were shed—the crimson velvet robe she was wearing, her diamond diadem and the coronation necklace—leaving her in a simple white dress. At that point the Archbishop anointed the Queen with oil (poured over her hands, chest and head). This oil was a symbol of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit. It was used at this point as she was set apart to serve and love her people, vowing to do so through all her actions, with all her heart and with all her mind. The meaning of the ceremony is based on an understanding that the Holy Spirit is called to witness and hallow the oath of her office, and empower the Queen herself to fulfill it.

At her coronation, Elizabeth II promised to follow Christ’s example, to be set apart to serve, not simply to be served. After the anointing, St Edward’s Crown of solid gold was placed on her head. This is how the Holy Spirit was called upon to be there at the birth of a new reign. A Royal biographer, William Shawcross, said that the Queen found this intimate and profound moment to be not only the most significant part of the service, but ‘…the most solemn and important moment of her entire life.’

            It is very appropriate, then, that we should celebrating and honouring that oath—the birth of the longest reigns in British history—on Pentecost Sunday.  It is a well-known fact that the Queen is a lady of deep faith.  That moment, when the Holy Spirit was asked through prayer to assist the Queen, has proven to be a source of strength and inspiration to her for over 70 years, through all the ups and downs of her reign.

            The Queen is special, of course, but each one of us is equally important and loved in the sight of God. The Queen, as a committed Christian, knows this, which is why she takes her job so seriously. It is not only the Queen who has been anointed by the Holy Spirit or has access to God’s grace;  all baptized Christians are anointed by the same spirit, to draw on God’s presence and grace to strengthen our faith and service to others. This is what the Queen does, it is what the first disciples and apostles did, and what generations of Christians have been called to do for over 2000 years.

            On Sunday 5th June we shall be celebrating two events in which the Holy Spirit played a key role: the birthday of the Church, and the birth of the longest and most successful reign in British history.

            Each church in the Holyford Mission Community will be holding a special Jubilee service on Sunday 5th June. Join us wherever you can and celebrate with us. There will be services at 8am and 10am at St Andrew’s, Colyton; 10am at St Michael’s, Musbury; 11.15am at St Giles’s, Northleigh and St Lawrence’s, Southleigh; at 3pm at St Winifred’s, Branscombe, and at 3.30pm at St Michael’s, Colyford. All are welcome.

With every good wish and blessing,

Fr Steven.

St Michael’s, Colyford, Jubilee & Pentecost Service, 5th June at 3.30pm

Platinum Jubilee Civic Service 5th June at 10am

Platinum Jubilee Civic Service Invite Letter

On Sunday 5th June at 10am there will be a civic service at St Andrew’s Church, Colyton to celebrate and give thanks for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Please click here for the letter shown.

Sheldon Singers Spring Concert in Musbury

Saturday 7th May at 7.30pm

May 2022

Life begins at 40?

The number 40 is significant for a number of reasons. In scripture it often precedes a notable event, such as the end of the flood after 40 days, Israel entering the promised land after 40 years in the wilderness; Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days before starting his ministry and 40 days between his Resurrection and Ascension.  The 40th Wedding Anniversary is called the Ruby as the red colour of the stone is symbolic of romance and heartfelt love.

40 years ago in May 1982 I was licensed in Norwich Cathedral as a Lay Reader by the then Bishop of Norwich, Maurice Wood, so the number 40 has a particular significance for me at a personal level.  Over those 40 years the World has changed, the Church has changed and I have changed.

Whilst change is not always helpful and can be threatening, it may bring new opportunities.  When we are tested it can bring an appreciation of qualities we already possess but have remained hidden. It can bring a renewed appreciation of those around us who befriend us and support us and are sometimes taken for granted.

During May, Churches often hold rogation services which often focus on the world around us.  Traditionally it has been a time to ask God’s blessing on newly planted crops but often the focus is widened to a thanksgiving for all of God’s creation which feeds us, encourages us and heals us both in body and spirit.   As in William Henry Davies poem ‘What is life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare’ sometimes we need to stop and reflect thankfully on all that is around us.

I am often reminded of God’s love for each one of us which remains steadfast, generous and unconditional and I hope I have been able to share that with others effectively in a variety of ways through my 40 years of varying ministry.  I have enjoyed working with a whole variety of people in terms of age and background and an immense sense of privilege of being able to share at least a small part of their life’s journey as it comes into contact with mine.

Charles Hill

FoStA Event Thursday 5th May

Good Friday Messy Church

St Andrew’s, Colyton, Friday 15th April 3 – 4.30pm

FoSM Ukraine Coffee Morning 26/3/22

Friendly Friday at St Andrew’s, Colyton

Colytots at St Andrew’s, Colyton

March 2022


Even during the pandemic the seasons continued. Who can forget the wonderful sound of Spring 2020? Against the backcloth of isolation, lockdown, illness, fear and the absence of motor noise from our roads, the birds seemed to sing louder than ever on our daily exercise walks. The bluebells seemed more abundant and more vividly blue. There wasn’t much to be positive about but the emergence of Spring was one. Then Spring gave way to summer and eventually more relaxed restrictions. By Christmas, against the backcloth this time of ice, frost and cold, we shivered in gardens treasuring moments with families but oh so missing the warm glow of the lounge fire.

In the church another set of seasons rotates round each year even in times of pandemic – Christmas preceded by Advent gives way to Christmas and then through to Epiphany and Candlemas. After a pause we have Ash Wednesday, Lent, Passiontide, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost and Trinity. A longer pause then before we start all over again.

Each year I value and appreciate the joys of each weather season – the new life of Spring, the warmth of summer, the golden colours of autumn and the crisp frosts of short December days. Each year too I value the repeated cycle of the Christian story centring on the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Such a cycle makes sure that we miss none of the vital ingredients.

This month sees us observe Ash Wednesday and Lent which is a marvellous time to reflect on our sinfulness and need for salvation so that when April comes and we celebrate Easter, we really do appreciate what we are celebrating – victory over sin and death.

Keep your eyes skinned for details of all that is planned in this Mission Community for Lent so that you can join in and grow closer to God.

At the same time rejoice in the new life that is in our gardens, by the roadside, in the fields and the woods as yet another year moves forward under the direction of our almighty God.

Nigel Freathy   

Lent Lunch

You are warmly invited to Lent Lunch at St Andrew’s on Saturday 12th March.

Lent Lunch Poster