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August 2021

From the ministry team

The first of August is known as Lammas day and the word Lammas literally means ‘loaf mass’.  It is a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest which were used to bake a loaf which was brought into church to be blessed.  This tradition seems to go back to Anglo-Saxon times but more recent changes in farming practice have reduced its relevance as the harvest period in this part of the world is extended over a much longer period.

Irrespective of such practices the importance of bread in our daily lives cannot be denied and judging by the amount of supermarket shelves devoted to it we must eat quite a lot of it! I remember that when on camping holidays, especially abroad, one of the first things to identify locally was where bread could be bought and the word for it in the local language!

The word companion literally means one who shares bread and reminds us that food in general is not just about satisfying our own needs but also the importance of social contact when we perform some basic activities. Food (and drink) sharing and eating together is a means of social cohesion not only in human groups but also other social animals and it is one thing that we have lost in the current pandemic and it is not surprising that people yearn for it to return as in pre-pandemic days.  In our modern culture bread is now a very diverse product and perhaps reminds us of our own social diversity, but eating and drinking together becomes a means of laying aside our differences and appreciating what it means to be truly human.

The  New Testament records that in Jesus in his last hours before his crucifixion shared a meal with his disciples which included both bread and wine; a meal of both sorrow and reassurance of a Father’s love for his Son and each one of us too and which is still remembered in Church services today.

Charles Hill

Piano recital 27 June

Our own Nicholas Brown will be playing for us in our first out of lockdown concert, with tea and cake, in St Andrew’s on Sunday 27 June at 3.30pm.

New toddler group

All parents/carers and toddlers welcome! 9.00 Tuesday mornings in St Andrew’s during term time. No session at half term, 1st June.

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.

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.

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.

Angel Making

Angel making

Time and people resources mean that organising the placing of these in Churches is difficult so you are encouraged to share your photos by emailing to Charles.hill465@btinternet.com  or to Linda (lindajoychildrensworker@gmail.com) and they will be displayed here.

More Advent windows!

Musbury Advent windows

As of 9th December there are eight Advent windows on display in Musbury. The windows can be found in the four streets radiating out from the old post office.

More Advent windows

At 3 Colybank, Rosemary Lane and Needlesharp, 35 Queen St

Colyton latest windows

Christmas at St Andrew’s

December 2020

This month’s letter comes from Charles Hill:

This is being written early in the second period of lockdown this year when nothing in December can look certain and in this season of Advent our preparations for Christmas will be getting underway. Christmas is a season of hospitality and for many this involves the giving and receiving of food and drink and the sharing of time with friends and family.

Mary and Joseph must have been extremely grateful for the hospitality shown to them by the Innkeeper and although perhaps not meriting many stars the accommodation was no doubt a huge improvement over any alternative.  In turn, Mary and Joseph were able to offer simple hospitality to the shepherds and wise men and possibly others not recorded.   

The birth of Jesus was also a sign of God’s hospitality towards each one of us as a reminder that he invites us to be part of his family.  In the Eucharist (a celebration of Jesus hospitality to his disciples and their successors) the following words are sometimes said in a prayer after Communion ‘Father of all, we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home’.

At the heart of hospitality is love. Love which seeks to recognise the needs of others and meet those needs either through own actions or by supporting others. Such hospitality can be shown in so many ways; through the offering and receiving of food and drink, through personal presence and presents! but also through a kind word by phone or other means, through the carrying out of a simple errand or just a smile (face masks permitting) at the appropriate time and other possibilities may well come to mind.  Through our own acts of hospitality our own love for others and that of a loving heavenly Father can become manifest.

I wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas Season.

Charles Hill

PS  each week on Friday or Saturday an email is sent out to about 200 email addresses with details of what is happening on the Sunday and coming week.  If you think you should be receiving this please check your Spam folder as attachments on the email could be routing the email here. If you are not receiving such updates and wish to do so, please get in touch.

National Christingle Service

Sunday 13th December with other details to be announced

Please see https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/preparing-advent-christmas-2020-comfort-and-joy

Mission Community Carol Service

This will be a short service (5 carols) on 23rd December at 5pm via Zoom (incl telephone) and hopefully facebook too, aimed at the whole community