St Andrew's News
There is a feeling of a type of normality returning, we can meet outside and enjoy a drink or meal without having to march over the well worn footpaths.
On Easter Sunday St Andrews was open and we celebrated in style. The bonfire at sunrise was up to standard and a snippet can be see on our YouTube channel (St Andrews and St James ) Rev. Winter then took our early communion service at 7.15am. After a switching of pews to use, and cleaning down we had our Family service with an Easter egg hunt afterwards at 10am. It was lovely to see so many different people at the church, and being so understanding of the Covid precautions. Someone did compare the day to busses, none for months then three on the same day!
Our hope now is to have services in church each week and to stream by Zoom or onto YouTube for those who need to stay at home, or indeed manage to get away. The use of YouTube has been a real benefit especially for funerals where numbers are limited, so friends and family from all over the world have been able to join in showing their respect.
On May 9th it is Rogation Sunday so we are going to make the most of our Churchyard and have an outside service at 10 am! We will start in church and will then be moving to different areas for each part of the service, and hoping for fine weather.
There are ideas being formed for events we can hold in and around the church in the near future……watch this space.
With the start of regular services there will be a need to dust again!
As the patterns of services have changed over the years we feel it is also time to change the way the cleaning rota is set up. The plan at present is to have a major clean before the first service of each month, with most people coming along and a lighter touch on the weeks in-between by a two people. This is usually done on a Friday or Saturday.
We do need more people, after all ‘many hands make light work’….
Do you like to clean - but not tidy?
Have a chat with a friend?
Enjoy a coffee after a job well done?
Would like to help keep our church looking its best.
We’d love to see you
Ring Liz 01905 620827 or Fiona 01905 62176
The Readings for the Sunday After Ascension Day (7th Sunday of Easter)
Acts 1.15-17; 1 John 5.19-13; John 17.6-19
If you want to find all the readings for this Sunday and prayers and artwork from the website of the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University, please either click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
The Collect for the Sunday after Ascension Day: O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before...
We have all heard of people who are described as being so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly use. They are pleasant people but highly impractical. And in this way we turn the word heavenly or even the word heaven as being something that has little, if anything, to do with the world we live in. We turn it into a place that we hope that we and the people that we love will enjoy in the next life.
Now I have that hope for the next life too. Even as I write these words there are people who come to mind that I hope will find healing in heaven that they never found on earth. And, of course, simply to hope for this is a prayer. But the heaven that Jesus speaks of and which the Collects for Ascension Day and the Sunday after Ascension Day encourage us to pray for is very much a part of this life too. The Collect for Ascension Day reminds us that Jesus has “ascended into the heavens” and then prays that in our hearts and minds we may also thither ascend as the Prayer Book puts it and then continually dwell there with him. And the Collect for the Sunday after Ascension Day also makes the same point about Jesus having been exalted to the kingdom of God in heaven and then prays for the gift of the Holy Spirit to exalt us to the same place.
So I am convinced that both of these prayers are not just about the next life but about this one too. And I am convinced that being heavenly minded is a very practical thing indeed and that our gospel reading and the Collects are encouraging us to be more heavenly minded in this very practical sense.
When Jesus speaks about the world (and Paul as well in Romans 12.1,2) what he is talking about is a system that is about more and more. It is about the desire for more status, control, pleasure and security and a belief that if only I can get a little bit more of any of these things then I will be happy. And what is our idea of heaven if it isn't about a state of perpetual happiness? And if I have given my life to a belief that I would be happy if only I can gain a little more respect from others (status), that my life may be more pleasant so that anyone who threatens to make it less so is to be avoided if possible (pleasure); and that both of these things require more control over my life and other people's lives if possible and that it should be safe and secure then I am living a worldly life in the sense that Jesus and Paul speak of.
And Jesus isn't saying that he wants to rob you of the status that you think you deserve or to make your life less pleasant. What he is saying is that if you put this desire at the heart of your life, trying to get enough control and security in order to achieve your goals then you are condemning yourself to unhappiness. You will never quite get enough of anything in order to achieve a state of perpetual happiness and it will always be vulnerable. You might become sick or you might lose someone upon whom your happiness depends or someone that you care about might begin to behave in a way that robs you of your peace.
So when Jesus speaks about being in the world but not of the world he is saying something quite profound. He is telling us how to be really happy. He is telling us that life (as our Collects are also teaching us) can begin to become heavenly. In other words they can begin to become truly happy. I am in the world in the sense that I can never completely escape the system that seeks for happiness in this false sense and I really care about the people whose lives are caught up in this; but I become less and less attached to this system and more attached to a true happiness that can never be taken away from me. Now the world desperately needs more people who can be heavenly in this way.
Morning Prayer is said every weekday morning at 9.15 and we pray daily for people from right across the benefice there. If you would like to join our prayers then please visit the Church of England website and go to the section headed “Join us in a Service of Daily Prayer”. It will offer a variety of ways to do this.
In our benefice we gather together on Zoom. Meeting ID 845-168-9869 & the password is Easter21.
The group who has been learning and practicing Lectio Divina meet on a Thursday afternoon at 4 pm on Zoom. We are all beginners who simply sit down with an open bible to learn a kind of prayer developed by the Benedictines about 1500 years ago and still practiced by them today and by many others as well. You will be very welcome whenever you want to join. The Zoom meeting ID is 845-168-9869 and the passcode is Easter21.
ASCENSION DAY SERVICE
This Thursday the 13th of May is Ascension Day and in order to celebrate it there will be a service of Holy Communion at St James, Hartlebury at 7.30 pm. Sadly, this year we are unable to have the fish supper that we usually enjoy on this occasion, but we hope to be able to enjoy fellowship together from across our benefice. Please do try to be there if you possibly can.
May 16th 9.00am Holy Communion at Elmbridge
10.00am Morning Prayer at Ombersley
10.00am Morning Prayer at Hartlebury
11.00am Holy Communion at Doverdale
6.30pm Evensong at Hampton Lovett
May23rd 9.00am Holy Communion at Elmley Lovett
10.30am Holy Communion at Elmbridge
11.00am Holy Communion at Hartlebury
May 30th 10.00am Joint Benefice Service from Ombersley
A Benefice Service of Holy Communion will take place at St Andrew's, Ombersley on Trinity Sunday, the 30th of May at 10.00 am.
During this service we will be authorising Communion Assistants from different parishes in our benefice and we will also be thinking about the place of Holy Communion in our life together. A good theme for Trinity Sunday as we will see nearer the time.
Please do your best to come to this service if you can or to join it on Zoom or YouTube if you are not able to be present in the church.
Services on Zoom/Youtube