Saturday, 3 March 2018

Web Magazine - Rector's Pages - March 2018

Rector’s Pages:

Who are we?         What are we doing?          Why are we doing it?
The Deanery Action Plan.

All the churches in this area are now working with the Deanery Action Plan which essentially asks us to look at three questions, “Who? What? Why?”

Who are we?   Before we can do anything, we need to remind ourselves who we are.....we are the People of God, God’s chosen people, called to serve him and ALL his people.   This is both a great privilege and equally a huge responsibility; God has chosen us and trusts us to take his message of love to the world (or at least, that bit of the world that we live in!).

What are we doing?    I often feel like a National Trust manager, the amount of time I spend looking after the gutters, drains and churchyards of our very old and beautiful churches, and I know that lots of us feel we spend so much of our time on the building and raising money to pay our way, that we don’t have the time and energy for anything else!  Whilst our beautiful churches do take a lot of time and effort, they are well worth that investment because they attract countless visitors throughout the year - especially the unlocked ones - even if visitors don’t come on Sundays!   A recent youth survey revealed that 80% of young people were brought to faith when visiting a church!   But there must be more than this otherwise we are just caretakers.

Why are we doing it?   We are doing it to spread the Christian message, and that is summed up in one word, “LOVE”.   Love God, love your neighbour.   Christianity is a way of life; love is the cornerstone of all we do.

So once we start the process of looking at what we do - and why - there is a sense of liberation and achievement.   Achievement because, like generations of Christians before us, we “fight the good fight” and, against seemingly overwhelming odds, we keep our churches open, active and well looked after (a symbol of the unending love of God).   Liberation because when we look at what we do in and for our communities, we are already doing an enormous amount for our villages, not just in our “church lives” but also in our lives outside the building.

Fight the good fight With all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength and Christ thy Right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.


 Sunday 1st April - Easter Day 2018
See all the Holy Week and Easter Services 
on the centre pages of this magazine


Sunday 4th March - Day of Prayer for Suriname
This year, all services on this Sunday will  include prayers the country of  Suriname, using material supplied by the women of that country.

Buttle Close Common Room - Shepton Beauchamp
We meet at 11.30am on the first Thursday of each month in the Common Room of Buttle Close for a short, gentle service of prayers, hymns, readings and a story.   Everyone is very welcome.

Weekday Communions
Shepton on Tuesdays at 10.30am.
This service is 25 minutes long, simple Communion Service to reflect, pray and give thanks.

25th January     Daniel Lawrence, 66 yrs; ashes interred near his ancestors in Barrington church yard.
5th February Charles bond, 79 yrs; a private funeral service at Chillington fallowed by burial in the village cemetery.
6th February Hazel Faulkner, 78 yrs; funeral service at Taunton Crematorium followed by interment of her ashes at Stocklinch Church, with her husband Fred, on Saturday 10th.


Sat 3rd March    DOWLISH WAKE - ‘Coffee with Bells'
10.00am - 12 noon at St. Andrew's Church
Open Morning with the church tower open with access to the bells try your hand at bell ringing or even climb to the top of the tower for a look at the beautiful view.  Not a fundraiser - Everyone Welcome - No charge

Wednesday 7th March - CHILLINGTON
7.30pm - AGM in church - everyone welcome

Saturday 17th March - CUDWORTH
10.00am - Community Coffee Morning in church
(with Church AGM (10 minutes) and news of village photo competition and Summer Market)
Saturday 17th March - BARRINGTON
12.00pm - Lent Lunch in church

Monday 19th March - KINGSTONE
7.00pm - AGM at the Uzzell’s home - everyone welcome

Monday 26th March - BARRINGTON
7.00pm - AGM in church - everyone welcome

Tuesday 22nd March - PUCKINGTON
7.30pm - AGM at Munro’s home - everyone welcome

Wednesday 11th April - DOWLISH WAKE
7.00pm - AGM in church - everyone welcome

Saturday 14th April - PUCKINGTON
10.30am - 12.00pm - Coffee morning at Peelmead 
(in aid of repairs to church roof)

Deanery Open Evening - Wed 7th February

For those who remember the Deanery Synod and think, “No, not for me”.  Think again.  It has changed its name and style considerably over the last year.  It is now called the Deanery Open Evening and it is just that – an evening where people from the Deanery can meet, have a coffee/tea/biscuit and talk to other members of the deanery.  There is usually about ten minutes of “business” and then a talk and questions.  (On one occasion, at the front of a church, we had a racing car built by school children to demonstrate green power! )   This Wednesday we met in South Petherton – about 70 of us!  Not bad for a small deanery!  After coffee we settled down, began with a short act of worship, then the Rural Dean invited various people to tell us some of the things that were happening in our deanery.

First up we heard about Café Church at Seavington.  It was started to fill a gap:  to have an All Age service in a setting which was accessible to all.  (Both accessible to those who couldn’t get up the church steps and to non-church goers who were interested in taking the first step!).  This was church in a non-threatening environment!  Next, we also heard from the Go Team, who are taking youth work out from Wells and into the deaneries.  They are coming to us rather than us having to go to them in Wells.  After this the Revd Geoff Wade told us about the Deanery Mission Plan.  A simple copy of it is available in most churches,  it asks the questions, as churches:
Who are we?         What are we doing?          Why are we doing it? 

Then it was the turn of Bishop Ruth, the Bishop of Taunton.  She made the point that Mission is living the Christian Life and Evangelism is telling the story.   It isn’t scary!  She told us how the diocese had reorganised its core staff to help us “Tell our Story”.  She brought with her a number of people from Wells who spoke to their particular strengths and explained what they did.

Broken down, the diocesan mission plan is to:
a.   engage everyone with the vision of the gospel.
b.   use our resources (ie people!) to best effect – what to stop and what to continue.
c.   to release the power and gifts of ALL God’s people.
We are to create a pioneer culture and be taught how to tell the story.
They are looking at first steps and how we can be helped. 

What does mission look like in our deanery?
The Bishop commended us for sharing skills resources macross the whole deanery; our Quiet Days, Morning Prayer, acts of worship, training courses and the Wadham Chaplaincy, which is supported by local churches.

It was recognised that living in a rural context is difficult.  How can we make “living and telling the story” strong and flourishing………... 
We are encouraged to invite bishops and the archdeacon to events.  They are happy to go to churches needing support; ask Wells for help - they can advise on communication, resources and plans.

Missions questions to think on.....
How do we bring people to worship god, not necessarily in church? 
How do we listen to the wider community (not just church-goers but all people)?
How do we live out the love of God across whole communities?
What we need is Coal face stuff, not strategy.

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