Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent

To mark the beginning of Lent there will be Holy Communion with imposition of Ashes on Wednesday 6th March at 10 am.

Lent can, if we let it, summon us from the safe harbours of our lives into a wide expanse of existence. Part of the point of deciding to lay things down, or to take things up (depending on the decisions we make as Lent begins) is that in doing so we make our lives unfamiliar, even if only in a small way. We check ourselves as we reach for those familiar safety devices like chocolate or alcohol and challenge ourselves into a less familiar response. What we “do” for Lent is far less important than who we become. Who are you becoming this Lent? What have you learnt about yourself and about God that is transforming you? What wilderness experience do you need to encounter for God to transform you, our church and our world? 

This year at St. Andrew’s we invite you to experience Lent not as a season of restriction but one of wide open spaciousness in which to learn new lessons, to grow in faith and to give God the chance to meet us in new ways.

In Lent we remember especially the depth of despair laid out before Jesus and he still chose to go. His whole life and ministry was summed up by the choices he made in the wilderness when tempted by the devil. He could have chosen the easy way but instead he chose the hard way. He could have chosen the way that brought personal honour and praise but instead he chose the way brought love and compassion. He could have chosen grandeur and comfort, but instead chose to live alongside those who had nothing. He saw and knew exactly what he chose but he still said: “Let me go there”.

Come with us and Jesus as we take time to enter the wilderness and hear the challenge to come and follow him. The question is, whether we, like him, can echo those words: “Let me go there”.

Our Lent Study Course this year, which started early, takes place each Thursday from 14th February to 11th April, following the mid-week Holy Communion service at 10.00 am and is a study of the Epistle of James. Click here for more details.

Also for Lent the beautiful evening service of Compline will be said each Sunday evening at 6:00pm in the church. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and certain other Christian denominations with liturgical traditions all prescribe Compline, which is a contemplative service that emphasizes spiritual peace.

 

World Day of Prayer 2019

Friday 1st March at 3.30pm

It has been the tradition for over 30 years for St Andrew’s Church to join congregations around the world, coming together to celebrate the World Day of Prayer, (note it is no longer Women’s World Day of Prayer as in these more enlightened times we want to include our brothers too).

Our service will be held in Church on Friday 1st March at 3.30pm and we encourage you all to attend and bring your friends and neighbours too. There will be refreshments available in the church hall after the service.

This year’s service is entitled Come – Everything is Ready and has been prepared by the Christian women of Slovenia.

We extend a special welcome to anyone who will help us to lead the worship. If you feel able, please let Anne Lloyd know so that we can familiarise ourselves with the words and music chosen by the Slovenian women.

Finally, if you can provide a cake large or small to share after the service please let Pat Etherington know.

Diocesan Synod 2019

Rear l-r: John Worton-Griffiths (observer); the Revd Mike Graham (Acting Chaplain); John Crothers (observer); Stuart Hillard (Church Warden) Front l-r: Sandy Oram (Church Warden); Anne Lloyd (observer); Jenny Worton-Griffiths (observer)

Delegates and observers from St. Andrew’s returned from a Diocesan Synod which combined business reporting, teaching, and fellowship in an activity packed week in Larnaca.

The theme of the Synod this year was The Five Marks and Liturgy where the Five Marks of Mission were discussed in the context of the Liturgy of the Anglican Communion, of which we are part. These Five Marks of Mission are:

  1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  3. To respond to human need by loving service
  4. To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
  5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

Those who attended the Synod were given the opportunity to try different forms of worship from those they were used to, and to report back to group leaders whether they felt these supported the Five Marks.

In addition Synod was blessed by an inspiring speaker in Archbishop Barry Morgan, former Bishop of Llandaff and Primate of the Church in Wales, who gave three talks on Worship and Prayer.

One highlight of Synod was the Diocesan Video whose theme was Rooted and Grounded, showing activities in various parishes and chaplaincies within the diocese which supported the concept of God being the root and ground of outreach into the communities which those congregations serve. Included was the Kurban Bayram initiative caried out by St. Andrew’s.

Lapta Home Group restarts

Home Group meetings will resume at the Lapta home of Richard and Christine Dobbs from Tuesday 12th February for 3/4 weeks at the usual time of 11am.
 
In this series of studies we shall be learning more about the Lord’s Prayer, its significance, and including prayer more widely and its importance to us and our church.
 
All are welcome. If interested please contact Richard on 0533 844 996

New Bible Study Group in St. Andrew’s

The re-formatted Thursday morning Holy Communion services at 10:00am each week in St. Andrew’s where, instead of a sermon a discussion is held between those present on a particular topic or scripture reading, has proved to be very popular.

Starting on Thursday 14th February 2019 a more structured discussion will be held in the Hall AFTER the service each week starting at approx. 10:45am. This will take the form of a study of the Epistle of James and is based on a book by the well-known author Tom Wright.

There are 9 sessions in all and, although starting a little early in the year, it will be the Lent Study for 2019. Refreshments will be available during each session.

All are welcome, whether attending the Communion service beforehand or not.

If you would like to attend please bring along a bible and a notepad. Please also let the Revd Michael or Steve Bishop know so that we can make provision for the number attending.

‘Every generation in the church worries, rightly, about people who just glide along, who appear to enjoy what they hear, and yet don’t seem to make any real difference. James faced a similar situation during the very first days of the church. So, it’s not surprising that translating belief into action – making sure that faith is the real thing – is near the heart of his message. That kind of faith, he explains, is the faith that matters, the faith that justifies, the faith that saves. We need that kind of faith today. These nine studies on James’s passionate letter help us to live out a faith that makes a difference.’

Re-formed MenMeet learn of the horrors of Ebola

MenMeet – January 2019

The newly re-formed St. Andrew’s MenMeet men’s group gathered in the Hall on Wednesday 16th February to hear a fascinating account of the terrible scourge of Ebola which affected Sierra Leone in 2013.

Bob Cowan, the guest speaker at this first meeting, was working in the country as a Cocoa Plantation Manager when the epidemic struck. He described vividly the effects of the disease as it rampaged through the country and his own efforts to help. Illustrated by some of the photographs he took while there, Bob gave the meeting a new insight into the appaling tragedy which hit this and surrounding countries.

Bob’s own bravery and hard work were very evident when he told of his offering of help in the initial, uncoordinated response to the disease.

All came away with a new appreciation of the effect of Ebola in sub-saharan West Africa during that time.

The February MenMeet will gather in St. Andrew’s Hall on Wednesday 20th February at 11:00am. After the meeting those who wish to do so will repair to The George for lunch.

Gordon Hayes and Bob Cowan

Map of Sierra Leone

Bob Cowan at the TFL plantation in Kailahun

Ebola village

The spread of the disease

Kenema Treatment Centre

Ebola treatment centre “facilities”

Car pass

 

World Food Program convoy

Bob Cowan received the Ebola medal for his work in Sierra Leone

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