Harvest Thanksgiving at St. Andrew’s

St. Andrew’s, in common with many churches in the Anglican Communion, traditionally celebrates a Service of Thanksgiving for the Harvest.

This took place this year on Sunday 7th October 2018.

The guest preacher for the service was the Revd Steve Ward, a Methodist Minister and former Army Chaplain now living in the Republic of Cyprus, who joined us with his wife Louise and many other visitors and guests. Steve preached a wonderful uplifting sermon to a full church using texts from the readings of the day. From Psalm 126 Steve looked to us to be filled with joy at all the blessings which we receive from God, and reminded us that though we may sow in tears yet we shall reap with joy.

Steve also introduced some of the congregation to Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, eliciting a groan from the Revd Mike who remembers studying this during management training in a previous existence of his! Although Maslow identified basic human needs such as food and shelter as the basis of his “hierarchy”, Steve added to this the need for us to be founded first and foremost on God, who provides for all. He then reminded us of our need to care for those whose needs are greater than ours in this world where so many suffer from privation.

Among our visitors we were delighted to find Joanne, an accomplished organist from Liverpool, who led our worship without the need for the organ sequencer!

Following the service all were invited to join us in the front of the church for the traditional “bunfight”. In previous years this would have taken the form of a “bring and share” lunch in the grounds of the Hermitage, but sadly, due to circumstances beyond the control of the parish, these are currently not available to us.

Instead the suggestion was made and approved by the Church Council that we would offer a buffet lunch in the grounds of St. Andrew’s to those who wished to join us. This proved to be a great success and was a wonderful witness to many passers by who wondered what was going on. Two ladies even joined us, and shared in the lunch!

A model may have been set for future Harvest Thanksgivings: indeed what better evidence could we have that the Revd Steve’s words from Psalm 126: “those who sow in tears [because of the situation we find ourselves in vis-à-vis the Hermitage] shall reap in joy” are so very true for us here in St. Andrew’s at this time!

Below are some photographs of the joyful day:

Coffee Morning in aid of Ras Morbat Clinic, Aden

 

The Coffee Morning for the Ras Morbat Clinic held in the home of Pat Etherington on Saturday 13th October raised £335

Pat offers her sincere thanks to all who attended and contributed.

Yemen is one of the world’s least developed countries and remains the poorest and most rural country in the Middle East. The political unrest over recent months has made the situation worse for the population with diminishing food and fuel supplies. There is also inadequate health provision for the people of Yemen.

Although there are Government hospitals , these often have a reputation for being dirty and patients are charged for all services beyond the absolute basics. There are also private clinics but these are prohibitively expensive for the average Yemeni.

Ras Morbat Clinic addresses these issues through the work of its two departments, the general department and the eye department.

Since its beginning in 1996 the General Department has provided primary healthcare to the poorest people in the local community. For a nominal registration fee ($1 per person) a patient can see a doctor as often as required, and is given necessary drugs free of charge by the on-site pharmacy. There is also a small laboratory on site where a variety of tests can be conducted, leading to rapid diagnosis and treatment of conditions. There were over 10,000 appointments in the general department in 2010.

The Eye Department welcomes patients from all over Yemen, and offers visual acuity, refraction, examination by ophthalmologists and laser or surgical treatment as required. The Eye Department also runs camps, for example an annual trip to Mocha, to treat patients in regions where there are no eye clinics. There were over 5,000 appointments in the eye department in 2010, and over 450 operations were performed. The Eye Department is also an Implementing Partner of UNHCR and provides eye care to the Somali refugee population living in the Aden area.

In addition to providing health care, Ras Morbat Clinic seeks to employ and train local staff, thus increasing the skills within the local community. It’s role as a training institution has been recognised by the Medical Faculty of the University of Aden, and the clinic has been assigned responsibility to share in the regular training of post graduate students.

Despite the recent unrest in Yemen the clinic has continued to open its doors to patients.

 

 

The Tongue – sermon preached on 16th September 2018

A reflection on the letter of James, Chapter 3 verses 1 to 12

by

The Revd Michael Graham

[1] Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

There, straight away, is a thing which makes me very nervous! I admit quite openly that I am no teacher, and I admire greatly those of you who are teachers.

But isn’t the truth of it that we are all, in one way or another, teachers? Either formally because that is or was our job, or in the home, in the workplace, or even in our daily lives? We who claim the name Christian are, in fact, teachers of others by our words and our actions. They look to us to see how we proclaim and, perhaps more importantly, how we live our faith.

Remember those words – We who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

[2] For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.

I wonder if any of us could claim to make no mistakes when speaking?

[3] If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.

[4] Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

Isn’t that so true? I’ll admit to being a bit frightened of horses – to me they’re so huge and yet with just a small bridle in their mouths these powerful beasts can be directed – by somebody else. As regards the rudder on a ship – imagine one of those huge super tankers yet such a relatively small thing can guide it safely through the seas.

[5] So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!

[6] And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Here’s the nub – just as the small rudder can guide the whole tanker, so the small tongue – that relatively tiny muscle in our mouths – can guide our whole being, can set us on fire – either with love or with the poisonous venom which can come from our lips. Anyone who has seen or been near to a forest fire can see how it rages out of control – and James tells us the tongue can do the same to us.

And here we have to update James’s words to include that bane of our modern society – so-called social media, though  what on earth is social about it I do not know. Personally I wouldn’t go near any of them with the proverbial ten-foot barge pole, yet there are those whose lives revolve around such things as Facebook or Twitter. And the words that we heard this morning relating to the tongue relate ten-fold to the published word, especially published on the Internet, because those words will never go away.

And, sadly, we here in St. Andrew’s know all about the use of, for example, Facebook to run down and denigrate not only individuals but also the church, be it parish, diocese or the wider church.

So bearing this in mind let’s continue with our exposition of these verses from James’s letter:

[7] For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,

[8] but no one can tame the tongue–a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Even the wildest beast can be tamed, but not that small muscle in our mouths.

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” the book Proverbs says in Chapter 16:verses 23-24

But Proverbs also tells us in Chapter 11 and verse 9: “With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbour

[9] With [the tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.

[10] From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.

That’s so true, isn’t it? With the same tongues that we use for prayer, that we use here this morning as we come together in this Thanksgiving to God, that we use to praise and uplift and bless – with that same tongue we spitefully drag down, we swear, we lie and we curse. And we do this to those who, like us, are made in the very image of God – the image which his Son Jesus took upon himself in the incarnation.

Verse 10 continues:

My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.

[11] Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?

[12] Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

And that at the end of the day is the awful reality. For how can this tongue really mean those words of praise and blessing when it has been defiled with words of hate and anger, not only verbally but also, as I said, on the likes of Facebook? No – the spring cannot give both fresh and brackish water – the fresh water will always be tainted as it comes out.

Listen to the words of Paul in his letter to the Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 8 and 9:

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

And finally, from Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 29:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths [or from your fingertips and keyboard], but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen [or read them].”

And so:

“Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.” Amen

St. Andrew’s joins in Kurban Bayram tradition

Update: The sum of £500 has been raised to date by this appeal. More details will be posted after the donation is made to the Karakum Special Needs Centre.

 

Kurban Bayram, the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) in the calendar of our Muslim sisters and brothers here in North Cyprus and throughout the world runs from 21st to 24th August this year. So may we first of all wish you a sincere Kurban Bayramınınz Mübarak Olsun – May you have a blessed Kurban Bayram!

Traditionally at this time offerings are given for the poor and needy. A lamb or goat will be sacrificed and one third shared with neighbours and friends, one third kept for the family’s use, and one third given to the poor.

St. Andrew’s would like to join with the wider community in observing this tradition, though not in the sacrifice of a poor sheep!

Rather a collection is being made in church over the next few Sundays by means of a retiring collection, and the proceeds given to those less fortunate than ourselves. We plan to support the Special Needs Centre in Karakum near Kyrenia  

If you would like to support this worthy cause you can do so in several ways:

  • by contributing on the retiring collection plate at any of the services in St. Andrew’s
  • by making a donation via the website, clicking here or on the “MyDonate” button and, when making the donation, indicate that it is for the Kurban Bayram collection
  • by contacting the Churchwardens or the Acting Chaplain to indicate the amount you would like to donate

Please be as generous as you can, especially for our local friends and neighbours struggling during this time of economic turmoil when the Turkish lira has lost so much of its value.

Thank you.

Sea Sunday at St. Andrew’s

The second Sunday of July (which fell this year on 8th July 2018) is traditionally marked as Sea Sunday when we remember and pray for sefarers and their families.

This year St. Andrew’s was privileged to welcome Mr. Ken Wiseman, Director of the Mission to Seafarers in Cyprus as guest preacher at the 10:30am Holy Communion Service. Once again Linda Lister provided a magnificent floral display with the sea and seafarers as its theme.

During his sermon Ken reminded us of the loneliness of life at sea and the welcome that the Mission to Seafarers can give to those who may have had no contact with their family for many months at a time. Living in an island nation as we do the work of seafarers is vital to our very survival. Thus it is only right and proper that we should support them as much as we can, both spiritually with our prayers and materially with our gifts.

St. Andrew’s has, for the past few years, traditionally supported the Mission to Seafarers at Christmas with “shoebox” collections of small items which are then distributed by the Mission to those who are in port at that time. Ken presented a certificate to St. Andrew’s to thank the congregation for their support in 2017 and looks forward to that support continuing this year.

Mr. Ken Wisemand and the Revd Michael Graham

Certificate of Service

The magnificent floral display by Linda Lister

 

 

Celebrations at St. Andrew’s

Fr Edward and his wife Janet

Sunday 1st July marked a special day of celebration. On that day Fr. Edward Jervis, one of the retired priests in St. Andrew’s, celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

The lectionary was laid aside for that day and instead the readings for the Feast of SS Peter and Paul were used, together with hymns appropriate to the occasion, for it was during Petertide that Fr. Edward was priested in 1978 in Lichfield Cathedral while serving as a curate in the parish of West Bromwich in the Diocese of Lichfield.

Fr Edward served as curate in West Bromwich from 1977 – 1980 when he became curate in Horsham in the Diocese of Chichester from 1980 – 1986.

Following this he was Instituted as Rector of the Parish of West Tarring, also in the Diocese of Chichester, where he served until his retirement in 2014.

Mr. Justin Arnott, Ordinand and Preacher

The guest preacher for this special service was Mr. Justin Arnott. Justin lives in Cyprus and has been a Lay Reader attached to the Cathedral of St. Paul in Nicosia. Following training he is to be ordained Deacon in the Cathedral on Saturday 7th July 2018 and will continue to serve in St. Paul’s.

During his sermon Justin marvelled at the juxtaposition of a new ordinand and a long-serving priest, but emphasised to the congregation that all ordained ministers, indeed all in the Church whatever the ministry to which they are called, ordained or lay, are supported by the prayers of the whole Church. This is vital and must be continued throughout the Diocese and beyond.

The beautiful floral display made by Linda Lister

The sanctuary contained a beautiful floral display made by Linda Lister which not only incorporated the red liturgical colour associated with the Saints’ Day but also a scroll bearing an inscription from Matthew 16: 18,19. In keeping with this verse Linda had also added red keys to the display and a bible, representing the one give to Fr Edward at his priesting.

The celebration cake

Following the celebratory Eucharist the congregation were invited to St. Andrew’s Hall for some delicious anniversary cake made by Linda Smith and “fizz”, where they were joined by other members of the Diocese to congratulate Fr Edward on his special day.

The congregation before the service

The congregation in the “naughty corner”!

Fr Edward celebrates at the Eucharist

Fr Edward and Mr. Justin Arnott

The congregation enjoying refreshments in the Hall

Fr Edward and Janet cut the cake

Fr Edward speaks in the Hall

Bishop Michael visits St. Andrew’s

On Sunday 24th June 2018 Bishop Michael and Mrs Julia Lewis visited St. Andrew’s where the Bishop celebrated and  preached at the 10:30am service of Holy Communion.

Using the Lectionary texts for the day (Job 38: 1-11, Psalm: 107: 1-3, 23-32, 2 Corinthians 6: 1-13, Mark 4: 35-41) Bishop Michael reminded us that, like the sea, parishes have their periods of storm and tumult as well as periods of calm. But Christians are to think about God’s grace and widen our hearts to see the “bigger picture”: what and who God is.  We have seen God in Christ. People may mock us for how we behave sometimes, but God knows us and what we can be. We have been given the gifts of grace and love which we must show to the world.

Returning to the image of the storm about which we heard in the Gospel reading, the disciples, we are told, were, naturally, afraid as the wind whipped up violent waves which threatened to swamp the boat. But Jesus slept. When they woke him, to calm them he simply said “Peace”, and peace came. They already had what they needed in the boat in the person of Jesus. Like them, in the storms and tumults of our lives, we must remember that Jesus is with us too, always.

Following the service Bishop and Mrs. Lewis joined us for refreshments in the Hall.

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