Lorgues with Fayence in the Var

Part of the Anglican Mission of the Diocese in Europe

Last Updated

Last Updated  6th Jun 2021

Lorgues Online


SUNDAY 6th Jun '21

imageLorgues Online Worship 

As a small church community who are wrestling with difficult decisions and our own future, Pauls letter to the Ephesians helps us to keep focused on the things that matter.......Through words and music we learn, not just of God's faithfulness and love for us all, but what is also required of us.
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    Sundays and Wednesdays Matter

    You will find the previous services ARCHIVED HERE

    Though we may no longer be able to meet together on Sundays in our places of worship, this does not mean that we cannot be joined together in Spirit through the means of modern communications and social media.  Fortunately Church was never about buildings or institutions but about PEOPLE joined together through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit has no limitations. So now we are NOW ONLINE with our worship and Sunday by Sunday we will post here on our website and on email our Sunday worship. 


    A Pastoral note from the Chaplain

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    Dear Friends,

    A COUPLE OF DATES FOR YOU TO NOTE

    We are trying to look ahead over the next few weeks to see exactly what is possible and what we as a chaplaincy need to do. Easter is only a few weeks away now  so the suggestions are as follows.

    28th March is Palm Sunday and is the 4th Sunday of the month when we try and meet in chapel St Honerat if weather and covid regulations permit, so at the moment, that is the plan.  Chris Walley will be preaching for us.

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    We have to hold the Annual General Meeting of the chaplaincy before the end of May, so that will be also be held here at our home Arc-en-Provence after Sunday service (5th Sunday) on the 30th May

    After May I will largely be taking a back seat and only taking Communion Services as requested.  My last official Sunday will be 25th July, which is my 21st Anniversary of Ordination and 71st birthday.  No specific plans as yet but I suspect we will be throwing a sort of Holy Sunday Hooley here at our home on that day before I ride off into the Sunset!!

    Hope that all helps with your diaries; and of course, is all subject to what is permissable.

    Every blessing,

    Peter





  • A  Wider View

    More than 4,000 Church of England parishes are estimated to have stepped up support to the wider community during the coronavirus pandemic.

    imageFrom listening services to food deliveries, a new report by the Church of England and Church Urban Fund, shows the creative range of ways churches have helped their local communities.

    Overall, 37% of churches reported that they were providing more support to their communities with this figure rising to 41% in rural areas.

    imageChurch volunteers have carried out a range of tasks from food deliveries to shopping, dog walking and collection of prescriptions since the first lockdown, according to the report. Gardening projects, 'phone buddies', job-hunting support, and helping people to get online were among a series of innovative services provided by churches for people suffering from the social and economic effects of the pandemic.


    A  Wider View

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    BBC PANORAMA    watch it here   


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yscIr2kcrc

    Is the Church Racist?

    Panorama investigates allegations of racism in the Church of England. A year after the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, admitted that the Church was still 'deeply institutionally racist', and that he was 'ashamed' of its record, reporter Clive Myrie meets vicars, curates and theological trainees to understand the scale of the problem. He hears stories of racist abuse and claims of a culture that creates a hostile environment for Christians of colour. Some say they have been told to ‘turn the other cheek’ when they have raised complaints, others say they have suffered in silence for fear of further discrimination or losing their jobs.




    A  Wider View

    Christians in France worry ‘Anti-separatism bill’ would restrict their freedom to worshipChristians in France worry ‘Anti-separatism bill’ would restrict their freedom to worship

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    Christians in France are warning a bill passed in the Senate could see religious freedom restricted in the country.

    Commonly referred to as the "Anti-separatism law", the legislation was proposed by President Emmanuel Macron last year following a terrorist attack in Paris.

    The bill seeks to fight radical Islamism by controlling the content being taught in mosques, putting tighter restrictions on foreign funding and homeschooling.

    “Pray that religious freedom is maintained so that the gospel of Jesus can be proclaimed. And that even if the law goes through in this current form, or even in a tighter form, that Christians in France would nonetheless be bold in proclaiming this good news about Jesus… and wherever the outcome of this law resides, we don't give way to fear and that we don't start to develop a kind of persecuted minority mindset, but we use what we have for God's glory,” 


    A  Wider View

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    Church of England given a timetable to halt racism in report

    From September, every senior vacancy is to have at least one minority-ethnic candidate

    From Lament to Action

    The report published yesterday, which has been designated Stephen Lawrence Day. “Decades of inaction carry consequences, and this inaction must be owned by the whole Church. A failure to act now will be seen as another indication, potentially a last straw for many, that the Church is not serious about racial sin.”

    WITHIN months, racial-justice officers are to be appointed to every diocese of the Church of England, and a racial-justice directorate is to be created, to combat institutional racism and lack of diversity within the Church from the ground up — if the urgent recommendations of the Archbishops’ Anti-racism Taskforce are implemented.

    In addition, from September, every senior vacancy — bishop, dean, archdeacon, and residentiary canon, as well as senior lay posts in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) — is to have at least one appointable, minority-ethnic candidate on the shortlist, or “provide valid, publishable reasons” for failure to do so.

    “Repentance requires more than apology,” declares the taskforce’s first report, 

    READ THE FULL REPORT HERE





    A  Wider View

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    Prince Philip Rest in Peace

    Prince Philip persuaded and encouraged the Queen to talk about her own Christian faith in her 2000 Christmas broadcast, according to a church leader who knew the Duke well.


    imageFollowing the death of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, Rev Prof Ian Bradley, the author of God Save the Queen, spoke to Premier about his memories of the Duke.

    "He was the person really who encouraged the queen to talk about her own faith in her Christmas broadcasts. You know, in the old days, they really used to be more like travelogues, and they would just say where the royal family had been. 


    imageBut in 2000, the Queen's spoke very movingly and powerfully about her own Christian faith and the impact it had on her. And there was a very positive response from viewers. And Philip, it was Philip who really persuaded the queen to make more of her own Christian faith and he said, 'You should be talking about this.'"

    Rev Prof Ian Bradley also preached for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen as a visiting preacher at the Parish of Braemar and Crathie. The Queen visits the church for Sunday services when staying at Balmoral with members of her family including Prince Philip.

    imageHe told Premier that Prince Philip liked to take notes during sermons and he was extremely interested in theology:

    "He would note down all the details of the sermon. He was extremely interested in, in theology, he had a wonderful knowledge of the Bible, and then he would sort of quiz you at lunchtime, ask you about your sermon and really put you on your mettle. And I was amazed at his biblical knowledge. I mean, we sat up one evening, talking almost far into the night about biblical references to the environment, his great interest, of course. He was very well steeped in the Bible, but he was particularly interested in what the Bible had to say about creation and our relationship with creation.

    "And he did a lot, of course, in his own life, to forward church involvement, and indeed, the involvement of all faiths, in creation. He was the man who was really behind that conference when he was the President of the International World Wildlife Fund in 1986, which brought together Christians and Buddhists and Hindus, and Jews, and Muslims, to think about their attitude to God's creation. 

    image"And at the end of the conference, it was Prince Philip, who proposed the creation of an alliance of religions and conservation, which was duly set up. And I mean, he put it in his own characteristically blunt terms. He said, 'If you believe in God, which is what Christians are supposed to do, you should feel a responsibility to care for God's creation.' And he was passionately involved in this. He was always writing letters to faith leaders and governments, he produced a very interesting book in 1989, called Survival or Extinction, A Christian Attitude to the Environment. And this was, you know, long before a lot of people were getting concerned about climate change and global warming and everything. And he said that he talked about the urgent need to face up to what we humans are doing, and that should lie heavily on the Christian conscience. So this was his particular Crusade, I think," Rev Bradley added.



    A  Wider View

    St Honerat Lorgues was ready to celebrate Palm Sunday


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    Our Online Palm Sunday Service is here

    A  Wider View

    Prayer urged for South Sudan as the UN warns the country is 'one step away from famine


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    Christians are being encouraged to pray for South Sudan as the UN has warned the country is facing "its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition" since it gained its independence in January 2011. 

    The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has launched its response plan requesting $1.7 billion to assist 6.6 million people that are in need of life-saving assistance, especially children and pregnant women.  

    Speaking to Premier, Anthony Rama, Tearfund's Country Director for South Sudan, said recent events have made the situation worse: 

    "What has made that even grievous is the fact that, towards the end of last year, we experienced the worst flooding in decades. So flood and then Covid, which is just an addition to the pile of problems that we've been struggling to overcome. So really, the ask speaks to the sheer level of needs across the country suddenly."

    The country gained its independence from Sudan ten years ago as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. However, a national civil war broke out in 2013 displacing many and disrupting the ability for families to settle down and being able to farm. 

    Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, said: "Throughout these various shocks, the affected communities have continued to demonstrate a great sense of solidarity. I call on the Government, development partners, donors and aid organizations to match their solidarity with unwavering support."


    CLICK ON PICTURE BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO

    image"Our immediate priorities include sustaining our response in the most food-insecure areas and preparing for the upcoming rainy season, which is forecasted to lead once again to major floods. Thousands of humanitarian workers - most of them South Sudanese - are working tirelessly to save lives and provide humanitarian assistance to people in the areas of greatest need. But we need urgent funding to prevent a further deterioration of the situation, and we need the violence to stop so that the people of South Sudan can finally recover from the crisis and rebuild their lives," Noudéhou concluded. 

    Asked how the church in the UK can stand in prayer with South Sudan, Rama said: "What I would ask for is that we continue to pray and stand in solidarity with the people of South Sudan. Our prayer is that those donors continue to give sacrificially but also continue to pray especially that we are able to continue providing assistance to about 1.4 million mothers and children that need food assistance."






    A  Wider View


    Disproportionate number of women in unpaid ministry raises equality questions, says WATCH

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    THE disproportionately high number of female clerics in non-stipendiary (unpaid) ministry in the Church of England compared with male clerics, most of whom are in stipendiary (paid) posts, raises questions about how women priests are perceived and valued, the campaigning group Women and the Church ((href=https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/topics/watch-women-and-the-church)WATCH) has said.

    In its annual analysis of data collected by the C of E Research and Statistics department, WATCH reports that, despite the slight increase in recent years in the proportion of women who are receive a stipend while serving in a parish post, and the fact that more women are currently being ordained than men ((href=https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/19-june/news/uk/more-women-deaconed-than-men-in-c-of-e-but-ethnic-diversity-decreases)News, 19 June 2020), about 70 per cent of the stipendiary clergy are male.

    There are thousands more male priests (13,680 in 2019) than female (6290), and yet more than half of all priests in self-supporting ministry (SSM, which includes NSMs and ordained local ministers) are women (51 per cent; 1460); in the (href=https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/topics/diocese-of-rochester)diocese of Rochester, women made up 70 per cent of its SSMs but only 23 per cent of its stipendiaries.


    A  Wider View



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    Dan Walker: My Christian faith is what makes me tick

    One of the most recognisable faces on television talks to us about his faith, handling criticism and what makes a person remarkable 

    When Dan Walker was first asked by a publisher to write his autobiography, the conversation didn’t get far. The idea “sounded vile”, he tells me. The problem wasn’t finding something to write about. The 43-year-old’s achievements are numerous, including fronting BBC One’s flagship morning show Breakfast, which is viewed by 11 million people a week. Landing that gig alongside regular appearances on Football Focus and Match of the Day has made Walker one the most recognisable faces on television.  As a youngster, he’d dreamed of becoming a teacher, but those hopes were dashed when he was turned down for a training course for being too immature. Next he entered a sports commentary competition…and won. The prize – two weeks of work experience – helped launch his career in radio, and the move to TV quickly followed.

    Home Thoughts from Abroad !

    A  Wider View

    A  Wider View

    Bible reading is up since the pandemic began. Here's why it's good for your mental health

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    1st March 2021

    Mark Woods from Bible Society shares the results of a new survey.  Read here

    You'd kind of hope it might be true, but it's good to have it confirmed: Lockdown has seen an explosion in all sorts of activities, from learning languages to gardening, but it's also seen Christians reading the Bible more, and finding hope and comfort in it.

    According to our recent survey, a significant number of Christians have reported that reading the Bible had led to an increased hope in God (42%); 28 per cent said it had increased their confidence in the future, while 63 per cent said that it had enabled their confidence to remain the same, rather than dipping.

    Nearly a quarter of the 1,000 Christians we surveyed said that reading the Bible had also increased their mental wellbeing. And we discovered that since the pandemic hit, Christians are reading the Bible more often – 35 per cent of respondents overall, while among 25 to 34-year-olds that figure rises to more than half.

    Bible reading is up since the pandemic began. Here's why it's good for your mental health1st March 2021Mark Woods from Bible Society shares the results of a new survey which suggests reading the Bible is good for you 
    You'd kind of hope it might be true, but it's good to have it confirmed: Lockdown has seen an explosion in all sorts of activities, from learning languages to gardening, but it's also seen Christians reading the Bible more, and finding hope and comfort in it.
    According to our recent survey, a significant number of Christians have reported that reading the Bible had led to an increased hope in God (42%); 28 per cent said it had increased their confidence in the future, while 63 per cent said that it had enabled their confidence to remain the same, rather than dipping.
    Nearly a quarter of the 1,000 Christians we surveyed said that reading the Bible had also increased their mental wellbeing. And we discovered that since the pandemic hit, Christians are reading the Bible more often – 35 per cent of respondents overall, while among 25 to 34-year-olds that figure rises to more than half.

    .Top of the Morning

    imageDear friends in the Archdeaconry of France,

    I was very touched by the gift from the Archdeaconry which came my way as I was preparing to leave for Ireland. Your gift will enable me to enhance my spacious garden here in north County Cork! I will leave the Archdeaconry with a great sense of thankfulness and fulfilment, along with much gratitude for the opportunity to support clergy and laity throughout the Archdeaconry.

    Being Archdeacon of France has been my ‘dream job’ and I have relished the opportunities it has afforded, not only to offer pastoral support to the Chaplaincies and the clergy who serve them; but also to work on a much broader, ecumenical and international canvas. I will take that sense of delight and accomplishment with me into the next stage of ministry here in Ireland.

    Please be assured of my prayers and best wishes to all in the Archdeaconry, including Tony Lomas as acting archdeacon for the next few weeks and Peter Hooper my successor.

    Yours ever

    Meurig

    Archbishop of Canterbury at New Year:


    GOD REJOICES IN 

    SMALL ACTS OF LOVE

    imageArchbishop Justin Welby used the message, which was  broadcast on BBC1 over the New Year, as an opportunity to reflect on his time as a volunteer assistant chaplain at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, part of which is across the road from Lambeth Palace.

    He recollects: “One evening, I might be with a young child, praying with him and his mother. On another, I could be sharing a joke with someone — finding a moment of warmth and connection in a frightening time. Sometimes the most important thing we do is just sit with people, letting them know they are not alone.”

    The Archbishop continues: “This year has seen tremendous pain and sadness. Many of us have lost family members or friends, often without being able to say goodbye. For anyone who is on the dark and difficult journey of grief — a path I know myself — I want to assure you that I am praying for you.

    “But it’s at St Thomas’ that, alongside acknowledging this darkness, I find reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead. Because what I see here teaches me something about human beings — and about God. This crisis has shown us how fragile we are. It has also shown us how to face this fragility.

    Read about his reflections here


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    Church of England land should be used to help tackle housing crisis.

    A Commission set up by archbishop of Canterbury says church must lead by example of hectares of land owned by the Church of England could be used to build affordable homes in the next few years under proposals from a housing commission set up by the archbishop of Canterbury.

    The church must lead by example in tackling the housing crisis facing the nation, says the commission. The government should adopt a 20-year strategy to provide truly affordable homes to its citizens, but the C of E can act immediately, its report, Coming Home, concludes.

    The church owns about 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of land, held by the church commissioners, 42 dioceses and 12,500 parishes. Much of it is unsuitable for development, but a mapping exercise carried out by the commission has established that a significant proportion could be used to build affordable housing.

    However, fewer than a quarter of the 3,820 new homes that the church commissioners have secured planning permission for since 2015 were affordable, the commissioners said. Assets include land “suitable for the delivery of 28,500 new homes across England, of which we anticipate around 8,600 will be affordable”.

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    10 REASONS EVEN COMMITTED CHURCH ATTENDERS ARE ATTENDING CHURCH LESS OFTEN

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    This comes up in a surprising number of conversations a lot. And no one’s quite sure how to respond to it.

    The issue? Even committed church attenders are attending church less often.

    The trend has been happening for years (gone are the days when people attended 50 out of 52 Sundays), but the issue has reached a tipping point in the church over the last decade and is now amplified by the PANDEMIC

    But the conversation persists and, to many leaders, feels much more urgent.

    This isn’t a post about why people have left the church (that’s a different subject.) This is about church attenders who love God, appreciate the local church and are even involved in the local church, but who simply attend less often.

    This topic comes up a lot, and some other resources that can help you do a deeper dive include:


    Read more here....it's important! church decline.docx


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    MASS BAPTISM IN THAILAND -

    Buddhists convert to Christianity

    President of Reach a Village, Robert Craft told Premier that although missionaries have been working in Thailand for many years, this is an unprecedented moment in the country’s history.

    “Missionary work had been going in Thailand for 200 years and for this to happen and in these kinds of numbers, it is historic. It is the first time there is revival. I think God is doing something very special.”

    Thailand's population is almost entirely Buddhist, with Christians representing a very small minority.

    The wave of growth of Christian believers began late in 2016 with the efforts of a local pastor establishing many home churches in different provinces. Today, there are more than 700 home churches across the country, from where many of those baptised originate.

    The baptism went ahead despite COVID-19 fears. The southeast Asian nation has been praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with only 5 confirmed cases at the time of writing and 1 death since June.

    “In some countries, COVID-19 has drastically affected the movement of the gospel but in Thailand, it seems that we have been spared,” Craft said.

    He encourages people to pray for wisdom for local church leaders, as movements such as these can potentially ruffle feathers politically.

    “When news like this hit…political authorities could become upset. We should pray that the Lord would help Thai Christian leaders to handle the movement in such a way that they are wise like serpents, and harmless as doves.”


    An emergency relief appeal for Sudan and South Sudan launched by the Diocese of Salisbury has managed to raise over £78,000. The campaign was launched by the Rt Rev Nicholas Roderick Holtam, the Bishop of Salibsury, in response to the pressing needs of people from both countries. 

    imageThe appeal was initially launched to raise £50,000 for soap and hygiene products for South Sudan and Food for neighbouring Sudan.

    Following the successful fundraising effort, Bishop Holtam said: “Thanks be to God for the generosity of many donors who supported this emergency appeal for our partners in the Sudan and South Sudan. I know it will mean a lot to our partners and friends.

    “This support is more than money. It is a gift of hope. It is also good for us to lift our sights and care for our neighbour at what is also a difficult time here. I thank those who gave from the bottom of my heart. It was an amazing achievement to raise this in a month.”

    Canon Ian Woodward, Chair of the Salisbury Sudans Committee added: “We have been hugely blessed with the wonderful response to our appeal for the support of our Sudanese and South Sudanese brothers and sisters in the Covid-19 crisis.

    “We set a target of £50,000 but have exceeded that by more than 50% to £78,600 and as many Sudanese folks think more in terms of $US that’s over $US 100,000 – a magnificent achievement and says a great deal about how much we in the Diocese of Salisbury love and value our fellow Sudanese and South Sudanese friends.”


    imageA Christian who escaped North Korea twice tells Premier the country is failing to contain coronavirus and that border controls means there is a severe food shortage and rising prices. 

    Timothy Cho fled North Korea in his twenties when he was denied entry to the army, but was sent back and went to prison and was tortured. He later tried again and was put in prison in Shanghai, where he became a Christian. He was then extradited and now lives in the UK, where he graduated and works with Christian charity Open Doors. 

    Cho told Premier that the coroanvirus has hit the country badly: "People are dying so easily once they have shown the symptoms because their bodies are so weak to defend, with an ongoing lack of food and nutrition and malnutrition and starvation, and they die all of a sudden, and so quickly.

    "North Korea was already presenting with existing issues of ongoing starvation and malnutrition and economic crisis. What's been happening since this virus lockdown [is] they had closed the borders with China. So, it has radically decreased the amount of imported food and medicine, this is the reason why a lot of items' prices have gone up to more than four times and some of these imported food and foodstuff are difficult to find in the market."

    With the blackmarket collapsing, and stalls closing down, more people are struggling to surivie as it can cost two months' salary to buy a kilo of rice. 

    Listen to the full interview with Premier's Michael Fanstone here: 

    Weather problems have also damaged internal produce. Mudslides and flooding have meant "vast areas of farmland, including rice fields have been wiped out," according to Cho. 

    The country is denying help from the United Nations because of its priority of secrecy. Cho explained: "North Korea is not willing to let UN representatives have free access to the country in exchange for aid - there are too many human rights abuses that would be exposed. For the same reason, they aren't willing to take any further steps towards nuclear demilitarisation to get international sanctions lifted."

    Open Doors is waiting for a window of opportunity to help Christians in the country. 

    It estimates there are between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians in North Korea with between 50,000 and 70,000 in camps which no prisoner leaves alive. 

    Inmates are tortured, starved and work long hours under dangerous conditions. Sometimes they are used for chemical tests or executed. 


    The Irish Monks saved civilisation. They have much to teach our post-pandemic world

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    There will be significant opportunities ahead for the Church, says David Stroud, as he suggests learning lessons from ancient Irish Monks

    I’ve found the last couple of months pretty confusing. I was disorientated by the speed of change as the country went into lockdown, sad for the loss of ministry opportunities that were being cancelled and unable to see the future clearly. I was sick too, having developed Covid-19 symptoms which lasted for six weeks.

    As my head has cleared, many people are arguing that life is unlikely to go back to the way it was before the pandemic. Conceivably we are at one of those watershed times when life will never be quite the same again.

    I have found myself asking, “How should we respond? Who can we learn from? Which followers of Jesus have made a real contribution to society at moments of great change like this before?”


    A group of ancient men and women kept coming to mind. A group who were said to have saved civilisation many centuries previously and who might prove to be models for us right now to make a contribution in our time. They were Irish monks.

    Read full article from Premier here

    A Wider View

    Died: John Lewis, Baptist Minister, Politician and Civil Rights Leader

    imageRepublican Congressman John Lewis, the longtime civil rights activist and ordained Baptist minister who preached about getting in “good trouble,” died Friday at the age of 80. From Freedom Rides to March on Washington, Selma protest, and House of Congress, he showed that "Sometimes you have to find a way to get in trouble, good trouble."From childhood, when Lewis preached to chickens on his family farm, to his twilight years, when he urged National Prayer Breakfast attendees to “be a blessing to our fellow human beings,” faith was the fuel of Lewis’s life.

    imageAs a people of faith, as a people of hope, we need the blessing of God Almighty,” he prayed as he uttered a )benediction for the February breakfast via videotape, with a photo of the US Capitol as a backdrop. “It does not matter what language you speak or the color of your skin, it does not matter whether you worship one God, many gods, or no gods. We are one people, one family.”

    A Wider View

    POLITICAL partisanship by leaders in the United States 

    has cost thousands of lives in the battle against coronavirus, the Bishop of Texas, the Rt Revd Andy Doyle, has said.

    imageTexas is one of the worst-affected states in the US, with new cases reaching more than 10,000 in one day last week.

    Bishop Doyle attacked the “politicisation of mask-wearing and reopening”, and said that the Church was continuing to battle “the misinformation of political partisanship”, as most (href=https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/topics/episcopal-church-in-the-united-states)Episcopal churches stayed closed and offered online worship.

    “The Governor of Texas, like others, politicised mask-wearing and reopening against stricter health protocols. Now that there is a community spread, he is backtracking and trying to put that back in the box. That is most unfortunate: stricter health protocols would have saved thousands of lives from the get go.

    “Public officials who politicised these protocols have really hurt people, and some have died.”

    A Wider View

    Nantes Cathedral is ‘a shocking sight’ after fire

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    POLICE said on Monday that they suspected arson, after fire broke out on Saturday morning in Nantes Cathedral, in western France, and wrecked parts of the interior, including a 17th-century organ and 15th-century stained glass.

    “No trace of a break-in has been found through the exterior accesses, and the cathedral rector has stressed that a precise inspection was done before closing the building”, the local prosecutor, Pierre Sennes, said.

    “Three sources of the fire have been discovered, spaced apart by almost the entire length of the cathedral. Even then, however, we must not draw hasty conclusions.”

    The official spoke as moves were made to safeguard valuable artefacts from the Gothic cathedral after the blaze on Saturday morning, which also destroyed choir stalls and a priceless 19th-century painting by Hippolyte Flandrin.

    The cathedral’s administrator, Fr François Renaud, described the disaster as “a blow to the heart of the diocese”, which was preparing for the installation of a new bishop

    Read full article from the Church Times here


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    In an interview on Friday with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said in many churches around the world Jesus is not depicted as white. 

    "You see a black Jesus, a Chinese Jesus, a Middle-Eastern Jesus - which is of course the most accurate - you see a Fijian Jesus," Archbishop Justin said. 

    "Jesus is portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures, languages and understandings. 

    "And I don't think that throwing out everything we've got in the past is the way to do it but I do think saying: 'That's not the Jesus who exists, that's not who we worship,' it is a reminder of the universality of the God who became fully human."

    As the Black Lives Matter campaign in the UK has sparked calls for monuments of slave traders to be torn down across the country, the archbishop also said statues in Canterbury Cathedral will be under review. 




    Faith leaders call for a green recovery plan

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    UK faith leaders have called on the Government to ensure its economic recovery plan includes measures to reduce the risk of climate change.

    In the letter, the signatories, some of whom are members of the ‘Faith for the Climate’ network, also commit to the goals of the Laudato Si encyclical – an initiative of Pope Francis – to advocate for and model positive initiatives to continue to tackle the Climate Emergency.

    The open letter says that ‘many of us have found consolation in the dramatic reduction of pollution and the restoration of nature’.

    “We have rediscovered our sense of how interconnected the world is. The very health and future of humanity depends on our ability to act together not only with respect to pandemics but also in protecting our global eco-system.

    “At the same time, less travel and consumption and more kindness and neighbourliness have helped us appreciate what society can really mean.”

    Full article from the Church of England newspaper here


    Anti-racism focus turns to church statues

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    Monuments under the spotlight after BLM protests

    BRISTOL CATHEDRAL

    Workmen removing references to Edward Colston in windows of Bristol Cathedral

    CHURCHES and cathedrals have begun reviewing their monuments in earnest in view of the Black Lives Matter protests.

    The authorities at [St Paul’s Cathedral are among those to have announced reviews. The Abbey and the Chapter of [Bristol Cathedral have announced changes to their heritage policies.

    On Tuesday, a window panel in Bristol Cathedral was covered up. It commemorates Edward Colston, the merchant involved in the Atlantic slave trade whose statue was pushed into the river by protesters last week [

    The Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, said on Tuesday that the Chapter would be reviewing monuments in Manchester Cathedral.

    READ FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHURCH TIMES


    The Vicar of St Mark’s, Bedford, Canon Charles Royden, sets up an altar for outdoor communion services on Sunday

    imageA PRIEST in theSt Albans diocese has found a way to beat the ban on public worship inside churches while complying with lockdown restrictions. He plans to hold communion services in his church’s garden.

    The Vicar of St Mark’s, Bedford, Canon Charles Royden, has announced that, this Sunday, he is holding services under the ruling that allows an outdoor gathering of a maximum of six people. He is taking telephone bookings for five people to attend at half-hourly intervals in the church grounds on Sunday. He has already filled 12 services from 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is taking reservations for the following weekend. Service duties will be shared with his colleague, the Revd Dr Sam Cappleman.

    Canon Royden said: “The new rules are clear that we can now share food and drink and enjoy outdoor picnics and barbeques. It is, therefore, entirely within the new government directions that the sharing of the holy sacrament is no longer prohibited. The possibility of catching Covid-19 from this practice is considered extremely low.

    “We have been getting exasperated that these measures have been put in place to accommodate all sorts of activities, but nothing has been done in consideration of how churches are managing; so we are using the social-distancing criteria to have outdoor services of holy communion.

    “We are doing everything by the book, we are complying with government laws and with canon law, and, by doing that, we can offer a safe environment for all our congregation to come and take the sacrament — and know that they are safe as well as spiritually fed. We are following the regulations to the letter. If you can have burgers, you can definitely take the sacrament.”

    His plan has been approved by  his diocesan bishop. Canon Royden has carried out a stringent risk assessment, plotting safe routes in and out of the garden, social distancing, and arranging gazebos should it rain. From the Church Times

    Time to ‘own up to’ and ‘repent’ of white privilege, say bishops

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    ARCHBISHOPS and bishops of the Church of England, rallying to the support of the Black Lives Matter movement, have said that it is time to “own up to” and “repent” of white privilege, within the Church as in other parts of society.

    The new mood was sparked by protests in the United States at the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minnesota, two weeks ago. 

    Demonstrations led by the campaign group Black Lives Matter have spread around the globe. In cities across the UK, thousands of people have defied social-distancing measures to call for racial justice. The UK protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, although some clashes with the police were reported in London.

    On Tuesday evening, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in a video posted on social media: “I am struck by the effects of the last few days again and again and again, and I’ve been listening to those who have been talking about it from within their own experience of injustice as people who have come to this country. It’s horrifying.

    “Yet I am aware, too, that the Church has its own failings, and I come back to the fact that in the New Testament, Jesus says: ‘Be angry about injustice. Repent of injustice.’ That means going the other way, taking action against injustice. . .

    Full article here




    'I became a Christian during lockdown'
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    Red Pender should be struggling with anxiety in these challenging times, but instead she has more peace than ever 

    I was raised by Catholic parents in Bristol, but in my childhood there was a lot of negativity towards religion. My parents struggled to have children, so they adopted a baby, but he died before he was baptised. The Catholic church they were part of wouldn’t do his funeral on that basis, so there was much grief and pain directed towards the church. God became an angry person who was judging everything I did.  

    I went into care when I became a teenager and for the next ten years I went off the rails. I would say I was an angry atheist. I thought religion was ridiculous. The people that I did meet who were Christians always seemed to be looking down on me, as if I wasn’t good enough for their God. 

    Then during my early 20s I was in an abusive relationship; my boyfriend raped me. Someone at a crisis centre reached out to me and tried to talk to me about God, but I was so angry because: why would God allow that to happen to me? At that point in my life I developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety, and with that came obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and intrusive thoughts about cleanliness and self-harm. I’ve had years of therapy and medication, which helped control things, but never dealt with the underlying problems.

    FULL STORY HERE

     



    Sacrament without boundaries: The Eucharist after Lockdown

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    Learning from Lockdown: rethinking eucharistic worship

    By the Rev Michael Graham

    For much of Christian history, eucharistic worship has been bounded by concepts of leader and location. Jesus – as an anointed leader – gathered people together in a specific location – an upper room – to impart to them food which drew them to feed on higher food: his body broken for them, his blood shed for them. In similar vein, ever since Christianity became formally instituted in the 4th Century, an anointed leader – an episcopally ordained representative of Jesus – has gathered people together in a specific location – an episcopally consecrated building – in order to preside in the distribution of bread and wine.

    Since the Reformation and earlier, there have, of course, been departures from this in non-episcopal traditions, but even in house churches the concepts of anointed leader and location prevail. Today, however, we find ourselves inhabiting not just a physical world, but a virtual one, in which location – and, to a certain extent, leader – are conceived of more broadly. Moreover, a coronavirus pandemic is upon us and is shaking all our institutions. Had the pandemic hit us as little as a decade ago, the mass virtual communication on which we now depend would not have been reliably in place. So what is God saying to his human creation, and to his Church, through the current coincidence of global pandemic and global virtual communication?

    Read full article here



    From Ebola to Haiti, here are 5 ways the Church has responded at times of national crisis

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    Over the last century, the Church has been at the forefront when natural disasters strike, supporting and comforting affected people. Tearfund’s CEO, Nigel Harris, describes the different ways Christians have responded, from Ebola to the Haiti earthquake, and says the coronavirus pandemic will be no different

    Local churches know the needs of their communities and how best to respond with the resources available to them when disasters strike. Where the need is greatest, you’ll find the church. Here are five examples from this century where we’ve seen the church going above and beyond:

    Read the full article from Premier here


    The media have it wrong. Churches are NOT rushing to open their doors

    18th May 2020

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    Christian leaders are rightly reluctant to bring back public meetings, says the Evangelical Alliance's Danny Webster

    If you’ve read 

    The Daily Telegraph

     or 

    The Times

     in recent weeks, it’s likely you’ve come across clamouring calls for churches to reopen.

    These appeals have been generated by and  such as, “If takeaways can open, why not churches?”

    This growing wave of opinion is missing one vital component: churches do not wish to reopen just yet.

    Don’t get me wrong, churches of every stripe are desperate to be able to meet again, to be able to congregate in a room and worship God, to grow as a body and be a visible witness to their community of the hope that Jesus brings. But not now.

    Read full article here


    This week, 7 inspiring stories of Christians making a difference during lockdown


    The Coranavirus cab   "Florence" ?

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    How do you respond when you have so many people in your community needing to get to hospital appointments, but you need to keep to social distancing rules? Step forward the Ashburton Community Covid Response team and the ‘coronavirus cab’. The group from Devon, which includes Rt Rev Mark Rylands, an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Exeter, purchased an old black cab for £500 and is now using it to ferry elderly and vulnerable patients to and from hospital visits completely free of charge. It is thought the glass partition between driver and passenger will mean no infection can be passed on. Local people have been asked to come up with a name for the cab. As well as the inevitable ‘Cabby McCab Face’, a more serious suggestion of ‘Florence’ has been floated (after Florence Nightingale).

    This week, 7 inspiring stories of Christians making a difference during lockdown

    .

    Serving The Non-Digital Generation

     

    imageWhile it’s right that we celebrate how many churches have been able to move their services online, some people still don’t have computer – or even smartphone – access. Rev Ruth Frampton was determined not to lose connection with her parishes and instead launched a church service via telephone. Using a conference call facility she’s been joined by over 80 mostly elderly members of her network of churches. The 30-minute services, which include worship, readings and prayers, have received very positive feedback, with some even joining in from hospital.


    George Floyd: 

    The evil cancer of racism

     

    imageChurch leader Martin Segal says the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police should galvanise Christians to fight injustice and evil

    Like many others, my heart is heavy after seeing . As we hear of yet another black person’s death, we are sadly reminded that the evil cancer of racism is still rampant across the globe in obvious and subtle ways.

    We remember that everyone is made in the image of God for his glory and I am convinced that the call of God’s people as Christ’s body on this earth is to fight against this injustice, to love, champion and protect those people that face unjust hostility in their everyday lives and to seek to see the Kingdom of Christ increase. 

    I’ve found it hard to put my feelings into words; I’m angry, I’m upset, I’m disturbed by what I’ve seen and heard and yet, I’m also angry at myself for how little I’ve sought to fight against this injustice that we know and see is happening every day.

    Although this happened in the US, I’m saddened as I think about those in our church family who live in fear for the safety of themselves and their families, or have experienced the pain of unfair treatment simply because of the colour of their skin or ethnic background. I’m hurting for the friends and family of George Floyd who are grieving the loss of a loved son, brother and friend. 

    The Bible teaches that the sorrow we feel towards injustice is but a drop in the ocean to how the Lord's heart is moved by it. He is the God of justice, he is love and so I know as we pray to him, we are praying to one who knows, who cares and is eager to act. 

    Isaiah 61:8

    “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.”

    So the question for us is what do we with these feelings, how can we play our part in seeing the change that is so desperately needed and how can we stand with our brothers and sisters who are facing danger, injustice and prejudice because of the colour of their skin? 

    Here are some things that I have found myself drawn to; 

    Pray for justice

    Whether you like it or not, much of the world has a bias towards white people. The systems, the attitudes and the mindsets of our culture subtly and overtly communicate and privilege the value of some groups over others. THIS IS NOT RIGHT! This is offensive to the God of justice who made everyone in his image. There is no partiality in the heart of God, he delights over all races.  

    As we look at the mountain in front of us that is racism, despite the incredible heroes that have gone before us and the many battles that have been fought and won, this latest heartbreaking incident shows us much more needs to be done. The agenda of justice and the end of racism should be on the Church’s heart, we should be quick to pray for God to move, unwilling to settle with how things are but bring our heart cry to Jesus. Ultimately, we know that the eternity Jesus has won for us is a place where there will be no racism, instead there will a people from every tribe and tongue united in one voice declaring the greatness of our God. 

    Revelation 7:9-10

    "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'"

    So we should be believing and asking for a glimpse of that eternal promise in our world today. No matter who you are, if you are a follower of Christ this is an issue that affects you because it grieves the heart of God.  

    Our lives are not our own but are found in Jesus, let us give ourselves to that which moves the heart of God. I believe this is one of those things so can I encourage you today to give some time to pray;

    • Pray for justice in this situation 
    • Pray for comfort for those who are grieving 
    • Pray for strengthening for those who are feeling weak after years of battling 
    • Pray for love for those who are fearful 
    • Pray for faith for those who are disengaged. 
    • Pray for peace for those who are angry. 

    Stand up for justice 

    Prayer is fundamental to seeing an end to racism and an establishing of justice but I do believe the Bible also emphasises that we are called not just to pray but to live out the longing of our hearts. 

    James 2:17

    “So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

    How we live matters, what we say or don’t say matters. Injustice should provoke us into response, not a response of rage but of righteous anger. Standing up for those who are being oppressed and speaking out against the oppressor.  

    You may be thinking that as George Floyd’s death happened in America and we are in the UK, this has nothing to do with you but the truth is that the structural and underlying factors that allow racism to thrive, even in the subtlest of forms are everywhere. So, we should be asking ourselves the question “What does love require of me right now.” 

    To those that are reading this that are white, we must not be silent in light of such matters. 

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote;

    "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

    Friends let’s not be silent, let’s speak out against injustice, speak up for those in affliction and proclaim the justice of God. There will people in our church, neighbourhoods, workplaces & schools that are on the frontline of this battle. Encourage them to speak, support them, defend them. Show them love and welcome their diversity and strengths as a blessing to our churches, communities and nation. Acknowledge that diversity is God’s design and in his sight, we are all one! May the people of God unite in the face of this evil and sin and may we see through our prayers and actions miraculous change. 

    To those that are reading this that are black, Asian, Mixed-race or of any minority background; I have no words that will articulate the sorrow and anger in my heart at what you have faced and continue to face. You are not alone, you are not forgotten, the God of angel armies is for you and with you. We stand with you, we cry with you, and we pray with you that this will change.

    The story of the Bible shows us that we live in a broken world, where racism, injustice and death are a consequence of sin entering the world and humanity being separated from God. That God wasn’t willing to let that be the end of the story and so he sent Jesus to make it possible for us to be brought back to God. That those who place their trust in Christ will be renewed and enjoy eternity with him where the brokenness will be healed, justice will be fully established and racism will be no more.

    I pray that each of us will be comforted and strengthened by this gospel truth. 

    Isaiah 30:18

    "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"

    Martin Segal is the lead elder at The City Church in Canterbury where he lives with his wife, Kathryn and two daughters. 



    Being Church in the Community


    imageAs the country began to go into quarantine, Angela Barry was determined to ensure that the older people in her community didn’t feel alone. Along with her husband and three children, she set up a weekly free fruit and veg stall outside her house in Breightmet, Bolton, as well as delivering bags of fresh produce to those who need it most. “We were ordering some fruit and veg for ourselves and just ordered extra to put out a stall,” Angela told Premier Christianity 
     “We put it out for everyone to come and get what they needed.” Sons Joshua, 9, Ben, 7 and Isaac, 4 have been running the stall and the family says it’s created many opportunities for new relationships. Angela said, “It’s a brilliant chance for us to really show what Church is in our local community.”

    PPE and the love of Christ


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    Church makes masks, gowns to fight COVID-19 pandemic

    RIVERSIDE—Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages have yielded an opportunity for one Riverside church to share the love of Christ with health care workers and emergency personnel.

    Over the past three weeks, Sandals Church has converted its in-house manufacturing facility—normally used to make furniture, signage and sermon props among other items—into a PPE production line to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.

    Working just 10 at a time to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, church volunteers and staff have made more than 13,000 plastic gowns, 9,000 N95 masks and hundreds of plastic face shields. The PPE is packaged with a card that reads, “We’re praying for you! Provided and assembled by your friends from Sandals Church and local community volunteers.”

    “We love people,” said Ron McCoy, executive director of the Sandals Church Foundation. “We want to be a positive voice in a very hard season. We want to show people God in a very tangible way.”

    The PPE has been distributed to about two dozen health care and emergency management organizations, including hospitals, senior care facilities, rehabilitation facilities and police departments.


    Church Pastor delivers pizzas !

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    Ever since the government closed church buildings, the role of a church leader has inevitably changed. Finding himself with a little more time on his hands, Pastor Matthew Murray from Renew Church in Uttoxeter decided to take on a second job in order to raise money for his local foodbank. Pastor Murray is now a delivery driver for his local takeaway, Sergeant Peppers. He told Premier Christianity the idea “struck him like a bolt from heaven”. Not only is he using the funds for good, the opportunity has also allowed him to stay connected with his congregation. “People in our church will call up, make an order and request for me to deliver it. I get to see them for a few minutes and say, ‘I’m praying for you guys, how are you doing?’


    : 'Never Give up, Never despair'

    Queen addresses nation on VE 75th anniversary 

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    Watch again


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    imageimageBritain, Churchill marked the occasion by declaring 8 May a public holiday. People held parties, danced and sang in the streets. Huge crowds gathered in London, both on Whitehall to hear Churchill speak and outside Buckingham Palace where King George VI and the Royal Family appeared on the balcony. Day is recognised every year with street parties, community gatherings, and acknowledgement from the Armed Forces.

    The most recent significant celebrations were in 2015, when the 70th anniversary of VE Day was marked with three days of celebrations.

    The coronavirus outbreak means that there will be no street parties, parades or concerts this year, but there is plenty going on to celebrate.

    A national two minute silence will be take place at 11am, which will be broadcast on the BBC. This will give Britons the opportunity to pause and reflect, remembering the lives lost and sacrifices made in wartime.

    image


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    It started in America !   

    The COVID-19 coronavirus has forced many groups to adapt and change the way they normally operate, including churches.

    imageOne behind the other, cars lined up in the parking lot of St. Ann’s Catholic Parish in Penticton, waiting for their turn to confess.

    Friday, April 10, served as the second time the Catholic Parishes of Penticton have offered drive-thru confessions, a new practice popping up in other areas of the province allowing individuals to practice their religion while social distancing.


    And it is now here in France

    imageA priest has started hearing drive-through confessions on Saturday mornings as a way of bringing spiritual comfort to people.

    Situated in a church parking area in Limoges, the “confessional” established by père David de Lestapis enables people to drive around a tent to where the priest, sitting on a chair, can hear them speak through the lowered car window. The open nature of the parking means that it is easy to check that no-one else can hear what is said.


    Something For Today from the OASIS


    The UK Blessing: Tim Hughes on when worship goes viral

    'The UK Blessing' video is set to reach . Tim Hughes, one of the worship leaders behind the project, speaks to Sam Hailes about the unexpected viral sensation


    imageThe video has had nearly one million views. What is your reaction to worship going viralIt's amazing! 'The Blessing' is a fantastic song written by a bunch of friends in America. And they've put this beautiful melody to this incredible blessing in the book of Numbers.


    There are over 65 churches involved, and they represent hundreds more. It's really just a small part of God's UK Church. Seeing them all come together to sing this over the UK - that God wants to bless people - is absolutely beautiful.

    Over the last six months, I've felt what God is doing in the Church, in terms of worship, is we're seeing the sound of his people singing. There's been lots of worship leaders that God has raised up and it's been beautiful, but I think actually the time has come when God is raising up his whole Church - the sound of his people - and not just one individual. I think this is just a little glimpse of what we're going to see much more of.At this unique and challenging time in the United Kingdom over 65 churches and movements, representing hundreds of others, have come together online to sing a blessing over our land.


    image
    Standing together as one, our desire is that this song will fill you with hope and encourage you. But the church is not simply singing a blessing, each day we're looking to practically be a blessing. Many of the churches included in this song have assisted with supplying over 400,000 meals to the most vulnerable and isolated in our nation since COVID-19 lockdown began. This alongside phone calls to the isolated, pharmacy delivery drops and hot meals to the NHS frontline hospital staff. Our buildings may be closed but the church is very much alive!  Virtual churches together choir

    A Little Something For Cpt Tom from the Oasis

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        32,000,000 pounds for the N.H.S

    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    S.A.S.R.A.......What is it

    SASRA - stands for The Soldiers' & Airmen's Scripture Readers Association, read about it below

    Warren and Anna come and stay with us most years and Warren is in Christian Ministry wirh SASRA. Before their first visit we knew nothing about this important ministry but are now in touch with them all the time.imageThe Queen is their Patron, which helps underline how their work is valued,;....here is a little background to who and what they are.

    A brief look at the New Testament will show that Jesus Christ was often in touch with soldiers and was concerned for them personally and spiritually.

    Soldiers were also near Him when he died. Some remained quite unmoved by His sufferings but to the Centurion commanding the execution detail there came a great moment of spiritual insight that led to his clear confession, "This was the Son of God!".

    It is notable that the first Gentile church meeting took place in the Army quarter of another Roman Centurion, named Cornelius (Acts 10).

    imageIt remains as important now as it was then that Christians, following Jesus' example, should be concerned with the spiritual welfare of military personnel.


    HERE MORE ABOUT THEM HERE AND  

    PROJECT peace 2020 and other aspects of their work


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS


    And from Premier Christian Radio 

    image

    What Premier means to me

    image

    When Julie bought a car, she turned on the radio and was annoyed to realise it was tuned into Premier Praise. Not a Christian, and not remotely interested in listening to worship songs, this was the start of an amazing journey for Julie.

    For many years I was an organist and choir director in a church, but I had no faith at all. Then 20 years ago I walked away from the church, determined never to return.

    In April 2017 I changed my car and, as I set off to work on my first long journey in it, I turned on the radio. It seemed to be stuck on a station called Premier Praise. As I left the driveway, I said to my husband, Pete: “This radio’s stuck on some sort of Christian music station. I can’t think of anything worse.” Trying to change the station didn’t work; I just couldn’t get rid of it. I ended up listening to the music, prayers and Bible readings all the way from my home in Lancashire to Lincolnshire and then later on to Birmingham.

    Even though, over the following weeks, I reluctantly admitted that some of the songs weren’t too bad, I was certainly not going to be drawn into any sort of ‘religious stuff’. I told myself I didn’t need it and definitely didn’t want it. Even though I resisted, I began to find myself wondering what it would be like to be a Christian.

    Read the full article from PREMIER here

    LISTEN TO PREMIER RADIO LIVE       

    premier radio live


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS


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    Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England


    The Church of England has launched a free dial-in worship service to bring prayer to people's homes while churches are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Daily Hope, which is available from Sunday, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.

    The national line is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044.

    Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the service has been primarily set up to support isolated Britons, especially the elderly, who have been unable to take advantage of the boom in online church services.

    The Archbishop added: "With many in our country on lockdown, it's important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are."

    Callers to Daily Hope will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop, before being given several options to choose from such as hymns, prayers, reflections and advice.

    'Support for those feeling lonely and isolated'

    Although many churches nationwide are running services and prayer groups online, public worship remains banned under lockdown guidelines, and many older people do not have internet access.

    Daily Hope has also been set up in response to social distancing restrictions and self-isolation measures, and the accompanying loneliness which some may experience.

    According to Age UK, 49 per cent of older people view TV or a pet as their daily source of comfort and interaction.

    For some the coronavirus pandemic has ushered a reliance on technology to stay connected, but  figures state 2.5 million people aged 75 and above have never used the internet.


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    A Sydenham vicar will be running a full marathon in his clerical garb this Sunday to raise money for local families in need.

    imageOn the 26th April Reverend Edd Stock, of Holy Trinity, will be running 26.2 miles on his treadmill on the same day the London marathon was supposed to take place. 

    Ed has partnered with Lewisham Citizens - an alliance of faith, education, charity and community organisations to raise over £26,000 to support struggling households during lockdown.

    He told Premier he had been gearing up to run a marathon later in the year and wanted to do something positive to help the community.

    "I've just been doing my exercise in the morning and I was thinking: how can I raise money for these families and support these people? I thought there must be something I can do...why not buy a treadmill," he said.

    Walking in the light of God, African Childrens choir

    God still moves in mysterious ways


    BROTHER SISTER LET ME SERVE YOU!  Hymn

    It went viral on facebook  4,000.000 views, click on picture

    imageA 94-year-old care home resident has captured the hearts of the nation after bursting into tears when a carer gifted him a cushion with his late wife’s picture on it.Ken Benbow lost his wife of 71 years, Aida, just nine months ago, and has since fallen asleep next to a picture of her in a glass frame each night.

    His care worker Kia Tobin, 17, wanted to make sure the navy veteran could cuddle up to his loved one once more, so kindly presented him a cushion with a picture of Aida on it. He went on to explain that he and his wife never wanted to come to a nursing home, but as soon as they arrived at Thistleton Lodge care home in Preston, Lancashire, they loved it instantly. Benbow broke down while talking to presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, explaining that he had met his wife in Liverpool at a dance, and that they were “made for each other”.

    During the interview, which was meant to last five minutes but went on to last 20, his carer spoke about the moment she gave him the gift: “It was amazing. It was just so rewarding. It was something small that made him so happy.”The 17-year-old has recently moved into the care home amid the coronavirus pandemic to help look after the residents.The touching moment was captured on camera and posted by the care home on Facebook.

    It has since been viewed more than four million times – prompting a lot of praise for the teenager’s sweet gesture.

    .BROTHER SISTER LET ME SERVE YOU Hymn


    God moves in mysterious ways


    As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.  Ezekial 1:28

    image

    Families across the UK have been creating these gloriously technicolour artworks for their windows or driveways to lift the spirits of those passing by.

    The trend appears to have been started by a group of mums in Bari, Italy, but Kezia Roberts, 42, from Horsforth, Leeds, was one of the first to bring this cheery idea to the UK which she has called ‘Chase the Rainbow’.

    Roberts, who previously organised art walks around her local town, was inspired to kickstart the venture in her area after hearing about the mums in Italy and thinking the rainbows were a “beautiful example of trying to bring everybody together as a community”.

    She posted the idea on Facebook and says that people in her area “didn’t need much persuading” to get on board. ”[They’re] making the kids happy and making the adults happy as well, just so they’ve got something to view when they’re doing that walk around,” image

    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE, 

    click here and also on the picture for different photos of Tom


    imageNot this Sundays story of the Road to Emmaeus, but the remarkable expression of community response during the current crisis.

    Captain Tom Moore's charity single for the NHS has shot to number 1 on the UK iTunes chart, as the 99-year-old war veteran's fundraising total passed a whopping £22million.

    Tom's collaborated with singer Michael Ball for a version of You'll Never Walk Alone, originally recorded by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1945 - which has become the anthem of medical staff during the pandemic.

    The heroic 99-year-old WW2 war veteran, who has raised funds for the NHS by doing 100 laps of his garden, introduces the track, saying: "Hold your head up high and don't be afraid of the dark".image

    It has narrowly pipped Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins rendition of the We'll Meet Again to the top spot, a track originally sung by the 103-year old for British soldiers in 1939 following the outbreak of WW2.

    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    imageTHE MIDDLE EAST broadcaster Sat-7 is ramping up the production of special programmes offering health information and addressing the spiritual questions people have about the Coronavirus pandemic.

    With Christians celebrating Easter in seclusion, Sat 7 broadcast‘Easter messages and Christian hope’ to its 25 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa.

    In a new video, International CEO Rita El-Mounayer speaks of the specific worries many have concerning how the pandemic can be stopped in high-density cities like Cairo, in refugee camps, and in war zones like Yemen and Libya.

    After ‘God, Fear and the Coronavirus’, a televised discussion from Cairo, was watched by 160,000 people on social media alone, a weekly discussion exploring the character of God and encouraging faith over fear is being made with Christian leaders from different denominations.

    From Beirut, a new live talk show with Tony Franjieh, a well-known Lebanese TV host, is presenting meditations, testimonies and worship music, with a space for viewers to call for prayers or engage with the speakers in the studio.

    The station broadcast Easter messages from almost 30 Christian leaders in the region, and the presenters of their children’s channel have filmed messages of reassurance from their homes.


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    YOU DECIDE   FAITHFUL OR FOOLISH  ??

    Coronavirus: US pastor who said 'God is larger than this virus' and defied social distancing dies of COVID-19

    imageThe photograph shows him addressing his congregation in Richmond, Virginia, five days after state governor Ralph Northam urged people to "avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people".

    He told his congregation: "I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus."

    It is unclear how long after the 22 March address he became ill with the virus but church elder Bryan Nevers announced the death during an Easter sermon, a video of which was posted on Facebook.

    Andrea Bocelli: Music For Hope - 

    Recorded Easter Sunday 2020 at the Cathedral Dormo di Milan

    imageItalian tenor Andrea Bocelli has performed a live Easter concert in the empty Duomo cathedral in Milan to promote a message of hope for Italy and the world as it confronts the coronavirus pandemic.It was streamed around the world to celebrate Easter and encourage hope.

    This might be the best half hour you spend this week.


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    NOTRE DAMES CATHEDRAL PARIS holds a small Good Friday service amid coronavirus lockdown almost a year after the fire

    Nearly a year after a massive blaze devastated the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, only seven people attended a special televised Good Friday service at the 850-year-old church.


    imageThe ceremony began Friday morning, with Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit entering the cathedral and presenting an important relic, the Crown of Thorns of Christ, which survived the fire."A year ago, the cathedral was destroyed. Today the country is ravaged by a pandemic. There's always a message of hope, and this celebration at the heart of the cathedral will be the sign of our hope,
    imageThe 40-minute Good Friday service also featured classical musician Renaud Capuçon playing the violin. Actors Philippe Torreton and Judith Chemla, who also sang, (listen to it here) delivered readings of Christian text.                              Left,  Fire on April 15th 2019         
    imageNOTRE DAME'S golden altar cross is seen glowing among the ashes in a symbol of hope after a massive inferno ripped through the 850-year-old cathedral.  The iconic photograph was taken by one of the firemen trying to extinguish the fire.

    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    Easter isn't Cancelled,

    imageEven with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down many churches across the globe.

    That was the central message Saturday from Queen Elizabeth, who gave a two-minute address on Saturday in hopes of lifting spirits for the millions worldwide who are stuck at home due to COVID-19.

    "This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe," the Queen, who turns 94 later this month, said. "But Easter isn't canceled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever.

    "We know that coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be — particularly for those suffering with grief — light and life are greater."

    Throughout the video, an illuminated candle is shown as the Queen is heard speaking. That candle is central to her Easter message.

    "Many religions have festivals which celebrate light overcoming darkness," she said. "Such occasions are often accompanied by the lighting of candles. They seem to speak to every culture, and appeal to people of all faiths and of none.

    States are restricting Easter gatherings amid COVID-19:  Churches and lawmakers are pushing back

    On birthdays, anniversaries and countless other days of celebration, candles help unite us, the Queen said. Easter is no different, even in quarantine.

    "As darkness falls on the Saturday before Easter day, many Christians would normally light candles together," she said. "In church, one light would pass to another spreading slowly and then more rapidly as more candles are lit. It's a way of showing how the good news of Christ's resurrection is being passed on from the first Easter by every generation until now."

    We will succeed

    Queen Elizabeth tells British people self-isolation ‘the right thing to do’   Watch here In a rare televised address the monarch praised NHS staff and car workers and told the UK “if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.” Meanwhile, in France the number of people that need intensive care continued to fall even as the death toll climbed.

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    Tom Wright on being a christian during covid19

    imageThe author of over seventy books, Tom Wright, former Bishop of Durham is highly regarded in academic and theological circles and in this conversation on Premier Christian Radio helps us put what we are experiencing into context. He also helps us answer some of the fundamental  questions that, we either have for ourselves, or may even be asked of us as christians.  Make a cup of tea and invest half an hour to listen to what he has to say,.....it makes sense.. ..click on the video below to see and hear the interview.
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    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    Chris Walley writes,


    A not so gentle reminder? 
    At this time of pandemic, we have all I imagine been monitoring how much we cough. Those of us who suffer from allergies probably find it particularly troubling because, at least around Lorgues, the Cupressus pollen is still around in quantity. 

    imageYet there is another form of coughing or throat clearing that we are all familiar with. This is where you go in to some shadowed or ill-lit room– a library or perhaps a church – with a friend or colleague and start talking, perhaps on some private or confidential matter. Suddenly, from behind a high-backed chair or from a dark corner, you hear a distinct and unmuffled quiet cough. You are being reminded that you are not alone.  

    What God is doing with this appalling pandemic is a good question, but now is not the time to pursue it in detail. Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable to suggest that one aspect is that God is not very gently reminding us that human beings are not perhaps the masters of the universe that we thought we were. You see, looking back at the world before COVID-19 it’s easy to identify an extraordinary global state of mind. Almost universally the mood was that of arrogance, a proud belief that in the 21st-century human beings were firmly in charge. Business, morality, politics: everything proceeded on the assumption that that we could dismiss the very idea of God and see human beings alone as being the master of all things. 

    This  view has been well crystallised by an Israeli academic, Yuval Noah Harari, who has written two very popular books on humanity in the 21st century. The first was Sapiens (which I found sufficiently flawed that my copy ended up on the ‘Servez-vous!’ book shelves outside the Lorgues cinema) and a successor which carries imagethe title of Homo Deus, a phrase which, almost blasphemously, translates as ‘The Human God’. According to a summary on the author’s website it expresses the view that having ‘reined in famine, plague and war’ ‘humankind will next seek immortality, boundless happiness and divine powers of creation’. 

     Ah yes. Did I hear a quiet cough from somewhere? 


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS


    The archbishop of Canterbury has said people face a choice between “pulling up the drawbridge and looking after ourselves” or turning towards others in the coming weeks as the coronavirus crisis escalates.

    imageHis message was delivered in a special church service recorded at Lambeth Palace and broadcast via Facebook, BBC Radio 4, and 39 local BBC radio stations. The Church of England has suspended public services of worship, but thousands of parishes have turned to livestreaming morning services.

    Justin Welby said: “At difficult times we have a choice. We can focus on fear, on ourselves and what we cannot do. Or we can turn to God and let God lead us into praying for the world, and let prayer flow into us, taking creative and loving action.

    “That’s what we want to do today, to remind ourselves that life carries on and that there is much to celebrate in our communities.

    “To listen to the voice of God’s caring love for us, and his encouragement to turn ourselves towards others, and how we can care for those around us, in person or virtually.”

    He added: “The temptation is to pull up the drawbridge and just look after ourselves. That’s the kind of thing that leads to panic buying, to growing fear, and to spiritual and emotional as well as physical isolation.”

    As part of a national day of prayer and action on Sunday, the C of E has urged people to place a lighted candle in their windows at 7pm. It is also asking people to “ring someone who is isolated and vulnerable; buy an extra item and place it in your local food bank, keep your night shelters open”.

    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS


    The Church of England has published five tips for tackling loneliness and isolation:

    image1)Light a candle, if safe, and pray for hope, faith and strength to keep loving and caring for each other during this time of struggle.

    2)Talk about how you feel. This may be difficult if you are self-isolating, but do use the telephone, internet, and social media. If you need to contact a counsellor this can be arranged by your GP, or via local agencies, or privately. Samaritans are there24 hours a day, every day, and it’s free to call them on 116 123.

    3)Focus on the things that you can change, not on the things you can’t.

    4)Look after yourself – physically, emotionally, spiritually. Plan in things that you enjoy at regular intervals during the day – a TV programme, a phone call, a book, a favourite dish, a game.

    5)Look after others. Even if only in small ways, but do what you can: a smile, a kind word, writing a letter or an email.

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    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    image.

    Travel for 10 Years

    Ian , Anna and Neil set up Go Provence 10 years ago.  They facilitate holidays and travel for people who need help and support.  They support people with autism, aspergers, learning disabilities and other related conditions.  and have an amazing ministry and business creating group and individual holidays all over the world. 

    http://www.goprovence.co.uk/

    Their work is an inspiration to those of us who know and who have supported them over the years and their children were baptised up in the lake near Quinson.

    They are now based up near Riaz and keep in touch with us and have sent a video to keep us all connected and let us know about family life during SOCIAL ISOLATION.   

    Link Here


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS


    A letter to the UK from Italy: this is what we know about your future

    An author in Rome describes what to expect based on her experiences of lockdown, it is frank, factual and revealing

    imageThe acclaimed Italian novelist Francesca Melandri, who has been under lockdown in Rome for almost three weeks due to the Covid-19 outbreak, has written a letter to fellow Europeans “from your future”, laying out the range of emotions people are likely to go through over the coming weeks.

    I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in a few days. The epidemic’s charts show us all entwined in a parallel dance.

    We are but a few steps ahead of you in the path of time, just like Wuhan was a few weeks ahead of us. We watch you as you behave just as we did. You hold the same arguments we did until a short time ago, between those who still say “it’s only a flu, why all the fuss?” and those who have already understood.

    Read the full article in the Guardian here


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

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    Atheist Doctor In Italy Turns To God 

    A testimony by Julian Urban, 38 years old, Doctor in Lombardy

    Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine that I would have seen and lived through what has been happening here in our hospital for the last three weeks. And the nightmare only grows; the river becomes bigger and bigger. At the beginning only a few arrived, then dozens, and then hundreds, and now we are no longer doctors, we have become mere sorters who decide who should live and who must be sent home to die, even if they are people who have paid Italian taxes for their whole life. Up until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists; this was normal because we are doctors and we have learned that science proves that God does not exist. I always laughed at my parents when they went to church.

    Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor came to us for medical help. He was a kind man, he had grave respiratory problems, but he had a Bible with him and it impressed us that he was reading the Bible to the people who were dying and holding their hands.

    We were all tired, discouraged doctors, psychologically and physically spent, and so we found that we were listening to him.

    Now we must admit: as human beings we have reached our limits, there is nothing more we can do, and more people are dying every single day. And we are exhausted. Two of our colleagues have died and others are infected.

    We realized that we have reached the limits of what man can do. We need God, and we have begun to ask for his help, when we have a few moments free. We speak among ourselves and we cannot believe that we who were fierce atheists are now seeking for interior peace by asking the Lord to help us to resist so that we can take care of the sick. Yesterday the 75-year old pastor died. Despite the fact that in the last three weeks we have had over 120 people die in our unit and we are all exhausted and feel destroyed, he succeeded, despite his own condition and our own difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we no longer hoped to find.

    The pastor went to the Lord, and soon we will follow him if things continue like this.


    A Little Something For Today from the OASIS

    I See your True Colours

    Recorded under individual isolation regulations, Camden choir managed to produce virtual music.The words express the outburst of community spirit and human compassion that surely lies within us all and just needs releasing.....enjoy



    Updates from the Diocese

    Here is a video message from Bishop Robert about the Corona Virus

    imageHe speaks to us all from his office at home.  Both diocesan offices are closed but the work of the diocese carries on despite all the restrictions.

    There are about 45 countries in the diocese so his job is massive. Dealing with all the different jurisdictions alone is an huge challenge so we were indeed fortunate to have him here in Lorgues last year for our annual Ascension gathering.


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    Coronavirus: Public health advice

     

    In this column you will be able to link to the Diocesan advice page

    • Sources of official guidance, health advice, and support provided by the World Health Organisation, EU and national governments.
    • Advice covering how to wash your hands, and guides to coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Links to find official public health advice provided by national governments across every country in the Diocese in Europe, and the UK. 

    The Diocese in Europe is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    Latest update: 20 March 2020






















  • News From the Vine

    CHEMIN D'UNE VIE

    Bob and Isobel write ...


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    After the Alpha Course and at various other times, we have heard various discussions on introducing someone to the Bible


    We also know of some that have taken it upon themselves to read the Bible and have missed the fundamental theme of God's greatness and authority being triumphant over evil to show His love and destiny for His people. So, where do we advise someone with little or no Christian teaching to start exploring the Bible, and to discover the greatest story ever told?

    Isobel felt that starting at the beginning was correct, but to do this in a way which selected chapters or parts of chapters which focused on the essential features of the story, as it unfolds from creation to the ultimate victory, where His people take their place in the new heaven and new earth.

    The book provides a guide in a language which is easily understood, in her illustrated 50 page book. including all the essential events from Genesis to Revelation, originally in English but now, with the 'Chemin d'une Vie' in carefully translated French. The two translations are an easy and acceptable gift to share our Christian beliefs with our family and friends. For us, living in France, now to our French friends, neighbours and colleagues.
    If you would like a copy for yourself or someone you know please contact Isobel at

    News From the Vine

    An interview with Sir David Suchet: the Bible cannot be silenced


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    David Suchet talks to the Church Times about his faith and his love of reading scripture

    “JOHN’s Gospel has been with me most of lockdown,” Sir David Suchet says. “I don’t make any apology for it.” On Easter Day, a virtual audience around the world watched him read the whole of it in the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey. The recording has since been viewed more than 74,000 times
    .
    He has engaged with scripture in detail over the years, recording the entire Bible for Hodder & Stoughton’s NIV Audio Bible — which necessitated many hours of reading to bring to life more than three-quarters of a million words.
    Turning his attention to John, which, he says, lends itself to a more personal interpretation, he says, “I continually read it and re-read. It is the most intimate of all the Gospels. And it’s suitable to be read to one person. I don’t think this this is a Gospel to be read to millions all in one go.”

    News From the Vine

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    Inez Marshall


    It is with great sadness that I have to give you the news that dear Inez passed peacefully from us on the 6th April at Notre Dames Maison de Retraite where, up until the pandemic, our church met regularly.  Notre Dames has been her home for almost two years and though the home is mostly under lockdown, in recent weeks, I was allowed to visit Inez in her room.
    Her love of music never left her and I would take some of her favourite hymns and she would sing along as best she could.  Shirley and I first met Inez at the Maison des Peres back in 2003 where she played the organ for the monthly Anglican service, and of course some of you will remember her there as well.  When we moved to Notre Dames, Inez continued to play for us and of course here in the garden and our home as well.  She never complained when I gave her the hymns at the last minute and faithfully never missed a Sunday unless she was away.
    I know I speak for all of you who knew her when I say that she will be sadly missed in our church community.  We send our sincere condolences to her sons Eddy, Laurent and Alex and to their families and assure them of our prayers at this time.

    News From the Vine

    This from an Irish Friend!  perhaps read this before the article below

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    Perhaps with the ADVENT of the Vaccination we are finally on the road to DE-MASK-US


    News From the Vine

    Memorial Service from Canterbury

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    YOU CAN WATCH THE MEMORIAL SERVICE HERE    

    The Archbishop of Canterbury led a service of remembrance for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Canterbury Cathedral this morning.

    The Archbishop, Justin Welby, is also expected to lead Prince Philip's funeral next Saturday.

    In his sermon at today’s Eucharist, the Archbishop said: "For the Royal Family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes with bereavement. It is not simply a factor of age, or familiarity. It is not obliterated by the reality of a very long life remarkably led. Nor is the predictability of death’s arrival a softening of the blow.

    "Loss is loss. For each person it is felt individually and reaches into the heart variously. We cannot ever know how others feel, nor do two people feel the same.


    News From the Vine

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    Bible reading -  Matthew 13.44-46

    The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

    Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

    Reflection

    What is the most valuable thing you possess? And what did you have to give up to obtain it? Or what would you be willing to lose in order to keep it?

    We might answer this in purely financial terms. My most valuable possession is my home and I give up half my salary every month to keep it.

    Or we might think in terms of sentimental value. My mother’s engagement ring is the most precious thing I own. It’s only mine because she is no longer with us, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

    Or we might think in relational terms. My children are the most important thing in my life, and I have sacrificed greatly for them.

    Jesus says that God’s kingdom is like that. Some of us who have been Christians for a long time can forget how precious it is to know ourselves loved by God, and so we miss out on the joy of sharing that gift with others.

    Prayer

    Thank you, Jesus, that you walk with each one of us, that you teach us, that you reveal yourself to us in the breaking of the bread. Help me to recognise you wherever I may find you. Amen.

    Action for the week

    This week, commit to praying regularly for five people in your life who do not, as far as you know, have faith in Christ. Look for opportunities to share your story with them.

    News From the Vine

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    Bible reading -  John 20.1-29

    Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

    But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

    When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

    But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

    A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

    Reflection

    Hannah Steele writes in 'Living His Story':“The story of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most remarkable we will ever hear. It is a story of redemption, sacrifice and love with the power to transform lives... As we prepare for the celebration of Easter we remember a cosmic turning point in human history when death is defeated and new life is made possible in Christ.
    “On that first Easter morning, God could have chosen to make the news of Jesus’s miraculous resurrection known in any number of ways. He could have emblazoned a declaration across the sky so all could have seen it and not doubted its veracity. He could have had Jesus appear alive in the presence of the crowd who had bayed for his death. However, God chose the lips of ordinary women, whose hearts were broken with grief, now erupting with joy, to be the vessels through which he would pass on this life changing news. God chose ordinary people with personal stories of redemption and imperfect words, to tell the greatest news there has ever been.“God continues to use people like you and me to share the life changing news of the gospel of Jesus. We are the ordinary people through whom God is bringing about a revolution of his extraordinary love. The mandate remains the same but the context is different. There is no guarantee that our experience of witness will be easy; we should certainly not underestimate the challenges which lie before us. Our task is that of engaging in evangelism that is both beautiful and imaginative. We are to bear witness in a way that speaks to people’s heart and minds, connecting their stories with God’s great story so that in Christ they might find new life and meaning. Let us hear his voice this Holy Week calling to us as it did to Mary that first Easter morning; Go and tell. As we seek to live the story of the Gospel we are privileged to reveal his extraordinary love in ordinary ways, putting our name to his story and inviting others to join us as we do so. There is no task more urgent or wonderful than this.”

    Prayer

    Thank you, loving God, for raising your Son Jesus Christ to life again. Thank you for the difference his resurrection makes to my life and to your whole creation. Please help me today and every day to share this astonishing news through my life and through my words. Amen.

    Action for the week

    This week, commit to praying regularly for five people in your life who do not, as far as you know, have faith in Christ. Look for opportunities to share your story with them.

    News From the Vine

    Thousands of churches in England opt to close over Covid fears

    Brother Sister Let Me Serve You;  cathedral hosts vaccinations.
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    BUT ...Thousands of churches across England are closed for services on Sundays amid rising concern about the risk of Covid-19 spreading among worshippers.

    Although the lockdown rules allow places of worship to remain open for communal services, the Church of England said more than half of England’s 12,500 parishes had taken the decision to shut their doors.

    At least 22 cathedrals had also either closed or suspended public worship by the end of last week, and another 11 had decided to limit services.

    Many mosques, synagogues and other places of worship have also decided to close in order to protect their congregations from the possibility of Covid transmission. Senior faith leaders have urged local places of worship to carefully consider the risks, and not open if they believe safety could be compromised.

    Although social distancing and mask-wearing is mandatory during communal services, some clergy have expressed concerns about mingling before and after worship.

    “People have worked out that church is one of the few places they can see friends and family. People chat to their friends at the end of the service as they always have done. The clergy are caught in the middle and it’s hard to keep everyone safe,” said one parishioner.

    A C of E spokesperson said decisions were being taken by parishes based on local circumstances. “We urge everyone to be exceptionally cautious and, in particular, to do everything possible to prevent mingling outside of households and support bubbles.”


    News From the Vine

    Fifty-two Sundays to rescue creation

    imageTHE Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, has described the Climate Sunday initiative, launched this weekend, as a “brilliant resource” to help parishes reach the target of zero emissions by 2030 and campaign for more government action.

    The Climate Sunday initiative was announced in June by a coalition of Churches and charities calling for more action on (global warming. This Sunday, 6 September, is the first in a year in which individual churches are encouraged to choose their own Creation Sunday.

    The object is for churches in Britain and Ireland to use climate-focused services to explore the link between theological and scientific reasons for looking after the environment. There is also a campaign for more action on the environment from the Government, and a challenge to congregations to commit to further action to halt climate change.

    Spreading the initiative across the whole year is intended to make it accessible to every church calendar and tradition. More than 700 churches, from a range of denominations, have registered already.

    The campaign will end with a national Climate Sunday event in Glasgow on 5 September 2021, to celebrate the commitments made by churches during the campaign.


    News From the Vine

    From Alison and Chris,

    Please take  time to read this and watch the blog

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    In the context of the appalling blast in the port of Beirut, Chris and Alison Walley lived in Beirut from 1980-84 and 1994-98 and recently blogged about their memorable experiences of port during the Civil War years.

    At the end of their blog is a video ( OR LINK HERE TO VIDEO ) from the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, who seek to reflect the love of Christ through what they do. Among other things, they are currently offering shelter at the Baptist Bible College to a few of perhaps two hundred thousand people who have lost their homes. Chris and Alison are also in touch with others in Lebanon and can suggest some ways to give if that's what you would like to do. Please above all, pray for Lebanon!

    Link to their Blog here



    An old friend of Lorgues Chaplaincy Philip Mounstephen challenges our thinking;

    Let’s not return to the pre-pandemic world, says Bishop of Truro

    LIFE after the pandemic should not return to the “normal” that existed before it struck, the )Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, has said.

    imageHe has written a chapter in a new report,A Fair and Just Future for Cornwall, published by Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum, which draws together the views of 21 representatives of the business, faith, voluntary, and community sectors. It will be presented to the county’s local-authority leaders and MPs.

    “I suggest that we must ditch any temptation to believe that the past we came out of, into the Covid-19 crisis, was somehow ‘normal’,” Bishop . “I don’t think it was ‘normal’ at all. It was not ‘normal’ that we should have been living on this earth in a way that was increasingly unsustainable, with global warming becoming a growing reality and threat to human flourishing. . .

    “Nor was it normal that we were living with such dramatic and growing inequalities of wealth in our society. That too is inimical to human flourishing and harmonious communities. And we should not accept as normal the fact that, relative to the rest of the UK, Cornwall itself was increasingly becoming poorer.”

    Read full article here


    News From the Vine

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    France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid a fresh bout of Covid-19 outbreaks

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    imageMasks were already mandatory on public transport, but from Monday they must also be worn in places like shops.

    Health Minister Oliver Véran warned that France had between "400 and 500 active clusters" of the virus.

    President Emmanuel Macron declared a "first victory" over the virus in June and has ended the national state of emergency, but local outbreaks remain.

    There are a rising number of cases in the north-west and in eastern regions, in particular in the north-western department of Mayenne.

    France, one of Europe's hardest-hit countries, has recorded more than 200,000 infections and over 30,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

    READ FULL ARTICLE AND MASK REGULATIONS HERE


    News From the Vine



    'Tribal and divided': Church of England faces turbulent times

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    The Church of England has become “tribal and divided”, the new archbishop of York has said, while warning that it faces “turbulent times and challenging decisions ahead”.

    Stephen Cottrell, who was confirmed as the Church of England’s second most senior cleric on Thursday, said the church would need to reshape itself in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The archbishop is leading a review of the Church of England’s “vision and strategy” for the next 10 years. Speaking at a virtual meeting of the general synod, the Church of England’s governing body, he said: “The hard thing will be working out what we can and should do with the time and resources at our disposal, and therefore also what we might have to stop doing.”

    Read full article here from The Guardian


    News From the Vine

     image Friday Mch 12th

    Being Vulnerable

    Bible reading - John 4.1-42 


    Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.



    A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’



    Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’



    Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.



    Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’



    Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’


    Reflection

    We looked at part of this passage last week. Today we look at the beginning of the story. If you have time, do read the whole thing. There is a power imbalance in this meeting. Jesus is a man, a Jew, a teacher with followers, a speaker who commands large crowds. His conversation partner is a woman in a patriarchal world, a Samaritan in a society that discriminated against them, a woman who has been married multiple times in a culture where she would be disdained as a result. There is no doubt where the power lies between them.

    And yet Jesus makes himself vulnerable by asking this woman for a drink. He begins by acknowledging his thirst, a need that he could not meet but which she could. From that exchange flows the longest conversation with Jesus that we have in the Gospels, a dialogue that changed a life and a community.


    Prayer

    Jesus, thank you that you made yourself vulnerable, in your birth, in your death, and in your conversations with others. Please help us to do likewise. Amen.

    Action for the week

    This week, pay attention to how you communicate with people. What difference does it make to try to apply these communication lessons from Jesus? Write down what you notice in a notebook or journal.




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    SUNDAY JUNE 28th.....DOWNLOAD HERE

    make a note for your diary

    It's time to get back together, but we need to follow the guidelines and be careful.  The response to our survey shows that most of you are happy to meet here in the garden at Arc-en-Provence where there is plenty of space and fresh air.  The service will be a communion service, but again,we will follow the diocesan guidelines so it might be a little different but you will be able to fully participate and most importantly, be following Jesus's command to Break Bread Together.

    More on this later .....and see you again soon


    imageSee You Again - Christ Fellowship Worship




    News From the Vine

    News From the Vine


    COVID-19: Financial Challenge for Churches

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    Church finances Advice

    Keep a close eye on the financial situation in your church, particularly the flow of cash now and for the next three to six months. Points to consider:

    • Income from donations may fall because of:
      • No collections at services;
      • The potential for congregation members to reduce their giving due to a change in circumstances.
    • Income from lettings and other church activities may fall because:
      • Casual lettings are likely to stop completely;
      • Longer term rental agreements may not be able to be honoured/renewed.
    • The repayment of Gift Aid and Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme may be slower than usual.
    • Variable expenditure is likely to fall.
    • Some expenditure is fixed and may have contractual considerations, so you need to think through the implications of this expenditure and consider serving notice in cases where this might be appropriate.

    We are not aware of any proposed changes to the way that Gift Aid or GASDS will operate.  At present, and for the foreseeable future, churches will not be receiving donations during church services and so there may be larger donations waiting for churches when normal services are able to resume.

    There is likely to be a requirement for emergency help in most churches and local communities due to the loss of income where jobs have been cut. For some people there may be support forthcoming when the Government schemes are up and running, but providing short term financial help may be an entirely appropriate response for churches to adopt.

    There is no one right way for churches to respond and what we have set out below is simply a suggestion.  Each church will need to consider its own position and its own response.

    Financial help may take the form of:

    1. Small money grants.
    2. Money loans.
    3. Advice (e.g. if the biggest issue is rental payments and the applicant needs support in conversations with their landlord).
    4. A combination of the above.

    Since this is such a fast moving situation, churches should anticipate the needs of the congregation for the next 30 days (although potentially up to 90 days in exceptional cases).


     


     

    It is important for churches to keep their finances under review whilst remembering that we should be beacons of hope and generosity.  Difficult times require a flexible and thought-through response.

    Remember again the Macedonian churches; “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Cor 8:2 NIV)

     

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    imageThe French government is set to lift border restrictions on travel from within Europe from Monday, June 15th, in line with the EU recommendation.

    Many countries within Europe had already confirmed that they would reopen the borders on Monday, but France had until now said only that it aimed to do so.

    However on Thursday the European Commission published a recommendation that all EU and Schengen Zone countries should lift internal border controls (for travel from within the European bloc) from June 15th.

    The final decision lies with each individual country, but France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted: "I welcome the recommendation from the European Commission.

    "This is in line with France's proposals: lifting of restrictions at intra-European borders on June 15th, and opening of the Schengen area's external borders from July 1st, depending on the situation in individual countries."


    "My Daddy changed the World"                   

    Time will tell ! 

    imageIf this last week has shown us anything, it cannot be clearer that we are a multi-cultural society with attitudes and prejudices that can be damaging both to ourselves and those we judge, not least within religion. 

    That’s the bad news, but the GOOD news is that what has emerged is a unanimity of condemnation of these abuses and a real desire for change.  We have been here before with men like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and tinkered around the edges of putting things right but there is a sense that this time it just might be different…..time will tell.

    Can one person change the world…..the moving and profound words of one little girl, Gianna, who had just lost her father to mindless yet institutional violence have travelled around the world as did the video of her father’s prolonged death.  These two images seem to have re-ignited a flame that has hesitantly flickered for decades and this one very ordinary man, through the circumstances of his death might have just done that, changed the world, or at least part of it…..again, time will tell.

    Through all things God works to the good of those who love Him James tells us, and timing is everything; a viral pandemic that has and will touch everyone, an election in November that can be pivotal, a planet threatened by our abuse of nature and a global Social Media access that did not exist  15 years ago.

    Many men and women have had profound effects upon the evolution of society over the centuries, too many to mention here except one JESUS Christ.  The profound difference with Jesus was that he was undaunted by political and other pressures and His message of “Love one another as I have loved you” was radical uncompromising and transforming. But over and above all that He was God incarnate, and that changes everything.

    Pray for change of hardened hearts and spiritual blindness and deafness, for without it we stand both judged and seriously at risk on many levels.

    Peter

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    As we plan our way out of Lockdown we need to hear from YOU.Not just our congregations but anyone out there who has checked in to us for Online services.

    So this is a link to the questionaire, it would really help us if you could take a few moments to fill it in and email it back to us at ....

     


    Soooooooo  please,

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    I WOULD JOIN PROTEST ...From the Guardian


    imageThe archbishop of York has said he would join protests over the death of  Floyd but condemned any use of violence.

    John Sentamu, the most senior black leader in the Church of England, who retires on Sunday, said he was shielding at present, but added: “I certainly would want to join [the protests]. But at the moment it turns to violence, I wouldn’t be there because I don’t believe violence is the same as going out and protesting. 

    “People should have the right to protest but not use violence, because I’m afraid you can end up in trouble and arrested.”

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sentamu was also critical of Donald Trump’s threat to use troops against protesters in US cities.

    “People sometimes think that because you’ve got the power and the authority, you can abuse that authority. Martin Luther King said violence causes as many problems as it solve … darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that; hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” he said.

    “The problem is America has not been listening to the real problems of African Americans and people of colour.”

    The country had not “dealt with this endemic brutality that some people experience from people in uniform”.


     

    NICKY GUMBEL  From Holy Trinity Brompton speaks on Pentecost


    Our eldest lad Wayne is a Vicar in Bristol, and like us is having to go online with their church services. Wayne worked with Nicky Gumbel and ALPHA in HTB for 3 yrs and has stayed in touch ever since. This Pentecost, Nicky provided their PENTECOST sermon.........JESUS AT HOME
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     Listen to Nicky on Pentecost here                                                        

     It might roll on to the rest of the service so stop it when you want.

                          


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    Court orders France to lift ban on religious services


    imageFrance's highest administrative court has ruled that the government must lift a blanket ban on meetings at places of worship imposed as part of measures to combat the coronavirus.

    After receiving complaints from several individuals and associations, the Council of State said on Monday that such a ban on freedom of worship caused "a damage that is serious and manifestly illegal".

    It told the government to lift the ban within the next eight days.

    Under France's strict lockdown, places of worship were closed but when phase 1 of the lifting of lockdown began on May 11th places of worship were allowed to to reopen - but not hold services.

     

    Virtual Ascension  2020  May 21st  

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    Departing and Returning : with Archdeacon Meurig.

    Needless to say our usual Ascension Celebration welcoming the Riviera Chaplaincies to Lorgues cannot take place this year as we work within the government guidelines for gatherings, but we will be celebrating online and involving as many people as possible.  imageArchdeacon Meurig is our invited guest this year, sadly he will not be with us but has recorded an Ascension Reflection for us which we can patch into our service.

    Readings and intercessions are provided by other Riviera chaplaincies and we will make the service as available as possible through the chaplains and through contact lists, so do pass this on.
    The service is also here on this website for anyone to access     ASCENSION  SERVICE 20 20                                                                               


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    Justin Welby talks about when churches might re-open and  of enjoying online services in a comfortable chair 

    from Premier News


    "My takeaway is I've been able to concentrate more easily. Being an Anglican, I'm usually a bit more comfortable in my own home than I am in a pew, which is, I think, designed by some 18th century back specialist who lacked business and wanted more bad backs! 


    Full article and video interview here

    He speaks of challenges; being away from family and seeing colleagues fall ill among the biggest.

    "Unmitigated evil" is how the Archbishop refers to Covid-19, a virus which at the time of writing has taken 19,506 lives in the UK alone.

    The Anglican leader has seen its impact first hand, supporting the chaplaincy service at his local hospital. He also has concerns for how it'll hit the Global South. For all its challenges though, he believes it is creating opportunities for the Church.

    image"I think one of the big effects is there's a renewal of the sense that we all belong to Christ," he says. "John 17: 'The world will see that we're one' and I hope we can build on that."

     

    News From the Vine

    Ringing out for Peace

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    In association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, bells in cathedrals, churches and other locations  rang out at 7pm in a collective celebration of peace. The sound of bells is deeply rooted in British culture, providing the soundtrack to historic moments – calling us to pray, to work, to arms, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together. Church bells rang throughout Britain and around the world in celebration of the peace and friendships we share today.


    Just a thought as we clap every Thursday


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    Sgt Colin Shackleton, named on the above memorial in a small French Normandy Village, was my Uncle. I never knew him, his plane came down over France 18th April 1944 and the whole crew was killed.He was 21, one of the oldest in that crew and he was the Pilot..

    Of course that's my story,  and you probably have your own, because few families were untouched  by those tragic events and the suffering and loss.

    As we compare those days to what is being experienced now across the world inevitably comparisons are made and maybe through those events long ago, we can appreciate more significantly those on today's "frontline" and the losses being experienced and the trauma for NHS staff and families.  It will take a great deal of healing and hopefully we will all be more sensitive to the needs of others and that it will go beyond May 11th     Peter

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    Why our churches can’t go back to normal 

    Online church is here to stay, says Chris Bright, as he suggests church leaders need to think now about a post-lockdown world

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    In Lewis Carol’s classic novel, Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice climbs up on the mantlepiece, goes through the mirror and emerges into a new world where everything is reversed.

    Sound familiar?

    Having followed much of the rest of the world and gone into lockdown, the UK - including the UK Church - has gone through the looking-glass, and entered a world that feels almost as opposite to what Alice encountered.

    Pastors across the country stopped being pastors as they knew it and immediately became online ministers. Churches that didn’t have an online presence went online overnight. Pastors who didn’t believe in livestreaming their services got their mobile phones out and joined the rest of us. Small group leaders who believed you need to be physically present in the room for real discipleship to take place suddenly started holding Zoom meetings.

    It’s not as though the Church hasn’t gone through previous looking-glasses. When the early Church met together in Jerusalem (Acts 15) they went into the new land of Gentiles being welcomed into the church. Once they went through, they couldn’t go back. When Constantine became a Christian, the Church went through another looking-glass, albeit not necessarily a positive one, but it couldn’t go back. When the printing press was invented, and William Tyndale started translating the Bible into the common tongue, the Church went through another looking-glass. It could never go back.

    Covid-19 is the Church’s looking-glass of our generation, and we can’t go back.

     Read full article FROM PREMIER here


     An interview on Premier worth listening to 

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    Amy Orr-Ewing is an evangelist and apologist with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. She is a regular and challenging speaker on Premier Christian Radio. In the interview above she thinks through that time-worn question,  Where is God in the Suffering and puts it into both historical and current context.Listen to the interview here


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    Ascension  2020  May 21st 

    Needless to say our usual Ascension Celebration welcoming the Riviera Chaplaincies to Lorgues cannot take place this year as we work within the government guidelines for gatherings, but we will be celebrating online and involving as many people as possible.  Archdeacon Meurig was our invited guest this year so sadly will not be with us but has agreed to record an Ascension Reflection for us which we can patch into our service.

    We are waiting for clarification on meeting here  at Arc-en-Provence, but at the moment think this is possible, and if you would like to be part of the small group that is allowed to meet, do contact me or Gillian. We would probably need to hold and record the service the day before on Wednesday 20th and then put it out online next morning, but more on the exact details later  so WATCH THIS SPACE                                                                                            

    PSHF Update from the Philippines

    Richard speaking at Arc-en-Provence
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    Every year our Harvest Collection is donated to Richard Foster's ministry and project in the Phillipines,which helps individuals set up small self-sustaining businesses to give them hope and and a living.  Richard writes to us to update us on the situation with Covid19 and his charity.



    Dear Peter,

    It was good to talk yesterday. . Here is a short update on PSHF which you might like to post on the website:

    image" I have been quite busy because we are assisting people with needs stemming from the lockdown in our project areas. Our most recent project was to assist 98 families in Bacolod with small cash amounts and detergent. Their counterpart was to bring in 5 PET bottles each for proper recycling. As for the detergent, we bought in bulk and distributed 300 gram amounts wrapped in newspaper; by so doing the recipients would not be buying detergent in sachets.

    Post lockdown, we are planning to encourage small part-time business start-ups in our project areas providing detergents, shampoos etc to sell at a discount to sachets and thus reduce plastics being burnt or going to landfills. Analyn, our loan officer in Bohol is currently conducting interviews near her home in Maribojoc to gather life style information for the purposes of preparing a business plan."


    I have photos of three of the recipient families (para 1) which I shall send by separate email. I also have a new project which I have allocated to the Lorgues Fellowship to send to you.

    Blessings to you all,

    Richardimage


    ABIDE WITH ME  

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    A reflective piece contributed by Lindsay

    sung by Audrey Assad  and a letter from Brother David SSJE

    My dear Friends,

    The coronavirus has turned our worlds upside-down. Many of us have lost our jobs, our sense of security, or our loved ones.  Our daily routines have been disrupted. The people on whom we depend are now separated from us. Some of us are suffering from isolation, while others of us have too much family or community time! We are all concerned about what this virus will mean for our futures: for our jobs or careers, our social lives, our finances, our organizations or businesses, our churches, and our happiness.

    We are finding solidarity with others around the world in our suffering, which may turn out to be a great gift if we recognize our oneness and mutual interdependence. But it is coming at a high cost.

    How do we respond to these disruptions, losses and uncertainties? Where do we turn for support and encouragement, for consolation and hope?

    In John’s gospel, Jesus speaks intimately and lovingly to his friends, knowing that he will soon be separated from them: “Abide in me as I abide in you,” he tells them (Jn 15:4). He knows that dark days are ahead. He knows their faith will be tested. He knows they will suffer. He tells them to “abide” in him.

    We can understand this “abiding” as an expression of deep commitment and intimate communion. The Greek word that is used here in the original text has a sense of toughness about it. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Hang in there with me, and I’ll hang in there with you,” or “Stick it out with me and I’ll stick it out with you.” The word is usually translated as “abide” or “remain,” but it has this edgy quality about it.

    I believe his words here are meant to convey both solace and challenge. We can abide in him as a place of refuge and safety. His love surrounds and protects us. It holds us steady and offers a deep peace that enables us to face great challenges with courage and strength. He abides in us. We find our home in him, just as he has made his home in us. We are forever joined in love and communion. As St Paul says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8:35-39).

    But these words also offer a challenge. The purpose of this “abiding” is to make our lives fruitful. There is work to be done and Jesus tells us that we are incapable of doing this work in our own strength. For this reason we need to be joined to him and to his strength; without him we can do nothing.

    I’ve been reflecting on these two dimensions of Jesus’ call to “abide in me as I abide in you,” drawing consolation from Jesus’ nearness in these confusing times, and asking what he wants me/us to do in response to the peculiar challenges of our day. The call is to rest and to respond, to find solace and to find a sense of mission or purpose. 

    What does “abiding” mean to you? What implications does it have for you now, in these disorienting and uncertain times?

    God bless you all,

    Br. David Vryhof, SSJE
    Assistant Superior

    .

    The future church: not dying, not merely surviving but thriving ?

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    Chris Walley writes as he reflects on the impact of Covid19 on the local church.


    On the way ahead 
    After the critical battle of El Alamein in 1942 Winston Churchill famously observed “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Where exactly we are in the appalling COVID-19 pandemic is unclear but certainly people are beginning starting to think not just about the end, but what lies beyond.

    I’m in touch with people in a variety of church fellowships both in France and elsewhere and I’m beginning to hear some of the questions that are being raised about that future. First, two pieces of bad news. First, it’s difficult to see how we’re going back to what we were: the world has changed. Second, not every church is going to survive. The many churches that were already struggling with high upkeep costs and small, elderly congregations are going to face a very difficult time indeed. 

    One factor that, at the moment, is difficult to assess is whether people who have lost the habit of attending their local church will choose to return. That is made hard to predict because of the way that the present crisis has forced the creation of ‘online churches’ some of which will probably persist in some form or another beyond the present crisis. I think what we have achieved here in Lorgues at very short notice is actually quite impressive – well done Peter – but there are some churches, gifted with professionals in the technology industry, who in several continents are building a excellent and powerful online presence. If their online churches continue after the pandemic, they could present a challenge to many established ‘physical’ churches. 

    imageYou can well imagine someone saying, as they lie snug under their duvets on some cold winter Sunday, ‘why should I struggle to attend my freezing mediaeval local church when I can sit on my sofa in my dressing gown with a cup of coffee and watch a lively online service?’ It’s a good question .....READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

    WHAT ABOUT US?

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    COVID-19 has thrust many churches onto their heels, left to grab whatever technology might keep them from stumbling into non-existence completely,communication is key

    All of a sudden, features such as on-website live-streaming, digital giving, church apps, and church management systems have become not luxury items for tech-forward churches, but safeguards for every church. If COVID-19 is the iceberg, church tech contains the lifeboats.

    However, what most churches don’t know is that the world has been setting churches up for this transition for a long time — and it would have happened, COVID-19 or not. Even though COVID-19 is at the forefront of the world's frontal lobe, we should not attribute to COVID-19 what can just as substantially be attributed to culture.

    imageTechnology is changing the way the world works. We were primed for a revolutionary change before the pandemic. Businesses have been revolutionized. Families and lifestyles have been reconceived and transformed by the iPhone. The church was one of the last remaining institutions to remain mostly unchanged.

    Like most churches we need to address the issues and questions  and not get left behind.....the digital train is leaving the station, do we want to be on board the train or left on the platform?


    How churches communicate with their congregants is transforming. 

    How visitors are using Google to find reputable churches is evolving. 

    How small groups and church events are organized and marketed is being consolidated into mobile-first models. 

    How churches raise money, automate tithing, and implement eCommerce tools into their fundraising strategies is progressing at light speed.

    What is the consequence of the technological revolution in churches?

    Don't shoot the messenger




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    I attended an online church, here’s what happened

    EVERYDAY CHURCH a London based UK church has launched an experimental ‘online congregation’. Could this be the future? Sam Hailes logged on to see what church in the digital age might look like.

    The countdown video begins, the music is turned up loud and I’m getting ready to worship God. But I’m not in London’s latest megachurch. I’m sitting in the comfort of my own home, on the sofa. Church has gone digital, and the ramifications are significant: It’s now possible to attend church in your underpants.

    Everyday Church (which has ‘real life’ congregations in Wimbledon, Kingston and Southfields) launched its online-only congregation in September. Participants visit everyday.online at 4.30pm or 6pm on a Sunday, and join in with the service.

    What happens during the service?

    Unlike some churches who livestream their services, Everyday have chosen to pre-record all their content. The online church pastor welcomes you to the church through a pre-recorded video message. Everyday church’s worship band then play songs – again you’re watching a pre-recorded video. And then a sermon is given, which needless to say, is pre-recorded.  

    read full article here to see the positives and the negatives of online church


    Game on !!

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    Join us here online for ....Good Friday

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    Todays service can be linked from here and will also arrive on email. Come with us this afternoon on a journey of reflections as we follow Jesus from Gethsemane to Golgotha on

    The Way of the Cross 

    DOWNLOAD GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTION HERE


    To Stream or Not To Stream

    Even these chaps had to re-think the Day of Resurrection!


    imagePope Francis and Archbishop Justin were both consecrated to lead their respective christian communities in the same week, an extraordinary coincidence. Today, they both had to decide how to celebrate this special day, one in the vast emptiness of St Peter's basilica Rome, and one in his kitchen at Lambeth.imageThey both however reached out on Easter Sunday by streaming their services through the internet and it is amazing what God is doing through the web. The church of England recorded over 2,000,000 visits to virtual services in recent weeks, more than double the usual church attendance...........we are not alone.

    Forwarded from the Le Muy Whatsapp Bible Group

    NHS Surgeon asks for our Prayers. Link here or on photo

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    Pray for #NHS

    It's Gonna be a New Sort of Community

    Archbishop designate of York Stephen Cottrell speaks on Songs of Praise about the impact of Covid 19 on church as we know it.


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    United in Prayer

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    Pope Francis wrote to Christian leaders asking that the wider church invoke "together the graces from Heaven" and ask "for the end of this pandemic". 

    He used his Angelus blessing on Sunday to invite all Christians together in praying the Lord's Prayer as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    The Pope asked that Christians, whatever their tradition, respond to the coronavirus pandemic "with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness".

    "Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried," he said.   Read the full article from Christian Today here


    A.G.M's may need to be deferred

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