Lent Groups

This year our Benefice, and anyone else who would like to join us, will be following a 6 week course called Faith Pictures. It will be starting in the last week of February and the beginning of March.  There will be sheets for signing up in the churches from mid-February.

‘Faith Pictures’ is a short course designed to help us talk naturally to friends, neighbours and colleagues about what we believe. The heart of the course is about helping people to identify a single picture or image that embodies something of their faith. This is because the kinds of communication which stick best in the mind are concrete and rooted in story.‘Faith Pictures’ is a course of six weeks so we will be starting during the week of Ash Wednesday:

Monday mornings, North Wootton, 10.30am beginning on

27th February at Higher Farm, BA4 4HB, the home of Tim and Felicity Wootton.

Monday evenings, Pilton, 7.30pm beginning on 27th February at The Rectory, BA4 4BX, the home of Rev’d Chris Butler.

Tuesday afternoons, Dinder, 2.30pm beginning on 28th February at Sharcombe Farm BA5 3PF, the home of Joan Chambers.

Wednesday afternoons, Croscombe 2.30pm beginning on 1st March at Livadia, Fayreway, BA5 3RQ, home of David and Janet Dowding.

Chris Butler, 899061, butlerchristine19@gmail.com

 

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Ash Wednesday

This year Ash Wednesday is on 1st March.  In the Benefice there will be two Communion services which will include the opportunity to receive the ‘imposition of ashes’:

11am in North Wootton Church,

7.30pm in Dinder Church

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WELCOME TO 2017

I wonder how you feel at the beginning of this new year. It looks as if it is going to be a year of continuing changes on the political level with many unknowns; on a personal note many of us again cannot predict what the year will hold.

One of my friends last year said she had a feeling that 2016 was not going to be a good year for her, sadly she was right with a hospital visit and a barrage of tests being just part of her year. But even amidst the hard parts she made some good memories as well. If you had a year like hers I am sure you are glad to see the back of 2016. Maybe some of you have had the opposite experience and are slightly sad to see 2016 end.

One of the things she said is that after all that happened this year she wanted to simplify her life. I remember reading a magazine article once which said we should all un-clutter our lives; in their case it meant reducing their life to less than 100 possessions. Now for some of you that may seem very do-able but it is all a bit beyond me – maybe I’ll aim for 1000, well maybe a few thousand! I also wonder who actually has time to count how many possessions they own (and does a pair of socks count as one or two items?).

Having said that I do believe there is something important here about simplifying our lives, to work out what is important and what holds us back – to give up some clutter, material and emotional, and to live simpler lives.

Sometimes we need to stop and take a look at our lives. Is there so much going on that we don’t have any time, as the poem says, to ‘stand and stare’? Or is the converse true, do we need to find a new hobby or project to put our energies into.

We need to hold onto what is important to us but maybe there is a time to let go of what is not. Many of us have things in our lives that hold us back and stop us being who we were created to be. I suspect getting rid of them will be easier said than done. Maybe in 2017 we can each take small steps with God’s help and with good friends alongside us to encourage us to aim for that simpler life.

Thank you. A big thank you to everyone who helped at the Christmas services especially to the Croscombe and Dinder Choir; those who read at the carol services; decorated the Churches so beautifully or provided refreshments after the services.

Rev. Chris

CHANGE AND PROMISE

As we draw near the end of 2016 I think we can all agree it has been a strange year in many ways. The vote to leave Europe back in the summer and the new USA President Elect may have caught some of us by surprise. Both events have led to a level of uncertainty and seem to capture the disillusionment with the status quo being experienced by many people. It

indicates a yearning for change. Time will tell what that change will look like, it is certainly leading to a period of uncertainty. If the main experts can’t agree, what chance do we have of predicting what will happen.

As many people have said, despite these events, what we do know is that the sun is still rising each morning and life goes on. But for many of us the hope is that life will do more than go on, that people can flourish. For me that is what the Christmas story is all about, it is also a story of change of the status quo but one that leads to hope. Beginning with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, and ending with the ultimate sacrifice leading to new hope. The story of Jesus brings us promise; it is a promise and a hope of everyone mattering and being loved and valued. It is a hope of ‘life in all its fullness’, of each individual being treasured and loved but not at the expense of others. So come along and join us as our community comes together over the Christmas period to hear again the angels bringing us ‘tidings of comfort and joy’ to a world that needs to hear again that promise.

Full details of all the services are in this magazine or on our website, see you there.
A Merry Christmas to you all.

Rev Chris

MOTHERS’ UNION ADVENT MEDITATION

On Wednesday 14th December the Mothers’ Union will be meeting in the Church Room at St Mary’s Church, Croscombe from 11.00am to 12.30pm for an Advent Meditation including coffee and Christmas nibbles. This will be the first Christmas for our newly formed Shepton Mallet Deanery Mothers’ Union so please come and celebrate with us! All are warmly invited to attend whether you are a member of the Mothers’ Union or not.

Lynn Rendell

ADVENT

The end of November starts the beginning of the season of Advent. As well as being the countdown to Christmas, it is an important season in its own right. In the Christian Church it is a time of waiting and watching. Some people buy an Advent candle which marks each day of the Advent season.

Our shops are also full of Advent calendars, but alongside those calendars, why not do something different this year? Find an empty box and through Advent put one item of non-perishable food in it each day. Then by the end of Advent you will have a full box of goods to give away. Further details can be found in this magazine (See Reverse Advent Calendar page 5).

Also, do come to our Advent Carol Service. The carols are not Christmas carols but are beautiful in their own right and reflect the longing and hope of the Advent season.

Finally, in all our churches there will be a series of activities over Advent to reflect the season. They are designed to help us take some time out and think about the meaning of Advent and Christmas.

Further details of all of these can be found in our magazine and below:

 

ADVENT CAROL SERVICE

An opportunity to celebrate the season of Advent before the rush of Christmas begins.
Sunday 27th November at 4.00pm in Pilton Parish Church.
Come and join our Advent Carol Service. These will not be Christmas Carols, you will have to wait until 18th December for them. Instead we will be singing traditional Advent carols.

Do come along and help us celebrate the beginning of Advent and listen to Pilton Village Voices as they bring us some anthems as well.

THE REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR

Many of us enjoy or remember enjoying opening the little boxes on our Advent Calendars.
Why not join us to give something back as well?
Find an empty box or basket and each day put something inside to give away. By Christmas Eve or a few days before you will have a box full of items to donate to a local charity. If you are unsure what to donate each of our churches will have a list of items and details of where and when to deliver your box; this will also appear in next month’s magazine and on the church website.

ADVENT
Time and space to think
During Advent we will be creating time and space in our Churches for you to just come and be, or to pray.

Each week a new activity (suitable for children and adults) will appear to help you.

Do come along whenever you can and take time out of the busy-ness durung the run up to Christmas – more of that next month.

Rev. Chris

AUTUMN

The days are getting shorter, the nights longer and cooler, and the trees are displaying browns and golds as the leaves slowly wither and fall. We are now into the season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ and, if this year is like most years, wind and rain as well!

At this time of year we give thanks for the harvest. We remember the importance of working in harmony with each other and with the natural pattern of the seasons. The world has been created in such a way that some tending and care by human hands is called for if the harvest is to be successful. The earth will not yield food for everyone without some human effort. So we endeavour to be good stewards of the world’s resources.

Let us enjoy the autumn, especially the beautiful sights and colours this season brings. And let the ongoing march of the seasons remind us of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness for the creation around us. In the book of Genesis, after the flood had abated, Noah builds an altar to God to offer his thanks and praise, and God says:

‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.’

[Genesis 8:22]

This is a reassuring promise that there are laws that govern the earth and its seasons which God has put in place. My prayer is that our care of the world around us will enable us to live and work for the good of the whole created order.

Rev Nick Lakin

National Prayer Weekend 23rd – 25th September

A national weekend of prayer will take place on these dates. The website www.national-prayer-weekend.com. states “Central to National Prayer Weekend 2016 is the desire to see people in our local communities know and encounter God as their Father through the power of prayer”.Last year, more than 1,300 individuals, groups and churches joined in prayer to cover the nation.
We know that God can do immeasurably more than we can even imagine. So it is with great expectation that we invite you to join in during 23rd-25th September as we pray for our local churches and communities.

We will be joining in with special prayers for our communities over that weekend, so please do join us in prayer. The Parish Church Rev. Chris

GUILTY PLEASURE and PERSEVERANCE

Unlike Rev. Chris who wrote last month, I don’t usually watch much sport live or on TV, but the Olympics is my guilty pleasure. They may be over for most of us for another four years but many of us will have our own memories of Rio 2016.

I have many, but there are two things that stand out for me and will do for months to come.

First of all, watching all the medal winners receive their prizes. The look on their faces that expressed how all those early morning starts, all those long days, all the pushing their bodies to go on when all they wanted to do was stop and sleep was rewarded. Their single minded focus and hard training had all been worth it. The tears and the smiles expressed it all.

The second image is of Mo Farah falling during his 10,000 metre race. He could have given up, but he got up with even greater determination and won the Gold. His focus was on the finish line not on what had just happened.

In a world of instant celebrity and instant gratification it can be easy to forget all the hours of hard training and perseverance that have gone into getting the athletes to the Games and the winning of each medal. The personal sacrifices of the athletes and their families have been rewarded.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul often described life as being a race. I would add that it’s not the 100 metres but more like a marathon, or even a steeple-chase. There are many hurdles to get over and many potential trip hazards yet, like an athlete, we need to keep our eyes on the prize, not allowing these obstacles to defeat us.

When we fall we can all start again resisting the natural urge to give up. By pressing on, keeping our focus on what is important to us we can all be winners.

Rev. Elaine Brightwell

Meetings to think about the Future in our Parishes.

Over the next few months we are continuing our half-day when we get together to look at the future direction for our Churches. All Church members are invited to join us for these days. They will be facilitated by Caroline Bruce who is a Parish Consultancy Officer. The days will give us time to consider where we come from and where God might be leading us. Please do pray for each Parish as we undertake this activity together.
Croscombe will be meeting on the morning of Saturday 27th August and Dinder on that afternoon. Exact times and location will be provided to those churches shortly.

Rev. Chris