April 2021 Magazine
There is a great tension this Easter!! How do we celebrate, ‘New Life’ and ‘New Beginnings’? These have been dark months and life after Covid will never be the same. Revd. James Martin SJ sums this reality up within these next few lines:
“Some philosophies and religions state that suffering is more or less an illusion. Jesus says this from the cross: suffering is real. As a fully human person, Jesus suffered. On Good Friday, he was beaten, tortured and then nailed to a cross, the most agonizing way the Roman authorities had devised for capital punishment. There, according to the Gospels, he hung for three hours. Victims of crucifixion died either from loss of blood or, more commonly, asphyxiation, as the weight of their bodies pulled on their wrists, compressed their lungs and made breathing impossible. Jesus’s life, like any human life, included physical suffering, and an immense amount of it on Good Friday.”
Often, I look back at Lent and think “Well, I’ve not fasted much, nor prayed more nor even done as many good works as I could have”. What I have done often is reflect on the most important fact that Jesus the Christ was fully human. Jesus went through everything Revd. Martin said above and so much more. Think of your own lives; what have you been through? Anxiety, depression, Covid, other serious illness? Jesus` life until Good Friday was very much like ours. It had joy, sorrow, pain and fear – anger and love. After all, like us Jesus was a complex person.
Now please don’t let my next few words delete the previous words. Jesus Christ the fully human being really died in terror on that first Good Friday, yet, on Easter Sunday all changed. Now the Christ was risen from the dead in the love of His Father. Jesus loved His humanity but now His death has brought us into the Heart of the Father. Jesus eventually took your pain and sorrow to the God who truly loves all of us.
To be fully Christian we need to live out in our lives Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. But my prayer may be, ‘How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?’ As Henri Nouwen said, “Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection.”
It might not be the usual Easter Message but there is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess, sometimes simply being miserable. Yet this is all part of the Easter Story. God sees in us a work in progress – not Saints, nor perfectly pious people but people on a journey.
For many of us this journey has been faced through Lockdown. It’s been an inner journey. But now, my dear friends, it looks as if we’ll be opening up our church buildings once more. We all need to let the real message of Jesus` love for humanity touch our hearts. To be fully Christ in Eastertide we have to see each other as Jesus saw us – yes, enough to die to self and to live joyfully in serving other people.
Pope Francis said the world is “oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family,”. He continued “In the midst of that suffering…. the message that Christ has risen is the contagion of hope.“
Christians, non- Christians, people of no faith or different faith my sincere prayer this Easter is what Pope Francis said: “May hope and love, joy and peace, compassion and respect spread through the world like a positive virus.” And for those of you who have lost loved ones be very much assured this Easter you will be in our prayers at our Zoom Service on Easter Sunday at 11.00am.
(Email me if you’d like the link to join in our Zoom services) firstname.lastname@example.org
Revd. Stephen Monk
Let us pray
Emerging from a cold tomb
All the truth, majesty and creativity of a living God
Transforming a broken heart
Making a quiet return, in a still and sorrowful garden
The grave stone rolled away, to release redemptive love,
Jesus resurrected and restored
Comforts a weeping woman
Speaks with travellers on a journey
Meets with his faithful friends
And they bow down before Christ alive
And acknowledged that the saviour has arrived
That the word of God has come alive
And that the extraordinary transformation of heaven and earth Is complete
This Easter – please be open to the promptings and love of the Risen Jesus Christ – for he’s taken knowledge of you and your story into the very heart of God – and God listens and He loves you. Alleluia!!
With my love and prayers for all of you and for your loved ones.
Revd. Stephen Monk
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
As a United Benefice we have decided to support the following charities:
Air Ambulance, Ashgate Hospice, Our School in India, which we have connections with, Derbyshire Federation of Mental Health. For Air Ambulance (St Helen’s) and Ashgate Hospice (St Marys) we are going to support their lotteries each month (Ian Sutton is setting up a standing order with both charities) so please think about volunteering £15 a month and then sign up to support this good cause. Please let your churchwardens or Ian Sutton know.
We are looking to open our churches on 2nd May with a service in each church. At this time, we do not know what rules will be set but we all hope to get back to some normality from the 2nd May.
There will still be one Zoom Service a week for those who are house bound and still feeling unable to join us.
Holy Spirit, when I feel alone, I am comforted because You pray with me.
When I am silenced by suffering, I am grateful that You pray through me. And, Jesus, when I feel helpless, I am strengthened because you’re with the Father, right now, praying for me. (Rom 8.34)
From Lectio 365 11.03.21
Looking to the future
We have a beautiful church building and are custodians of its history and continuation. There is always a tension between this and bringing it alive through worship, prayer and praise in the times we live in.
Did you know? The following is based on information I found on the Internet.
The earliest archeologically identified Christian church is a house church (domus ecclesiae), the Dura-Europos church, on the Euphrates River in eastern Roman Syria, founded between 233 and 256 (unless claims for recent discoveries of early Christian meeting places are confirmed). It was a house that came into Christian possession and was remodelled in the 240s. Two rooms were combined to form the assembly room, and another room became a baptistery—the only room decorated with pictures. Dura was destroyed by the Sassanian Persians in 256.
For the most part, the church was dependent on members or supporters (patrons) who owned larger houses, providing a place for meeting. In Rome, there are indications that early Christians met in other public spaces such as warehouses or apartment buildings. Even when there were several meeting sites in a city, the Christians had the sense of being one church. They maintained unity through organization (from the second century on, beginning at different times in different places, one bishop in a city became the centre of unity for orthodox Christians there) and symbolic gestures (in Rome, the eucharistic bread was sent from the bishop’s church to other assemblies).
In the second half of the 3rd century AD, the first purpose-built halls for Christian worship (aula ecclesiae) began to be constructed. From the 11th through the 14th centuries, a wave of building of cathedrals and smaller parish churches were erected across Western Europe.
What does this mean for us?
Well, Zoom meetings and services are bringing whole new meanings to the notion of House Church, Home Group and Café Church.
Although there are still a number of our fellowship who don’t do computers and the internet, so sadly have not been able to join in our Zoom sessions, they have still opened up church in a new way to many of us.
We all long for the days when we can be back together in church and in each other’s homes. The good news is they are coming soon, although we need to accept this pandemic will not be over for a long while yet.
For the future the Mission Action Planning group and all the PCC are looking at ways forward, which will include continued use of technology, reaching those who won’t or can’t come back to church and those who don’t yet come to church.
We are also thinking about and planning ways we can reach out to our community – to be salt and light; to serve in love and humility.
We are stewards of our church building and it is beautiful but the real church is us. It’s not just what happens in the building that matters. We take church, as the body of Christ, with us wherever we go, wherever we are.
Stephen is always encouraging us to pray – not just at church but individually and in small groups. We know prayer is talking to God our Father, because we are put right with him by the saving love of God the Son and through the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit. Easy peasy! No, not at all, so I feel led to do a series on prayer in the church magazine and to include information sources you may find helpful.
By the way, I am not doing this because I excel at prayer. Far from it. I know I can do intercessions in services and pray without hesitation in group situations. Believe me at home, it is definitely not the same. I need to reflect and learn about and pray as much as anyone.
I hope you will find it helpful and if you have any ways that work for you that you would like to share do let me know.
And on the lighter side of church life……
A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. ‘The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.’
His son looked up, concerned. ‘What happened to the flea?’
Signs found outside churches….
* Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!
* Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here!
* Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty Lives.
* Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world.
Notices found in church newsletters – that didn’t quite come out right!
* Ladies are requested not to have children in the church kitchen.
* For those who have children and don’t know it, we have a crèche in the crypt.
* Bring & share church supper: Prayer and medication will follow.
* Don’t let worry kill you. Let the Church help!
* The organist invites anyone who enjoys sinning to volunteer for the choir.
* At the church meeting last week, the rector spoke briefly and delighted the audience.
* Remember in prayer the many who are sick both of our church and the community.
* Smile at someone who you find hard to love. Say ‘hell’ to someone who doesn’t much care about you.
My curate friend had to preach his first-ever Easter sermon, and was very nervous about it. However, he prepared hard, and when Easter day came, he strode into the pulpit and thundered through his sermon, only to crash at the closing line. He pounded the pulpit and shouted: “Yes…it is all true! Jesus rose…and then He died again! Hallelujah!”
Bishops lead churches’ call to take up Covid vaccine
Church of England Bishops have joined an NHS-backed campaign calling on congregations, communities and individuals to play their part in encouraging everyone who is offered a Covid-19 vaccine to take up the opportunity.
With concerns over misinformation and significant numbers indicating mistrust, including in some UK BAME communities, the bishops were speaking as part of a recently launched united churches campaign called Give Hope.
The Archbishop of York, together with the Bishops of Dover, Durham and Truro added their voices to a video which was launched on Sunday, together with members of other churches and groups.
It is hoped that faith communities will use their networks to share trustworthy information about vaccines, helping to bust myths and reassure those who have been offered a vaccine of the true levels of associated risk.
The Give Hope campaign is being run by YourNeighbour.org, a convening group working with Government, the NHS and faith communities in response to the challenges of ensuring a wide uptake of the vaccine. It encourages communities to
- Have a conversation,
- Offer information,
- give Practical support and
- Engage through communication channels such as social media.
Resources are available to churches through
And for all chocoholics (definitely includes me!!)
Chocolate – food of the gods!
The botanical name for the cocoa bean is Theobroma – which means ‘food of the gods.’ Millions of us obviously agree – half a million tons of it are consumed in Britain each year alone.
Chocolate makes us feel better. The chemicals it contains trigger the release of endorphins similar to those we naturally produce when we fall in love.
But nutritionists warn against using chocolate as a pick-me-up, especially in the evening. Chocolate eaten before bedtime can cause blood glucose levels to plummet during the night, which will disrupt your sleep. Chocolate eaten in quantity every day can lead to mood and energy swings, weight gain and poor immunity. If you have mad cravings for it, you could have a problem with blood sugar, or a deficiency in magnesium, copper, zinc or iron.
But occasional consumption of cocoa can provide medical benefits. Chocolate containing 60 per cent or more cocoa solids is rich in essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium, and many vitamins. Cocoa is also the highest natural source of magnesium.
Good as all this may be – most of us enjoy chocolate simply because of its high sugar and caffeine content. Chocolate simply gives you an instant sugar hit, providing a sudden burst in energy, unfortunately followed by a slump and the desire for another sugar-fix.
PP News apr21
New bishop for the environment appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury
The Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, is to lead the Church of England’s Environment Programme with a charge to lead bold, deliberate, collaborative action across the Church to tackle the grave existential crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Bishop Graham will work with the Mission and Public Affairs department of the Church of England, continuing the commitment to net-zero carbon impacts across the Church of England by 2030 set by General Synod in February 2020.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “This will be a key year for the UK’s approach to climate change internationally.” In June, the UK will host the G7. In November, Glasgow will host COP26. The Environment Bill will be coming to Parliament. “Now is the time for bold, deliberate, collaborative action.”
Bishop Graham said: “Responding to the climate and biodiversity crises is not a luxury in the ministry of the Church, but an urgent imperative for our mission.”
Churches are being encouraged to raise their voice to speak up about the need to tackle climate change across the whole of society through the Climate Sunday initiative, starting by holding their own climate focused service.
PP Community apr21 – Editor: by Tim Lenton
Our first ever National Park
Seventy years ago, on 17th April 1951, the Peak District National Park was established. It was Britain’s first national park, and it was formed partly as a result of a mass trespass on Kinder Scout – the highest point of the park – just under 20 years earlier, which helped gain open access to moorland that had previously been in private hands and closed to walkers.
The precise effect and extent of the trespass, in which Young Communists were prominent, is still widely disputed by rambling associations.
The Peak District is mostly in Derbyshire, but includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. It is usually split into the higher Dark Peak and the gentler White Peak, in the centre and south of the district. Altogether it covers 555 square miles: it is reckoned that 20 million people live within an hour’s journey of it.
It contains only one town – Bakewell – but several others, such as Buxton, are on the fringes. It is now the fifth largest of the 13 national parks in England and Wales. The land within it is a mixture of public and private ownership, and there are many planning restrictions imposed by the national park authority to prevent inappropriate development.
(I think this speaks very profoundly following the article on tackling climate change. We live in a very beautiful part of the world, not just of England. What can we do to make a difference here in the Derbyshire Dales as individuals and as a church fellowship? Let me have ideas and suggestions on anything to do with recycling and cutting carbon emissions. Chris Townsend)
God in the Sciences
This series is written by Dr Ruth M Bancewicz, who is Church Engagement Director at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge. Ruth writes on the positive relationship between Science and Christian faith.
Science and Society: How Can We Approach New Ethical Issues?
Science tells us how the world works, and technology offers applications of that knowledge, but neither can tell us what we ought to do. All scientific discoveries or new technologies can be used to either help or harm others. For example, a smartphone can be used to stay in touch but also enables bullying.
It is important to get past our initial reactions: the ‘yuk!’ or ‘wow!’ These feelings may well change once we learn more about the science and other factors behind a new development.
Ethical thinking can be divided into three main categories. The consequentialist approach is demonstrated in Proverbs, when Wisdom calls young men to consider the outcome of their actions. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialist ethic that tries to maximise the greatest good for the largest number of people affected, but unchecked it leaves minorities out in the cold.
Duty or law-based ethics start with intrinsic values, asking what is the correct course of action, or our duty? These values might be God-given, such as the ten commandments, or worked out by human reason. It is possible, however, to do harm while obeying the law, especially if someone asks ‘What can I get away with?’ Also, what happens when rules collide? For example, who should be treated first when resources are limited?
Virtue ethics are about building character, growing in wisdom and the fruit of the Spirit. There are plenty of biblical principles to guide virtuous living, such as the idea that we are ‘made in the image of God’ which supports the value of every human life (e.g., Genesis 1:26–27, Genesis 9:6, James 3:9–10), but the right decision can vary depending on circumstances
So how can we make ethical decisions about new technologies? The five Cs bring together a number of different types of ethical thinking into a helpful framework for decision-making.
Clarify the facts and key questions.
Consider our choices: what could we achieve?
Constraints: External – what must we do? Internal – how should we behave?
Compare the pros and cons of each approach.
Choose what is best, with all parties in mind.
Finally, we have to recognise that the information available to us will change over time, our knowledge of God and His word will keep growing, and we cannot avoid making mistakes – so our ethical decisions will need to be revisited and revised from time to time.
(Interested in questions of science and faith?
Take a look at Operation Noah: www.operationnoah.org
We have just held our APCM – by Zoom – and elected or confirmed the continued role of those on our PCC. Please pray for us all regularly. Please contact any of us if you have a query, comment or suggestion you wish to pass on to the whole PCC. Remember we are here to represent and to serve you.
PP Church apr21
Editor: The Revd Peter Crumpler, a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, and a former communications director for the CofE, considers the PCC.
The History of the PCC
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
When you next attend a PCC meeting, which is probably more likely to be by zoom than in person, you could say “Happy 100th Birthday!” to your colleagues. It is a hundred years since The Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921 which was an important stage in the birth of PCCs.
During the First World War army chaplains found that many men who thought of themselves as church goers were ignorant of the basics of religion. This led to a new interest in mission for the church. There were national days of prayer during the war and in 1915 there was a National Mission of Repentance and Hope. The public were more in the mood for victory than repentance. After the Armistice there was a desire for change in the national church and this led to a discussion about the links with the state.
There was a concern that Parliament was often slow to enact laws for the church and many people felt the national church should have more authority to govern itself. The setting up of Parochial Church Councils was part of that process. In the past a lot of local secular administration had been the responsibility of churchwardens in the vestry meetings.
Gradually their functions were passed to local councils. Most of their remaining powers were transferred to PCCs by The Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921.
The purpose behind these new councils was to give the laity a more prominent role in parish life to go alongside the deaconry, diocesan and national councils which became the synods and have an important role in church life. Some conservative clerics were concerned at this reform and felt that congregations would pick and choose clergy or object to a new incumbent chosen by a patron. The process of starting PCCs to share in decision making in parishes was widely accepted but a few older incumbents and those in more rural areas, failed to do either out of reluctance or ignorance.
A leading churchman in the reform movement was William Temple who became leader of the ‘Life and Liberty movement’ which hugely influenced the move towards democratic government in the Church of England. He was Bishop of Manchester in the 1920s, Archbishop of York from 1929 to 1942 and Archbishop of Canterbury (1942-4).
He had been a secretary of the National Mission of Repentance and Hope in 1916 and became chairman and joint leader with H. R. (Dick) Sheppard of the Life and Liberty movement. ‘We demand liberty for the Church of England’ he declared at a meeting in July 1917. One difficult issue was what level of commitment to church life enabled a person to be eligible to serve on a church council. It was decided that anyone on the electoral roll whether they attended services or communion regularly could participate. The then Bishop of Oxford resigned over the issue because he thought that councils must only be made up of committed regular communicants.
The next Bishop of Oxford in his monthly diocesan magazine endorsed the principle of democracy and reassured people that it was a not negative step or would limit the powers of clergy or wardens. He encouraged the congregations to consider how to use each other’s gifts.
In Aylesbury the idea of the new PCCs had been discussed as early as 1918. It was felt that they would support the clergy particularly with financial issues.
It is strange to think that the proposal for clergy and congregation to work together for the benefit of the church could be controversial. The birth of PCCs was a major step in the life of the church. I wonder what the next one hundred years will bring?
April to 2nd May – Diary
Anyone is welcome to join us for any or all of the below:
Sunday 18th and 26th April 10.45 for 11.00am
United Benefice Zoom Service
For invitation send your email details to Ian Sutton (see the Contact Us page)
Sunday 2nd May 11.00am Church Service at St Helen’s
Every Sunday at 7.00pm join with others, local and further afield, by using this time to pray, light a candle and go through a service such as Evensong or Evening Prayer. This initiative is spearheaded by the Revd. Audrey Smith. You can be added to her email list. Contact her via the Contact Us page on this website.