14th April 2019

14th April 2019

Welcome to the United Benefice of St. Helen,

St. Mary and St. John the Baptist

It’s great to gather together as the Body of Christ in this beautiful part of Derbyshire. Though we have differences, we have one Lord, one Faith and one Passion for the Gospel. May we spend time today praying together and sharing fellowship.

All are welcome to take part fully in our services. If this is a Service of Holy Communion, you are very welcome to receive Holy Communion at the appropriate time.

(Gluten-free wafers are available; just ask anyone leading the communion.)


Our Worship Today, Sun.14th April, Palm Sunday

8 a.m.          Holy Communion (BCP) at St. Helen’s

10 a.m.     United Benefice – at St. Mary’s

Palm Sunday Service and Procession

6.p.m.             Intimate Worship, St. Helen’s Church Hall


Maundy Thursday   7 p.m.  Maundy Service at St. Helen’s


Good Friday    10 a.m.    Family Service at St. Mary’s

3 p.m.      Solemn Service at St. Helen’s


Sat. 20th       10 a.m.     Tenebrae Service at St. Helen’s

                                                            Regular Midweek Services & Meeting

Tues.           Morning Prayer at St. Helen’s,  9.30 a.m.

Thurs.         Morning Prayer at St. John’s,  9.30 a.m.              Thurs. 18th  Prayer Meeting, 14 Park Avenue, 9.30 a.m.


Easter Sunday, 21st April

8 a.m.        Holy Communion (BCP) St. Helen’s

9 a.m.        Holy Communion at St. John’s

10 a.m.       Holy Communion at St. Mary’s

11 a.m.        Holy Communion at St. Helen’s


Our United Benefice Services for Sun. 28th April

     8 a.m.        Holy Communion (BCP) at St Helen’s

9 a.m.        Holy Communion at St. John’s

11 a.m.       Morning Prayer at St. Helen’s

5 p.m.       Café Church at St. Helen’s

6 p.m.       Evensong at St. Mary’s


For our Prayers:

The Hopper family, the Parnell family, Tony & Marie Thrower, Stan Codd, Andrew Brown, Steven Gill,  Janet Brindley, Pam Creasey, Donna Watson, Katie Reade, Stephen Monk, Audrey and Geoff Foster, John and Marian Booth, Eileen Gray,

Yulaka Ito (a 2 year old boy, recently diagnosed with leukemia).

Please let Pauline know if you would like someone’s name on the list, also if one can be removed. For St. Mary’s, please pass names to David Gadsby, for St. John’s to Marion Bowler.


St. Chad’s Chapel

This lovely, refurbished chapel in St. Helen’s Church is now open every Tuesday morning from 8 – 10 a.m. A perfect place for quiet prayer and reflection. We hope to extend the times it can be used in the near future.


 From Stephen – please keep me in your Prayers

On Tuesday, 16th April, the funeral of my Mum will take place at St. Winefride’s R.C. Church in Shepshed. The service is at 10 a.m. and I ask you to please keep me and my family in your prayers. I am humbled by your continued love and support. I cannot express my thanks enough for your goodness.

Thank you 

A very big thank you to Penny, Chris and Pauline, who did most of the administration for the APCM. My thanks also to all who attended the meeting; it was great to see so many of you there.

We need to try to get more people involved in the working of our three churches. Can I please reiterate that the PCC Members are there to help me care for the parish, as well as to help govern the parish according to Canon Law. But, that doesn’t mean this small group of people should do all the work. The mission of the Gospel and the upkeep and spiritual health of our parish is the responsibility of all of us. Please reflect – do you have any gifts to offer in this vital mission?

Thanks also to our four Churchwardens – Marlene, Maureen, Roz and Steve – and also to Marion, the Coordinator in Winster. We hold in our prayers Roland, who has retired after 46 years as churchwarden.

How can we all serve our parishes more? How can we be more prayerful, more joyful and more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit?


Holy Week

How do we look at this coming week? Holy Week is the most important week of the Christian Year. For some, in Islamic and Communist countries, there is a risk of imprisonment or even death for Christians who celebrate these sacred mysteries. There are people who have died for choosing to worship the Lord. Thinking of this, is it asking for too much for us to come together for Palm Sunday, Holy Saturday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

If you give your time joyfully, then I promise you’ll feel the power of God in your life. You’ll feel God’s healing, love and peace. So please, do come along to as many of our services as you can. They are all noted in this pew sheet.

Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, the Christian liturgy is like an overture for all of Holy Week. At the beginning of the ceremony, palms are blessed and a short Gospel is read describing Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. During the Eucharist, the Passion is read, often in three parts.

The liturgy for Palm Sunday begins in triumph, but quickly there looms the shadow of the cross. In fact, the joy of Christ’s followers on the first Palm Sunday was short-lived.

The crowd in Jerusalem was swelled immensely that day by Jews who had gathered for the Passover celebration. Many were unaware that the Saviour of the World was in their midst.

Those followers who honoured him with palms were in the minority — as evidenced by his arrest just a few days later and the cries of the crowd for crucifixion.

For many Christians, Palm Sunday is the only time they hear the Passion read, since the Good Friday liturgy is often held during workday hours and congregations are therefore smaller. We gather together almost as  spectators, but far from disinterested ones. We come to worship, to mourn and to reaffirm our love for the Saviour of the world – Jesus Christ.

Baptisms and Weddings

Many baptisms are to take place in our parishes over the next few months. Please remember to talk to your friends and family about joining the Church. Receiving baptism is saying yes to Christ, an acceptance of the call to love and serve the Lord.

We also have quite a few weddings planned. Again, please suggest to people – whether family or friends – that they arrange to come on a Saturday morning, to discuss getting married in one of our beautiful churches.

Don’t Forget! – John Barker in Concert        

St. Helen’s Church, Fri. 3rd May, 7 p.m.

One of Britain’s finest trumpeters is giving a concert!

Do make it a date. Light refreshments will be provided.    Tickets are £7.50 and can be obtained from Ian Sutton,          (01629 734290)

or by e-mail:    handi@btinternet.com



Your offerings to the church – ‘Standing Orders’

Many members of the United Benefice already make their regular offering to the church by means of a ‘standing order’. This is very helpful, as it not only gives our churches a reliable source of income, but cuts down on the cost and administrative work involved in supplying envelopes. It also saves, of course, having to find the appropriate envelope and cash each week!

If you have not already taken up a standing order, could I ask you to consider doing so? For anyone who holds a bank account, it is simply a matter of completing a form, which can be obtained from Ian, our Treasurer.


Monday Munchers, Whitworth Centre

We meet in the Terrace Tea Rooms, 11.45 for 12 noon.

Pepper Group, Mon. 15th (tomorrow)


Choral Evensong at St. Helen’s

Neil Clarke, our organist, is hoping to reintroduce some Choral Evensong services.  First provisional date is 16th June (Trinity Sunday). The service would start at 6 p.m. after a rehearsal at 4.15 p.m. Neil will invite singers from his contacts around the deanery/diocese but he is keen for anyone from the churches of our United Benefice who is interested to come along too.

If you would like to know more, or to talk to Neil about it, he will not back at St. H.’s until Easter Day, but he is at St. Mary’s today, 14th April.


A Thought for Holy Week

Even in retirement, we often have a strong desire to be productive. Sometimes we can see, even within our own churches, people running round in a rather frenetic way. Of course, there are many things that need to be done, but we should try to approach them in a peaceful and a Christian way.

As Christians, we should perhaps try to be fruitful rather than merely productive. Entering Holy Week could be life-giving for all of us, if we attempt to slow down and to be more aware of God’s grace – the grace that is offered to all of us within this coming week’s liturgies.

Let us all try to be free enough to be fruitful. Sometimes it is fear which stops us having true freedom. But in thinking of Jesus’ Life, of His Suffering, Death and Resurrection, we allow Him to grow – fruitfully – in us and through us.

Please support our coming liturgies, and hear Jesus’ word, with your ears but also within your heart.

God Bless.


The Story Continues – An Easter Sermon

What’s written below is a reflection on the sermon of Pope Francis at Easter last year. This sermon was ‘of the cuff!’ But his idea of a ‘God of Surprises’ speaks to our three churches at this time in their history.

Pope Francis says that God surprised the women with a proclamation – ‘The Lord is risen!’ This proclamation became a greeting in the early Church.

The women had gone to anoint the Lord’s body, but instead found themselves standing before a ‘surprise’.

Though when God announces something it is always a surprise. ‘God is a God of Surprises’, Pope Francis said. It has been that way from the beginning, from the story of salvation with Abraham – one surprise after another. God does not know how to make an announcement without surprising us! Surprise moves our hearts and touches us where we do not expect.


A second thought is the haste of the women. But God’s surprises demand an immediate response. Peter and John ran to the tomb. The shepherds, on the night when Christ was born, ran to see what the angel had revealed to them. The Samaritan woman also ran to say to her people, ‘this is something entirely new. I have met a man who has told me everything that I have done.’ Andrew did not waste time in going to Peter to say that he had found the Messiah. John and Peter ran to the tomb and the Gospel says they believed. Although, as Pope Francis says, Peter’s belief was ‘a bit mixed with remorse for having denied the Lord.’

People simply leave whatever they are doing. But the Pope added that there is one person in the Gospel who does take his time, who does not want to take a risk. This is Thomas. But the good Lord waited for him in the same way that He waits patiently for all those who do not get up and respond to His surprise announcement right away.

And what about me? Pope Francis’ next thought is a question. What about me? ‘ Do I have a heart that is open to God’s surprises? Am I am able to go quickly, or do I always hang back and excuse myself until tomorrow? What does a surprise say to me?’

And now, just as I’ve wished you a Happy Lent & Holy Week, may I also wish you all a very joyful and blessed Easter!

Love & Prayers.

Stephen Monk



        Psalm 31.9-16


9             Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in trouble;
my eye is consumed with sorrow,
my soul and my body also.

10            For my life is wasted with grief,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of my affliction,
and my bones are consumed.

11            I have become a reproach to all my enemies
and even to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
when they see me in the street they flee from me.

12            I am forgotten like one that is dead, out of mind;
I have become like a broken vessel.

13            For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;
fear is on every side;
they scheme together against me,
and plot to take my life.

14            But my trust is in you, O Lord.
I have said, ‘You are my God.

15            ‘My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.

16            ‘Make your face to shine upon your servant,
and save me for your mercy’s sake.’