3rd February 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 this morning 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 Sunday,3rd Feb. 5th before Lent
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
Regular Midweek Services
Tuesday – Morning Prayer at St. Helen’s, 9.30 a.m.
Thursday – Morning Prayer at St. John’s, 9.30 a.m.
Prayer Meeting & Home Group
Thurs. 7th – Prayer Meeting, 14 Park Avenue, 9.30 a.m.
Thurs. 7th – Home Group, 14 Park Avenue 7 p.m.
Please note that after this week, both meetings at Park Avenue will stop for a while. Prayer Meetings will start again on 28th Feb. and the Home Group on 7th March.
Our United Benefice Services for Next Sun. 10th Feb.
8 a.m. Holy Communion at St. Helen’s
9 a.m. Holy Communion at St. John’s
10 a.m. Joint Family Worship at St. Helen’s
For our prayers:
Robert & Margaret Pearse & family, the Hopper family, the Parnell family, Tony & Marie Thrower, Stan Codd, Andrew Brown, Steven Gill, Ruth Smith, Werner Weber, Janet Monk, Janet Brindley, Steve & Janet Brown, Pam Creasey, Donna Watson, Katie Reade, Jackie Davison, John Booth, Stephen Monk, Baby Freddie Lincoln, Alf Bowler, Audrey and Geoff Foster, John and Marian Booth.
(Please let Pauline Hall know of anyone you would like to put on the list, and also when someone’s name can be removed. For St. Mary’s, please pass names to David Gadsby and for St. John’s to Marion Bowler .)
We thank God that Roz has come through her heart surgery, despite some complications. She’s now sitting up, eating, and slowly recovering from the long operation. Peter would prefer not to receive lots of phone calls, so he’s asked Hilary to be the point of contact. Please keep Roz and Peter in your prayers, as she continues on the road to recovery.
Thank You A big thank you to those who helped with ‘Messy Church’ and with the wonderful (and very lively!) service which followed from it last Sunday.
Sincere thanks also to all who came to last week’s café-church. £80 was raised on that occasion for the ‘Phone Project’ at St. Stephen’s, Bradford. Excellent! Thank you all again.
Ecumenical Holy Communion, St. Helen’s, Tomorrow, 4th Feb.10 a.m. This is our special monthly Eucharist. It’s so very important to worship and pray with other Christians, so please try to support this service. The atmosphere is lovely and deeply spiritual.
Coffee Morning, Next Sat. 9th Feb. 10 – 12 noon This is our usual monthly coffee morning. Do come and join us for a coffee/tea. Try some of the delicious homemade cakes and enjoy a good old natter!
Looking Further Ahead:
Visit of Bishop Jan, Sun. 10th March, St. Helen’s, 11am Next month we are blessed to be welcoming Bishop Jan, the recently appointed Bishop of Repton. There will be one Eucharist in the parish on that day and we will gather around our Bishop as she celebrates the Word and the Sacrament. Please do support this service. It’s truly an honour to be able to welcome her.
Joint APCM – St. Mary’s and St. Helen’s
It was decided at last year’s Annual Parochial Church Meetings that there would be a joint meeting this year for St. Helen’s and St. Mary’s. This will take place on Sunday, 7th April, in South Darley Church Hall, 11.15 a.m..
Please send contributions for the report for both St. Mary’s and St. Helen’s to Penny Dakin by Friday, 15th February. Thank you.
Notices before St. Helen’s Sunday Services
Before our main service on Sundays, the following people will be reading out the notices. If there’s anything you’d like included, please try to let them know in good time. Thanks.
February Chris Townsend
March Margaret Long
April Stephen Walker
May Roz Woodley
Open Door Fun Day, 6th July – Gifts
Please don’t forget! We’d very much appreciate any unwanted Christmas (or indeed other!) gifts that would be suitable for our Tombola Stall at the Summer Fun Day. Please speak to Jayne or Dea,
As you know, Baptism (or Christening) is the way people are brought into the family of the Church, the Body of Christ. During this past week, four families have been making arrangements for their babies to be baptised. It’s wonderful to welcome these families into our three churches.
If you know anyone who has recently had a baby, and if you feel it would be appropriate, do invite them to think about having their child baptised into the Church.
We already have weddings booked in for this year and beyond. It’s such a honour to be able to celebrate, with couples from our community, their love for one other and to share their hopes for the future. The Church witnesses the wedding but it’s God Himself who blesses their union. Again, do mention to others the possibility of getting married in Church, rather than at hotels or other venues.
We have recently held quite a few funerals. I’d like to thank sincerely those who have acted as ‘welcomers’, as sides-people or as vergers at these services. Though the circumstances are bound to be very difficult for the families concerned, I’m often told how much it means to have friendly and sensitive people present in the church. Let’s keep in our prayers both those who have gone before us and those who mourn.
My thanks to our coordinators, churchwardens, treasurer and parish secretary, who met with me last week to look at our vision – the planning and direction of our United Benefice. It’s so important to remember that when we talk of leadership in a church context, it should be ‘leadership in humble service’. Jesus himself is our model of true service and true leadership. As we approach the time of the APCMs, please keep in your prayers all of us who have pastoral care for our United Benefice.
The APCMs and our Christian Life
‘Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.’ Plato
I think it’s always important to have one’s say – whether that’s during the APCM itself or through your members of the PCC.
But we should all keep in mind the following:
When the Romans were persecuting Christians, they were surprised how the Christians continued to love selflessly. Maybe this can be our touchstone – do we speak with love or not? Do we care about the views and needs of others or simply about ourselves? Do we have our own narrow-minded agenda or are we trying our best to live with the agenda of the Gospel, the agenda of Jesus Christ? Let us speak with love, let us try always to take the best and most positive view of what other people say.
‘The world calls for, and expects from us, simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility, detachment, and self-sacrifice. Without this mark of holiness, our word will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man.’ (Pope Paul VI)
A Thought on the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple or Candlemas
The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is unusual in having four traditional titles. Each title emphasises something different:
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple
Jesus is presented by his earthly parents at the Temple in Jerusalem, 40 days after his birth. (Luke 2 vs: 21-40.)This was a requirement ‘according to the law of Moses’. Mary and Joseph’s fulfilment of this can remind us that doing our duty and being faithful to what tradition requires of us is an important aspect of Christian faith and life. Such a sense of obligation is captured well in Common Worship, which says, “It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy, at all times and in all places …’.
Christianity is not simply a matter of choosing what we like, or what suits us. There are essential requirements for us to fulfil towards God.
The Meeting of the Lord
This traditional title refers to the encounter of Simeon and Anna with the infant Christ child. Their story reminds us of the importance of faithfulness and of being prepared to wait patiently. We live in an age in which it seems we can have everything we want, almost immediately. Being prepared to wait is seen as an irritating hindrance. Anna and Simeon’s demeanour can serve as a useful corrective to our habit, as individuals, of focusing on our own immediate wants.
How wisely did the priest and poet R. S. Thomas conclude his poem Kneeling with the words, “The meaning is in the waiting”. Often it is in times of waiting that we can develop and grow in our appreciation of God, his creation, one another and ourselves.
This title also reminds us that God cannot be ordered to meet us when we think it is convenient. He has, to put it simply, his own sense of timing. He will not be rushed. He is not at our beck and call. We must be like Anna and Simeon and believe that he will come to us. We need to be open and alert to recognise him and his work in our world and in our lives, which can so often be through encountering other people, including those of other faiths. We are reminded of this in the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Roman Centurion, who asks for his servant to be healed, and when he is challenged by the Canaanite woman, whose daughter is unwell.
Tradition maintains that this title connects the feast with the Roman custom of lighting candles, recalling the lights in the Temple at Jerusalem.
There is provision in Common Worship for a Candlemas Procession, during which people go to the font or to the door of the church. The carrying of lit candles reminds us of John’s gospel, where Jesus says that he is the Light of the World, that whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. The end of the procession includes a responsorial that reminds us we are to bear Christ’s light – Let us shine with the light of your love.
The Purification of the Virgin
A further title for this feast is The Purification of the Virgin. This had its origin in the Jewish practice of attending the Temple in Jerusalem. The purpose was to thank God, to pray for the health of the child and for the purification of the mother. It was believed that after forty days both would be out of potential harm’s way. This title reminds us of the theme of dependency and of how Jesus was dependent on his mother. Across the gospels, and in the Acts of the Apostles, we see how Mary responded to Jesus in a range of ways. These could be summarised as embodying responsiveness and faithfulness. Like Mary, we must reflect on what it means for us to be faithful to Christ and to respond to him.
Each of the titles for this feast, as well as the reading from Luke and the characters found there, can speak to us of how we might respond to Christ in our own lives.
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it,
the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.
2 For he has founded it upon the seas
and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
3 ‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord
or who can rise up in his holy place?’
4 ‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,
who have not lifted up their soul to an idol,
nor sworn an oath to a lie;
5 ‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
7 Lift up your heads, O gates;
be lifted up, you everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
8 ‘Who is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord who is mighty in battle.’
9 Lift up your heads, O gates;
be lifted up, you everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
10 ‘Who is this King of glory?’
‘The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory.’