FROM YOUR VICAR – Sunday 19th March 2017
- Baptism – today we welcome the family and friends of Neve Herzberg as the little one comes to our church to be baptised.
- Random Acts of Kindness – today we launch our ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ initiative. I will speak about this during today’s service.
- Lent Discussion Group – the third session of the series will be held on Tuesday (March 21) at 7.30pm in the Lady Chapel, when Debbie leads us in a discussion of the events at Gethsemane. Everybody welcome to attend. The fourth and final session will be led by Rob on APRIL 4th at 7.30pm
- Midweek Communion- service at 10am on Wednesday (March 22).
- Celebration Praise for Easter – we’re hoping to have a ‘Celebration Praise for Easter‘ service during Holy Week. Please select your favourite Easter hymns/songs and place their titles in the suggestion box at the back of church. Please make a special effort to come along (precise date yet to be confirmed) and invite a friend, relative or neighbour to come along with you.
- Easter Services – full details of these will appear on a poster and separate leaflets quite soon.
- Can you spare a minute? - today’s reflection (see below) invites us all to explore our ‘connectedness’ to God, and to consider the shape of our Christian service and its nourishing.
- Pye Green Christian Centre – you may already have heard that the PGCC will be taking over the former NHS Clinic in Clarion Way as a new home for the Cannock & District Foodbank. The new base will enable other support services to be provided too. Volunteers are now required to help the venture off the ground, and there are varied opportunities suited to people of all ages and abilities. Can you help in some way? Please ask Tony for further details.
- Devotion and Prayer Group – I’m proposing to begin a weekly (1 hour) devotion and prayer group at the church as soon as possible after Easter. Each week, we will explore a piece of Scripture together and discuss its applicability to our lives today. On occasions, we may discuss contemporary issues from a Christian perspective. It will also be an opportunity for us to pray for ourselves and others in the local community. We will probably meet on a weekday morning (Monday or Tuesday), or early Wednesday evenings … please tell me if you’d be interested in coming along.
- Ladies Fellowship – Debbie and Irene are keen to re-establish the Fellowship Group on Wednesday afternoons (on a fortnightly basis). Please speak to them if you’re interested.
- Hands-at-Work – please continue to support Yvonne (prayerfully, financially, encouragement) as she plans and prepares for her visit to southern Africa in June.
- Changing of the Clocks – please remember that British Summer Time begins next weekend. You should turn your clocks and watches FORWARD by one hour as you go to bed on Saturday evening. This means that we all lose an hour’s sleep, but we can look forward to longer, brighter and warmer days!
- Celebration - this week, we celebrate the birthdays of Emma Hill (March 20), Julie Edge (March 22) and George Green (March 25). Our congratulations and best wishes to them all.
- Simply Worship – March 28th @ 7.30pm. Warm welcome to everybody to this reflective period of worship and fellowship.
- Fashion Show – April 20th in the Church Hall – to raise much needed funds for church. Please ask Gloria for further details.
- School use of Church at Easter - I’m pleased to report that, to date, Gorsemoor and Heath Hayes Academy have confirmed that they will be staging their Easter concerts at the church in early April. I’m still awaiting confirmation from Five Ways school.
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Let us pray this week that God leads us to be generous – with our time (helping those who need a hand), with our care (especially being there for someone when times are hard), with our wealth (thankful that we have so much), with our hope (reassuring those who fear), with our prayer (especially where there’s illness or distress), and with our love (giving without counting the cost). May we all know the true joy that such generosity can bring, both to those who receive and to those who give (John Birch).
From our pastoral shepherding flock, we pray this week for John Hywel-Hopkins, Glenys & Michael Jackson, Mark,Monique & Luke Jowett, and Glenys & Graham Kershaw.
Within our parish, we pray this week for the residents of Brampton Close, Brickworks Road, Bristol Close, Brooklyn Road and Bronte Drive.
SPECIAL PRAYER FOR PEOPLE AND PLACES
For the remainder of this month, we continue to pray for The Philippines (see Pew News of February 26 for details).
CAN YOU SPARE A MINUTE?
‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5)
Jesus invites us to serve as a community of Christians and to exist as shoots of a vine. He wants us to spread like a vine but to accept that, from time to time, the shoots need to be pruned in order to ensure that they don’t spread out in every direction. Importantly, the shoots need to remain connected to a single stem in order to be assured of a dependable source of nourishment.
Fruit is borne when we seek to live the values of the Kingdom of God in those places where we find ourselves from day to day. This is what is meant by the term ‘front-line fruitfulness’. The best way for us to live out those Kingdom values is to remain connected to God through our worship, prayer, fellowship and discipleship. By these means, we may discern what God is calling us to do, as individuals or in teams, in this place at this time. Working in our own strength and to our own agendas, and being overly busy with our finger in too many pies, is like a vine that tries to spread in too many directions at once.
Points to Ponder
- do we all share that sense of being ‘together’, and being nurtured together, as a Christian community? If not, what can we do about it?
- do we feel as close and connected to God as we possibly could be? How might our worship, prayer, fellowship and discipleship need to change? Indeed, is becoming more closely connected to God a priority in our lives at this time?
- do we sometimes feel ourselves to be like a vine that is spreading out in too many directions at once? Do we need to prune some of our activities in order to become more focused and fruitful in God’s service? Or are we finding it hard to let go of things? Might our long-established branches be overshadowing other (perhaps younger and more vulnerable) branches in their attempts to become more fruitful?
- are we willing to grow further as branches of the vine? Are we willing to grow in only self-determined directions, or are we willing to leave our comfort zones and reach out into new and unfamiliar places?