Hello my friends,
Last week saw the end of an era, our long-time church administrator, Dianne, has 'retired', although I am not sure that is the right term as she is still working hard on other projects. Dianne has been working behind the scenes in our Mission Community since before Chris (our former Rector), first arrived and has made a massive contribution to the ministry and mission of our parishes in the increasingly complex world of rules, regulations and legal requirements that underpin much of what we do. We wish you all the best for the future Dianne. Working alongside Dianne for a while now has been Elaine, our new Mission Community administrator. Look forward to hearing from her over the coming months as we begin to consider our exciting new season of growth and challenge.
This week I have been giving some thought to the account of The Widow's Mite, a classic story from the gospels of Mark and Luke, and considering: how much should we give? The answer might surprise you:
I would also like to clarify something I mentioned in last week's email regarding face masks in church. I was very grateful to an individual who brought to my attention that some folks felt the email carried an implication that not wearing a mask was failing to 'love ones neighbour' and, in retrospect, I can see how it might have read like that. I am truly sorry if anyone felt upset by this and it was not my intention. The leadership team is attempting to provide guidance in a changing situation, to make meeting as practical, enjoyable and safe as we can by distilling the advice and guidance we receive. The diocese strongly recommends face masks are worn in church and whenever possible we would like to echo that. The evidence is clear that masks provide an added degree of protection; plus, in our churches we are working to the 2-metre social distancing rule to also keep everyone safe. So, we would strongly encourage folks to wear a mask on entry and exit and when in church if possible, but this is not practical for everyone for a whole range of reasons. So, if as an individual you feel you cannot, you should not feel guilty or embarrassed in removing it during the service, before putting it back on as you leave. The diocese also advises whoever is leading wears a mask when possible. I am also conscious that if I wear a mask it could, on occasions, make it difficult for me to communicate with the congregation, so I will be trying to figure out when to wear one and when I cannot but at all times I will continue to endeavour to stay well away from you all, starting and ending the services at the front of the church for example, not because I don't want to chat and shake hands but because I don't want to put you at risk. Thank you for your feedback on this, I apologise for any confusion. When we first entered lockdown I asked for your patience and explained I would get things wrong as we tried to adjust to the 'new normal' and this is one of those cases.
Another of the things I am very grateful for is the team of people who I work with who make church happen. There is a group of people who regularly work to keep our lovely buildings open, to raise funds and to run services and, of course, we are always looking for folks to pitch in and help. This Tuesday would usually be our monthly Mission Community Prayer Meeting, which runs on the first Tuesday of every month. In normal months it moves around the churches and a small group of us pray for the world, our country, our parishes and many other things. Over recent years the numbers supporting this have dwindled and are often less than five. In lockdown Ian Spicer took on running an interactive telephone version of the monthly prayer meeting, which has drawn the same sort of numbers, as well as the weekly Thursday telephone Morning Prayer service, which attracts a larger following, on top of his wardens duties. However, this month Ian is not available to run the Mission Community Prayer Meeting and we need a volunteer to step in to help out; ideally this might be someone who could also sometimes take a turn running the Thursday service now and then as well. Ian is willing to offer a short tutorial on the way it works and it is not difficult to learn, plus there is material available to make the weekly service very straightforward to run. Likewise, the monthly meeting can take almost any form the person running it fancies: in fact we welcome new ideas and formats.
There is no Wondering Wednesday this week as I am away on holiday (this email and the service was pre-recorded) but on my return we intend to look at 'Great reasons to believe God exists!'.
**************** BIG NEWS*****************************************
I announced last Sunday at Talaton that there are big things afoot in our Mission Community and that we are currently informally consulting on an expansion; the new year could see us growing from 4 parishes to 8 as we join with Rockbeare, Broadclyst, Clyst Honiton and Sowton, members of the current Clyst Mission Community; as such, we have much to consider and much to pray about.
So, we have BIG plans for the end of the month and September: on Sunday 30th August it will be our first 5th Sunday Social. The idea being on any fifth Sunday, instead of a Mission Community service, alternating parishes run a low key social event that absolutely anyone can come to, bring your friends or work colleagues, any age, any faith or none. The first will be: ‘A pasty and a prayer’ hosted by St Mary's, Whimple. We will gather for a pasty and a picnic on the Parish Field at 11.00am. We will supply the pasties and you bring a flask of tea and some cake for your group only. Donations would be appreciated on the day. YOU WILL NEED TO BOOK IN ADVANCE! (so we can judge numbers plus pasty requirements).
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this email.
This will be an opportunity to talk about the future and the possibility of a bigger Mission Community and it will be the intro to our next big new event.
The Big 24/7 Prayer Event from Sunday 30th August to Sunday 5th September; this is a big and bold thing to plan and we need to fill a lot of hours of prayer. We would love as many folks as possible to sign up to this, either to visit the church or pray from home. Contact our 24/7 Prayer Co-ordinator Jude Carter for details. email@example.com
As part of this Maggie Spicer is also organising a sponsored cycle ride in aid of Devon Historic Churches Trust (a brilliant organisation), to circle our parishes with prayer and visit each church, please contact her for details: firstname.lastname@example.org
We may still be in a strange season and please watch for any last-minute changes as we cannot guarantee they may not happen, but there is so much to look forward to.
I am currently on holiday and will not be back at my desk until Sunday 16th August but, in the meantime, sign up for pasties in the field and to pray and bike as we seek the next stage of our journey together.
Rev Marc Kerslake
Churches4All Mission Community.
Whimple, Talaton, Clyst Hydon, Clyst St Lawrence.
I aim to respond to emails as promptly as possible, but be aware I do not check them on a Friday after 5pm or on a Saturday as it is my day off.