From Fr Anthony
So welcome to Fr Stuart and his family, again! He will have been asking himself, and perhaps we have been asking too, what is he here for? I have certainly asked myself that question all through the years of my ministry.
One answer I have found helpful is to be a pioneer. It is a good biblical word, used by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Chapter 12) when Jesus is called the pioneer of our faith. A long time ago Professor Anthony Hanson produced a book called The Pioneer Ministry which helped set the tone for me.
When I was in the Army there was a Pioneer Corps, whose reputation I have to admit was the lowest of the low. But the work they did was essential. They did all the menial things which were necessary for others to be able do their jobs. They dug, they cleaned, they built, they prepared ahead. The point being that a pioneer goes ahead leading the way. Then, of course, everyone else enjoys the fruits of their labours and takes the credit!
This is what clergy do. They lead the way preparing the ground for the rest of us. In prayer they are at it more than the rest of us. In study they are constantly delving into the mysteries of the faith. They speak more openly about the faith than many of us. In public worship they are there more often and take much more care about it than the rest of us. In pastoral care they are at the forefront. In administration they are forced to the front and set the tone for meetings and helping voices to be heard.
A pioneer enables other people to blossom. Jesus did this by example, teaching and by being his vulnerable self, so enabling us all to enter the loving mystery of God and grow in faith.
Being a pioneer is no easy ride, but it is essential work. Fr Stuart has our support, our prayers, our encouragement as he take up his pioneer work in our church and community. Welcome, indeed!.
Fr Anthony Lathe
Reading: Genesis 50:15-21
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them. This is the word of the Lord.
Gospel Matthew 18:21-35
Peter came and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.
But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’
Intercessions for this week
+ Alan, Bp of St Albans +Justin, Archbishop
Pray for the Anglican Church of South America
The Most Revd Gregory James Venables - Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of South America & Bishop of Argentina
Sick and Bereaved
Long term: Christina Billington, Judith Hill, Len Bennett, Lorna Sargaison, Alex Evans, Julie Painter, Alice Jullien
and immediate: Diane Luckraft, Keith Dawson, John and Philip Jennings, Peter Lindley, Bill Stead, Barbara Goodman, Nigel Halsby, Andy Whiteside
Church opening hours for private prayer in September
The church will be open
Monday 10.30am-11.30am and 1.30pm-2.30pm
Tuesday 10.30am-11.30am and 1.30pm-2.30pm
Wednesday 8.30am Holy Communion
Thursday 10.30am-11.30am and 1.30pm-2.30pm
Friday 10.30am-11.30am and 1.30pm-2.30pm
Booking for Sundays
To book a space for Sundays, please click the links below. Please ensure that you do book in advance as we need to collect the data for NHS Test and Trace requirements. Data will be stored for 21 days. If places are 'sold out' and you do not book in advance you may not be admitted, or may need to wait until 9.30am before being seated.
Sunday 13th September https://forms.gle/txA9d1zKZPwTmh4AA Only a few places remaining! If you haven't booked you may need to wait until we know there are spaces available.
Sunday 20th September https://forms.gle/4Vie4F51eJgJ4w146
Sunday 27th September https://forms.gle/H5diHGWT6KrpdG5y5
Fr Stuart’s licensing service will take place tomorrow, Saturday at 4pm. Unfortunately, due to the COVID restrictions, places are limited and are invitation only. We will be streaming the service on the website and instructions and the order of service will be sent out later today. We will welcome Fr Stuart as a congregation on Sunday 13th.
Laptops Thank you for the generous donation of laptops and tablets to Thomas Coram, these are gratefully received. If you still have a device at home you would like to donate, please get in touch with Olivia.
News from Castle Federation
It's been an exciting first few days at Victoria, with the school full of children again. We've welcomed lots of new children into our Reception and Nursery classes and everyone is getting used to the new routines. It was lovely to be able to take our Year 2 classes to the church on Wednesday morning for our monthly collective worship there. Father Joe talked to the children about the value for this half term - Thankfulness. They thought about all the people we should be thankful to for looking after us since March - the last time we were all together at school.
“Always be thankful.” 1 Thessalonians 5.16
It has been lovely to have all our pupils and staff back in school after such a long break. This week our whole school worships have been led by Mrs Cutler, Father Joe and 6WT. Our value for the next six weeks is Thankfulness. “Count your blessings” is an old saying, but it reminds us to be thankful and not take things for granted. We have been reflecting on how we can express our gratitude and show we are thankful.