Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February news from the Church of England

Keeping you in touch with Renewal & Reform, the Archbishops' Council, Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and other bodies who serve the Church at national level.
Read the February edition of InReview (A3 design), including £9million for new projects, National Education Conference and more.
Read the February edition of InFocus (A5 insert), including the Archbishop of Canterbury's reflections on Auschwitz and more.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

A thank you for the Friday Group!

 The Friday group knitted an great pile of hats and scarves for the Mission to Seafarers. https://www.missiontoseafarers.org/ . They work with seafarers in ports around the UK and the world, providing practical and emotional support to whoever needs it. Seafarers may have boarded the merchant ships they are serving on with just the clothes they stood up in, in warm climates. Finding yourself in Felixstowe, say, in a freezing January can be a huge challenge. Our hats and scarves will, we hope, not only keep seafarers warm, but also remind them that, though they are far from home, people are thinking of them. Below is the letter of thanks I received today. Thank you to everyone who knitted!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Messy Church: About us

 We had a great Messy Church this afternoon. Our theme was ourselves! We did lots of activities to explore who we were and what we were called, and thought about God who loves us just as we are.

A name game, and some bracelets with our names on. Rosemary had brought along a book of baby names, so we could find out what our names meant/

A "think about" box with questions in it to get us talking with our families.

We put our hands in the hands of Jesus.

We made some lego creations that said something about who we are and what we like. 

We just rejoiced in each other!

We wrote some secret messages that you could only see with a UV light. God knows us through and through - even the things about ourselves that we don't know!

We talked about the things we'd made and sang some songs together in our worship. Thanks to Maggie for the photo.

Congratulations to Debbie

Congratulations to Debbie Bull, baptised this afternoon at Seal Church. 

Sermons from St Peter & St Paul, Seal, Kent: Epiphany 3: Confronting the powers

Sermons from St Peter & St Paul, Seal, Kent: Epiphany 3: Confronting the powers: Audio version here Isaiah 9.1-4, Matthew 4.12-23 About a hundred years before Jesus was born a great victory was won by a man you...

Monday, January 09, 2017

Happy Plough Monday

Today is Plough Monday, the first Monday after the feast of the Epiphany, when traditionally work started again after the twelve days of the Christmas feast. It was the start of the agricultural year, and people would follow a plough around their area looking for work, or asking for money if there was none. king for money if there was no work, sometimes dragging a plough with them. They might sing, dance or act out mummers plays hoping to gather enough contributions to take them through the hard times when the ground was frozen or too wet to work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plough_Monday

For many of us work is getting back into full swing at this point too. Life is returning to "normal", whatever that is!

For me that means tackling the annual returns to the  C of E of attendances, baptisms, weddings and funerals etc. which is always more complicated than it seems, and tedious beyond belief. There's a pile of paperwork to sort through, and I really need to get down to writing the Lent course we're going to do in more detail...(Sing to the Lord - something based around hymns - watch this space!) ...

What does your Plough Monday hold? Whatever it is, let's look for God in it! He's there in the boring things as well as the candlelight and glitter of Christmas (in fact that's really the point of Christmas - the Word becomes Flesh in the everyday things of life).

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman (Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.)

And here's a song (two actually), from Magpie Lane to speed your "ploughing" along whatever it consists of... (It's an ancient and rather dark video, but the music is good!)

And here's a film about the Plough Monday celebrations in Maldon, which include the plough blessing in church and the procession with Molly Dancers. The cross-dressing and blacking up of faces was an ancient way of disguising your identity - you might not want your employers to know you were looking for "moonlighting" work. It's not related to the later "black-face minstrel" tradition in which white people imitates (and often mocked) people of colour, but a much older form of camouflage!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Thursday, January 05, 2017

The bad news and the good news...

Happy New Year to you.
My year didn't start brilliantly, when I went into the church hall on Wednesday Jan 4 to find this...
Vandals had broken into the hall, probably on the afternoon of Jan 2, and made quite a mess. A lot of crockery had been broken - we were storing it on the stage while the kitchen was being refurbished. The police found some fingerprints which might identify the culprits of the damage if they are already on their radar, which they might well be. If you saw or heard anything on Monday afternoon, though, please let me know so I can pass on the information to the police. 

Yes, that is the remains of the tea urn on the floor - not much of it left. The wine bottle was empty (unsurprisingly)  as was another which had been broken - there was glass everywhere. 

They had broken in through the back room window.

They had had less success trying to break the toughened glass in the inner doors, but they were extensively cracked. 

Mercifully the new kitchen was undamaged, except for the plate of spaghetti hoops which they had thrown at the wall...

So what is the good news...? It is these folk, who came in on Thursday  morning  and laboured long and hard to clear up.  Many thanks to Marion, Jill, Nicky, Sally and Rosemary (not in this photo), to Jenny, who came along with fortifying home baked cookies, and to Martin Clews who liaised with the insurance company and the glaziers very promptly and efficiently with the result that...

The hall is now back in good order. We have swept and hoovered and sorted, and the glaziers came very promptly to replace the glass. 

We even discovered that spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce CAN be washed off walls without leaving a stain - I really thought we'd have to repaint the wall, but Marion applied detergent and elbow grease and all is now well.

And here's a sneak peek at the refurbished kitchen, which we are going to officially declare open tomorrow at 12 noon , at the end of the Friday Group. Come along if you'd like to have a look for yourself.