Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This weekend sees the most significant lifting of restrictions since lockdown began way back at the end on march more than 100 days ago, and not surprisingly there is a lot of excitement but there is also a lot of anxiety. You may be looking forward to a good haircut, a meal out, a drink down at the pub or planning a trip away on a holiday. On the other hand you may be concerned that we are lifting restrictions too quickly, especially in light of what has happened in Leicester over this last week. We have also felt that tension between excitement and anxiety as we have been considering whether to open up our churches for Public worship. We have consulted a number of individuals, looked at what other churches are doing and we have heard a range of responses. We have decided not to open for public worship for the next 2 Sundays at least and to use this time to observe the effects of lifting restrictions and also it gives us more time to prepare ourselves for restarting public worship. I know this won’t please everyone but our overriding concern is for the health and safety of our congregations, but this quite a heavy burden that we carry in trying to make the best decision for all concerned.
This burden is something that ‘we’ all carry in our life as Christian communities in these three villages because we have teams of people who are involved in the life of our churches, ministry team, churchwardens, Treasurers, secretaries, PCC members, organists, readers, prayers, cleaners, people who cut the grass ……… We all have a part to play in the jigsaw of modern church life, and many hands make light work.
Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all you that you are weary and are carrying heave burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me: for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
Jesus’ listeners would be familiar with the image of the yoke as a wooden frame that links two oxen together, so Jesus invites those who are weary and burdened by the demands that are put on them – to come to him. The way into God’s kingdom is not as a self-sufficient expert, but as one willing to surrender self-rule by being joined to Jesus.
But if we are joined to Jesus he will guide us along the right track and we will be in sync with him as he there alongside us, leading us gently but firmly in ways that we may not have travelled on our own.
If we have been part of our Christian community for some time, it is all too easy to become settled in our ways, and there is much to value in long-serving stability. But our lives have been turned upside down over the last 3 months – including our life at church and we won’t be able to go back to things just as they were. Our Gospel reminds us that, although God is unchanging, God can and does do new things down throughout the generations. Jesus may come afresh to us, perhaps through different people, unexpected changes, unfamiliar approaches to worship, or a call to serve in a new way.
We are all called to be discerning, neither to take on change for the sake of novelty, nor to resist it for the sake of our own comfort. But how can we tell the difference? We can do so by being willing to learn, by being prayerfully open to keeping in touch with Jesus himself through prayer. Finally, we need to be honest with ourselves, willing to admit if the reason we are pushing something away is merely out of an unwillingness to face change.
During this pandemic we have relearnt how interdependent we are on one another within our communities, our nations and across the world. So may we not forget that we are not carrying the burden of the world all by ourselves, although it maybe sometimes feel like it – but that we share the burdens of one another and Christ himself has also offered to share our burdens. We can throw everything that worries and hurts and burdens us onto Christ and Christ will give us rest.
So please pray for us as we seek to determine when and how we will return to our beloved buildings, that we will make the right decision.
Please also remember in your prayers the recently departed soul of:
Rest eternal grant unto her O Lord may she rest in the peace of Christ and rise in his glory.
With love & prayers. Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile: 07960309005, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Church opening times on Wednesdays & Sundays
Bretherton 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Croston 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Mawdesley w Bispham 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
Coronavirus Village support groups
Croston COVID-19 Croston Village Support Group
Mawdesley Mawdesley – Coronavirus help each other out.
Bretherton Via Bretherton WI (01772 601495)
This week’s worship video will be available from 10 am on Sunday
The3churches YouTube Channel
We now have a YouTube channel for the3churches.
Access the videos by searching for ‘the3churches youtube’ on your search engine or the3churches directly on YouTube or follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdXC7P9kQ3xEk_kKf5JZE-A
The Church of England posts on Facebook and YouTube a national service of worship every Sunday at 9 am this week’s service will be the first-ever online prison church service broadcast by the Church of England. Led by Rev Helen Dearnley, the service will include contributions from HMPs Stocken, Low Newton and Pentonville.
Bretherton WI Scarecrow Festival closes Sunday 5th July.
Well done everyone who took part – some amazing and very creative scarecrows, if you haven’t seen them last chance tomorrow Sunday 5th
Coffee Day Eccumenical Worship.
Thanks to Revd Sue Genault and her husband Mark for putting together the Coffee day worship video you can view this on our Facebook Page or via the following link https://vimeo.com/434978909
Mawdesley Tea Party Weekend Saturday 11th July
The normal Tea Party day that brings everyone together in a Walk of Witness and Celebration of our Community has been cancelled this year.
So this year let’s celebrate Tea Party in new ways with, picnics in your garden or another favourite place with your family and allowed circle of friends. You could also making your own walk around the village, watch our online worship available on 11th July.
So please dig out ANY old or recent photos of family in the past or present (weddings, baptisms, Waking Days, anything really) and tell us the stories that go with them. Photos should start appearing over this weekend and throughout the next week building up to Tea Party day.
Please check out the Mawdesley facebook pages for more up to date information in the build up to the big day and please do join us to celebrate.
Facebook pages: St-Peters-Mawdesley-w-Bispham, Mawdesley – Help each other out, Mawdesley Memories
Please continue to support the Food Banks
Please to continue to support our foodbanks being as generous as you can be with your donations they are much appreciated by the foodbanks and especially by the growing number of people who depend upon their support.
In Croston Please leave your donations at either 19, Highfield Rd or 32, Westhead Rd. There are regular runs to the Food Bank.
In Bretherton – The box will remain at the gate, 154 South Road.
Thank you to everyone for your support to date!
In Mawdesley – we have been giving donations of money rather than food which gives the foodbank flexibility to buy what they need at specific times. Any donations can be dropped at Robin Hood Cottage, Bluestone Lane, Mawdesley, L40 2RG (opposite Nook Lane), cheques should be made payable to ‘Ormskirk Food Bank’ these will then be delivered to the Food bank on a regular basis. Eggs are also available from Robin Hood Cottage (thanks to Rosemary & the hens of course)
Thank you to everyone who has been supporting our local food banks and all the other good causes at this time.
Could you make a donation to support Church?
All our churches rely upon the generous donations of our parishioners to provide the financial support that both maintain our buildings and provide care and support to all those in the local community. Although some use standing orders or other methods of online giving, many donors use cash, either in the plate or in weekly planned giving envelopes.
As good stewards, although at present we are unable to meet together in our church buildings, but we are still the church and together we share the privilege and responsibility of ensuring that the ministry can go on and we can continue to be a symbol of God’s presence in our local communities.
Even though the doors of our buildings are now open again we cannot yet take collections of money. Donations or regular giving can be made by using ‘Online banking’ facilities, the bank details you will require to do this are given below for each church:
Bretherton – St. John the Baptist
St. Johns Bretherton PCC Account, No: 10031333, Sort code: 16 17 41
Croston – St. Michael & All Angels
St. Michaels PCC Account, No. 11215462, Sort Code 16-17-41
Also if you have no facility to pay electronically, envelopes can be dropped off with our Treasurer Derek Alty, 12 Lostock Road, Croston.
Mawdesley w Bispham St. Peter
Mawdesley PCC Account, No 87032805, Sort code 60 24 02.
If you decide to make a donation electronically you may be given the opportunity to set up a standing order, which will be far easier for us ensuring that we will have a more regular income.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that with you as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Israel’s saviour comes to them, riding on a donkey and bringing peace.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the warhorse from Jerusalem; and the battle-bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Paul describes the internal struggles we all go through when, despite our better selves, we do things we are ashamed of.
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Jesus has come to offer peace, rest, comfort and the presence of God, but people are dissatisfied and do not see.
Matthew 11:16-19. 25-end
At that time Jesus said, ‘To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
Prayer after Communion
Eternal God, comfort of the afflicted and healer of the broken, you have fed us at the table of life and hope: teach us the ways of gentleness and peace, that all the world may acknowledge the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen