This week’s Worship

Sunday 2nd May 2021 5th Sunday of Easter (1st Sunday)
            8:00 am      BCP Holy Communion, Mawdesley
9:00 am      Family Worship, Bretherton
9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

11:00 am      Holy Communion, Mawdesley

Wednesday   10am Holy Communion, Croston

** Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley **
** cancelled until further notice **

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Jesus says “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.”  With these words he reminds us all that the Christian faith is about community, not just about the individual.  The image of the vine reminds us all that we are joined to one another and to Christ and that our faith is about community.  But that doesn’t mean we all have to live together, but rather that we live out our lives by our Christian values.  We are joined to Christ and to one another, not by simply attending church every week, but by our relationship with Jesus and through Jesus with one another.
Hopefully being part of a worshiping community and sharing in the sacraments and fellowship we enjoy together will sustain, strengthen and nourish us for the challenges we face.  We live in an age where the Internet and technology provides us all with great opportunities to be connected with others, which has been such a blessing during this pandemic.   Being able to be together through this technology allows us all to support one another and maintain a real sense of hope in the midst of despair.  Likewise we are not alone, through our baptism we are linked to the ultimate power in the universe, God.   We are also linked to all our brothers and sisters in and through our relationship with Christ.  Most of these we will never know, some of them we may not like, but by being grafted into the vine of Christ we will find support for our faith as we realise we do not have to do it all alone. The daily challenge for us all is to play our part in proclaiming the Gospel wherever we find ourselves in our own time and our own place.  In and through our faith we will discover hope that this world and our little life in it is not all that there is.  If we can take our strength from the root of the vine, we will discover that we are actually capable of producing real fruit that will last.  Remember always, especially in challenging times, that the metaphor of the vine reminds us that we are connected to Christ and to all our Christian brothers and sisters.  Through that relationship with Christ and with one another we find comfort, challenge, support and hope.

With love & prayers.  Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile:07960309005, email: revmwoods@gmail.com

Resources – 5th Sunday of Easter
1)       The 3 bible readings set for this week.
2)       Prayer and worship at home for 5th Sunday of Easter
3)       Young Church Mag activity and colouring sheets

Sunday 9th May 2021 6th Sunday of Easter (2nd Sunday)
            9:15 am      Family Worship, Croston

11:00 am      Holy Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am      Communion by extension, Mawdesley

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Please pray for the family and friends of the recently departed:

Chris Lyons

Rest eternal grant unto him O Lord may light perpetual shine upon him, may he rest in peace and rise in glory.

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Facebook & YouTube Online Worship
This week’s Diocesan worship is led by Revd Sarah Gill and Bishop Philip will preach on the theme ‘Jesus the True Vine.’ You can watch the service on the Diocesan YouTube channel on Sunday morning.
https://www.youtube.com/user/blackburndiocese

This weeks Church of England worship will Led by Rev Sarah Schofield from the University of Wolverhampton.  You can get the order of service at cofe.io/WolvUniService.

https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland

Baptisms to Recommence
We are now restarting baptisms in our 3 churches and we will be complying with Covid-19 restrictions and numbers will be limited, following the governments roadmap.
We will mirror the restrictions placed on Weddings which are:
Currently: limit 15 people excluding workers
No earlier than 17th May: limit 30 people excluding workers
No earlier than 21st June: hopefully all restrictions lifted

Note: dependent upon the government guidelines being confirmed
Please email: revmwoods@gmail.com for further details.

Confirmations 2021
We are planning for a confirmation service in July this year so if anyone young or older is considering confirmation or would just like to find out more please contact the Rector.

Faith reference cards for school applications
Whilst Covid 19 restrictions remain in place across our churches, as they have done since the start of this pandemic we will treat all requests for a faith reference as full attendance.  The Government Roadmap indicates that the earliest that all restrictions will be lifted is 21st June, if this is the case the period from that date through to the end of August will need to be monitored.  Therefore we are not yet issuing replacement attendance records.


The Collect
Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father.                           Amen

First Reading
Philip demonstrates his obedience and trust in God, reaching out to the Ethiopian man and spreading God’s love.
Acts 8.26-40
An angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.)   So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’   So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’   He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.   Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth.  In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation?  For his life is taken away from the earth.’  The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’  Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.  As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’  He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Second Reading
God is love. If we love one another, God lives in us. By loving each other we show our love for God and share the good news.
1 John 4.7-21
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world.  God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.  So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  We love because he first loved us.  Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.  The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

The Gospel
We are nurtured and cared for by the Father, and show our love for God by following the teaching of Jesus, the true vine.
John 15.1-8
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.
He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.  You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.  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.  Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.’

Prayer after Communion
Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: grant us to walk in his way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.         Amen.

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