This week’s Worship

Sunday 31st January 2021 – The Presentation (5th Sunday)

       9:15 am     Holy Communion – Croston
11 am       Holy Communion – Mawdesley

Wednesday 10:00 am Holy Communion, Croston
1:00 pm Funeral Jimmy Coulton, Bretherton

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

This has been a landmark week as our nation acknowledged that more than 100,000 Covid-19 deaths have occurred since this pandemic began.  We have become the fifth country to reach this milestone after the USA, Brazil, India and Mexico but there will be more to follow. It was a year ago that the first two cases in the UK were confirmed, a student at the University of York, and his mother who was visiting him they were from Hubei province where Wuhan is located.  Behind that figure there are of course countless stories of grief and loss as each person who has died was someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, child, friend.  There is also the very present suffering of those who are critically ill in hospital not to mention the effect all of this has on those who are working in the critical care units of our hospitals.  The Archbishop of Canterbury gave a moving interview on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday about his own experiences of this Pandemic and how his faith has supported him through his own personal challenges.  He talks about his experience as a volunteer Chaplain at St. Thomas’ Hospital, opposite his home at Lambeth Palace. He has been volunteering at the hospital during the pandemic, offering spiritual care and support to patients, staff and visitors, it is well worth watching and can be found at:  https://youtu.be/NRw71xipZms

The signs of hope and light are at last beginning to emerge with the arrival of yet more vaccines, and the effect of the current lockdown restrictions are now being seen in the infection rates and the hospital admission rates and deaths from Covid–19.  Alleluia to that.
But have we reached a real turning point?  We all hope so.

This week we hear how Mary and Joseph present Jesus to the Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth. This was an important ritual in the life of a Jewish family, and the presentation of a child in this way was not an unusual event. But on this occasion it was not so ordinary, they meet Simeon who sees the importance of this seemingly ordinary baby, recognising him as the Christ: “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace…for my eyes have seen your salvation.”  But Simeon also recognises that many challenges would lie ahead for Jesus and his family and his parents were “amazed” at what was being said about him.  Both Simeon and Anna had been patient and waited a long time for God to send the promised Messiah.  But they did not lose hope and kept on faithfully trusting and praying as they waited.  We can all learn from their example to wait patiently whilst this pandemic moves into a different, hopefully much better phase.

So what can we learn about waiting for God to act?  Firstly, we can wait with hope and not fear.  God can be trusted to act at the right time. Anna and Simeon have to wait for God, but the Lord eventually answers their prayers. God does not work to our time frame, but we can trust in God’s love for us and be assured that if God seems slow to respond, there is a good reason why.

Secondly, when God does answer our prayers, it may not always be in ways we expect, but will always be for our best.  Many hoped for a military messiah but were sent a suffering one instead.  Looking back today we can appreciate how important that was, for Christ’s suffering means that he understands our struggles and his death brings us forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

Thirdly, Anna and Simeon stay close to God as they wait, praying and fasting, it can be all too easy to drift away from God and become bitter when the Lord does not seem to be acting.
Prayer can be particularly hard at such times and we can be tempted to give up, but strangely, if we are honest in prayer about our struggles and feelings, such times can bring us closer to God.
We will not always understand God’s ways, but we can receive the strength to keep trusting if we lean on the Lord rather than going it alone.  So with Simeon let us rejoice in God’s salvation for all people, and with Anna let us always praise and worship the Lord as these challenging times continue.

May you all remain a safe and well.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Jimmy Coulton, Richard Lyons

Rest eternal grant unto her O Lord may light perpetual shine upon them, may they rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday 7th February 2021 2nd Sunday before Lent
(1st of the month)
          9:00 am        Family Worship – Bretherton
9:15 am        Holy Communion – Croston

Remember

  • It is not an obligation to attend its ok to worship from home.
  • If you join us for Public worship you must not socialise with people who are not from your household or bubble.
  • People should stay at home as much as possible
  • You cannot meet other people indoors or in your garden, unless you live with them or they are part of your support bubble.
  • You can meet with one person not in your household or support bubble in a public space for exercise.

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This resource may be helpful for those who are unable to return to church services at the moment, or for anyone who is feeling isolated or lonely and who doesn’t have access to the internet.
There are also the daily prayer resources on the Church of England Website where you can download apps at:

If you are isolating at home this resource may be helpful especially if you do not access the services online

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer/subscribe-our-prayer-podcasts

 

 

 

Coronavirus Village support groups
       Croston      COVID-19 Croston Village Support Group
Mawdesley   Mawdesley – Coronavirus help each other out.
Bretherton   Via Bretherton WI (01772 601495)
email bethertoonwi@btinternett.com

Facebook & YouTube Online Worship
This week’s Diocesan worship comes from St Christopher’s Lea and Emmanuel Preston and is led by the Revd Pete Hamborg, it can be accessed from 9 am via:              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzPXFVgf7iM

 

 

This weeks Church of England worship for Candlemas is led by
Rev Tiffer Robinson.  This marks the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, when Jesus was offered to his Father and revealed as the future Saviour of all people.

Watch from 9am on Sunday at cofe.io/Candlemas.

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LAPTOP APPEAL for local schools.

With the current lockdown families are trying to support learning at home and for many families the lack of suitable technology is proving challenging.

Schools have been allocated a limited number of laptops by government but there are still families in need.

Our Local schools would appreciate donations of any second hand laptops/chrome books that can be reconditioned and used by families who are currently not able to access the learning resources adequately.

Please drop off any laptops/chrome books with charging cables
to 97 Station Road or 3 St Michaels Terrace in Croston.

Please do continue to support the Food Banks

The Food Banks all net-work with each other to reach all parts, including small villages and outlying houses.

We now have a small store of supplies in Croston (Contact the COVID-19 Croston Village Support Group if you know of someone in need.)

The ‘main’ Bank has taken supplies to Newbugh, Rufford & Burscough in recent weeks… There is no ‘rivalry’, just pride in being able to help anyone, anywhere.  At the moment the main warehouse is very short of the following items.

Food: Long life milk, Long life juice, tinned meat, Sugar (especially the small bags), Coffee (small jars), Tinned veg., Instant mash, Teabags, Tinned fruit

Personal & domestic cleaning: W – up liquid, detergent pods, Kitchen/bathroom spray, Loo Rolls, Toothbrushes & paste, Shampoo, Shaving foam, Razors, deodorant (M & F), Soap, Nappies.

Please continue to bring items to any of our churches (all are open on Sundays & Wednesdays) or:

In Croston – You can leave donations in St. Michael’s Parish Church on Wednesdays & Sundays from 10 to 4pm or bring them to 32, Westhead Road or to 19, Highfield Road.
In Bretherton – You can leave donations in St. John the Baptist Church on Wednesdays & Sundays from 9:30 to 3:30 pm or in the box at the gate at 154 South Road.
In Mawdesley – You can leave donations in St. Peters Church on Wednesdays & Sundays from 10:30 to 4:30 pm or monetary gifts in sealed envelopes please to Robin Hood Cottage, Blue Stone Lane (Opposite Nook Lane).

Please donate if you can.

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting the food banks


The Collect
Lord Jesus Christ, light of the nations and glory of Israel: make your home among us, and present us pure and holy to your heavenly Father, your God, and our God.            Amen

First Reading
The prophet Malachi declares a message of judgement and purification upon Israel.
Malachi 3.1-5
Thus says the Lord God: See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.  The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.  But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness.  Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.  Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

Second Reading
The letter to the Hebrews describes Jesus as the true and ultimate High Priest of God.
Hebrews 2.14-18
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.  For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

The Gospel
The Holy Family come to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ritual purification of Mary after the birth of her child. In the Temple Simeon and Anna attest the unique nature of the baby Jesus.
Luke 2.22-40
When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons”.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”  There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.  When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Prayer after Communion
Lord, you fulfilled the hope of Simeon and Anna,
who lived to welcome the Messiah: may we, who have received these gifts beyond words, prepare to meet Christ Jesus when he comes to bring us to eternal life; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.             Amen

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