Here you can find a link to our October 2023 magazine. Paper copies are available from both of our churches this weekend.
In this edition you can find a tribute to our good friend Rev Canon Ralph Mallinson plus news and updates from our churches and from the wider community of which we’re part. There’s also information about our Scarecrow Festival, Quiz Night, Harvest, Coffee Morning & Book Fair, Guiding Celebration, Mothers’ Union, Open group…
And there’s this letter from David Robinson…
Dear friends, I expect by the time you have begun to read this letter, that you will have already seen the first evidence of the secular world looking towards Christmas, with cards available and supermarket shelves now cleared of garden merchandise ready to be replaced by chocolate selection boxes. We will probably all have had our share of this well before the event itself, but I will not wish your time away any more!
Let us remember that the month of October has some very important events for us, the conclusion of the Creation Season, the traditional Harvest festivals, and the marking of Bible Sunday at the end of the month, which is an opportunity for us to give thanks for all holy scriptures, written for us to hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest, as the words of the Collect for that day remind us.
Along with these, this month sees the end of this period of Ordinary Time in the Church calendar, when we see altars and clergy adorned in green. I wondered though just how ordinary this time has been for our Churches? I have previously heard of this being the time of year when we are ‘quietly growing’ and this has led me to think just how much we have been quietly growing over recent months.
For those with long standing affiliations to our Churches, you may recall that in previous years the month of October could regularly include a Stewardship campaign, which asked us to consider our own gifts and talents and whether we could use those gifts to greater advantage in our Church life. Although these initiatives have been useful, I strongly believe that our gifts and talents can be identified any time of the year, sometimes unintentionally and when we do not expect it. To quote 1 Peter 4:10 ‘Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God’.
This period of Ordinary Time began back at the beginning of June and I have been considering some of the ways in which we have quietly grown in offering our time and gifts to God. One example of this is the number of volunteers who have recently come forward to join our reading, intercession and lay assistant’s rota on Sunday mornings at St. John with St. Mark. It has been very inspiring to hear new voices and see greater lay involvement in our worship. There have been other examples and I know that across the Benefice, especially during this Interregnum, there will be some little role which has been filled by someone which has allowed our Churches to quietly grow.
As we celebrate our Harvest festivals this month, let us also consider the words of John 15, ‘The Vine and the Branches’. In this passage we are reminded of the fruit-bearing branches. These branches represent us; we are the fruit which continues to be pruned and the more we are pruned the more fruit we continue to bear.
As we move out of this period of Ordinary Time, I am sure this will not stop us continuing to quietly grow and we will remain fruitful despite whatever challenges lie ahead for us. What have you done to ‘quietly grow’ over the last few months? Maybe you don’t realise you have done something, but others may have. What could you also do to keep the work of God fruitful in these places in the future? Again, you may find this happens when you least expect it to.
Enjoy the rest of this period of ‘Ordinary Time’. Or should that be ‘Extraordinary Time’.
Yours in Christ, David Robinson