April/ May Magazine

PASTON ALL SAINTS CHURCH PARISH MAGAZINE                   APRIL/MAY 2021 

“Sharing the fun, friendship and peace of knowing God’s love with everyone.”

 

The novel “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens begins with these words :-

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

I think these words could well be describing the situation in which we find ourselves today. Let us start with “the worst of times”. Certainly, many of us in this country, especially those born after the end of the second world war, have not experienced before anything like this past 15 months. Some people are living in fear, some are feeling lonely, some are sad, and many are grieving the loss of loved ones. Human beings are social creatures. We like to meet with other people, we like to celebrate together, we like to throw our arms around friends, we long for human contact. Sadly, because we need to keep our distance, many of these social situations are currently missing from our lives.

We also see the “age of foolishness” – for example when we see crowds of people gathered in one place despite all government and scientific advice that we should keep a safe distance. The foolishness of people who refuse to wear masks, who break the simple rules of when and how we should meet or selfishly carry on with a “normal” life regardless of consequence. 

The “epoch of incredulity” is also with us when we think of the vast numbers of people who have needed hospital treatment, the rapid rate at which the epidemic spread right across the World and, sadly, the number of deaths over the past twelve months. I don’t think anyone would have believed that we could still be keeping distance and limiting the number of people in our places of worship for a second Easter Festival. 

EASTER …that is the key word. It is at Easter that the whole world is turned upside down. Out of despair, suffering and death we see New Life and hope…. Our Risen Lord… The Saviour of the World! 

Out of darkness comes light. Out of ignorance comes understanding. So let us put our trust in God, follow safely in his footsteps and walk in his light. In Him we will find our comfort, our strength and our hope. Rejoice this Eastertide. Look for all the positives in our life and give thanks to the risen Lord because HE Is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Through Him alone can we truly enjoy the “best of times”.

 

OUR NEW RECTOR

Our new Rector, Rev Paul Whitely will be with us soon. Work in the rectory is now almost complete and Paul, with his wife Joanne, will be moving from Spalding to join us here at All Saints. It is an exciting time – a new beginning and a fresh chapter in the long history of our beautiful church. 

Paul will officially start his ministry here in Paston following his collation, which will take place via Zoom on Sunday the 30th May.  More details of this will be issued later. 

 

 

Looking Backwards and Forwards

 

Earlier this year we celebrated the 11th anniversary of Bishop Donald’s arrival as our bishop. It was good to give thanks for his inspiring and visionary leadership and especially his commitment to the growth of every Church.    

  

Ascension Day this month will be the 10th anniversary of my own consecration as one of your bishops in Westminster Abbey and St Peter’s Day next month will mark 35 years since my ordination in Southwark Cathedral. Again, it has been good to look back over the countless ways in which I have been enriched by the family of God’s people in Peterborough diocese. For example, the folk from Corby and Rushden who helped bring my faith alive as a teenager, wonderful mission training in Northampton as a curate, refreshing retreats at Ecton House and Launde Abbey, a faithful colleague whose father had been Vicar of Oakham and a memorable residential workshop at the Cathedral led by Canon (now Archbishop of York) Stephen Cottrell.     

  

It’s good to look back and celebrate. During lockdown I have learnt to value a way of praying in which each evening I review the day by asking the question; “Where has God been in my life today?” it’s a great question, sometimes challenging, sometimes encouraging, often surprising. It has really helped me in daily seeking to walk with Jesus.

  

Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary General of the United Nations, famously once said: For all that has been, Thank You. For all that is to come, Yes!”

  

Looking forward to a post-lockdown world and church where it’s too early to say how much will have changed and how much will remain the same, I have been looking back to a book which inspired me 35 years ago. “I heard the Owl call my name” by Margaret Craven tells the story of a terminally ill young priest Mark Brian, with less than 3 years to live, who is sent to serve the remote Tsawataineuk village of Kingcome in the wilds of British Columbia, Canada, because it is where his bishop would have wished to go if he were young again in similar circumstances.

  

At first Mark fails to understand and makes little connection with the community, but gradually he learns to listen, to walk alongside and share people’s lives, serving them in a Christ-like way, remembering that Jesus came and walked alongside all of us. The young priest and the village are both transformed. It’s a beautiful description of the kind of “humbler, simpler, bolder Church” of which Archbishop Stephen has recently spoken.

  

May God bless and guide us as we seek to listen to our communities, walk alongside them and renew the lives of our Churches in the coming months.

  

With my thanks, prayers and best wishes, 

+John

Bishop of Brixworth 

 

 

 

Christ is Risen – Are We?

S

o we enter our second Easter under covid restrictions. Some of our churches will be open for worship, and others won’t. That is a tricky balancing act, and the decision has to be made by each Parochial Church Council, bearing in mind a number of factors. 

If your church isn’t open, please don’t blame the vicar or PCC: they are doing their best in a very difficult situation. If it is open, but you don’t feel safe going, find a way to join in corporate Easter worship from your home. If it is open, but with no congregational singing, no kiss or hug or handshake of peace, no communion wine, no coffee afterwards: be grateful that you can be together.

Whether your church building is open or closed at Easter, Jesus is alive, his people the church are alive, and our resurrection hope remains sure and certain.

Over the coming months, as lockdown is released (possibly in fits and starts, very gradually, frustratingly slowly), let’s all resolve to know and experience and live out the new life which Jesus brings. How can you and your church be newly alive for your neighbours and your community? What new things should your local church be doing, and how can you contribute to those? 

Many of our churches have been a huge blessing to their local communities during the dark days of covid. How can they change gear and bring blessing as we come out of the restrictions? Start discussing that in your church and with your friends!

Many of our clergy and church workers have been working incredibly hard without a proper break. Will your church make sure that the vicar, and others who have given so much, get a really good break this summer or autumn? Why not use online resources for worship to give the vicar a full uninterrupted month off this summer?  

Let’s really show that we love each other, and our communities, and our spiritual leaders. That could be a sign of the risen life of Jesus among us.

With best wishes  +Donald (Bishop)

 

CHILDREN’S CHARITY BOXES

Please note a special reminder from our Mothers’ Union leader, Mrs Jennie Wise…..  

Please would all members and friends who are the holders of Children’s Society Collection Boxes hand them in for counting as soon as possible. You may bring them into the church when you come to a service, hand them to Jennie or send them via the church wardens. Many thanks for your support.

 

THANKS

A big thankyou to Christine who once again provided wonderful flower arrangements for our Easter services. From the draped cross during Holy Week to the wonderful displays around the pulpit, the cross, the porch and the whole church on Easter Sunday – it was beautiful. Thankyou. You did us proud!

CHURCH CLEANERS

Our church cleaning team is also doing a grand, and essential, job! 

Because of the government’s guidelines during these strange times, the cleanliness of the church is even more important. Sadly, some people have had to drop off the rota as they have now returned to work. Therefore, more helpers are desperately needed. If you feel that you could help, please let me know, so that I may pass your name on to Fiona. Many hands make lighter work.                                   

 

CONFIRMATION   

The Bishop is currently seeking candidates who would like to be considered for confirmation later this year.

 

From mid-October he wants to concentrate on catching up with confirmations. By then it will be 18 months since the last confirmation, and the diocese very much wants to rectify that. The Rural Dean plans to organise one or more Sunday afternoon deanery confirmations between mid-October and mid-December. The Bishops will be working together on this.

 

If you, or anyone you know, would like to consider confirmation this year, please speak to Peter, Steve, or Yvonne in the next couple of weeks.

FOOD BANK COLLECTION   (advance notice)

Peter will be in the porch again on Saturday 24th April collecting for Peterborough Food Bank from 9.00am to 10.30am. The Food Bank is particularly asking this month for long-life fruit juice, UHT milk, tinned fruit , toilet rolls  and tinned vegetables – but all contributions gratefully received. 

 

,,,, and this month’s quiz.

These anagrams lead you to towns and cities mentioned in the Bible.

Can you solve them all?  (Your answers will be in alphabetical order)

1. LBBAYON    2. YEHBTAN    3. AAANCN     4.AERCNPAUM   5. UCADMSAS

6.   EIRHOJC     7. TARNAZEH   8. MEOR    9. RU   10. RYTE

 


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