VE Day – 75th Anniversary of the end of the war in Europe

Sadly our churches cannot gather this day to remember VE Day.

It is a poignant reminder of a country – indeed a whole continent and world – that was weary and exhausted from a time of prolonged disruption and fear.

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Christian Aid Week 2020

10-16th May 2020

No doubt we are all very aware that we will not be collecting this year in Christian Aid Week and that this will mean a huge drop in income.  I think you will know that Christian Aid’s income has already substantially dropped and big savings have had to be made, including laying off many staff in this country.  I’m sure we are keen to try and prevent Christian Aid having to cut back too much on their overseas work. So I hope you will feel it’s worth drawing the attention of members of our various churches to Christian Aid Week despite our usual activities not taking place. Your church may have a website you may be allowed to put material on or perhaps you have a notice sheet which is still being distributed.

The focus of the week is a project to build earth dams in Eastern Kenya where 3 million people are facing starvation because of drought. Here is a link to a 3 minute video vividly illustrating the difference a dam can make to the lives of village women, like Florence, currently walking many miles daily to collect water.

We also want to mention Christian Aid’s work during the Covid emergency to help Rohingha refugees in camps in Bangladesh stay safe and to support the huge numbers of displaced people in Nigeria who are at risk.

On the Resources site there are prayers and a suggested order of service worship leaders might like to use.

Revd Trevor Maines
Chairman of the Newbury Fund Raising Group

A Newbury teenage Christian Aid supporter has prepared and put online a musical presentation. This is now available at the beginning of Christian Aid Week. It will be free to view, but viewers are invited to make a donation to Christian Aid through the Just Giving Link below.

Hope you enjoy the video and if you are able to make a donation to Christian Aid, thank you.

Lost and Found

There are some familiar stories that Jesus told about losing something and then finding them. There is the shepherd with a hundred sheep who leaves the ninety nine to go and find the one that is lost, or the widow with ten coins who diligently sweeps the room to find the one that is lost. The parable of the prodigal son is also about a son who lost his way in life and left his family behind. Realising his need of family and what he had lost he returned home. His father tells us that his son was lost, but now he has been found and it was a time to celebrate. In these stories there is much rejoicing in finding that which is lost. I am sure we have all felt the same at some time, maybe even saying, “rejoice with me for that which was lost has been found”.

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Musings for May

Written On the 1st of May

“So here hath been dawning another blue day, think wilt thou let it slip useless away”

These two lines, which form the beginning of a hymn that was a favourite of my primary school head teacher, have been going round in my head for several days and like any annoying ear-worm might be best resolved by finding the rest of the words, so here they are, “Today” a poem written by the eminent and fascinating Victorian,  Thomas Carlyle:

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Forty years, Not Forty Days

Posted recently on this website is a piece entitled, What Sort of 40 Days? written by Rev. Rita Ball.

Rita begins by talking about the number 40 and how she was told as a child it might not be accurate but that it just means a long time. This made me think about another 40, not days but years.

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What Sort of 40 Days?

Many years ago I was told by a well-meaning Sunday school teacher that “forty days” in the Bible did not actually mean a count of forty days but just “a long time” and although I am not convinced that her biblical interpretation was accurate, I think we can all now bear witness to the truth that forty days – just short of six weeks, is a long time.

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Holy Week Services 2020

A different kind of Easter!

As you are no doubt aware… Easter will be very different this year. And the build-up during Holy Week will be a strange mix for us of online services and meditation, but also of private prayer and reflection.

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The Tale of 30 Steps

This is a tale of thirty steps, the thirty steps between the shed at the bottom of our garden and the water butt on the front corner of the house. Self- isolation in the house and garden means that these thirty steps are the longest distance I can walk without turning round. I am used to being out and about on my feet walking everywhere and being faced with just a thirty step run was not what I wanted. How would I get enough exercise, it was a moment of negativity, I didn’t like it. I certainly didn’t relish the idea of walking up and down thirty steps between the wall of the house and a wooden fence.

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The Fountain

Amid the fear and anxiety of Coronavirus, we have seen some profound kindness and acts of generosity amongst our neighbours and throughout society. These times can reveal the best of us.
This poem by Denise Levertov seems to point towards the insistent life within the smallest acts of generosity.

The Fountain

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen

the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes

found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.

The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched-but not because
she grudged the water,

only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
The fountain is there among it’s scalloped
grey and green stones,

it is still there and always there
with it’s quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,

up and out through the rock.

by Denise Levertov.

Make a Palm Cross

With Palm Sunday coming soon we’re inviting everyone to make a Palm Cross and display it in a front window or on your front door.

We want to be able to share these in an online gallery. So once your artwork is complete, please take a photo and post it here. (you’ll see a link at the top of the Gallery.

You could come up with your own design, or you could use these instructions.

871 Best misc. images | Candy arrangements, Keep it cleaner, Candy ...

Well that might seem all rather too difficult!

There is an easier alternative, (just please no scissor-related accidents)

Another Idea altogether…

What if everyone on Sunday April 5 in the morning, puts a branch on the door of their house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday?

It could be any green branch you can get. This would help, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks.

Want to join?

We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the body of Christ.

We are the Church.

A Palm Cross from 1940

This isn’t the first time British people have had to take a new approach to palm crosses.

This palm cross was issued to parishioners in 1940 when the usual supply was unavailable.

John Huckle from St George’s has a collection of his mother’s palm crosses covering many years and shares this one with us which was given to his mother in her parish in Leeds during WW11.