“A VERY BIG THANK YOU to all those who have contributed to Taunton Foodbank. We have been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for donating one tonne of food since we started in November 2012. This is worth £1,690 in cash value.
Please continue to donate as the need is still great.”
On Sunday 3 August Annie Suddaby will set out on “Annie’s Ride” which will take her, mounted on Gypsy, on a journey of 150 miles visiting 50 Somerset churches over 24 days. Starting at the lovely St Mary’s Magdalene at the heart of Taunton, the team, which also includes Annie’s sister-in-law, Jo French, will visit the Blackdown Hills, Exmoor, the Quantocks and the Somerset Levels.
Why? Because as well as being a horsewoman, Annie is a bellringer and she wants to help raise funds to restore the bells at St Mary’s. These bells are in a sorry state: the carillon and the clock chimes have broken; the bells don’t sound good and are difficult to ring so they need to be recast and rehung. It will all cost £300,000. Annie’s ambitious and imaginative initiative aims to bring in a healthy chunk of this.
It hasn’t all gone to plan. Her own horse, Mieke, suffered a bad fall while getting fit for the Ride. She injured her front legs; she is now recovering but sadly she won’t be fit in time. But this is a wonderful world: a kind benefactor from Cornwall heard of Annie’s predicament and has come to the rescue, generously lending her own horse, Gypsy.
So the Ride goes ahead. It all starts on Sunday 3 August at the family service at St Mary’s, when the Ride will receive the Church’s blessing. At the conclusion of that service at about 11.00am, Annie will mount up at the main entrance to the church and will ride out of Taunton on an itinerary that takes her to no less than 50 local churches over the following three and a half weeks.
As she arrives at each church, Annie and sister in law Jo will join a band of local experienced ringers to ring the bells. Jo is starting from scratch and it is her challenge to learn the skill as she goes from tower to tower. Annie plans to complete her adventure on Tuesday 26 August by riding back into Taunton for a Civic reception at St Mary’s Magdalene.
It is a lot of riding and a lot of ringing. Let’s hope it raises a lot of money! All good luck to them!
For further details visit www.appealforabell.com which has the route and will run an interactive map during the Ride and a Blog to record progress.
But here also are details of the route:-
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“… the spirit of man which is in him .” (v.11) RSV
Human beings are not spirits, they are souls, but they do have a spirit. In our reading Paul refers to “the spirit which is in him” (v.11). When Jesus was dying on the cross he “cried with a loud voice and said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’”, or as the old version said: “He gave up the ghost”.
This spiritual aspect responds to beauty and love. All humans have a spiritual side to them, though some may ignore it and overlay it with material pleasures and concerns; they may also overrule it by depending on reason and science.
We ignore our spiritual side to our peril. We should feed our spirits by taking time to be quiet and enjoy beautiful things, especially nature. However these things alone will not connect us to God. Or if they do so, it will be very abstract and impersonal. The Christian faith describes us as being spiritually dead (Ephesians 4:18). This is made clear in our reading when Paul writes, “The unspiritual man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him …” (v.14).
God is Spirit and those who wish to be in touch with him and in fellowship with him, have to be made spiritually alive. We need to be “born from above/again” (John 3:3), and we need to be fed spiritually with “the pure spiritual milk” (1 Peter 2:2). If we also worship God regularly both on our own and together with others, then we will grow strong in our spirits. The things of God will become our chief love.
Jesus worshipped in the Temple and in synagogues. He often went off by himself to pray. Such spiritual disciplines are vital for all people. Without them we lose touch with God and we become weakened and subject of other forces.
Lord, thank you that you have made me so that my soul is restless until it finds its rest in you. Teach me to love you and to seek you day by day. Amen.
“… as we await … the redemption of our bodies.” (v.23) RSV
Sometimes we are given the impression by religious teaching that our bodies are wicked, or at least weak. The Greeks used to teach that the body was merely the casket that held the divine spark. The body could be either indulged or denied, but in either case it would not affect the spirit of the divine within.
This is so wrong. God created the material world and said it was “good” (Genesis 1:31). This included the bodies of Adam and Eve. The human race was made so that body, mind and spirit were all interrelated; no one could be fully human unless all three aspects were functioning properly.
Our bodies are a gift and not just a necessary evil. When we die we will shed our mortal bodies, but that is not because we don’t need them anymore. We leave this earth as body-less souls. We go to be with the Lord, but there will await “the redemption of our bodies” (v.23). The bodies that we shall have will be the body of the risen Christ.
God treats our body as equally valuable as our mind and spirit. Why else would he deign to take on human flesh and become man (John 1:14)? God has forever taken on himself human flesh. He became like us so that we could become like him.
Just as God transformed the mortal flesh of Jesus into immortality, so he will transform us in like manner; but that still lies in the future. Meantime, we treat our bodies with love and respect. God comes to us through our bodies as well as through our minds. God reveals himself through all our senses. Let us enjoy the presence of God in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the nature we see and feel, the bodies we touch.
Like all great gifts they can also be used by the devil! We can sell our souls for “a mess of pottage” as did Esau, or the caresses of a Delilah, as did Samson. Beware!
Thank you Lord for the gift of my body. May it be to me the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the House of God. Amen.
Sunday 20th July is our Patronal festival when we remember the life of St Mary Magdalene who travelled with Jesus as one of his followers. She was present at Jesus’ two most important moments: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Within the four Gospels, the oldest historical record mentioning her name, she is named at least 12 times, more than most of the apostles. The Gospel references describe her as courageous, brave enough to stand by Jesus in his hours of suffering, death and beyond. We are honoured to have Mary as our church’s saint.
Some good news from the Town Centre Chaplaincy. We now have 23 chaplains going into the shops and businesses in town. They are welcomed and appreciated. Recently the chaplain to one of the large supermarkets conducted a funeral for a staff member who had tragically died. It is so important that staff in shops and businesses have good access to Christian pastoral care.
Did you see a photograph of St Mary Magdalene’s church in The Times this week? It showed Pip Andersen doing a somersault outside the church with his bride Becky looking on. Pip and Becky were married here and now lead Voice … and the reason for the interest in Pip? He has landed a star part in the new Star Wars film beating 37,000 other applicants! Well done Pip!
Holy Trinity Primary School seeks additional Foundation governors, who have a particular responsibility for ensuring that the school upholds its Christian ethos. Do you feel called to use your time and talents to
contribute to making a difference to the world in this way? If you would like to know more, please contact Julia Steward (chair of governors) after the service on one of her duty organist Sundays to arrange a no-obligation conversation. Thank you. (This is included here with the knowledge and blessing of those at Holy Trinity Church).