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Annual Parish Church Meeting

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ANNUAL PARISH CHURCH MEETING is now at 2.30pm on Sunday 17th April in the coffee shop area NOT 4.00pm. This is because the 5 O’Clock Worship Service falls on the same day.

Tea/ coffee will be served from 2.00 pm.

Revision of the Church Electoral Roll

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It will be effected before the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Sunday 17 April 2016. Applications for enrolment are between 6th to 25th March. To be able to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting your name must be included on the Electoral Roll.  If you would like to apply, please see the details published on the notice board by the West Door. Application forms are available at the back of Church, from the Churchwardens or from the parish office. Please hand/post completed forms to Geoff Hay, a Churchwarden or to the Parish Office. Existing Roll members do not need to re-apply. A complete list of members at 25 March 2016 will be displayed on the notice board from 27 March.  Please check your name is properly recorded. Please refer queries to the Electoral Roll Officer, Geoff Hay tel: 01823 257926

Say the Word – Move Mountains

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 The Reading:  Mark 11:20-26 

“… whoever says to this mountain …” (v.23) RSV

During the following weeks we are learning how to exercise the authority that God through Christ has given us.  We are not simply limited to asking God to do things, but are hearing from God what we should be doing, doing it and seeing the power of God at work.

Sometimes we are faced by an immovable object, a ‘mountain’ (v.23).  This may be to do with money problems e.g. how to get a mortgage or overcome debt.  The problem may be trying to achieve planning permission.  It might be to do with a church leader who is blocking progress.  Whatever the ‘mountain’, we first of all pray about it.  We lay the problem before our God.  It is not our place to tell him what to do!  However, as we pray and listen we may discover that his purpose is to move that ‘mountain’.  He then tells us: “You move it!”

We are not used to this task.  Somehow we think that miracles take place if God chooses to do something.  But the fact is that most miracles simply do not take place because we do not exercise our authority.  We are instructed, “YOU say to the mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea’” (v.23).  This may sound incredible, but that is only because we have lost sight of the dominion that we have been given.

Of course we cannot do this on our own authority or to fulfil any selfish ambition.  This authority lies with those who have faith.  And what is faith?  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).  No wonder Jesus said that man shall live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“Say to this mountain …” (v.23) follows the cursing of the fig tree by Jesus.  In Matthew it follows the failure of the disciples to cast out the demon from the boy at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration.  The faith that they lacked needed to be like “a grain of mustard seed” (Matthew 17:20); in other words, alive and growing.

I know O Lord that with you nothing is impossible.  Help me to act upon that knowledge for your sake.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  Who did Jesus tell to feed the 5000?

    Mark 6:37, 41

2  How did Jesus calm the ‘mountain’  of waves?

    Mark 4:39

‘Just a Bite’ MU

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MU Group with Rod

‘Just a Bite’ Mothers’ Union started meeting monthly in February 2013 in the coffee shop area of the church.  We usually have prayers, a speaker and finish with tea and cake.  Occasionally we have worship services in church and do some fund raising activities, such as, Bring & Buy table, Mad Hatters Party, etc.  We support MU projects such as the holiday scheme “Away From It All” which offers a break to those going through adversity and stress.  We contribute to our local church family life as needs arise, e.g. bean bags, activity bags for children, books as Christening gifts, Families First Magazine subscriptions, knitting for the local hospital and making Welsh cakes!  We warmly welcome all: male or female, married or single, widowed or divorced, as long as they support the aims and objectives of the organisation.

Father Willis Launch Concert

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LAUNCH CONCERT – Father Willis Organ Renovation Pipe Appeal – ‘A Note For A Note’ –  Sunday 13th March 2016 at 4.00pm, followed by Afternoon Tea

This special Sunday Afternoon Launch and Tea Concert will feature our Father Willis in multiple roles – including diverse music for solo organ, double organ, organ with voice, trumpet, oboe, saxophone, flute, and the delicious combination of organ and harp.  There will be a star-studded line-up of some of the musicians who have contributed beautifully to worship at St Mary’s in recent times, as well as some new faces!

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Make your own Living Willow Palm Cross

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Stoke St Gregory Baptist Church is holding two workshops at the Willows and Wetlands Centre, Meare Green, Stoke St Gregory TA3 6HY when we will learn how to make our own living willow crosses. There will be an opportunity to walk around the centre either before or after the workshops.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

Dates:  Thursday 10th March 2pm – 4pm;  Tuesday 15th March 10am – 12 noon

Please contact either Revd Barbara Carpenter barbara@heurisco.co.uk or Tim Spotswood spotswoodtim@gmail.com if you are interested.

Say the Word – Centurion

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 The Reading:  Matthew 8:5-13 

only say the word, and my servant will be healed” (v.8) RSV

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”   This is true, very true

(see ‘Explore More’ below); but more often than not prayer needs to be followed by action, and without that action prayer becomes comparatively ineffective.  Prayer is meeting with God, bringing into his presence our concerns, and then listening to him to know what he wants us to do.  Once we know what his will is, we go out and do it.  If, however, we continue to pray and to say, “Please, please” then we are not receiving any answers nor are we receiving any directions.

Prayer brings us into line with God so that we can then go and work in step with him.  God doesn’t create gardens and husband cattle, we do.  He said, “Have dominion …” (Genesis 1:28).  God wields much of his authority and his control through us.  If we do not move in this faith but wait for God to act then little will be achieved.

The centurion in today’s readings expresses it so well that Jesus is positively amazed.  He remarks, “Not even in Israel have I found such faith” (v.10). So, what was this exemplary faith?  The centurion knew that things happened through the exercise of authority: “I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes” (9).  Action is achieved by order not by request.

We shall see through the following weeks that Jesus healed no one through prayer!  Oh yes, healings were preceded by prayer, for Jesus always found out what his Father in Heaven was doing, but when it came to the crunch prayer became action and authority: “Come forth”, Stand up”, “Come out”, etc.

The centurion knew that Jesus didn’t even have to come into his house or wave his hand over the sick servant.  “Only say the word” was the message that the centurion had conveyed to Jesus.  Again and again Jesus had healed and delivered the possessed through the word of command.  This is the faith he wants us to exercise.  He has given us authority, just as he gave the twelve and the seventy two.  If we don’t it is probably because we have no idea what God is doing or what we should be doing.  It is not our will that we are commanding, but his.  We need to find that divine-will from our Father otherwise we will not only be ineffective but possibly also presumptuous. 

Lord, thank you for the authority that you have committed to your people.  Help me to minister in your name.  Amen. 

Explore More

1  Who was healed without seeing Elisha, but by command?

    2 Kings 5:1-14

2   Who brought about a great change through prayer alone?

    James 5:16-18

Mothering Sunday

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“Most Sundays in the year churchgoers in England worship at their nearest parish or ‘daughter church’.  Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or ‘mother’ church once a year.  So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral of the area.

Inevitably the return to the ‘mother’ church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away returned home.  (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home for work once they were ten years old.)

And most historians think that it was the return to the ‘Mother’ church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family.

As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift.  Rumour has reached my ears that there may be a small gift for all ladies in church today as they leave and we thank those in Tekna for organising this.

Another tradition of Mothering Sunday is eating simnel cake.  We hope to have a simnel cakes on offer at 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock services today.  I’d like to say a big “thank you” to those who have baked these wonderful cakes.”

Revd Rod Corke

New Look Bookshop

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Our “new look” Bookshop has a good range of Mothering Sunday and Easter Cards available.

Swimathon Thanks!

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SWIMATHON

Thank you to everyone who sponsored “St Mary’s Angels”.  We have raised more than £400.

Can you please let Sandra Jordan have your sponsorship money as soon as possible.  Thank you.

MU’s Bookshop Stand

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“THE MOTHERS’ UNION stand in the Bookshop has been re-sited.  We appreciate that the stand is still within the Bookshop and thank the volunteers who take the money on MU’s behalf.  It sells good quality cards at reasonable prices and looks forward to your continued custom.  This will enable Mothers’ Union to contribute and support their world wide projects.  Thank you.”           Lorna Leyton

Prayer Book Society Visit to Badminton House

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The Prayer Book Society has organized a visit to Badminton House on Thursday 17th. March.  It includes a tour of the House, afternoon tea and Choral evensong.  NB: Stephen Bell’s son Simon is the Director of music.  If anyone is interested speak to Joan or Morton Dunn.  The total cost  is £27.50 each.