Newsletter: 19th – 24th June 2022

Greetings from St Mary’s and St Andrew’s

Dear friends,

Has Summer finally arrived? And is it here to stay?! We give thanks for where we are with seasons to look forward to, to inspire changing expectations of our day-to-day life, and in this season to be out and about even more.

Last week 5 of us attended the ‘Small Faithful Rural Conference’ in Northumberland, and among the highlights was the Communion Service at the Vindolanda, the earliest recorded site of Christian worship in the North of England. Congregants from 4 dioceses (Durham, Carlisle, Newcastle, Leeds) worshipped in the open air with John Bell of the Iona Community as our preacher. Here is Claire Mead our Youth Ministry leader at Gainford and Winston reading the Gospel at the service. Is it not a great encouragement that people in this land have continued to follow Christ and worship together for 20 centuries? Another highlight was the walk along part of Hadrian’s wall – a considerable effort for me made possible with our Pilgrimage and Young Leader Tom Deakin’s help!

We learned many things that affirmed our plans in ‘WIN and GAIN’ – excuse my use of this abbreviation to encapsulate our parishes’ shared Vision.
Jesus’ words recalled in John 4:34-35 came to me: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.  You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”

Sunflowers

We see God’s handiwork everywhere. And we see people we are called to love in spirit and in truth: to pray that they discover God’s personal love for them; to be ready for that moment when God walks up to them with us to speak to them of Jesus, to hear their stories, and to invite them to church. 6 years ago, I came to you as a stranger and together we have journeyed to know Christ more deeply. 5 years ago, a Youth Ministry began at St Mary’s, Gainford and at least 50 young people have experienced the love of God, with more joining every 2nd Thursday of the month. 4 years ago, we started ‘Open The Book’ for schools with the online enacted stories reaching families during the pandemic. 3 years ago, a new set of pilgrimage routes was designed with both our churches being revived as inspiring pilgrimage places of blessing to more people than we know. 2 years ago, a new Young Adults group was formed and today those young adults are our leaders – setting up our new website and refreshing our social media presence, and this year a new offering for families, Messy Church, is already flourishing. In Winston, the Gospel lived out in community has brought many to become part of the church family. Friends, ‘the fields are already ripe for harvest’.

This Sunday, join me for Holy Communion at 9.30am in St Andrew’s, Winston and 10.45am in St Mary’s, Gainford, and for Messy Church at 3.30 – 5.30pm in St Mary’s, Gainford.

God, the most holy and glorious Trinity is with us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

– Rev’d Canon Eileen Harrop

 

The Notice Board

  • Gainford FUN DAY Saturday 25th June 2022:

We are pleased to be opening up our tea tent serving tea and cake for this annual event. We hope many from St Mary’s would offer to help. This is both our community offering and a helpful fundraiser for St Mary’s, Gainford. Please contact Geoff or Sue if you can make cakes, help to serve in the tent, or help set up and clear up: Geoffandsue379@gmail.com Tel: 01325 73037 In recent years we have put up a display of our churches and our events and activities, which everyone is welcome to join. If you’re able to help to put up the display or to be at the stand on Fun Day for a few minutes to speak to people, please let me know! Thank you.

 

  • Congratulations to Matthew and Mary Ann Dawson who were married at St Mary’s, Gainford on Friday 17th June 2022.
  • Our next SERVICE OF MESSY CHURCH FOR ALL THE FAMILY is this Sunday 19th June 3.30-5.30pm at St Mary’s, Gainford
  • Ukraine Refugee Accommodation Sponsors: A small number of sponsors in Gainford and Winston are preparing to accommodate Ukrainians seeking temporary accommodation. We have formed a Support Group, who will have and share the latest information. If you would like to know more, please email Jill Starr: jillstarr@googlemail.com

The Collect for Trinity

 

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Post Communion Prayer

 

Eternal Father,
we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope,
and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

The First Reading

Galatians 3:23-29

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

The Gospel

Luke 8:26-39

 

26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— 29 for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30 Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. 31 They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Sermon

TRINITY SUNDAY: Rev’d Canon Eileen Harrop, 12th June 2022 (Romans 5:1-5; John 15:12-17)

As a church, we have journeyed with Jesus through his earthly ministry from his birth at Advent to his return to his heavenly home at The Ascension. Last week, Pentecost was celebrated with the coming upon disciples of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised. The Spirit certainly moved mightily for those who celebrated the occasion of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. In a way, we gleaned a little of the mystery of the Trinity from that extended holiday weekend.

In Her Majesty’s publicly professed and lived faith in Jesus, we have witnessed the work and impact of God the Son. Throughout her service in public office, she has told us that she listens to Jesus’ words, tries to put on his nature, and follow his ways. In Her Majesty is a disciple walking, talking, listening, and gaining wisdom and salvation from Jesus her Lord.

During the celebrations, her human frailty was in full view, when she could not attend some events as planned. But the spirit of thankfulness and hope she inspires never diminished and seemed to grow. Most were unaware of the preparations, which included her opening the Party at the Palace with Paddington Bear despite her absence in person. The spirit of affection from her to people and from us to her was palpable all around the world. It was as if the effervescent Spirit of God in Her Majesty was ever present in those people united in shared and common thanksgiving.
Some may describe this as the best of British life but it was also the trigger for deep disquiet against privilege. To the disquieted it is inconceivable that there can be extravagant celebrations with such expenditure of money and resources when the sufferings of the hungry, dispossessed, homeless, and sick remain.

This way of thinking moves us to ask: ‘Surely the pomp and status of royalty is incompatible with the humble estate of Jesus the Son of God in his earthly life?’ Yet, Jesus the Son is enthroned with God the Father in the heights of splendour and glory.

Our New Testament letter of Paul helps us to wrestle with this complex situation. What does our privilege of being heirs and co-heirs with Christ the King in His heavenly Kingdom mean to us as followers of Jesus? Paul, himself, was born into worldly privilege according to his social world then. But he explains: ‘…we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings…’ So, we share in God’s glory yet not without sufferings.

The call to follow Jesus in a world with un-Godly beliefs and ways requires sacrifice for those who identify with Jesus. Her Majesty, our Sovereign Queen, did not choose her birth nor indeed all her created and natural attributes. Her father King George the VI was known to be very burdened by having to take up his right to be King. It was a duty and sacrifice of service, bravely carried through the ravages of World War II. His privilege was to impart strength and courage to all the people in his care – yes, in his care. His privilege was to love his family in person and in truth, despite having to love first those to whom he had been entrusted sovereign responsibility.

Moving from our monarchs for a moment, I want to draw attention to comments I hear repeatedly that challenge the notion of privilege. These are uncomfortable remarks but in honesty, you are likely to have heard them said before. “See those people who can afford televisions and have money to spend at the pub and the bookies – yet they claim state benefits”. “See those masses who follow celebrities, go to pop concerts, and attend football games – yet they claim state benefits”.

Friends, the condemnatory tone and insinuation in those remarks stirred my need to pause and reflect. What stirred in me is the misplaced view that only what feeds and clothes the physical person, matters. I say, thank God all those who struggle to put food on the table for their children and themselves have resources that feed their spirits. But what feeds the SOUL is greater than what feeds our physical bodies and even our minds. (If this were not so, why had the whole country and many around the world, been so inspired and comforted by Captain Tom during the height of the pandemic? Bear in mind, he was born into comfort and privilege, but his privilege was also to serve his country with valour at risk of his life. And what he did before he died was neither out of protest nor guilt, but out of inspiration and with thanksgiving).

Whatever the human condition or earthly station, all face challenges that lead to suffering of one nature or other. In my life, I have been close to people born into wealth and others with ancestors revered for their intellects, their contribution to society, their awards etc. Many realise that whether trying to live up to or giving up their given circumstances, neither appeases their sufferings. They change their lives but have not solved the ills of the world. They may salve for their feelings of guilt or even anger against God for worldly privilege, but the ills of the world remain. Many borne of lowly station with material poverty have the greatest privilege in loving and caring communities; and many borne of wealth and high station live grievous lives full of strife and unhappiness. All suffer while we are in the world.

We as people of God reflect the Trinity: some are given to be moved to compassion, serve in practical ways, heal the sick, and feed the hungry as Jesus the Son; others are given to inspiration, creativity, and endeavour raising up as in the breath and power of the Spirit; while others are to be present making a difference by their very being as the Father almighty is ever present and all-knowing.
The Trinity, God Almighty: glorious in the Father Creator of all; humble and sacrificing in the Son enthroned as King over all; powerful advocate and cleansing comforter in the Holy Spirit – God’s love in us binds us all whatever our worldly circumstances.

May you, and I, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, ever thankful for God’s love poured in our hearts through the Holy Spirit – a gift that does not discriminate and given to all.

Amen

Written by Rev'd Canon Eileen Harrop

Reverend Canon Eileen is the incumbent for St Mary's, Gainford and St Andrew's, Winston.

June 23, 2022

Join Us at services in our churches every sunday

10:45am at St Mary’s Church, Gainford

9:30am at St Andrew’s church, winston

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