Newsletter: 1st-7th and 8th-14th August 2021

Dear Friends,

August!

We have arrived at the height of summer. We have enjoyed stunningly beautiful summer days of bright and warm sunshine although the forecast warns of thunderstorms as temperatures rise. ‘We are not all in the same boat’ although ‘we are in the same storm’. Several friends with children who have weathered a chaotic and trying school year and yearning to be restored on holiday have sadly had to self-isolate.

 

Others with medical conditions hoping for overdue attention still have a long wait. We may be alarmed at the sight of crowded clubs and sports events. But as a Chief Medical Officer asked the nation: ought we not be empathetic towards the younger generations who have lived with constraints for a year and a half for the sake of the old and vulnerable?

Please find in a separate document the guidance agreed by our PCCs for our churches in this time of transition. Please do read it. We pray that you would be confident of our churches as safe places; and for those who have yet to return, we pray that being completely vaccinated you would now be ready to join us in church in person again.

Yes, you may have noticed that this newsletter covers 2 Sundays. Brian and I are taking a little time away to visit Brian’s family – like many, this would be the first time in 2 years – so I shall not be able to write a newsletter for next week. Geoff, who distributes our newsletter in Gainford, is also away with Sue and family, so if you wish to get in touch please contact churchwarden Peter Graham: peter.graham4@btconnect.com Tel: 01325 730351.

Our churches continue to be open for private prayer.

Please read the separate page outlining the church’s modified approach taking effect from this Sunday

Click for St Mary’s Coronavirus Information

Click for St Andrew’s Coronavirus Information

I am grateful to my colleague Rev’d John Moore for presiding at Communion in St Andrew’s, Winston on Sunday 1st August.

Our congregations are now permitted to sing together in church! Provision for singing without face coverings is also available in both churches.

Especially if you are unable to come in person, a new broadcast of TOGETHER ON SUNDAY is available this Sunday on YouTube from 10am and at any time afterwards.

Responding to requests, here is a recording of the Gospel and Sermon delivered at both churches on Ephesians 3:14-21and John 6:1-21 on YouTube 

God is with us. May Christ, who by his incarnation, gathered into one, all things earthly and heavenly, fill you with joy and peace.

Rev’d Eileen Harrop

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Communities in Continental Europe, China, and in parts of the UK affected by floods who are not only battling covid-19 but also who have been badly affected by floods.
  • Sportsmen and women, accompanying teams, and the host people of Japan in the Olympics in the difficult conditions this year.

 

The collect for the 8th Sunday after trinity

Almighty God,
who sent your Holy Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church:
open our hearts to the riches of your grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love and joy and peace;
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

The Collect for the 10th Sunday after Trinity

Lord of heaven and earth,
as Jesus taught his disciples
to be persistent in prayer,
give us patience and courage
never to lose hope,
but always to bring our prayers
before you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Weekly Readings

Ephesians 4:1-16 (1st August)

I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

 

7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

 

8 Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’

9 (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

The Gospel

 

John 6:24-35 (1st August)

So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Weekly Readings

The First Reading (8 August): Ephesians 4:25-5:2

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

 

5 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The Gospel

 

(8 August): John 6:35, 41-51

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ 42 They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ 43 Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

Sermon

 

8th after TRINITY SERMON (preached at both churches): recorded in St Andrew’s, Winston Ephesians 3:10-21; John 6:1-21

 

We learn from God’s Word in our Bible passages today not to be surprised when extraordinary things happen in our lives. In the lives of those who live by faith in Jesus, there is always more than meets the eye. In our Gospel passage, the extraordinary is part of the ordinary. Jesus and his friends hop into a boat that takes them across an inland sea. A lot of people appear to be following Jesus. Jesus and his friends sit on the mountain side. When Jesus observes that the people following could be hungry, he chats with his disciples about that. Their conversation is down to earth. When asked to get them food, Philip replies: “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’” Philip has looked around; assessed the people to be fed; then reckoned the budget required to buy them food. Another disciple, Andrew, also looking around notices a child who has brought his tea. And as if thinking aloud, says: “‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’”

Then the extraordinary happens. Jesus tells his disciples what to do as he prepares to feed them. I wondered if John’s describing a ‘great deal of grass in the place’ was important to what Jesus was about to reveal. I think he mentions the grass because it describes how vividly he remembered that occasion.

What happened next is often referred to as the miracle of ‘the feeding of the 5000’. But what is significant comes in the overlooked statement that follows: ‘When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’

‘When the people saw…they began to say…’

Friends, all these people (all 5000) were there because they had already witnessed other miracles personally, such as healing of loved ones from conditions that had been crippling or life threatening. Their being fed on this mountainside was not the first sign revealing to them God’s power in Jesus. Yet, John reports that ‘when the people saw…they began to say…’

John was not highlighting this as a criticism of the people. John was considered Jesus’ closest disciple. This is John whom Jesus asked, at his crucifixion, to look after his mother. John realised that like the 5000 the disciples had not recognised the extraordinary power invested in them by faith in Jesus.
The disciples had got back into a boat to cross the sea to Capernaum. Jesus was to follow separately. It was dark by the time they were several miles from land and the sea had become choppy.

John was concerned that they could not see Jesus. But when Jesus did appear not in the way they were expecting, the disciples were terrified. John then described how they spent a lot of time getting Jesus into their boat. John realised even they, who witnessed all Jesus’ works, received his teaching, asking questions, and hearing his answers personally, lived by their earthly understanding.

In our first reading, the Apostle Paul says: ‘the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine’. How many of us believe in this power of the extraordinary in our lives, to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine? Or do we fear disappointment or are embarrassed that what we pray for is unrealistic? Paul says that when ask or do anything ‘in Christ Jesus our Lord’, we do this knowing that ‘we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in (Jesus).’

Just for a moment, please pause and think of what you might ask of God in the name of Jesus. Asking in faith means to ask of something with little idea of how it would happen. Ask without preconception of God’s response. Trust that God knows what is right for that situation.

When I first came to our parishes, I asked God, ‘…but how?’ Then by faith I asked, in Jesus’ name, to lead and reveal to me ‘how’. In St Andrew’s, Winston, I asked God to reveal to me his people in this (that) parish. And wow, God has certainly done that: (t)here we are (they were) covered by new roofs that you (they) together with others in the community, have delivered for generations to come. And that is pleasing to God.

In St Mary’s, Gainford, you might point to our (the) youth and school ministry as an answer to prayer by faith. But friends, I did not ask for it. God asked and I said, “OK” “but show us how”? The miracle is that God first sent people of prayer to underpin this task and uphold me with prayer from the beginning and ever since.

By faith in Christ, the extraordinary is part of our ordinary.

Let us pray: ‘God our heavenly Father, we ask this day for the ‘power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God’. Amen

 

Written by Rev'd Canon Eileen Harrop

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

August 9, 2021

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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