Greenways Group of Churches

St. Nicholas News

January 2020

 

The Rt Rev Maurice Wood (1916-2007)
Bishop Maurice Wood's prayer seems appropriate for Hardenhuish:

“Make us like a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden; so that men and women and children may find Christ as the light of the world, and his church as the family of the redeemed, and eternal life as the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord”

 

Sunday

5th January

10.30am

Morning Worship

Sunday

5th January

4.00pm

BCP Evensong & Tea

Sunday

12th January

10.30am

Holy Communion

Sunday

19th January

10.30am

Morning Worship

Sunday

26th January

10.30am

Morning Worship

 

Carol Singing at Morrisons

Fifteen people turned up to sing  carols  inside Morrisons  store during December , with Lucy accompanying on her flute  and we managed to do a collection in aid of 'Doorway' 
We then moved on and went to sing at ‘The Gardens' , where people came out of their homes to join us. It was a successful evening ending with mince pies and coffee and the weather was kind to us.
 
See you next year !

Contact Details

Priest in Charge, Revd. Simon Dunn T: 324944 greenwaysvicar@stpaulsweb.org.uk

Associate Minister, Revd. David Kilmister T: 01249 326209 djkilmister@sky.com
Curate, Revd Tom Hunton T: 07464 505800 greenwayscurate@stpaulsweb.org.uk

Facebook@harnishchurch

Some of our Lay Ministers

Barbara Wood Tel: 655413                             bmdwood@btinternet.com

Judith Eckersley Tel:443317                           judith_roger@talktalk.net

John Moncrieff

Newsletter, Mark Sheppard Tel: 721451 mark@avonweir.co.uk
or Dick Wood Tel: 655413 dickwood@talk21.com

Ministry Musings

IMMANUEL , GOD WITH US.

God with us as we start a new year, do we know it, are we aware of it?

The extravagant love of God , sending His son to be with us in the good times and the bad. My prayer is that whatever decisions we have to make, whatever journeys we take , we will know the presence of God always......

’I AM THERE ’ James Dillet Freeman......

Do you need Me?
I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of “yours” and “mine.”
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I am in all.
Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I am.
Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.
I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance. I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by. I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance. I am your peace. I am one with you. I am.
Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved, I am there.

Blessings for 2020

Judith

 

A Christmas message from Bishop Viv

This Christmas message was originally given as at the Christmas Day Eucharist at Bristol Cathedral 2019.

Earlier this autumn a large media multinational commissioned some audience research into Nativity Play roles as a predictor of future jobs and salaries. So I thought I would try their findings on this congregation:

If you were ever an angel (one without a name) or a lamb, you might go into health care with a salary of £20k to £25k.

Were you an Angel with name (Gabriel), you would go into marketing and a salary of £40k.

If you were ever either Joseph or Mary, then you might enter into finance or retail with a salary of £38k or £39k.

Way at the top of the list, with predicted salary of £43k, were the oxen.

But of course there is one very obvious gap. The marketeers did not ask what happened to those who played Jesus. Perhaps that was wise.

In some schools, preparations for the Nativity Play take almost the whole year. I was governor of a school where the first meeting of the play - which included all of our four- to six-year-olds - began in February with a first high-level meeting of the script writers. In October, rehearsals begin in earnest for the December performances. Just imagine the emotional load of all that.

I have also been part of annual Nativities from scratch, performed on Christmas Eve with the help of church volunteers and attended by hundreds of children. No rehearsal, because the story is known well enough. The congregation backing the story and, each year, and providentially, a family from the church community producing a baby to be swaddled in placed in the manger. Sometimes the baby was a girl but we decided God could cope with that.

In both events, there were the familiar scenes of parents comforting the children who weren’t playing Mary but wanted to; and wardrobe attendants retrieving headdresses and fixing them uncomfortably on heads; and magi leaving their gifts behind; and prompters suggesting there was a indeed a difference between Frankenstein and Frankincense; and, of course, each year the addition of various non scriptural non speaking characters with walk on parts generally including princesses and Spider-Men.

But one year in my last post as Dean of York, I oversaw the Nativity Story acted by adults as part of the great Mystery Play cycle. And I began to understand all this in a new way because I saw on the faces and in the voices of grown ups how this story touches on a wide swathe of human emotion.

The York Mystery cycle is a mash-up of the gospel accounts from Luke and Matthew. 

There is Joseph as Matthew described him. Humiliated Joseph. He’s betrothed to this young woman and perhaps thinking he’s the luckiest man alive: and then he’s made to feel a complete fool, and a heartbroken fool and then finds himself protector of a blended family fleeing as refugees.

Then there’s Mary with a different personal crisis. She’s pregnant and she’s clinging to a unique story of who the father is. It’s hard enough finding yourself with an unexpected and unwelcome pregnancy in our own culture. Imagine the Mary’s fear, in a time when she would expect to be cast out of her community and where stoning for adultery was generally what followed.

Luke’s gospel starts with different characters, with Zechariah, serving in the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple. It’s his big day, and all the other priests are waiting for him to come out, and when he does come out he can’t say a word. He’s been waiting all his life for this moment, and when it comes he fluffs his lines. 

Then there’s Elizabeth, who’s waited all her life to have a baby, and it’s never come. Adulthood for her has been overshadowed by the monthly disappointments and the social stigma of childlessness. She’s defined by what she’s not. Being defined by what you’re not is the essence of poverty. Homelessness. Joblessness. Statelessness.

Jospeh, Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth all face profound and demanding impact of this Nativity Story. They’re dealing with professional failure, personal disappointment, genuine fear, and heart-breaking hurt. Maybe you’re in one or more of those places today. If so, you’re in good company.

Stephen Hough, the concert pianist who (incidentally) used to regularly and rightly defeat me in piano competitions when we were both teenagers (though I was very put out at the time) commented this week:

“I admit to being a Christian, albeit one with a dog warranty and failing batteries. I often stand back from the crib. But I can’t walk away.” 

Perhaps Stephen speaks for many of us.

Of course, there is comfort in the Nativity Story where even the minor characters in the story are out of their depth. The innkeeper in Bethlehem, trying to accommodate all those extra visitors. He knows what it means to be overwhelmed at work. The soldiers whom Herod sent out to slaughter the innocents. They know what it means to be in a crisis of conscience and to have no respect but plenty of fear for the orders of their boss. Consider the chief priests and scribes whom Herod calls in to explain this rumour of the birth of the messiah. They’re torn between their longing for the redemption of Israel and their social and economic loyalty to a corrupt regime.

The Christmas story’s teeming with personal grief, unresolved longings, uncomfortable secrets, shouty politics, shabby compromises, divided communities, intense fears, social humiliation, and aching hurts.

And when you see adults performing a Nativity Play, not for their grandparents’ iPhone shots but in order, genuinely, to inhabit the story and make it their own, you see people not just suffering, not just struggling, but also searching.

The wise men. They were scouring the heavens for truth, for meaning, for wisdom, for hope. They took the best science of their day and the courage of their traveling companions and followed the star with profound trust and devastating political naivety.

The shepherds. Continually searching for pasture. In touch with the changing seasons, any changing climate. Out of touch with their communities because they couldn’t keep the rituals and laws. But they were looking to the heavens too, for hope, for peace, for redemption, for glory.

Look at Simeon and Anna in the temple for baby Jesus’ presentation after 40 days. They’d spent their whole lives watching and waiting for the consolation of Israel. Whole lives lived in hope, but until then a hope not met.

And behind all this Matthew and Luke, writing their gospels, explaining how this tiny baby was Emmanuel, God with us, searching to find the best way of telling us who Jesus is, what it means that God is with us. They are also pondering why the saviour was rejected by his own people, why the Messiah’s coming didn’t signal the end of the world, and how there is still so much evil in the face of such overwhelming goodness.

I started with the experience some of you had of Nativity Plays. Memories which stay with you. Another Stephen, Stephen Cottrell - soon to be Archbishop of York, tells a story in Do nothing: Christmas is Coming from his own parish when he was vicar.

About half-way through the service, a little girl, Miriam, toddled up to the front of the church. She can only have been about two or three at the time. For several minutes she stood before the crib, gazing intently at the figures. Then, very carefully, she stepped inside and sat down.

"So as people looked at the crib that Christmas, as well as the shepherds and the angels, and the ox and the ass, and Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, they saw Miriam. She sat there for the rest of the service, content to have become part of the story.”

And Christmas is not just for the children.

In the end the good news of Christmas is for all of us, with our all our suffering, struggling, and searching. Dear friends, Christmas really isn’t just for the children. It is for me and you and all of us. May we, in all our complexity and suffering and struggling and searching, not stand back from the crib, may be drawn close to find our place with Christ at the heart of this story in which God is speaking to us to bring life and hope for all creation.

 

Women’s Union

16 Jan– New Year Party                                              27 Feb – Joe McNeilage - Slides

30 Jan – Mindful Colouring                                         Meetings held in St. Paul’s Church Hall at 2.15pm

13 Feb – Poetry & Prose                                             Details Barbara Wood Tel: 655413