Sunday 24 May
Dear EFP church folk,
I hope you are keeping well, and your near and dear ones too.
‘Heaven on Earth’
is the theme of our EFP 'video service’
today - appropriate as we celebrate the Ascension of Christ.
Two poems will be used in the service, at the start and end. They are in the attached service sheet. If you would like to read them in advance in preparation for the worship, you may find this helpful.
Also attached -
I've reflected further this week (sparked by last week’s reflection by Walter Brueggemann I attached) on how I tend to miss God’s perspective on the nature of time. So often the question I ask is “Is there the time for this or that?” - and often "there wasn’t the time”! Maybe the better question is “Is this the time for this?” As the ancient wisdom writer puts it in Ecclesiastes:
'For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;…’ and so on.
There is a difference between 'There is time for…’ and 'There is A time for…’. God tends to know the right time for things better than us. How can we allow this coronavirus time(!) to help us learn this more?
There have been some very moving stories this past week of those in our number helping others in particular need. There have also been stories of others being deeply moved spiritually through the current experiences. May God’s grace continue to bless and guide you this week.
Take care and God bless,
Team Vicar for Escot, Feniton & Payhembury, Otter Vale Team
Only the latest video worship is posted above. Links to older videos can be found on our Service Times page.
Tuesday 17 March 2020
Dear EFP church folk,
As you may have seen reported, the Church of England has today stepped into new territory. All public worship is on hold until further notice, i.e. there will be no Sunday services in any Anglican churches. This follows yesterday’s government guidance about the C-virus. Church events will also sadly be cancelled.
This will be an extraordinary experience for us all. Whether you are a regular or occasional worshipper, the Sunday opportunity to gather with others is one we take for granted. It is something from which we will have drawn much benefit. There will now be a sense of bereavement, perhaps bewilderment and confusion.
So what will there be?
- all three churches will be open during the day. I invite you to pop in and spend some time in quiet there at some point during the week.
- worship is possible in other ways: the Sunday morning service on Radio 4; the Diocese will host a live service each Sunday on the internet; and many other resources for private prayer, reflection, or worship ‘remotely’ will be made available by the Diocese. I or others will share these.
- we will explore as EFP churches what further we can do, in terms of sharing worship together remotely.
- I will be praying for you all. I would encourage us all to pray for everyone in our communities more than we might normally do.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York write today: ‘Our [church] life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.’
This is a key time to be caring for one another. Many, I know, are anxious about the virus, about isolation, or about the many knock-on effects of it, economically, domestically, or health-wise. Feniton and Payhembury both have arrangements being set up for food to be taken to the homes of those in isolation.
Note that funerals will continue, with as few people present as possible. The arrangements for weddings and baptisms are yet to be published.
Our strapline ‘Growing in Love, Hope and Faith*’ takes on a new perspective. Ironically, it is often at times such as this that, by God’s grace, we find ourselves strengthened in ways we didn’t expect.
I am writing this email as a person in 'self-isolation’. Dawn has shown some relevant symptoms in the past few days, which may or may not be 'the virus’, but I’ve got to stay at home for the 14 days. (Thankfully we had a supermarket delivery today!). I therefore can’t currently visit anyone, but am on the end of phone-line; do ring if you need a chat.
I’ve attached the ‘Prayer for a pandemic’. It’s relevance grows further with time.
God bless and with prayers for you all,
* faith, hope and love – St Paul’s famous trio from his letter to the church in Corinth, read in many a church wedding.