Rectory notes October 2020 – Three short words

How often in a typical day do I ‘judge’ someone? Many times, probably. There’s the car driver who’s too fast / too slow (compared to my own perfect speed, of course). There’s the inconsiderate neighbour – not that I’ve ever been one myself. The Government gets a good dose of my judgements on their decisions. And the Opposition. And the judgemental person on social media. I could go on.

Three short startling words of advice Jesus gave us: ‘Do not judge’. Is this perhaps his most overlooked instruction? Yet it’s one I see increasingly as being of the highest value, even central value. The words are given not stridently, but gently, advisedly, even imploringly.

What did he mean? He’s clearly not referring to the vital role of a judge in a court of law. Nor is he speaking of the judgements of situations and people we need to make to form views of the world and guide wise action.

What we see instead is Jesus himself not judging the people he met – their history, their past decisions, even the way they lived their lives. Ironically it was the religious leaders who did this, feeling they had a platform to do so. No, he took everybody as they were, never mind their past, and gave them assurance in the present and hope for their future.

In doing so, he invites us not only not to judge other people, but also not to judge ourselves. How easily regret of a past decision, guilt for a past action, or simple self-recrimination can burden us, even for years. ‘Do not judge yourself,’ says Jesus too.

Jesus is revealing God’s character. He doesn’t judge – at least not as we often think. Judgement – and justice – are for him about restoring and reconciling, not recrimination. ‘Do not judge’ steers us away from harming relationships and ourselves.

I suspect I may be not alone in jumping rather readily at times on my high judging horse! We’re human, it can be hard not to. Meanwhile I’ll practise making my driving less perfect compared to everyone else.

Rev David Carrington

Team Vicar of Escot, Feniton and Payhembury

The Rectory, Station Road, Feniton 01404 850905 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear EFP church folk,
 
Firstly, thank you for your understanding and for the kind words of thanks to Dawn last weekend, when I was sick. I will email tomorrow about this Sunday.
 
Life for us all continues to be more 'up-hill' due to the pandemic. So this may seem a jarring time to raise money matters (as I've done in the parish magazine). But the pandemic is also the reason for doing so. For rather like an earthquake, the pandemic has altered the landscape of many things, including finances for charities and churches, including our own. 
 
We have thankfully found new ways as churches in the pandemic to thrive spiritually and serve others. But usual fund-raising events, normally a vital part of our income stream, have not been possible. We are all realising that life is not quickly springing back to the 'old normal’, and this by necessity includes Sunday worship patterns. Our weekly videos supplement our church-based worship, but there’s no collection plate! 

I am hugely grateful, along with the PCCs, to all who generously support our churches - practically, financially, or in prayer. 
 
For those for whom finances are tight… please ignore what follows. 
 
For those of you for whom this is less so… and who may feel you would like to support the church financially more, or more regularly -
  • If you don’t already use the excellent ‘Parish Giving Scheme’ for regular giving, this may be good moment to start doing so.
  • Parishes benefit from the PGS by increased cash flow, and reduced administration. Donations can be made on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. You can choose to increase your gift annually in line with inflation. You can choose to give anonymously. It is easy to set up.
  • Regular gifts by other means, and one-off gifts, are all equally appreciated.
 
Just contact - in confidence if you wish - one of the PCC Treasurers, a warden or PCC member.
Treasurers’ details:
Escot Judy Davis (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 01404 812739‬)
Feniton Shan Allen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 01404 851275)
Payhembury Pat Fowler (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 01404 841646‬)
 
Thank you for reading. We’re a community together in this, as in everything. Whatever our circumstances, may God gladden all of our hearts.
 
Take care and God bless,
David
 

Rectory notes July 2020 – ‘Rock and wind’

For the first time in an age, I stepped with delight out of the car last week onto Dartmoor soil. In each place we’ve lived in Devon, I have found a ‘spiritual landscape home’ – here it’s up at Hembury Fort. But Dartmoor remains my home-of-homes.

Rectory notes September 2020 – Into the Autumn

Winners and losers have emerged from the pandemic. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, is reported to have seen his financial worth balloon to an extraordinary £150 billion. Meanwhile others have tragically lost their jobs and now struggle to make ends meet.

Thankfully finance is not life’s only measure. But the waves created by the pandemic have rocked most people’s boats. As schools finally return fully in September, young people who were unable to sit public exams this summer have had a particularly torrid time. We’ve all witnessed the waves of confusion and exam-grading changes which have crashed over them, with parents and teachers sharing the turmoil.

All young people have lost experiences this year. Thankfully many have also gained unforeseen opportunities. For all the young people in our communities returning to school or college this month – from the little ones nervously taking their first step into a Primary Reception ‘bubble’, to those starting university courses remotely or physically – we will all be wishing them safe passage and calmer waters through this term, I am sure.

Charities’ incomes are amongst those hard hit by the pandemic, and churches have inevitably been affected too, including our own. Our church communities have found new ways in the pandemic to thrive spiritually and serve others. But normal fund-raising events, important for maintaining our church buildings and the spiritual presence they represent, have not been possible. Our continuing weekly video services might be accessible and contemporary, and helpfully supplement church-based worship which continues to be challenging, but there’s no collection plate!

I’m too British to want to mention money. But as we go into this autumn, I will give this flag a wave. I’m hugely grateful, with the PCCs, to all who generously support our churches practically or financially. For those for whom finances are tight, please ignore this. For those for whom it is less so, and who appreciate the church’s presence and may wish to support it more, the ‘Parish Giving Scheme’ gives an easy route for doing so regularly, and all one-off donations are gratefully received. Just speak to a warden, treasurer or PCC member, in confidence if you wish.

We’re not all Jeff Bezos-s (thankfully, perhaps!), though who knows which of our young people may be budding entrepreneurs. September sees Payhembury’s patronal festival for St Mary – a woman at the bottom of the pile, yet who saw ‘winning’ and ‘worth’ through a different lens. So I will finish with some glorious and subversive words from her song, our ‘Magnificat’: “My soul magnifies the Lord… for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant… he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”

Rev David Carrington

Team Vicar of Escot, Feniton and Payhembury

The Rectory, Station Road, Feniton 01404 850905 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear EFP church folk,
 
You will no doubt have read or heard yesterday’s Government announcement, that from July 4th public worship will be possible in church buildings again. We rejoice in this! See the Diocese’s news release at https://exeter.anglican.org/weddings-and-worship-in-devons-church-buildings-from-4-july/ .