Benefice Bugle November 2020

Please “click” on the link below to read the full Bugle…

Benefice Bugle November 2020

 

Benefice Bugle October 2020

Please “click” on the link below to read the full Bugle…

Benefice Bugle October 2020

 

From The Rev’d Nick Ktorides – November 2020

Well, time flies, as they say. With autumn or the ‘fall’, the earth’s natural decomposing – self fertilisation, is the order of the day. The seasons, distinct one from another, come faithfully, cyclically and annually around, followed by the migrating birds that come and go along with them.  And it’s this continual change happening all around us, (and looking in the mirror, unfortunately to us) that flies, rather than time itself.

I was struck by John Betjeman’s ‘Harvest Hymn’, a re-telling of ‘We plough the fields and scatter’:

We spray the fields and scatter
the poison on the ground,
So that no wicked wild flowers
Upon our farm be found.
We like whatever helps us
To line our purse with pence;
The twenty-four hour broiler-house
And neat electric fence…

And in place of ‘All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above,’ JB’s chorus has become:

All concrete sheds around us

And Jaguars in the yard….are from our working hard.

While a tad cynical, I think the late Poet Laureate strikes a cautionary note, not with farmers who dirty their hands through working the land, but with the Big corporations and Big business. Many of these conglomerates have thrown out the idea of the wise stewardship of the earth and its valuable resources. These are often replaced with profit-driven genetically engineered foods, crops and agrochemicals. These, the evidence appears to show, are to the detriment of the earth and to its poorest communities.

Whether we have the all-knowing wisdom of a creator God or the wisdom inherent in millions of years evolution in mind, it seems foolhardy and dangerous to try to better such wisdom. Introducing genetically-modified foods appears to be part of an agenda, to play at being God. Today’s agricultural pesticides are, I understand, designed to kill all living things except crops that have been genetically modified to withstand them.

In these times of increasing food insecurity, let’s heed the concerns of JB’s hymn and return to the time-proven cycles of nature and away from the vicious cycle of large-scale industrial agriculture. And in so doing be enabled to return to the hymn’s original sentiments – “All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above; then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord. for all his love”.

Nick Ktorides

From The Rev’d Nick Ktorides – September 2020

It’s now six months since Shuba and I moved into the lovely village of Chesterton. It seems somewhat surreal looking back at the April magazine article announcing the appointment of a new priest!

My licensing, scheduled for the 2nd April, did happen right on time. But due to the lockdown a few days before, it was a virtual licensing, conducted on-line, rather than in church.

I wonder if it was the first ‘virtual’ (computer-generated) licensing in history? Anyway, hurray for the technology that made it possible! I’m perceiving an explosion in a science fiction-like, computer-driven, new world order, where the science of algorithms, robotics and AI are deified.

It somehow brings Red Dwarf (the Sci-fi comedy with the robot Kryten) to mind. In one episode ‘DNA’ Kryten is transformed into a trans-human, when DNA from his part-organic brain is used to alter his entire molecular structure. Not to mention the computer-generated Hologram that was Rimmer. Rimmer was the only member of the crew who believed the ‘H’ on his forehead stood for human.

The analogy here is strictly between Red Dwarf and our technological age. Since my licensing I’ve only been seen on a computer screen (for our on-line Zoom services). But the evidence is only circumstantial – I’m not a virtual computer-generated holographic priest, honest. There’s no ‘H P’ on my forehead to start with – check out my picture!

Anyway, despite my on-line computer licensing, it was conducted by the very real and Right Reverend Colin Fletcher and Archdeacon Judy. I’m a real flesh and blood person and priest.

Do forgive this frivolous caricature of this difficult time of lockdown and shielding that we are all going through – just a bit of stress relief!

More seriously, it’s important to remind ourselves in this technological age (where our old friend cash is becoming rarer and where we need a password to do our banking, shopping and communicating), that people are real, physical, flesh and blood. Technology has its benefits for sure. But we need the comfort that only real human contact and fellowship bring, not just an image of one another on a computer screen. That’s been the case since creation, when God made us in His own triune image – fellowship is at our core – it’s in our God-given DNA.

So, yes, let’s stay safe and well, but also seek appropriate ways to limit our isolation, limit our fear and build up a healthy immunity and community.

Nick Ktorides

Benefice Bugle Sep 2020

No. 3 September 2020

Please, have a look… lots of interesting info…

The first two pages contain the Vital Information about services and contact details.

Do print out them out for anyone you know who is not on computer.

The following pages contain lots of news and views so we hope you enjoy them!

Benefice
Bugle!

Benefice Bugle Sep 2020 final

From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – August 2020

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear friends

I have recently been greatly captivated by Roy Jenkins’s superb biography of Gladstone. I was most amused by his wife, Catherine’s, remark, “Oh William, dear, if you weren’t such a great man, you’d be the most terrible bore.”  He was, of course, renowned for prolixity – several of his Commons speeches going on for three or even four hours. But he was also a man of enormous erudition, wide sympathies, and prodigious energy and industry.

Jenkins writes of Gladstone, after the latter’s peregrination around the industrial north in 1862:

“There was some feeling that he was on their side, not in the sense of an economic class struggle….but in the sense that he was for seriousness against cynicism, for moral purpose against frivolity…and also in some sense for the solid striving of the northern provincial centres as against the glitter of London and the soft landscape and more traditional society of the south.” (p 240)

Of whom could that be said today?  Not that I am against all frivolity!  But there is a lack of real seriousness and moral purpose among many of our politicians. Would that they spent more time, like Gladstone, devouring the classics, engaging in strenuous physical exercise, or writing personal letters to their families, constituents and peers, instead of spending their time indulging in rather pointless excursions on Twitter and Facebook and relying too little on their native judgment and too much on the opinions of special advisers.

Many a commentator has suggested that the coronavirus pandemic should give us pause – a chance to take stock and recalibrate our political system and our common life. The BBC has offered a rich array of reflective programmes, including an excellent series of radio discussions called Rethink, and there have been similar offerings in the national press.

I very much hope that, however long the current crisis lasts, and whatever its long-term effects, we will all find the opportunity to ask what really matters.  What really matters in our society, in our families, in our own individual lives?  Life is short, and we can easily fritter it away in trivial pursuits!

In our churches too there are questions to ask.  How do we best use our resources? How do we look outwards towards the community? How do we engage with difficult questions?  How do we listen carefully to those with whom we differ?  How do we support the young in this constantly changing world?

The pandemic is stretching us in all kinds of ways, perhaps especially the frail and elderly and those who have had young children at home rather than school.  As we move into an unpredictable future, I pray that we might be stretched in positive and wholesome ways, but also that we might help each other to find some relief from the strain.

Gareth
akemanbenefice@gmail.com

01869 350224

From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – May 2020

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear parishioners;

Church buildings are special to many of us, though we’re having to make do without them for the time being. That’s sad, but we’re also learning new ways of being together and worshipping together. Of course, trying to worship God while looking at a screen is not ideal, but thank God that we can enjoy a different kind of fellowship that in some ways feels quite intimate.

The Bible reminds us that God does not live in human temples. But being human we need visual aids, places that give us a glimpse of heaven. That’s why we make the liturgy different from ordinary life. It’s why we have robes, and music and processions, and in some places smells and bells. It’s not supposed to be like other times and other places. Here we encounter the divine in all his mystery and majesty, as well as all his intimacy.

When Prince Vladimir of Kiev visited Constantinople in 988 he attended mass in Hagia Sophia. “We did not know whether we were on earth or in heaven,” he said. “Never have we seen such beauty. Here we can truly say that God dwells among men.”

When we are touched by the infinite our instinct is to kneel or to bow down. Have you ever had that experience of going into an empty church and the only appropriate thing to do is to kneel? We are bodily creatures, and just as people who live entirely in their heads often find it difficult to contact their emotions, so if we do not use our bodies in church it’s perhaps more difficult to connect with God.

It has become rarer to see people kneel in church. Some of us of course might find it difficult to get up! But we can bow towards the altar, or make the sign of the cross, or raise our hands in praise, or dance, or reverence the blessed sacrament. When the priest bows or genuflects at the consecration it is a reminder that God comes down to us in order to bring us up to him. That’s what worship reminds us of.

We can just see the obvious, the literal, what stares us in the face, or we can move through and see beyond: “A man that looks on glass on it may stay his eye, or, if he pleaseth through it pass, and then the heav’n espy.” (George Herbert).

I hope it won’t be long before we can gather again for corporate worship. Worship draws us out of the suffocating bubble of our own ego. Richard Rohr, the American Franciscan, says “Your life is not about you.” St Paul put it even better: “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Your sincere friend and Rector,
Gareth

akemanbenefice@gmail.com

01869 350224

To All Church of England Clergy

Letter to parishioners

17 March 2020

My dear friends

You will no doubt be aware that, because of the grave circumstances in which we find ourselves, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a pastoral letter, appended to this email, giving effect to their decision to suspend all church services and meetings.

This leaves us in unprecedented territory, and my hope and prayer is that we will discover ways of being the church together without meeting in our normal gatherings.   I believe that it will bring out the best in our communities, which have already shown remarkable examples of generosity and service, but it will doubtless also impose strains, and none of us is exempt from that.

I do think that we should all do our best to observe the restrictions being asked of us by the government, for the sake of our own health and well-being and for the common good.    

Please note that the archbishops are calling us all to observe this Sunday, 22 March (Mothering Sunday), as a Day of Prayer and Action.   We are all invited to put a lighted candle in our front windows at 7pm as a sign of solidarity and hope.

On Thursday of this week I will be visiting each of our churches and praying in it.  I will also be putting a notice up on the door inviting people to use the church and I will be leaving prayers for people to use.  I will also be arranging for prayers to be said in each church on Sunday and will arrange, if possible, for a bell to be rung. This will not be a public service.  I am asking the wardens to ensure that, as far as is practicable, churches remain open as usual.

As yet, I have no further information on funerals, weddings and banns of marriage. I imagine that we may be permitted to do burials and cremations and to hold memorial services at a later time, but this is pure speculation.    We have a number of weddings booked, including a few in the fairly near future.

Other matters:

In recent weeks some of you have been meeting in homes as part of the Travelling Together course, which has been part of our Lenten observance.   I know that some of these groups have discovered a real sense of fellowship and mutual support.   I hope that you will continue to connect by email, phone and text, and that the groups will resume when things are better. My thanks to the leaders and hosts.

It is fortunate that we were able to hold four of our Annual Parochial Church Meetings before the present arrangements were imposed.  However, those at Wendlebury, Weston and Hampton Gay have not yet taken place.  Under the current rules they should take place by 31 May, but I suspect these rules will be suspended, and I await guidance.

Many of you will be aware that Nick Ktorides, our new House for Duty priest, will be moving to Chesterton with his wife Shuba on 25 March.  Clearly it will be in very unusual circumstances and it may be some time before you get to meet them.  I can only assume that the service of licensing planned for 2 April is cancelled.   I am sure that Bishop Colin can license Nick privately, and we can have a service of welcome in due course.  We are arranging a welcome pack of groceries to be delivered to the house.   If any of you feel inclined to welcome them with a cake, bottle, or box of chocs I am sure that would be very much appreciated.  Please be aware that Shuba is currently unwell and is unlikely to be making a public appearance for the time being.

Warmest good wishes and prayers at this difficult time,
Gareth

PRAYERS and SUPPORT

PRAYERS and SUPPORT during the coronavirus crisis

Please click on this link to find a message from The Archbishop of Canterbury:

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-writing/articles/message-archbishop-justin-welby-responding-coronavirus

Please click on this link to find prayers for use during the current crisis:

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-liturgy-and-prayer-resources

If you have access to the internet you can find Daily Prayer here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer

This is updated daily. Neighbours and family may care to print these off for those who do not have internet access. It is also available as an app.

Every day on Radio 4 Long Wave the BBC broadcasts the Daily Service at 9.45 am.
Also available on DAB:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wzfs

Every Wednesday on Radio 3 the BBC broadcasts Choral Evensong at 3.30 pm
(repeated on Sundays at 3.00 pm).  Also available on DAB:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tp7r

The Scripture Union and Bible Reading Fellowship provide helpful booklets with daily readings. These can be bought online.

The Church of England https://www.churchofengland.org/

and

The Diocese of Oxford https://www.oxford.anglican.org/

publish regular updates on the coronavirus situation.

 

 

Please find overleaf a few prayers which may be of help to those spending time at home….

 

Prayers in time of need

 

A prayer for help

O Lord my God, you are my refuge and my strength. You are my ever-present help in times of trouble. When it seems like the world is crumbling around me and I am thrown around by the storms of life, take away my fear. When I am weak, you are my strength. When I am vulnerable, you are my refuge. When I cry for help, you will answer. Remind me, Lord, that you are always with me and will never leave or forsake me. I ask this through Christ my Lord. Amen.

A prayer for calm

Eternal Father, you know my past, present and future; nothing is unknown to you. When I worry about what is ahead of me, please calm my fears with the knowledge that you go before me. I will never be alone because you will always be with me. You have promised that you will not fail me or forsake me and you are faithful to keep all your promises. Take away my fear and replace it with faith in your unending love, shown to me in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for those who are ill

Lord God, whose Son, Jesus Christ, understood people’s fear and pain before they spoke of them; we pray for those who are unwell at home or in hospital; surround the frightened with your tenderness; give strength to those in pain; hold the weak in your arms of love, and give hope and patience to those who are recovering; we ask this through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A morning prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you that you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day; keep us from falling into sin or running into danger, and guide us to do always what is right in your eyes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

An evening prayer

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world may repose upon your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer of St Patrick

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.