1 November 2015
On the 24th October, the hour went back, and darkness closed in around us as the nights became longer. It is too easy to look on the end of October and beginning of November with a touch of despair; fallen leaves, dampness, fog, and rain. The church has traditionally associated the end of the year with the end of life. On the 1st November we celebrate the festival of All Saints, and we commemorate the faithful departed the next day, Monday, 2nd November. The festival of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed are meant to shed light at the beginning of these dark days. All Saints’ Day helps us to call to mind the ordinary people from ages past who lived a Godly life. Few of them held important positions in life and their names do not appear on any official role of honour. They are not canonised saints. Many lived in obscurity, died unknown, and all memory of them has faded. Their lives are not marked by any great occurrence. God alone remembers them and the good works they have performed. They are the ordinary people of life. People who, in their daily lives, have tried to live the Christian life to the full. Like each one of us, they experienced the trials of growing up, the tensions and frustrations of living with others, and the normal difficulties and uncertainties of life. They had to cope with their own personal problems and weaknesses. But, however great their difficulties and faults, they accepted that God loved them and they relied on the strength of that love more than anything else; the way they lived their lives was more important than the recognition they attained.
The Festival of All Saints and The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed should give us fresh inspiration to continue taking up our cross daily, and to follow Christ. We too can strive to live the Christian life to the full. Heaven is within our reach. These festivals remind us that holiness of life is not for the privileged few but what God expects of all of us. Holiness is about bringing the Spirit of Christ into our lives; it is about doing ordinary things well. The command of Jesus, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” is addressed to everyone. We are called to reflect something of the holiness of God himself in the way we live our life.
I am planning two Benefice services at Tavistock Parish Church, on Monday, 2nd November, at 12.30 pm and 7.30 pm, to commemorate the faithful departed, and as a special Act of Remembrance for those who have been bereaved. During the services those who have died will be remembered by name and candles will be lit as a symbol of hope. The services will be simple and, in the evening, will include well known hymns accompanied by the choir. Everyone is welcome to either of these services of remembrance and thanksgiving. Please do take this opportunity to remember a loved one in this way if you are able to do so. Families and friends are all invited.
Benefice Away Day
If you would like to come to the Benefice Away Day on Tuesday, 24th November 2015, at Buckfast Abbey then please add your name to one of the lists to be found at the back of our churches. The day will be from 10 am – 4 pm and lunch will be available to purchase at the Abbey should you wish to do so. I am hoping that many people from across our Benefice will want to take part in this day of preparation for Advent, a preparation for “The Coming of Christ the King”, and everyone will be very welcome. The day, which will include mid-day prayer, will be structured around three talks exploring the texts: Mark 1.1-8, Matthew 24.37-44 and Matthew 31-40. There will be plenty of time to look around the Abbey and grounds during the day. The cost is £14 per person (to include refreshments but excluding lunch).
Advent Carol Service
Advent is always a very special time of year, and our Benefice Advent Carol Service is a very special act of worship. In contrast to Christmas, when we celebrate the arrival of God in human form, Advent has its own mood of looking forward, of anticipation and expectation not yet fully realised - although we know that in God’s own time all indeed will be well. One of the most popular Advent themes is that of moving from darkness into light as the Christian hope moves towards its fulfilment on Christmas Day and Christ is born anew in our hearts. Our Advent Carol Service will be held in Tavistock Parish Church on Sunday 29th November at 6pm. The service will feature carols written especially for the Advent season. I hope that many of you will be able to join us as we celebrate the wonder and promise of Advent together.
With my love and prayers.
1 October 2015
Over the last few months much thinking has been taking place about the provision we make for children and young people across the benefice. At the start of the Autumn term “Open the Book” started at St Peter’s and St Rumon’s Schools. The Open the Book Team visit once a fortnight to narrate and act out Bible Stories for the children and they are proving to be extremely popular and successful. I am very grateful to the new team of volunteers co-ordinated by Kate Barratt for making this possible. Thank you one and all.
We are now looking to begin “Messy Church” and Sarah Pendle would love to hear from anyone who can help with this initiative. In order to launch Messy Church successfully for the Benefice, we need three teams of people who can help with craft activities, hospitality, and support the Messy Church sessions alongside the Ministry Team. It will inevitably take a few months for the necessary planning and preparation to be put into place and I ask for your prayers, support and help in this new initiative please.
Thought is also now being given to starting two new home groups, one for those aged 13 – 19 and the other for young adults aged 19 – 30. If you would be interested in either of these groups, either as a participant or a helper, then please do let me know. Meetings are planned over the next few months to see how these groups can be formed and resourced.
The ACE (Adult Christian Exploration) Programme is now in its second term and regularly attracts over 20 people. Please keep an eye open for details of future sessions which are held in the Parish Centre. After Christmas, we will follow the Church of England’s “Pilgrim Course” as part of the programme. Everyone is welcome to take part in ACE. It is designed in such a way that each session “stands alone” - no previous participation or prior knowledge is required.
New Worship Material and Services
New service books are now being used at Gulworthy and Christ Church Brentor, and these have been well received. Thank you. At a recent meeting, St Eustachius’ PCC gave its approval to update the Sunday Morning Worship Book used at 9.45 am and these will be prepared and printed for use by the New Year. Another agreed change is the re-introduction of a service of Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer at 8.00 am on the first Sunday of the month in Tavistock Church. Those of you familiar with the Book of Common Prayer will know the richness of this liturgy and I am hopeful that, after a trial period, this first of the month provision will be approved permanently.
Visitors to our churches will now find new prayer cards for personal use.
At Christ Church, Brentor, two new weekly services have been started so that a service takes place at the same time each week. From next month the service pattern at Christ Church (9.45 am) will be:
First Sunday Holy Communion
Second Sunday Prayer & Praise
Third Sunday Holy Communion
Fourth Sunday Family Service
The service pattern at St.Paul’s, Gulworthy (11.15 am) will be:
First Sunday Holy Communion
Second Sunday Morning Prayer
Third Sunday Holy Communion
1 September 2015
Congratulations to Brian King who has been recommended for training for Reader Ministry at a recent Diocesan Selection Conference. Brian’s training will begin this month and will involve both academic and practical work. Training takes place over 3 years. Once licenced, a Reader may, at the invitation an Incumbent, visit the sick, teach, preach, lead Morning and Evening Prayer and services of the Word, distribute Holy Communion, conduct Communion for the sick with elements already consecrated, and, with the Bishop’s permission, conduct Funeral Services.
Please pray for Brian as he begins his training to serve in Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor.
Please continue to pray for Sue Tucker and Judith Blowey as they undertake their training for Ordination as Priests.
Almighty and Everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:
Hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.
Steve Martin to be ordained Deacon
Steve Martin will be ordained Deacon in Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 13th September. We will welcome him as Deacon at Evensong in Tavistock Parish Church at 6.00 pm. This is a Benefice celebration and I hope many from our parishes and congregations will be able to be present. The service will be followed by a party for Steve and Caroline which will be held in the Parish Centre. Everyone is welcome.
Read more: From the Vicarage