Welcome to St Eustachius' parish church, Tavistock. We aim to be a lively and caring Christian community, which encounters God and is engaged in transforming the town which we serve. We hope that you find these web pages helpful, we look forward to greeting you in person, and are glad to receive any feedback or enquiries that you have.
Posies prepared for Mothering Sunday
4 March 2013
Tavistock parish church is this week preparing posies which will be given to mothers and all who care for children at its popular service for Mothers’ Day this coming Sunday. Held at , the special family service will feature hymns and songs for Mothering Sunday, prayers led by the church’s Vestry Group for young children, and reflections on the joys (and challenges) of raising children today. At the end of the service, children and adults alike will be invited to present posies of flowers to all who care, or have cared, for children.
The priest-in-charge of Tavistock, the Reverend Michael Brierley, said, ‘Caring is demanding, and all who care for children as well as others, deserve our thanks and praise. We thank God for them too. This is a particularly lovely service, to which all are very warmly invited.’
Everyone is very welcome at the service in St Eustachius’ church, which will be followed by cake and refreshments.
From Andrew Steven
1 March 2013
What can we know about Jesus of Nazareth in March 2013?
The beginning of March sees us nearly halfway through Lent, the time when we prepare ourselves for the dramatic events of Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This sequence of events in the church calendar following the life of Jesus always gives me a slight difficulty since there is a gap of three years between the temptations in the wilderness and his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The one does not strictly lead into the other and yet there is an inevitable progression from Jesus' baptism and temptations at the beginning of his ministry to the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension at the end of his time here on earth.
So how does this work out in practice? Over the years I have heard many sermons and read many words about the temptations and have been struck by the assumption of many people including Nicky Gumble of Alpha fame that the devil was trying to put doubt into Jesus' mind as to who he was by saying “IF you are the Son of God.” On the contrary, I would suggest that the devil knew exactly who Jesus was, as did Jesus, and the word “if” was used as a substitute for the word “because”. Matthew ch4 v3 it would therefore read , The tempter came to him and said, “Because you are the Son of God you know you have the power to tell these stones to become bread” so the temptation Jesus had to resist was using his powers in the wrong way by meeting his own needs rather than bringing in God's Kingdom. Even at the age of twelve he knew exactly who he was. When Mary and Joseph took him up to Jerusalem for the Passover he stayed behind when they set out on the homeward journey.
After three days they eventually found him in the temple courts sitting among and questioning the teachers of the law and Luke tells us that they were astonished. “Why were you searching for me?” Jesus asked his parents. “Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?” He knew and Satan knew that there was no “IF” about it and the temptations Jesus faced were unique to him. This is still Satan's strategy today. Apart from the ways in which we are all tempted daily (as a friend of mine once said, “Mummy always tells the most ENORMOUSWHOPPERS!”) we face the problems and difficulties which are personal to us in our own specific circumstances. But unlike Jesus, St. Paul tells us we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
In the same way that Jesus knew who he was, he also knew precisely why he had come. He came to give his life on the cross at Calvary to personally pay the penalty for your sin and mine. Because of what he has done for us we may go free with all our debts cancelled. We stand forgiven at the foot of the cross and receive the undeserved riches of God's grace and favour. By his stripes we are healed. Hallelujah!
But as we know the cross, although central to our Christian faith, is not the end. At the grave of Lazarus Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection, I am the Life” and he proved it on Easter Sunday by rising again from the dead. He now invites us to live his resurrection life in the power of the Holy Spirit daily seeking his presence in our lives.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
1 February 2013
We all need renewing in Christian faith. Every Sunday, of course, hopefully renews us in faith for the forthcoming week. Even every day we should seek in prayer to be renewed by God for whatever the day will bring. Holy Week, I often think, is the key occasion in the church’s year for being renewed in faith, as we slow down, abandon meetings, and over a period of a week, enter deeply into the ‘paschal mystery’, the events of Christ’s cross and resurrection and what they mean for us.
Every six years, the electoral rolls - the ‘membership lists’ - of our parishes are renewed. Not unlike the biblical principle of ‘jubilee’ (which was every seven years), this is an opportunity for a new beginning. Rather than the ‘opt out’ system of the electoral roll in the intervening years (ie members stay on the list unless they specifically ask to come off), every sixth year is an ‘opt in’ year - members have to fill out an application form afresh if they wish to be on the new roll / list. It’s an opportunity for a ‘freshen up’ - those members of the roll who for whatever reason have stopped coming to church in the last six years won’t feature on the new one, and (hopefully many more) people who have started coming to church but for whatever reason have not joined the roll, can now demonstrate their membership by signing up.