We are pleased to announce the release of the parish magazine for the month of March 2019. Some featured articles include:
- Page 17: The Common Fund and our contributions to it
- Page 34: Confirmation classes for young people
We are pleased to announce the release of the parish magazine for the month of March 2019. Some featured articles include:
Have you ever reflected on the various names of God revealed to us in our scriptures? It does make for an informative study, and I hope will help us in our walk and worship, so let’s start by looking at how the names of God reveal his characteristics, and his relationship to us, his children.
We often choose names for our children to describe some ‘hoped for characteristic’, and we see that practice throughout the pages of scripture. Jacob -‘the deceiver’ (Gen 27v19), whose name was later changed to Israel (Gen32v38) ‘for you have striven with God and prevailed’; and of course in the name of our Lord Jesus -Yeshua, (Mtt1v21) ‘for he shall save his people from their sins’.
But why should the names of God be important to us now, and can they help us along our earthly pilgrimage?
The first reason is that out of only ten prime commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai one specifically (Gen20v7) tells us ‘Not to take the name of the LORD –YAHWEH – your God in vain’. This means more than not just using God’s name in a slang or profane way, it means that if we have a right relationship with the one true and living God, we must honour his name in our lives.
A second reason rests on the inherent greatness of God’s name as we seek to praise him. We read in psalm 8v1 ‘O LORD our lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth’, and see also ps48v10, ps75v1, ps76v1, etc.
And a third reason stems from Proverbs 18v10 ‘The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe’. This encourages us to seek protection (Jehovah Nissi), healing (Jehovah Rophe) and provision (Jehovah Jireh) through the name of our great God. Some of you will remember how these promoted two popular worship songs in the eighties.
Although God has revealed himself to us through his names, we had to await the final and ultimate revelation when He became incarnate through the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus.
In his definitive book ‘The names of God’, Ken Hemphill lists thirteen significant names; let us now focus in on just five of those, as knowing these may help us in our individual and collective praise and worship.
Elohim (Gen1v1). “In the beginning God”. This reflects the one and only eternal, sovereign and creator God through whom, out of nothing, ex nihilo, everything in the created universe, spiritual and physical, owes its origin. It is the most frequent name used for God in the Old Testament, and it is plural. Then in Gen1v26 we read, ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our own image”’, giving a hint to the Trinity from the very onset of our scriptures. It also plants perhaps the most fundamental and transforming thought that any human being may ever conceive, that we are in the image of our creator God. As such, is it any wonder that we can find genius displayed in art, music, literature, science and technology? This should spur us on to obey our Lord’s command to ‘love one another as ourselves’.
Adonai (Gen15v2). ‘But Abram said “Lord God, what will you give me?” This name, once again plural, signifies God’s rightful ownership of the family of humanity, and as such demands and requires our worship and obedience. As is written in the Westminster Confession of 1646, we were all individually born to ‘glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever’. As Christians we know that we not only belong to God, but we can also have intimate and eternal fellowship with Him through our faith and trust in Jesus – Yeshua – the Messiah.
El Elyon (Gen14v19-20). “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth”. The prefix El was frequently used in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic as a reference to a deity, and is used here to show that Israel’s God, our God, stands apart and high above all other supposed gods. The uniqueness of our God is shown in that He alone is ‘possessor of heaven and earth’.
This uniqueness we reflect in our introduction to the ‘Prayers of Penitence’ where we use the essential Jewish prayer, the centre piece of their service of morning and evening prayer, the Shema (Deut6v4) “Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ecḥad”, when we say “The LORD – Yahweh is our God, the LORD is one”. We are saying that this is the one and only God in whom we can have complete confidence to put our trust.
El Shaddai (Gen17v1). ‘The LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless”’. What an amazing promise God made to Abram, one that I believe also applies to us; we can walk with God. What we must do is recognise God’s lordship over our lives, acknowledge in penitence and faith our sin before the most Holy God, and then thank Him for the salvation we have through the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus.
This name El Shaddai is usually translated as ‘God Almighty’ and so reveals the omnipotence, the all-powerful nature of God, and his inexhaustible riches that he makes available to us. Truly, this is a God we can trust with our whole life.
YAHWEH (Exodus1v14). ‘God said to Moses “I AM WHO I AM”’. That was how God described Himself to Moses at the burning bush when God commissioned him to go and lead the Hebrew people out of their bondage in Egypt; so many people in this twenty first century still await deliverance from their bondage.
In psalm 68v4 we see that ‘YAHWEH’ is indeed the proper name of God when we read, ‘Sing to God, sing praises to his name; I am the LORD – YAHWEH, that is my name: I will not give my glory to another’.
This appellation occurs nearly seven thousand times in our bibles where it is usually written as LORD, translating the four consonant Hebrew word YHWH called the tetragrammaton. That is why the name of God is unpronounceable, and why some Jews in Jesus’s time explained away his miracles by saying he knew how to pronounce the name of God and by that performed his miracles. Still today Jews will not use this true name for God but use instead ‘Hashem’. Oh, that we would be bold enough to use the true name of God to set Him apart from all the false so called gods.
So let us take more care how we may use the name of God day by day, using it to increase our reverence for Him in our prayer and worship as we seek to deepen our walk with the very creator God of the universe.
Perhaps at a later date we shall examine the remaining eight names of God.
The churches of our Benefice are members of “TACT”, Tavistock Area Christians Together. TACT is involved in a wide range of initiates and projects from churches of different denominations to enhance fellowship, worship and outreach in our area. A recent initiative has been the launch of “ROC Tavistock” (Redeeming Our Communities) following a “ROC” conversation held in Tavistock Town Hall in June last year. Through this initiative new links are being formed between our churches and the voluntary sector to extend further God’s care for the people around us. We are part of four groups which meet every six weeks looking to set up small projects to address the following issues:
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a few of the other initiatives we are also involved in:
During 2018 patrol teams went out on 68 nights of the year to meet a very real need amongst those out and about in the night-time economy. Patrols engaged with more than 1,500 people and also gave out 120 pairs of flip-flops. Daytime patrols also go out in teams of 2 each Friday lunchtime.
School Pastors and Catalyst
School Pastors visit Tavistock College each Wednesday lunchtime during term time. At present we have a team of 8 School Pastors and 10 Prayer Pastors. Catalyst youth workers also work in the College and a number of other schools throughout the week.
TASTE AND SEE
Taste and See is Christian outreach for ladies in the form of supper events. The aim is to provide an opportunity to invite friends/family/colleagues to an ‘easy-to-access’ Christian event. Numbers for the events typically range from 60 to 70 ladies.
PENTECOST PARTY IN THE PARK
After the torrential rain of the 2017 the 2018 “Pentecost Party in the Park”, event took place on a beautiful summer day. It was a wonderful opportunity to share the Christian message.
RISEN – EASTER MONDAY CELEBRATION
The “Risen” event has been taking place in Tavistock Town Hall every Easter Monday for the last seven years. It is an evening enjoyed by many Christians from our local area. The aim is to make the evening welcoming & comfortable for all, regardless of church background or none. Worship is led by a choir drawn from local churches and it is always an encouraging and uplifting evening. Another “Risen” event is being planned for this coming Easter Monday evening.
IGNATIAN PRAYER GROUP
The Ignatian Prayer Group is now in its sixth year and meets in Tavistock. The aim is to encourage contemplative prayer in the style of St. Ignatius. The group welcomes new people and the dates can be found on the TACT website and our pew sheets.
OPEN THE BOOK
“Open the Book” is a nation-wide initiative by the Bible Society, encouraging local churches to present dramatized Bible stories to primary schools. We are fortunate in the Tavistock area that many of the local schools welcome contributions from “Open the Book” teams to Key Stage 1 & 2 assemblies. The dramatized stories are mostly taken from the “Lion Storyteller Bible” with a fully scripted introduction, conclusion and short prayer published by the Bible Society. At present Open the Book teams visit the following schools:
HEALING ROOMS AND COSTA HEALING
Monday evening “Healing Rooms” in the Society of Friends Meeting House in Bedford car park has been running for 5 years. In Costa, on each Tuesday morning, prayers for healing are also said. Everyone is welcome. This is an initiative that Costa is open to in their cafes nationally.
DATA (DEBT ADVICE TAVISTOCK AREA)
DATA (Debt Advice, Tavistock Area) has been running for just over 6 years. It is a charity supported by TACT providing completely free advice to anyone in need, helping local people with debt management, debt relief orders, bankruptcy, dealing with creditors and bailiffs. The charity is affiliated to the Christian debt advice group Community Money Advice (CMA).
TAVISTOCK FOOD BANK
TACT oversee the work of the Tavistock Food Bank. From September 2017 to August 2018, 426 vouchers were given, 631 adults and 362 children were fed. The Foodbank is currently in need of the following items: small bags of sugar, tinned meat, jars of pasta sauce, deodorant, washing powder/tablets, and larger sized nappies. There are Food Bank drop-off points at both Co-ops in Tavistock, and Tesco and Morrisons.
TAVIPRAISE, TAVIPRAYER AND PRAYER IN THE SQUARE
TaviPraise – an evening of contemporary worship led by different TACT groups in different church locations on the first Thursday of most months.
TaviPrayer – a meeting held monthly for prayer for TACT projects and particular needs.
Prayer in the Square – held on the third Saturday of most months in Bedford Square. An opportunity to talk to people and offer prayer.
Please pray for the work of TACT and for all those we seek to serve.
With my love and prayers
In June last year, Wendy Roderick wrote about her time in the Arabian desert and how the wilderness is a constant presence in the Bible. During the season of Epiphany, we have heard how John the Baptist lived in the wilderness Luke 1: 80 and baptised Jesus Luke 3 : 21. After his baptism by John “Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” Luke 4 : 1-2.
We begin February with the Feast of Candlemas when we recall the presentation of Christ in the Temple at Jerusalem. During February we will also recall the beginning of the Ministry of Jesus: The summoning of the disciples, the Sermon on the Mount and the Calming of the Storm on the Sea of Galilee. This is to be our preparation for the season of Lent which begins in March and will take us into the wilderness where we have time to reflect.
I once spent time in a wilderness – it happened to be in western Iran on the Jowkar Plain where the Magi, who travelled from the East to visit the infant Jesus, might have come from. My task there was to ensure that a steel roof was completed to protect the fragile mud brick remains of a Zoroastrian fire temple dating from the Median period which had been excavated on the summit of an isolated rock.
The experience summoned in me thoughts similar to the reflections Wendy has told us about. However, there was one very important difference. The desert of Arabia is one of shifting sands and nothing stays still for long. Even the infrequent rains which fill the river beds and supply the oases are followed by periods of intense scorching heat which dries up everything. The only people who inhabit this land keep moving across vast distances, relying on the few sources of water which are reliable.
The Jowkar plain in western Iran, on the other hand, was once fertile land. The crumbling remains of villages are to be seen throughout the area and the few families who remain eke out an existence in considerable difficulty. All the young people had left for the big cities further east where the prospects were better, leaving only the elderly and the very young in the village of their birth.
When I was left alone on the site after the archaeologists had returned to Teheran, I climbed up the rock to supervise the completion of the steel roof above the fire temple and the covering of the surrounding excavations. The thoughts which occupied me then were concerning the transience of man’s activity amidst God’s creation. The wilderness all around me was the result of man’s activities – which had failed.
In recent years I have begun to see that Dartmoor is a bit like that. It is a wilderness dominated by nature but it also embraces many traces of man’s former activity in the form of hut circles, stone rows, quarries, mines and leats. It also surrounds river valleys which continue the pattern of settlement in villages and farms which has been established for many centuries.
When I left Iran in 1972, I travelled alone through Turkey and Europe to my home in England. It was in Turkey that I first emerged from the wilderness. I was driving down a valley from the barren mountain pass in Georgia and noticed the tiny groups of spindly birch trees forming groves beside the river. This illustrated the power of water. It brought life and the new growth brought colour. It was the greenness which was so exciting to me at that moment. After a year spent in a grey/brown world, the sudden appearance of green leaves and silver bark with the sparkling activity of the water enticed me. The beauty is God’s creation and I wanted to stop my truck and experience the shade of the trees and feel the water running across my skin.
I have recently discovered the joys of wild swimming and this has taken me to a number of very special places where God’s creation is manifest. The water is warmed by flowing over the surface of huge rocks which have been heated by the sun. Its flow has, over centuries, worn down the valley to form pools fed by waterfalls.
It is good to hear the sound of flowing water: the power and the energy of it and it is good to immerse yourself in the pool as you see everything from a different point of view. The water supports your body and you can float looking up at the sky. Everything you can see is God’s creation and what is below the surface is also God’s but a different world. You are bridging two worlds.
At baptism the immersion of the body is a descent from our world to the world of death and the baptism is the emergence to new life in Christ. Last year, I felt blessed to witness the baptism of my grandson Sebastian at St Michael’s Church in Brentor. I saw him splashed with the water of baptism and I loved him even more because he has been claimed as Christ’s with the sign of the cross. Whatever he gets up to in his life ahead, he will have the support of all the people who made promises at this ceremony; those who came from Australia, from Canada and from Holland as well as the members of the three families that have formed my son James during his life so far.
Baptism is a sacrament but it is not the only rite we need as Christians because a child is not able to discern the implications of life in Christ and others, as Godparents, promise to intercede on behalf of this child. So when we grow up, it is important that we consider these implications for ourselves. We can choose to confirm the promises made on our behalf by godparents and make the commitment to life in Christ for ourselves. This choice can be supported by joining a group preparing for confirmation. Chris Hardwick, in the January Parish Magazine, has given a very clear invitation to explore Confirmation and I commend this to everyone you know who might be embarking on this journey.
Sally and I have walked alongside candidates for Confirmation over several years and know that the journey of faith is never ending. But confirmation is an important step because the commitment is a personal one. It affirms our relationship with God on our life journey and commits us to continue to learn as we grow. I am pleased to see that all our churches offer Pilgrim or other similar courses to give us encouragement to learn and to grow as Christians in this benefice.
The welcome I have experienced on the occasions when I have joined a study group has always been warm and inviting. The joy of listening to others as they explore the reading and the help I have received from being there as a participant is a real blessing. No one should be apprehensive about joining a study group because the environment is benign and safe. Tony Vigars is leading a group in Brentor on the Acts of the Apostles which I am enjoying. Mike Loader leads one in Tavistock and Judith Blowey has recently completed the whole series of Pilgrim Courses at Gulworthy.
During the season of Lent Chris Hardwick will be giving Lent Lectures in the parish Centre from 11.30am to 1.00pm followed by a light lunch of soup with a bread roll. This starts on Monday 11th March followed by 18th March, 25th March, 1st April and 8th April. Now you have your 2019 Diaries, make sure these dates are ringed!
May every possible blessing pour upon you in 2019.
Reader Christopher of Brentor
We are pleased to announce the release of the parish magazine for the month of February 2019. Some featured articles include:
The Very Revd Dr Christopher Hardwick
The Reverend Mike Loader
The Reverend Dr Steven Martin
The Reverend Sue Tucker
The Reverend Judith Blowey
Mr Christopher Pancheri
Mrs Sally Pancheri
Mrs Wendy Roderick
Mrs Mandy Betts
9.30 am - 12.30 pm
St Rumon's Infants School
St Peter's Junior School
St Paul's, Gulworthy
Christ Church, Brentor
St Michael's, Brent Tor
Mrs Hilary Sanders - 07810 301376
Mrs Mary Whalley - 01822 481179
Director of Music
Mr Scott Angell - 01752 783490
Pastoral Care Co-ordinator
Mrs Elizabeth Maslen - 01822 613512
Mrs Mandy Betts - 01822 616673
Parish Giving Officer
Mr Peter Rowan - 01822 617999