St Augustines Parish Church Locking
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St Augustine's Parish Church - Locking

Stay Connected 13th September 2020

If you would like the weekly "Stay Connected" emailed to you, please contact the Benefice Office Contact and we will put you on the mailing list. This is a replacement for the weekly pew sheet and contains many useful things so that you don't feel so isolated.

For Video Online Morning Services with Rev Anne Wilkins - Click Here

Dear friends,

On a recent webinar the following quote was given: ‘Part of the discomfort is the dispelling of the myth we were ever in control.’ On Wednesday this week we woke to the news that the government are changing the guidelines about the number of people who can meet both inside or outside. It is good to know that we can still meet for private prayer and for worship on Sundays. As I write I am still waiting for clarification about groups who meet in the Church Centre. It is indeed unsettling for all of us, me included, as we like to know what is happening and plan ahead. It does make me realise that we are not in control of our lives. Perhaps it is not a bad lesson to learn, as many of us too often want things our own way. We don't like to be told what to do and how to do it. We like to believe that we can live our lives our way and that we are our own boss.

As Christians though, this should never be so. In our readings for Sunday recently we heard Jesus' teaching on taking up our cross and of following Him and of dying to self. I believe that this means relinquishing control of our own lives, our wants, desires and wishes and of allowing the Lord to guide and lead us each day. It's how we become more and more like Jesus, by allowing Him into the driving seat of our lives. At the moment my daughter is learning to drive and I have been taking her out in my car. Sitting in the passenger seat while she drives is not an easy thing. She is nearly ready to take her test when she can get one, but it is hard not to be in control.

So rather than kick against government guidelines, see it as a learning exercise about humility. It's not just about doing what is best for us, but it's about what is best for the protection of others. Also see that it can teach us about allowing Jesus to take control of our lives. In all these changes know that He never changes and that we can trust Him for each day and for all our tomorrows. He is indeed our Rock, our strong foundation, our shield, or shepherd, our leader, the Lord of all and that includes our lives.
God bless

See:    This weeks Stay Connected Sheet pdf             Prayer Calendar September pdf             Compassion Prayer Calendar pdf

Churches open

Sunday Services - St Augustine’s Locking and St Mary’s Hutton are open on Sundays for worship at 10am and then at 11am. There are a limited number of seats at each service due to social distancing. Because of this we are asking everyone to REGISTER EVERY WEEK to say that they are coming to either service. In order to do this please ring Phil Etchells on 814461 from 12noon – 5pm any day. Seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The wearing of a face covering is mandatory.

Private Prayer - St Augustine’s Locking and St Mary’s Hutton church buildings are open for private prayer on Thursdays 10am - 12noon. Each session will be supervised and all seating is at a distance of 2 metres. If you have any questions about this please contact the wardens: For Locking Eddie and Mary French 01934 813634, for Hutton Dave Bradley 01934 814205 and Mary Potter 01934 812788.

If you are self-isolating and need shopping or supplies please ring Anne 01934 823556 for Hutton and Locking villagers or Steve Cope 01934 813871 for Hutton.

Any Foodbank donations can be left on the doorstep of John and Margaret Bailey, 31 Willow Drive, Hutton or Chris and Anne Wilkins, The Vicarage, The Green, Locking, where they will be collected and taken to the foodbank. They are in need of: Tinned potatoes, Instant mashed potatoes, Shampoo and deodorant, Tinned meats, plus any other food items people want to include but please no pasta!

Next week we celebrate Harvest in both churches at both services. This year we are collecting goods that will go to the Food Bank. They are being specific about what they need at the moment, these are: Tinned potatoes, Instant mashed potatoes, Shampoo and deodorants, Tinned meats plus any other food items you would like to include, but please no pasta! In Hutton please places your gifts around the font and in Locking please keep them to the end of the service and place at the altar on the way out. Thank you

When you can't attend a funeral. One of the really sad things at this time is that not everyone who would like to attend a funeral can, due to the restrictions on numbers. Over lockdown I have been sending this service to people and suggest that they read it and light a candle at the time of the service to feel that they are part of it. I do hope that it helps you. See - A Simple Reflection at home on a Funeral

Got some good news?
Then why not share it here so we can all celebrate. A special anniversary, a new baby, an engagement, an achievement. It can be something big or very small - if it's good news then let us all know.

Mustard Seed
As from Wednesday 9th September, the Mustard Seed morning on Wednesdays will be held in the Main Hall of Hutton Village Hall. The times are the same – 10 – 12 noon. The usual social distancing will apply and we ask that people intending to come ring Eric & Gill on 813716 so that we don’t exceed the number we are allowed. If the weather is suitable we will have a few tables outside. A one way system will operate. Many thanks again to those who have supported us while we met outside in the garden;and who have bought from Gill’s Fairtrade stock through her delivery service. This has really supported the Fairtrade cause well during the Lockdown and we have enjoyed some lovely fellowship during this difficult time.

Shoebox Appeal 2020
Just to let you all know we will be continuing with our Shoebox appeal again this year even with COVID-19. In fact there will be more need this year too especially because of COVID and the recent disaster in Beirut. I am going arrange with Anne how we can distribute the empty boxes and any issues regarding collection of them. We will again purchase the boxes for us all to fill. So you could now start collecting small items to put in them as you you now start to go out shopping again. The launch in both churches will be on Sunday 4th October and the final date for collection is Sunday 1st November. Also if you have spare time knitted hats and gloves are always required and I do have patterns and some wool if anyone wants them. Please contact me if you need any further information or if you would like to fill a box and haven’t done before. John Bailey Tel 815308. Thank you.

Collect for The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Readings for the week
Why not read the readings through slowly twice and before you do ask God to speak to you today. We are starting to read through Matthew and Acts.

Sunday 13th September Matthew 18.21–end
Monday 14th September Acts 13.13–43
Tuesday 15th September Acts 13.44–14.7
Wednesday 16th September Acts 14.8–end
Thursday 17th September Acts 15.1–21
Friday 18th September Acts 15.22–35
Saturday 19th September Acts 15.36–16.5

Prayer Chain - If you need prayer for yourself or another then there is a team of people ready to pray. For Locking, please contact Anne Wilkins phone 823556 or for Hutton Kay Cole phone 811424 and they will send out the prayer request.

Prayer requests - please feel free to send prayer requests to Chris in the office, if you would like them to be included on this sheet, or call Anne on 823556. If you would like someone to pray with you please call Anne and she will pray on the phone.

Nature Notes
The inter-tidal zone of a beach is a fascinating habitat, and to look down into a rock pool is like entering another world. It is a harsh environment too, requiring all living organisms to cope with the twice daily onslaught of the sea, and the subsequent exposure to air and heat for those not permanently covered by water. It always amazes me how tiny molluscs can manage to cling on to the rocks in the teeth of a heavy storm swell, only to succumb to predation by seabirds or their own kind: the round holes in empty mussel shells are made by predating dog whelks. Sea anemones are extremely sensitive to the slightest movement of the water, and respond by extending their tentacles to feed. I particularly like the green and pink-tipped snakelocks anemone. Then there is the whole array of different kinds of seaweeds and the delicate soft corals, besides all the tiny fishes and almost transparent baby prawns, not to mention crabs; you are never too old to go rock pooling! Gillian

Reading for 13th September
Matthew 18: 21 - end (NIVUK) Forgiveness - The parable of the unmerciful servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’
22 Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 ‘Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 ‘At this the servant fell on his knees before him. “Be patient with me,” he begged, “and I will pay back everything.” 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.
28 ‘But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. “Pay back what you owe me!” he demanded.
29 ‘His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.”
30 ‘But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 ‘Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

Reflections on Matthew 18: 21 - end
orgive me if I’ve used this quote before, but reading todays passage brings me back to Mark Twain. He was not a follower of orthodox Christianity, but he knew his Bible! And for me his most wise Biblical observation was this:- “It’s not those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I DO understand.”

The need for forgiveness to be as much an ongoing hallmark of our lives as Christians as, say, love, generosity, and mercy, is the “simple” teaching in this passage. Please note the context of this episode – it’s in a chapter which starts with the words “..the disciples came to Jesus and asked ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?’(v1).

Peter thought he was being smart and very holy in v21. The Jewish Rabbis of his day taught that you needed to forgive someone 3 times – so, knowing that Jesus teaching topped the legal requirements, he suggests 7 times – the Biblical number of completeness. He thought he was going to get a commendation from Jesus ….. how wrong he was! In saying not 7 times, but seventy times seven (or 77, according to the version you’re reading), Jesus is saying forgiveness is not a matter of law (ie you don’t keep a list of hurts which cuts off at 7) but of grace (it is limitless). This conversation, of course, came before Peter had any real understanding of Jesus upcoming sacrificial death for us, and when Peter used the term “brother” he was almost certainly only thinking of fellow Jews – it was only much later (in Acts Ch10) that God gave him a vision that Jesus death and resurrection was for EVERYONE – Jew and non-Jew alike.

So, part of the answer to the disciples question in v1 is…..the person who forgives others in the same way as God forgives us (ie without limit). People tend to know the saying “To err is human, to forgive, divine”; many think it comes from the Bible (it doesn’t, it’s part of an 18th century poem). But the saying is only partly true – it’s also partly a cop-out. To BRING us back into relationship with God, we have to ask for – and receive – his forgiveness; to KEEP us in clear relationship with God includes us living as forgiving people each and every day – which we can only do by Gods Holy Spirit living within us ……. And even then we don’t always get it right! Its part of why, in our worshipping together, we say early on a “prayer of general confession”. At the precise moment of typing this reflection, I can’t think of any of my human relationships where there is outstanding unforgiveness/need for reconciliation; if I’m wrong please come and tell me! But I couldn’t have typed this without first coming before God in prayer to check it out. Can I encourage you to make such a “check out” part of your prayer life; I do on a regular basis ….. and if the Lord brings any unforgiveness to mind I try to sort it immediately. Does that make ME “the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven”? Of course not! But I hope it does show that I’m trying to take the issue of forgiveness as seriously as Jesus did in talking to Peter.

And how will the currently non-believing world take our message seriously if they don’t see us displaying forgiveness …… both within the church and beyond? The need to forgive is one matter on which the world and the church pretty much agree – not just for our spiritual health, but for our physical, emotional and mental health too.

I started this reflection with Mark Twain. I’ll end with George Harrison, and words from the Travelling Wilburys song “The End of the Line”……..”Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live/Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive.” Amen.

Cliff Dumbell

Home study - take time to read Matthew 18: 21 - end, and reflect on these questions.
1. Do you find it easy to forgive people? Do you think that it is possible to forget as well as to forgive?
2. Have there ever been times when you have had to keep forgiving somebody? How did that feel? How has God helped you in this?
3. In the story that Jesus told the king is meant to be God and the man who owed him a lot was meant to be us. The man pleaded with the king and the debt was cancelled. If we look at our lives where have we experienced this grace and forgiveness of God. How easy do we find the concept of forgiveness being a gift? What difference does knowing that we have been forgiven make to our lives?
4. How does knowing we are forgiven affect the way that we behave towards others?
5. Why might the man in the story not go on to cancel the small debt of the second man?
6. How does the teaching of Jesus make us feel - that if we don't forgive others then we are not forgiven ourselves? Does this cause us to want to make changes in our lives?

Learning to love again.

The world is becoming a desolate place, Fear and hate are prevailing, We're here on the Earth to give it our care, But currently we are failing. With poverty, global warming and war, Disaster and chaos have unfurled, We have to try to come together, Only then can we change the world.

As war rains down on our planet, Surrounded by the cry of pain, There has to be a way for us, To learn how hope again.
Protesters are out on the streets, And borders keep us divided, The only way for us to bring change, Is to stand together, united. If we want to improve our world, We need to take this to heart, It will be harder to stand together, If we've already fallen apart.

Blurred lines between truth and lies, What is there for us to gain? There has to be a way for us, To learn how to trust again.
Lies have become a commonplace, We've built up tough exteriors, So for every act of kindness, There seem to be motives ulterior. No matter your colour, or gender, We all have our beating hearts, We need more reasons to stay together, Than the ones that keep us apart.

We can all make a difference, If we try it will not be in vain, There has to be a way for us, To learn how to live again.
If we choose to live in love, Our differences make us strong, But social media and insecurities, Make us feel like we don't belong. Violence only begets violence, We need to live in hope and trust, All of this will be achievable, When 'them' becomes an 'us'.

Hate is easy, love is a risk, When nobody thinks the same, There has to be a way for us, To learn how to love again.
© Alyx Carter

Quiz - just for fun - no prizes - answers below!
All the following are places in this part of England:

1. Keeping a good look out
2. Conservatives safely secured
3 King's abode for a film star
4 A highway or a byway by any other name
5 Pussy's gone to bed
6 The lady drank much of this
7 Turn the key
8 Twirl around
9 A first in a Chinese city
10 Where the sun sets on a rick
11 Should keep your feet dry
12 Forbidden to drink here

Answers below

Prayers :

For those who are ill -
Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.
Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For hospital staff and medical researchers
Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A prayer at bedtime -
Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep.
Tonight we pray especially for (names family or friends who are affected by Coronavirus) and the people of (country or place which is affected by Coronavirus).
Please give skill and wisdom to all who are caring for them.

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. By Max Ehrmann © 1927

The Journey Prayer – St Brendan
God, bless to me this day,
God bless to me this night;
Bless, O bless, Thou God of grace,
Each day and hour of my life;
Bless, O bless, Thou God of grace, Each day and hour of my life.
God, bless the pathway on which I go;God, bless the earth that is beneath my sole;Bless, O God, and give to me Thy love,O God of gods, bless my rest and my repose;
Bless, O God, and give to me Thy love, And bless, O God of gods, my repose.

Bible Q and A This is a very interesting site that answers some of the tricky questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. You can also submit questions too. Why not give it a go?

Quiz Answers
1. Watchet
2. Blue Anchor
3 Castle Carey
4 Street
5 Catcott
6 Edithmead
7 Locking
8 Worle
9 Wincanton
10 Westhay
11 Wellington
12 Banwell

How did you do?