6th March 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 6th March 2011




Alec reminded me this week of a story which some of you may know

‘A story about four people, named Somebody, Everybody, Anybody,  and Nobody. There was one important job to be done; Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody would do it. Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

In the end, Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did what Anybody should have done.’


I’m very glad to say that things aren’t like that in this parish!

But the time of year has come when we need not just four people,

but many more to come forward and take responsibility for the life of our two churches. 

This Sunday we hold our Annual Meeting,

and we will be electing churchwardens, deanery synod representatives and members of our parish and district church councils.

 The idea of elections, committees, and representatives may not  fill you with excitement: but as well as being a legal necessity, these structures are a way of showing how the church belongs to and is made up of each one of us. This is OUR church, not MY church, and the responsibility for it, financially, as buildings, as people, and as a community which shows God’s love to the world, belongs to all of us.


27th February 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 27th February 2011

Arab uprising.


In the past few weeks we have seen people protesting across the Middle East and North Africa. Many of these young people have sacrificed themselves for the idea of “democracy”. Western governments have slowly come round to supporting these protesters. Yet I feel there has been a certain reticence in their stance.


We can see why, for too many years the West has supported despots and Tyrants in that region by buying their oil and selling them arms or having military bases on their land.  British Jobs was the cry from Business. Politicians said that the consequence of democracy would be the likelihood of Islamist-leaning governments coming to power.

Ordinary people of the region have paid the price of this stance. We will now have to learn to negotiate with the new leaders that emerge from these protests. We should support them as we show that "democracy" to us means the freedom to choose your own government – whatever its hue.

Our prayers will go out to those struggling for democracy but also at this time I believe we should show a bit of humility for past errors as these new leaders emerge.


20th February 2011 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 20th February 2011

  Channels of God’s Peace   

In our Scripture Readings of the last couple of weeks the call to us towards perfection. What an ominous time for such a reminder! Think about Egypt and the rest of the Arab World. Think about the Middle East. Think of our own church splitting instead of building bridges. The hope is that YOU can be the missing strong link that keeps God’s Peace and harmony going. So was St Francis. We may want to make his Prayer our own:

The prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

                                                                                                                                                           Fr Fred

13th February Newsletter 2011

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 13th February 2011

…Perfect Love Casteth out Fear …  (I John 4.18)


As I write these words I am aware that next week is Valentine’s Day and this week has been National Marriage Week which is endorsed by the Church and, according to the by-line, “celebrates commitment”. But my thoughts are not so much of romantic love but of a slightly different kind of love:

the love of God to us as Christians.

 A close member of my family is facing surgery and continuing medical treatment for a life-limiting condition and naturally we are all concerned.  As I was thinking about all of this, the above verse came to me – “perfect love casteth out fear”,  in the Authorised Version.

 The commentators  point out that it refers to forgiveness

– we have no need to fear God because of our failings since God has shown us his love and has forgiven us –and it also refers to confidence.


It is the confidence part that I want to stress.  There are many passages of scripture which refer to Christian confidence and, I suppose, there are many because there need to be. We are human and we fail and we fear  and are anxious. This verse should help us to calm our fears and concerns. Of course like so much in the Christian life it isn’t easy. It isn’t meant to be easy, but it is there, for us to reflect on and draw on. How we can use it is up to us.


6th February 2011 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 6th February 2011



Why anyone should be thinking about fasting when we have just come into Ordinary Time or 5th Sunday before Lent, I do not know.  May be for some of us, our New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym or take up some kind of sporting activities to counter excess indulgence, over the festive period have gone by the wayside.  So see Lent as an opportune time to do something about it, fast, give up something or take up something.


Fasting, if our health permits, have many benefits to our spiritual and physical well being.  It is a spiritual discipline for growth and getting closer to God.  On a physical level the benefits are numerous, for instance, it is a valid experience for people whose calories have taken the upper hand in their lives.  It is a safe method for detoxifying the body; it even slows down the ageing process.   It is a belief that the one who truly fast will abstain from gossip, idle talk, rage and anger and many more things.


Our Old Testament reading in Isaiah 58 – says true worship and relationship with God is more than fasting.  For this reason, true fasting is more than what we do not eat, it is pleasing God by showing compassion to the poor, the helpless and the oppressed in our society.


Isaiah says the kind of fast the Lord requires from us is:

To loose the bonds of injustice,

To undo the thongs of the yoke,

To let the oppressed go free,

And to break every yoke……………….Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.


The mere fact…… is we can do both, see Lent as a time to get trim, get closer to God and reach out to others.