It is Ride and Stride day, where we are encouraged to walk/ride/run between churches to raise money for Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust. 50% of the money raised comes back to us and 50% is set aside for grants across the county. Graham is planning to cycle and I am planning to run to each of our churches across the team. Do you fancy joining in? Find more info on our website here.
A small group (10 to 20) of pilgrims on the ‘Western Camino’ route to COP26 in Glasgow, will be passing through Stroud and stopping for two nights, 11th and 12th September, Sunday 12th being their weekly rest day. They are starting in Bristol joining with the ‘Eastern Camino’ starting in London (Welcome!) when they all get to Birmingham. They will arrive in Glasgow on 29th October, two days before COP26 opens on 31st October. Christian Climate Action has organised this pilgrimage, it is described as “a walk for everyone, initiated by Extinction Rebellion UK Faith Bridge/CCA, it is intended to be inter-faith and open to people of no faith”. A programme of events is being organised by Stroud Green Christians.
The pilgrims will be based at St Laurence Church hall while in Stroud and can sleep on the floor as they will have done for previous nights, but they would also welcome an overnight in a bed and a chance for a shower. If you are able to offer a bed for one or two people either Saturday 11th or Sunday 12th, or even to offer a shower, please contact:
Karen Burridge, email: [email protected] phone: 01453 752839
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
The people who know Jesus from childhood want to keep him in his place.
How might the claims Jesus makes in this passage have sounded to those who had known him his whole life?
How do we respond as we witness change in those we have known for a long time?
How open are we to seeing God do a new thing in someone’s life? Even our own life?
I hope that you have had a good week and that you are looking forward to some time off, or at least a different pace of life over the next few weeks.
It has been an incredibly challenging year, and it is worth noticing just how much energy all the changes and uncertainties take out of you.
Of course, we are not immune to all that either and will be taking holiday over the next few weeks. You can see who is away and when here. Graham and I are looking forward to going to Scotland this coming Monday to celebrate our Silver Wedding anniversary!
The third of our new online series, ‘Sideways’ will be available on Sunday. This week features Helen who invites us to rest in the images of Psalm 23; The Lord’s my Shepherd. Take time to have a look, and at the others. See if there is something there you could share with someone you know who is curious about faith.
On Sunday, along with a plethora of other services, there will be Communion at 9.30 in Uplands and 11 in Paganhill. You can find a list of all our services on our spaces and places page. We will also be having the last of our APCMs in the parishes of Uplands and Slad and St Matthew’s, Cainscross. Please do keep all those who have been, and will be, elected to serve our parishes in your prayers. As we have given thanks and commissioned, I pray that you would have a renewed sense of God’s calling on your life and that you would have the courage to step into all that God has for you.
As I said in my report, this year we are prioritising investing in and establishing life-giving small groups. We have some well-established groups already, and those who belong to them will testify to how much they get out of being part of that. It would be great to have a complete picture of all that is, as well as to hear from you what you would love to be part of. Please get in touch if there is something you would like to suggest and/or facilitate a small group.
May God bless you and keep you and shine upon you and give you peace.
These are the groups available at the moment.
You may know of more? If you do, please let Jodie know and we will update our information.
|Mon||Morning Prayer||Stillpont 8pm|
Silent sitting 8am
|Wed||Morning Prayer||Confirmation group 7pm
Book Club 7.30
Prayer group 8pm
Praying together 10am
|Contemplative Prayer 3pm|
|Fri||Morning Prayer||Bible Study 2pm|
Contemplative practice 9am
So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by those who are called ‘the circumcision’—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
Some questions to help you dig deeper into the passage:
Where do you go when you need to rest a while?
How easy do you find it to be compassionate when you are tired?
Do you rush to Jesus when you need healing?
Welcome to this weekly news bulletin from Stroud Churches.
Judy Howard has offered to set up a group for sharing the wisdom and practice of the contemplative tradition. She writes ‘Many of us are drawn to silence at the heart of our prayer. The 1st gathering will be on Saturday July 10th at 9am in St Laurence, for approx: an hour. Just turn up. If you’d like to ask Judy more do ring 01452770776 or email [email protected]
Our new pattern of in-person services continues this week. For details see our website www.stroudparishchurches.org.
Look out too for our new weekly ‘Sideways’ feature there. This week from Graham. Do you know anyone else who might be interested in listening to this? Perhaps you could send them the link.
There’s a chance to talk and think about what we are doing when we come together for communion services
The second of our ‘confirmation group’ meetings is taking place this Wednesday 14th July at St Laurence’s at 7pm and we will be sharing with one another about what we are doing and why we do it when we praise God and hear and think about the Bible readings in our communion service. You don’t have to be thinking about confirmation to join in and it’s not too late!
Questions of the week
Questions relevant to these times that we can ask ourselves or share with one another:
How have my relationships with others changed or developed through this time?
How do I view life differently as things change?
What am I most anxious about as I think about the future?
It’s good to take time out for ourselves and often good to chat these things over – some of us find out what we think as we speak!
‘Run with the horses’
This is not an announcement of a new physical activity but the title of the next book club book that’s meeting on 4th August. It’s by Eugene Petersen and based on the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a rollercoaster faith story that might be relevant for us these days – read, come and find out! Anyone is welcome to join the group as a one-off or regularly. Please contact Helen on 074 322221 or Peter [email protected]
May God bless you in your rest and activities this coming week.
I hope this finds you well and enjoying these long days and the abundance of nature that surrounds us.
This Saturday our Curate, Helen, will be ordained Priest at the Cathedral.
You can watch the live stream and download the order of service here.
Please do pray for Helen, and all those being ordained this weekend.
I am sure that you, like me, will take the opportunity to thank God for her.
This coming Sunday there will be a Communion service, 11am at The Church of the Holy Spirit, Paganhill, and next Wednesday, 11.30 Holy Trinity, Stroud, as well as various other services you can see here on our website.
Please do pray for Freya, that God would bless her and keep her, as her family bring her for baptism this Sunday in Randwick.
This week is also the final one of our online services and I will be leading and preaching on Jairus’ daughter and the woman who dares to touch Jesus’ hem.
Some questions that may help you to engage with the Gospel; Mark 5: 21-43 as you prepare for Sunday:
- Imagine yourself in Jairus’ shoes –
What response might you have expected from Jesus?
What risks were there?
What hopes were there?
- Imagine yourself in the woman who was hemorraging’s shoes –
What response might you have expected from Jesus?
What risks were there?
What hopes were there?
The online service will be followed by online coffee at 11am – just press the ‘join us for a chat’ button.
As we move into our new pattern of services, our online content will be shorter, more of a ‘thought for the day’, which may be a reflection on a reading, or painting, or poem. It may be an interview with someone, some music or a dramatic reading of a passage of scripture. This will be done in a way that is consciously orientated towards those who are not yet part of our worshipping communities. This change will also mean an end to our online after service chat, but we sincerely hope we will be able to have such interesting conversations, going deeper into the readings and sharing stories of the difference our faith has made, as we talk to each other face to face.
We are delighted that Jodie Calcutt is joining the team, picking up the good work Fiona has done. As well as this, Jodie will also be managing the hiring of our buildings, starting with St Laurence Church and Hall. She will be making sure these are well advertised, thinking about different ways they can be used and liaising with those who are using them. This is an exciting development and will mean that those spaces that are currently underutilised will become assets to our communities as well as sources of much needed income for our worshipping communities. If you would like to talk through the spaces available in your buildings and how they might be used, do get in touch with Jodie.
Our APCM’s are coming up very soon and the reports are available, or certainly will be very soon. Do read them and ask any questions you have. Our APCMs will not involve a series of reports being read out; they will assume you have read the reports, had conversations that need to be had and prayerfully considered the role you are going to help in your worshipping community. This will mean that our APCMs can be opportunities to celebrate all that has been and commission those who will serve us over the coming year.
Our new group, which will be exploring Communion, is starting this coming Wednesday evening. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of that.
Finally, many of you will have heard about the tragic death of North Vernon-White who fell from Tricorn House in Cainscross. Please do consider signing the petition that you can find on our news page asking for this awful building to be taken down.
Please pray for his parents and brother, for the whole community of Archway School and all those friends and family that are affected by this. Pray especially for our young people who have been so disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
May the Lord bless you and keep you and smile upon you and bring you peace.
This Saturday 26 June at 3.30pm our Curate, Helen Hill, will be ordained Priest at Gloucester Cathedral. The service will be live streamed and the order of service can be downloaded.
Please pray for Helen, Peter and all the family. Thank God for her, and ask that she would be deeply affirmed in her calling. Pray too for yourselves, that you would know your calling and have the courage to step into it as Helen has.