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– The Fourth Sunday of  Lent –
–  Laetare
Sunday  – Refreshment Sunday –

Mothering Sunday

Week Beginning 26th March 2017 –

For more information about our Lent Learning click here

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Click Here for last week’s Pew News


The Nation is Shocked but Hope, Peace and Democracy must Not Be Shaken

The nation was shocked as the events of 22 March 2017 unfolded in Westminster and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those, including those from overseas and those in emergency services, caught up in that horrific event.  Our hearts go out to the victims and their families and we pray for the repose of the souls of those killed, including PC Keith Palmer, and for the injured.  We pray for the families and friends of the victims in their distress and concern for their loved-ones.

The work of the police in the face of danger was brought home to me personally as we awaited news of my own niece serving in the Metropolitan  Police in Westminster and their courage was exemplified by the selflessness of PC Palmer.

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A Candle will burn in all of our churches for the next seven days for the victims and families of the Westminster terrorist attack and as a sign of hope and peace.

The Gospel at the Eucharist the day after the events included Jesus’ words when he was being tested by those who sought to discredit him.  He said:
‘Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert’ (Luke 11:17) .

Terrorists seek to divide nations by setting one part of the people against another, to undermine its confidence, its procedures, its very way of life – its culture.

In the way the country came together when Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered, so we have unite now so we can carry on; so that we do not become a spiritual, emotional and cultural dessert, frightened to trust anyone of another skin colour, faith or political view.  Britain is culturally, socially, ethnically, spiritually diverse and is far from being so ‘locked down’ that it feels more like a police state.  We cherish our freedoms as well security by consent.  Hope, tolerance, collaboration and understanding are how we sustain our freedoms and our culture – how we avoid becoming a ‘desert’ devoid of true life.  May good come out of this evil – may we gather together rather than pull apart; may we love, rather than hate; may we seek life by seeking to understand and to collaborate.

God of love, turn our hearts to your ways; and give us peace. Amen.

O Lord our God, source of all goodness and love, accept the fervent prayers of your people; in the multitude of your mercies look with compassion upon all who turn to you for help; for you are gracious, O lover of souls, and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen

Restless with grief and fear, the abandoned turn to you: in every hour of trial, good Lord, deliver us, O God most holy, God most strong, whose wisdom is the cross of Christ. Amen.

O God, who would fold both heaven and earth in a single peace: let the design of thy great love lighten upon the waste of our wraths and sorrows: and give peace to thy Church, peace among nations, peace in our dwellings, and peace in our hearts: through thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It’s Lent – What are you going to take up?

Most worthwhile things take effort but the subsequent reward goes beyond pecuniary return and even praise. The effort itself revitalizes our inner selves as well as helping those we seek to support.

That’s why I have I chosen to write less about by self-denial – giving something up, and just to write a few words about denying the self by taking something up for the sake of others. It does not have to be a great physical effort, but it could be something like PRAY. BAKE. READ. This is a Diocesan Initiative to improve our connection with local infant and junior schools – helping our local schools by supporting the staff by offering to:

  • Pray for the schools
  • Bake a cake for the staff each half term
  • Listen to a student read once a week.

Having three parishes in the benefice, with three separate PCCs and officers, we are always seeking new people to help. Could you help:

  • assist in the record-keeping of our funds in and out or by taking a more detailed look at our funds and preparing forecasts and budgets?
  • by standing as a Churchwarden with a special responsibility with the Rector for the life of the parish or by joining a PCC?
  • by assisting the editing of ‘The Bridge’?
  • with some routine administration, or acting as a Secretary to the PCCs, or maintaining with the website?
  • by singing, supporting social activities or fundraising in and around the churches?

There is so much that can be shared, and whatever your gift, taking up something in Lent may serve others better than giving something up – it might make us feel better too.

Historically, candidates for baptism were instructed in Christian faith during Lent, so we invite you to join one of our Lent discussion groups (details will be posted on the website (www.bridgechurches.org.uk), published in the churches, and in the Pew Sheets from the beginning of February.

We are looking forward to the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare or Refreshment Sunday) and the Annunciation – giving us the roots of Mothering Sunday. So, do please join us for a special service at Exton Church at 10:30 on 26th March when the traditional and the informal meet together, with young and old celebrating as one.

May God, who from the death of sin raised you to new life in Christ, keep you from falling and set you in the presence of his glory. Amen.

 

An Extract from a letter from Bishop Christopher:

 The Bishop of Portsmouth

The Rt Revd Christopher Foster

  January 2017

Dear Colleague

Lent Appeal 2017: From Slavery To Freedom

Last year your parish was amongst those which responded generously to the Lent Appeal for the support of charities involved with education: St Nicholas Seminary in Ghana and local charities serving our communities. All together about £23,000 was raised and on behalf of those benefitting I would like to offer my thanks to you all and your parishes.

This year the Lent Appeal is called ‘From Slavery to Freedom’ and is focusing on the mistreatment of women. As the recent study day at the Cathedral has highlighted, modern slavery is a huge and persistent problem in our world. As a result, the main recipient of the Lent Appeal this year will be ‘STOP THE TRAFFIK’, a charity working to prevent human trafficking. As usual we plan to give half of the money raised locally and intend to help local charities supporting people who suffer from domestic abuse.

As before, I am keen to raise awareness of the charities we are supporting. We will do this in the following ways:

  • Along with your Lent Appeal envelopes, we will be providing a short leaflet with more details about the STOP THE TRAFFIK and the local focus of the appeal.
  • We will distribute the cheques to the charities during a special event at the Cathedral later in the year.
  • We invite you to nominate local charities, of which you are aware, which might benefit from our support.

Yours sincerely

With all good wishes

+ Christopher

Learning Together at Lent – and beyond!

You are warmly invited to join one of our groups for people who want to shape our future or to learn more about our faith.

  • Looking for the chance to think about the Christian faith?
  • Have you recently started coming to Church?
  • Are you thinking about baptism or confirmation?
  • Have you been a Christian for many years and want to visit the roots of your faith again?
  • Have you wondered how God wants this Benefice to develop?

Join us for the 2017 Courses: LyCiG and Pilgrim Come as Friends

Come along to our Benefice-wide Launch and Introduction.

For more information click here

 

 

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