Updates From the Rector - April 2021

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




Dear Friends,


I trust this finds you well and being able to enjoy this gorgeous Spring weather. 


We are on the cusp of the climax of Holy Week and Lent, the Paschal Triduum from Maundy Thursday evening until Easter Day - the most Holy time of our Church Year.


Services in St Peter & St Paul's, Wem


MAUNDY THURSDAY


19:30 - Eucharist of the Last Supper


GOOD FRIDAY


10:30 -   Stations of the Cross


All, irrespective of parish are very, very welcome indeed to the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services - do please feel able to come along.


ON-LINE SERVICES


 Very aware that in-person worship is not for everyone as yet we have two local on-line services, which also for those who do join together may compliment their devotions.


Maundy Thursday:  Homily and Eucharist Is available here.


Good Friday:  Tenebrae Service is available here.


EASTER DAY


Will be celebrated across the benefice as follows:


Wem:

08:00 - First Eucharist of Easter

09:45 - Eucharist of the Resurrection


Weston:

11:00 -  Eucharist of the Resurrection


Lee:

11:15 - Eucharist of the Resurrection


ALSO FOR THOSE UNABLE TO ATTEND


As you would expect our diocesan Cathedral has a full array of services across the Triduum, indeed perhaps too many to list here and certainly with all the quality and devotion so many have valued over the past year.  Do click here to visit the Lichfield Cathedral web site and feel somewhat spoilt with a wonderful array of options.  Of course the Easter Eve and additional services will be of interest to many who are able to attend the limited 'menu' in the benefice so all do take a look.


Similarly a visit to the C of E national Church website will allow you to discover their 'Worship at home this Holy Week' series.


----------------------------


May you have a blessed few days, keep taking care.



Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end,

Alpha and Omega,

all time belongs to him,

and all ages;

to him be glory and power,

through every age and for ever. Amen.



N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Parish Magazine - April 2021 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Dear Friends,


Please find attached our April Benefice Magazine.


It is usually a great joy to send this out, however this month is hugely different.  Very sadly, as many will already know, Bob Dibben has passed away since our last edition.  Bob was a tireless and unsurpassed contributor to our magazine throughout my time here, all will recall his many, many articles all so thoughtful, carefully crafted and assiduously prepared, many has been the time when Pam and I have been spoilt for choice such was Bob's commitment.  Most of this you all know, what most will not is that Bob also spent many hours diligently collecting, collating and archiving back copies of our magazine for posterity - many going back a very considerable way.  So, this edition is sent with a heavy heart and real sense of loss yet our thoughts are as nothing compared to the loss to Cathy, Michael and Paul Bob's sons, Nigel his brother and their wider family.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them.  When you come to the place where you would have expected one of Bob's articles to be, pause, say a prayer of thanks for Bob's time with us and hold Cathy and the whole family in your thoughts and prayers.


It seems, nay is, inappropriate to pass on greetings for the day soon to dawn - not least when sending on Good Friday evening - there will be time enough for this throughout the great 40 days of the season which follows, nonetheless, my every good wish.


Keep taking care,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Update for 10th April 2021 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


DEATH OF HRH, THE PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH


You may find these prayers helpful at this time of national mourning:


God of our lives, 

we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip, 

for the love he shared among us, 

and for his devotion to duty. 

We entrust him now to your love and mercy, 

through our Redeemer Jesus Christ. 

Amen. 


Heavenly Father, 

into whose hands Jesus Christ 

commended his spirit at the last hour: 

into those same hands we now commend your servant Philip, 

that death may be for him

the gate to life and to eternal fellowship with you; 

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Most merciful God, 

whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, 

surround the Queen and the Royal Family with your love, 

that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, 

but have confidence in your goodness, 

and strength to meet the days to come. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dear Friends,


Alleluia, Christ is Risen.  He is Risen indeed.  Alleluia!   


UPDATE


There is nothing significant to add to the update in the Parish Magazine or recent emails apropos the status of our public worship or church activities these as always may be found at: www.wemcofe.co.uk,


As always up to date information may be found at Church of England website  and latest updates on guidance are also on our diocesan website.


SUNDAY PUBLIC WORSHIP


It was wonderful that the Eucharist was celebrated across the benefice on Easter Day, hopefully we will now be able to continue with our weekly services following our customary pattern, beginning with, this Sunday.


Wem Parish Church:  08:00 - Holy Eucharist

                                         09:45 - Holy Eucharist (with homily and hymn music)


Weston Parish Church:  09:30 - Holy Eucharist (with homily and hymn music)


Lee Parish Church:  11:15. - Holy Eucharist (with homily and hymn music)


For each service you will be pleased to read that the elementary and essential precautions we are now used to will, of course, apply:-


 *  Always sanitise hands on entry, after touching anything 'communal' and before Communion 

 *  Wear your mask whenever attending worship

 *  At all times keep to physical distancing -  the 2 metre rule

 *  As you would expect Communion will remain in 'one kind' and as yet we are not able to sing

 *  Follow any other guidance of the church wardens or sidespeople


There is now the caveat that all must leave directly after the service and not 'mingle' in church and outside adhere to the rule of 6 (which does, of course, include social distancing).


Whilst the local R number is now such that a return to our services is quite reasonable should there (though clearly the last thing we would wish), be an increase in the local R number we will have to re-consider our policy.


I cannot stress too strongly that it is, very clearly, absolutely fine and in order for anyone not to resume just yet if we feel individually that the time is not quite right and no one should feel under any pressure to do so.


For any not yet able to resume worship this email with contacts for on-line services will continue for the interim, hopefully allowing you to feel connected and providing details of on-line and media services, amongst which this week are:_


THIS SUNDAY:  THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL


You may follow our Cathedral services for this Sunday by clicking on the above and following the necessary links -  many of you do and find this extremely helpful, if you haven't do have a 'visit'.

 

08:00 - Holy Communion (traditional language)

10:30 - Choral Holy Eucharist

17:30 - Evensong 


OR

 

Access the C of E website to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, it is available from 09:00.   Do visit the site, there are many excellent services saved on here which can still merit a 'watch'.


09:00 - Easter Two: 'Knowing Jesus in doubt.'  Rev Jessica Smith, Curate at St Francis of Assisi Church, Strood, speaks, the service, for Low Sunday, explores knowing Jesus in doubt.


THIS SUNDAY on BBC

 

Radio Four:   08:10 - 'The Road to Emmaus'.  From Holy Trinity Scottish Episcopal Church Melrose, exploring the rich story of the Road to Emmaus.


BBC ONE:   10:30 - 'Sunday Morning Stories'.  Series Two, Episode One.  Inspirational stories rooted in faith hope and spirituality, with the Rev Kate Bottley.


                       13:15 -    Songs of Praise.  Aled Jones visits Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire


Please find attached the readingsLive the Word, and Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist Publications).  Also find attached our Local Prayer Diary and the Diocesan Prayer Diary.  


BREAD OF LIFE


The Eucharist could not be more central to our faith and devotion, yet for some of us over the past year it has been painfully unavailable through 'shielding', our voluntary suspension of worship or governmental edict.  Also some will have gained from the practice of 'Spiritual Communion' and all except clergy have for a year now not been able to receive in both kinds.  Bishop Michael refers to these areas and more in a recent Easter letter in which he encourages and invites engagement in a diocesan teaching series 'Bread of Life' which begins this Tue,11 Apr.  +Michael writes:


"I am delighted that my seven brother and sister bishops have all gladly agreed to participate in this through contributing their own perspectives on a number of different aspects of Holy Communion. Certainly between ourselves we will exhibit plenty of variety in thought and practice, but we all rejoice that we share together in episcopal ministry in this diocese, we all count our unity in the fellowship of Christ’s Body a precious thing, and we all want to honour our Anglican patterns of worship even as we explore their range. During the nine weeks from 11th April to 12th June, each of us will be providing a pre-recorded teaching video talk of about 20-30 minutes on different aspects of the Eucharist, under the general title of ‘Bread of Life’. In addition, I will also be hosting two online Zoom seminars for those interested in taking the conversation further on particular issues. 


"The video lectures will be available from 10am on the Tuesday of each week on our Bread Of Life webpage at www.lichfield.anglican.org/bread-of-life/ and will remain posted on our website through the summer. Where written texts of the presentations are provided, these will also be available with the talks."


I am very/too aware that for all of the centrality of the Blessed Sacrament to our faith and practice this is an area in our benefice where there has perhaps not been enough teaching or exploration, at least in my time here.  The prospect of this programme of reflection which will reflect the breadth of Anglican understanding of the sacrament is exciting, I warmly commend it to you and encourage you to visit the talks as and when you are able.  It is highly likely that it will be the focus of a local (zoom) study group, reflecting on the video previous gift from one of the bishops, through the Easter season and beyond.- more anon.


WEM PLANNED GIVING ENVELOPES


Those of the Wem congregation who take part in the planned giving envelope scheme - and a big 'thank you' for doing so - will find those for 21/22 are now at the rear of the church so you may collect them either when it's open or at Sunday worship.  If you are unable to do so please let me know, I'd be only too happy to drop them round for you.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK


This Sunday's Gospel reading, from John chapter 20, is the famous and very familiar appearance of the risen Christ to the disciples, firstly without Thomas the doubter and then subsequently with Thomas who declares in words that have been described as the great climax to John's Gospel: 'My Lord and my God'.

Perhaps doubt is not always a bad thing, it is certainly understandable, ask Thomas(!) and can be creative:


"It is by doubting that we come to investigate, and by investigating that we recognize the truth."   Peter Abelard.






.








Have as good a week as possible, please take care of yourself and others and as we continue to celebrate Easter in this season of Spring draw some strength from Martin Luther's wonderful words:


"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime."


Every good wish,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Week Commencing 18th April 2021 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


Alleluia, Christ is Risen.  He is Risen indeed.  Alleluia!


My very best wishes as we continue to celebrate our joyous season of Easter.  May this find you both well and in the best of spirits.


UPDATE


There is nothing significant to add to the update in the Parish Magazine or recent emails apropos the status of our public worship or church activities these as always may be found at: www.wemcofe.co.uk,   There is however, advance guidance issued today (16 April) apropos those who are clinically vulnerable:


Certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19. Government advice is that while shielding is no longer necessary, it is important for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals to continue to keep their number of social interactions low and to reduce the amount of time spent in settings where maintaining social distancing might be difficult. 


Also, whilst very sadly not applicable in our benefice (at present) supervised children's activities in a place of worship (subject, of course to controls) are permitted from 12 April.  


It is well worth mentioning both the above to give a flavour as to how things are across our Church  ie constantly being carefully reviewed and evolving.


As always up to date information may be found at Church of England website  and latest updates on guidance are also on our diocesan website.


SUNDAY PUBLIC WORSHIP


Wem Parish Church:  08:00 - Holy Eucharist

                                         09:45 - Holy Eucharist (with homily and hymn music)


Weston Parish Church:  09:30 - Holy Eucharist (with homily and hymn music)


Lee Parish Church:  11:15. - Holy Eucharist (with homily and hymn music)


For each service you will be pleased to read that the elementary and essential precautions we are now used to will, of course, apply:-


 *  Always sanitise hands on entry, after touching anything 'communal' and before Communion .

 *  Wear your mask whenever attending worship.

 *  At all times keep to physical distancing -  the 2 metre rule.

 *  As you would expect Communion will remain in 'one kind' and as yet we are not able to sing.

 *  Follow any other guidance of the church wardens or sidespeople.


There is now the caveat that all must leave directly after the service and not 'mingle' in church and outside adhere to the rule of 6 (which does, of course, include social distancing).


I cannot stress too strongly that it is, very clearly, absolutely fine and in order for anyone not to resume just yet if we feel individually that the time is not quite right and no one should feel under any pressure to do so.


For any not yet able to resume worship this email with contacts for on-line services will continue for the interim, hopefully allowing you to feel connected and providing details of on-line and media services, amongst which this week are:


THIS SUNDAY:  THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER



LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL


You may follow our Cathedral services for this Sunday by clicking on the above and following the necessary links -  many of you do and find this extremely helpful, if you haven't do have a 'visit'.

 

08:00 - Holy Communion (traditional language)

10:30 - Choral Holy Eucharist

17:30 - Evensong 


OR

 

Access the C of E website to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, it is available from 0900. Do visit the site, there are many excellent services saved on here which can still merit a 'watch'.


09:00 - Easter Three:  Regrettably details of this weeks service are currently unavailable


THIS SUNDAY on BBC

 

Radio Four:   08:10 - ‘The Road to Emmaus'.  From Holy Trinity Scottish Episcopal Church Melrose, exploring the rich story of the Road to Emmaus.


BBC ONE:   10:30 - 'Sunday Morning Stories'.  Series Two, Episode Two.  Inspirational stores rooted in faith hope and spirituality, with The Rev Kate Bottley.


                      13:15 - Songs of Praise.  From York.  Katherine Jenkins talks with the Archbishop of York about the role of Christianity after lockdown and comedian Frank Skinner reflects on his relationship with God.


Please find attached the readingsLive the Word, and Homily for this Sun (courtesy of Redemptorist Publications).  Also find attached our Local Prayer Diary and the Diocesan Prayer Diary.  


BREAD OF LIFE


In a recent Easter letter Bishop Michael  encouraged and invited engagement in a diocesan teaching series 'Bread of Life' which began on Tue,11 Apr.  +Michael writes:


"I am delighted that my seven brother and sister bishops have all gladly agreed to participate in this through contributing their own perspectives on a number of different aspects of Holy Communion. Certainly between ourselves we will exhibit plenty of variety in thought and practice, but we all rejoice that we share together in episcopal ministry in this diocese, we all count our unity in the fellowship of Christ’s Body a precious thing, and we all want to honour our Anglican patterns of worship even as we explore their range. During the nine weeks from 11th April to 12th June, each of us will be providing a pre-recorded teaching video talk of about 20-30 minutes on different aspects of the Eucharist, under the general title of ‘Bread of Life’. In addition, I will also be hosting two online Zoom seminars for those interested in taking the conversation further on particular issues. 


"The video lectures will be available from 10am on the Tuesday of each week on our Bread Of Life webpage and will remain posted on our website through the summer. Where written texts of the presentations are provided, these will also be available with the talks."


Last week's focus (with +Michael) was: Life in Unity (Koinonia).  This week's is: Thanksgiving (Eucharist) +Clive, Bishop of Wolverhampton.


I am very/too aware that for all of the centrality of the Blessed Sacrament to our faith and practice this is an area in our benefice where there has perhaps not been enough teaching or exploration, at least in my time here.  The prospect of this programme of reflection which will reflect the breadth of Anglican understanding of the sacrament is exciting, I warmly commend it to you and encourage you to visit the talks as and when you are able.  It is more than likely that it will be the focus of a local (zoom) study group, reflecting on previous gifts from one or of the bishops, through the Easter season and beyond.- more anon.


WEM PLANNED GIVING ENVELOPES


Those of the Wem congregation who take part in the planned giving envelope scheme - and a big 'thank you' for doing so - will find those for 21/22 are now at the rear of the church so you may collect them either when it's open or at Sunday worship.  If you are unable to do so please let me know, I'd be only too happy to drop them round for you.


BENEFICE MAGAZINE


A little advance notice that Benefice Magazine will be compiled in the near future - as always articles, reflections, news and similar inputs will be gratefully received by either Pam or myself - so come on, get those thinking caps on and let your creative side (we've all got one) come to the fore! -:)


ST GEORGE'S DAY


This Friday please make time to join together in our Church's Collect for George, Martyr. Patron of England.  c403


God of hosts,

who so kindled the flame of love

in the heart of your servant George

that he bore witness to the risen Lord

by his life and by his death;

give us the same faith and  power of love

that we who rejoice in his triumphs

may come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection;

through Jesus Christ, your Son Our Lord.


Also, whilst dispelling all notions of dragons and any such nonsense this is surely a day to remember all who are persecuted for their faith. - George was a Roman soldier living in Palestine at the beginning of the C4th and martyred at Lydda at the start of a period of intense persecution by the then emperor, Diocletian.


The Eucharist will be said for the whole benefice at 09:30 on this day.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK


As we progress through Easter a reflection from Bishop Tom Wright - New Testament scholar and formerly Bishop of Durham and Dean of our own Cathedral, Lichfield:

"Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible, a worldview in which the rich, the powerful, and the unscrupulous do not after all have the last word. The same worldview shift that is demanded by the resurrection of Jesus is the shift that will enable us to transform the world."  N T Wright


.












Do please keep taking as much care to stay safe for your sake and others, even as we progress into a lighter lockdown, vigilance and care are so important.  After such a lovely Springtime week I cannot resist, once again, ending with Martin Luther's beautiful words: - 


"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime."


Every good wish,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550