Parish Newsletter (April 2017)

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Dear Friends,

As Lent moves towards Easter, two APCMs (Annual Meeting of Parishioners) have taken place and the one for Settle is due shortly. In April we shall be remembering the core of our faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. That historical happening confirmed for his followers, then and now, his teachings concerning the nature of God, and himself as the fulfilment of God's promises. On the face of it, the events of that first Holy Week and Easter, and some of what we do to 'be Church' can look rather unrelated, and that is not just to do with a long time passing. Our Churches Together Lent Course this year, where we have been sharing something of the spirituality of our church traditions, has been helpful in joining things up for me, and I hope for others as we learned of some of current and past religious practices among Christians and explored some of the core of what it means to be and worship as a Christian. 

Some of the nature of the Church of England, both now and historically, may seem, and probably is, flawed. It is after all, on one level, a human institution. The APCMs are part of CofE  governance, a whole structure which is synodical (ie governed in a democratic way, in synods which are a bit like a parliament) and tied up with the law of the land. The Monarch of England is Governor of the Church of England (Jesus Christ is the Head) and the origin of that is not all that Godly. But if our structures are all we are, then we've lost the plot. The only point in all of this is providing systems that enable worship and discipling which extend the Kingdom Jesus came to usher in. Anglicans are now part of a world-wide Anglican Communion, a family of churches in more than 160 different countries. And we are connected with all those who recognised Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. We must never let failings in our systems drive us to, or excuse, ungodly behaviour, in ourselves or in others. The Church of England is part of the Church of Christ, inheritors of the experience of those who were the first witnesses, not just historically, but in the here and now.
So, I do encourage you to make the most of Holy Week and Easter, there are many and varied opportunities to worship – see the rest of this Newsletter and elsewhere for those. It is in that worship that we may receive the Life that Jesus came to bring, which has little to do with our physical health and activity, and everything to do with inner joy and peace and life in eternity. May the Holy Spirit of God, who enables us to experience in worship the real presence (incarnation) of the infinite God made known through Word and Sacrament and in the person of Jesus Christ, be with us all this Easter tide.

Love and Easter Blessings, Hilary

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Study in Lent
The Churches Together Lent Course at Sts Mary and Michael, Limestone View York Study group and the book study on 'Dethroning Mammon; Making Money serve Grace' at Settle Holy Ascension all continue and conclude this month. Check the weekly sheets for further information, no session at Settle on April 6th.

April 2nd Because of Settle APCM the service at St Alkelda’s is Morning Worship led by Worship leaders.

Messy Church Takes place on Easter day this year. Here is an opportunity to do some of the fun activities associated with the Season in the context of a shared meal and a short act of worship using the activities. This session is led by Phillippa and Stephen Normanton, with food provided by Holy Ascension.

Living Stones
The audit is well under way, final returns are due on Palm Sunday, after which we will await the analysis being done for us, on which we will be basing future plans. Do encourage anyone you can to respond,

Vision 2030
Deanery Synod members began this process which will now move on to the parishes, of formulating plans for the Anglican ministry in our area into the future. This is being worked on through a series of facilitated conversations in which we are being encouraged to discern God's will for us in the knowledge that his plans for us are for our good, and that God's blessings for his people are abundant, not rationed. 
This is especially relevant to our parishes as discussions continue on the best way to organise leadership in our three churches and with our neighbours. In the language of our Lent Study with Justin Welby, the process is an encouragement to dethrone Mammon in our thinking and actions. Please pray with me that we do not unintentionally put Mammon firmly back on the throne hereby. This is something to be embarked on with joyful hope and clear sight (that of Jesus), resisting the cynical mistrust, fear and lack of generosity which are the tools of Mammon.

Taizé Services
On the three weekday evenings Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week there will be, as last year, reflective services following the pattern of Compline and using the psalm and readings for Evening Prayer for the day with Taizé chants. Musicians and/or singers who would like to be involved please contact Hilary or Stephen.


Archive
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