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Pentecost 9 2nd August 2020

(Sorry, I can’t upload the video. You can watch the relevant bit on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jhi4t8Os0M from 20 seconds to 1 minute in to the video.)

Beloved in Christ

How was your week?  Take a moment to review it and note when you experienced that wonderful God-and-I are-one moment!  Most of us easily identify with that, specially when it is as lovely as Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, when we can walk under glistening boughs in shafted sunlight, knowing that the growth this season is good. Nature, like us, is new every day!

I attach a hilarious clip: perhaps when we host many a wedding we will not be faced with this dilemma!

We have been exploring the Kingdom of heaven, on earth, as it is revealed this very day.  God our loving father invites us to participate in this kingdom of unconditional love, assuring us of his encouragement and support.  Jesus, the parable of God, the embodiment of his father, demonstrates through his experience and interaction, how to behave in loving God and others. The Holy Spirit intercedes and prays for us with groans and personal words, feeling as we do, the embrace of God.

Today, Sunday, reveals a revolutionary Jesus, who says, in so many words, go and feed the people yourselves.  He throws the ball back into our court! He makes that our responsibility and privilege.  We become his hands, his intentions.

However do we feed the 5000 with only two loaves and 5 fishes?

This is what we are exploring.  I say the same to you – I cannot, I am new, I am only here for a little time, so what do you want of me? Yes, I can and love leading you, but it is you who must go out, and return to share how it has been. This is the only way we can grow.  I can only grow through your growth. If not, I will remain a great tree on a lonely hillside, not as I should be, in a forest.

Allow me the sacred privilege of hearing you always: this is my prayer.  For my part, I promise to listen, taking as long as you like, to you. I promise to hold and support you.  I promise to pray for you, on the good and bad days.

Yet, it is together that we will explore our world, and come to a new place of fellowship!

I am really moved that so many of you are back at church, in the fold, and looking happy, smiling and being so supportive and responsive.  There’s a lightness in the air! Bless you!

On 16 August we will get together in St Mary’s to celebrate the Feast of St Mary. Last week I asked if you would let out vestry secretaries, Christine and Betty know how many of you with friends and family, will attend so we can keep track of numbers. I am hoping that we can return to the rectory for a cuppa afterwards, but will be guided by the Diocesan guidelines.

Please join us on Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 7pm. If you are new, I will send you the link – it is easy to join in and each session is self-contained. Presently we are talking about our favourite hymns and the personal background. Perhaps you would like to phone me or email me to tell me what yours is and we will share it.

Readings for Sunday

Isaiah 5 1 to 5.  Psalm 145: 5, 15 to 22.  Matthew 4: 13 to 20.  Romans 9; 1 to 5

All the richest blessings to you, child of God!
Kathy Barrable

07552 503 859

Pentecost 8 – 26th July 2020

Beloved in Christ

Everyone I speak to expresses their pleasure in this summer’s weather.  Think of this morning! On awakening, God was pouring showers down, and by the time I came out of the St Margaret’s vestry meeting, it was a hot and bright day! I sense that we are all rejoicing that lockdown is safely easing up, those we love are accessible, and the towns are filling up as a new almost-normal! May our hearts too, continue to be replenished by joy, and may we be the grateful, loving people God wants us to be!

It was really lovely to see so many of you last Sunday.  It was a welcome home.  We prayed for those of you who couldn’t be there, and look forward to seeing you as soon as you can. If you would like to receive communion at home, I will happily bring it to you and stay for a prayer: just let me know.

One outpouring of our love for others, and the needy, has been food contributions for the food bank.  When you come tomorrow, or make plans to meet us during the week, do remember to pop in some extra groceries.  I was reflecting on the implications of Covid 19 with some South African friends, and we wondered whether starvation or covid19 would have the greatest fatalities.  Here in Scotland, we might not see that extreme, but there are many needy, and we pledge to look after them, as family of God.

Collection and banking details: Thank you for continuing to generously gift to our churches.  It is most gratifying to see how faithful you are in this regard. We wondered if you might prefer to use internet banking.  If so, please ask Mike or Betty for the church’s banking details.

The church properties are looking good: St Margaret’s garden pots of colour will be replaced by new containers, and the holly hedge at St Mary’s will look trimmed and shorn shortly.  My son and I did a little mowing of the lawn last weekend, bent against a very icy gusty wind. Yet, nothing surpasses the beauty of our churches’ interiors! How glorious the investments of those people of yore are, and your hands, now, on the preparations, from the initially tedious and necessary sanitising, to the perfection of flowers in church, are allowing us to worship safely and joyfully.  Thank you, each one of you!

The balance which comes of dividing the day into portions of prayer, reflection, work, including gardening, and meals, is rather Benedictine, don’t you think?  It is thrilling to see how many people are busy with renovations, painting, off gardening projects, and tending the loveliness of summer! I should mention, that internet has taken on a new magnified proportion! Lockdown has definitely led us along some very different paths of late. I hope too that it has been a time of significant spiritual reflection for you, and along the lines of the way church is evolving, with your input!

16 August – Feast of St Mary. This will be a joint service in Newport, at 11am.  We look forward to seeing us all together.  This will be family-orientated service, so please let Betty (07762 213770) know your numbers, from one household, or visitors, so we can plan accordingly.  The service will be followed by tea and eats (if you could bring a little plate each that would be perfect) at the rectory, 20 Craighead Road, Newport. Note please, that this service replaces the 9.30 service at St Margaret’s.

Readings for tomorrow, Sunday are as follows:

1 Kings 3: 5 to 12, Psalm 119: 129 to 136, Matthew 13: 31 to 33 and 44 to 52.Romans 8: 26 to 39.

Perhaps you might be wondering why I always place the epistle reading after the Gospel?

The Old Testament reveals the humanity of God’s people, their perennial issues; their relationship with God, which waxes and wanes, their choices, but the nature of God, which is ever-loving and ever-restorative and yearning for intimacy with God’s people.  The gospel reveals the parable of God in Jesus.  This week’s 4 parables teach us of the kingdom of heaven, and how we should, above all, seek it.  The parables of the mustard seed, a tiny thing, growing into that which gives shade and protection to all people; the pearl and the treasure found in a field, so valuable that all other pursuits and wealth falls into insignificance, and the great Fisherman who returns the smaller fish to the sea to grow more, keeping the bigger fish for the catch. (I wonder what we estimate our weight to measure, in God’s hands?) Then, in the epistle, Paul reasons with and preaches to a highly civilised, articulate, people of power and prowess, of the way in which the Holy Spirit operates, and intercedes, for every one of us, within the Christian faith and to the gentiles, who worship a multitude of gods. Let’s allow the Spirit to speak to our creator about the really deep things which we might not have shared with God, those issues at dark places in our deepest heart, as well as the petitions which beset us on a daily temporary basis.  

May God bless you, as you are a blessing to others!

Kathy Barrable

07552 503859 

Pentecost 6

Beloved in Christ

It is with great joy that I inform you that our churches will be open on Sunday 19th!

The services will be at the time we discussed so long ago before lockdown: St Margaret’s at 9.30 and St Mary’s at 11.

The most important assurance we offer is that coming to church is our own decision and that there is no pressure to invite you to attend until you are ready. If there is any reservation about public worship, please delay your attendance, until you feel either more comfortable, or well enough to be with us.

We will need to be very observant of the rules for us all to remain safe and healthy, as we benefit from togetherness.

Should you have any queries please feel free to phone or email me, Christine or Betty. You know I have visited you at home, so if you would prefer a visit I will do that with pleasure and as often as you like!

Here are some points for your consideration.  They are in line with what the Bishop has approved for our proceedings.

1.       Bring your mask, hand sanitiser and whatever you like.  We will have spares in the church.

2.       The greeter/ sidesperson/volunteer, at the door will guide you as to seating and other arrangements: just gesture during the service if you have a query or are unsure of what to do. You may use church order of service, hymn book, and bible readings until the end of August. After the service, you may take books and readings home, and bring them to church the following week.  They are on loan until phase 4 at least!

3.       Face coverings are only for entering and leaving the church, when physical distancing is difficult. Once people are sitting down, they can be removed (if wished).

4.       Do remember to bring your own bible if you would like to follow the readings in church.

5.       Communion will be the host only. You will be asked to file up to the Priest, to receive. At all times we will keep social distancing.

6.       I will be the only person to use the vestry, and the altar, including ablutions.

7.       No coffee and chat afterwards, at present.  Likewise, during the Peace, we will not move around and greet one another

8.       Readings will be read from the front of the church, not from the lectern.

9.       Hymns will be played, but no singing.  It will be good to have your hymnbook open so you can follow the words

10.   Collection can be placed in the plate, and it will be administered after the service.

11.   If absolutely necessary, toilets can be used, and sanitised scrupulously by the user/s

12.   The church will be locked during the week, the only person allowed entry will be the priest, vestry secretary, flower arranger, and cleaner.

To put you in the picture of the process involved, the bishop and advisory committee has once again offered us guidelines and we with the vestries have submitted our proposal to him for approval.  It serves to bind us to what we are going to do, and it complies with standards and legalities of our church and country.

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For your reflection. Please look at the picture of a boy’s face in the attachment. Allow yourself to be peaceful and quiet, asking God for communion with you… allow the face and whatever else you see in the picture to settle into your spirit. Reflect on it for as long as you like, or on more than one occasion.  Thank God each time for the insight you have gained. We looked at it together in the Zoom discussion on Wednesday and then shared our ideas, in their variety.  Together we built up a kind of joint consensus.  Walking in Tayport last evening round 8.30pm, I saw a glorious rainbow over the Tay and took it as a confirmation of the spiritual exchange we had shared on Wednesday. We also discussed the importance of images and pictures in our churches, and memorable ones we had seen elsewhere.  Art has a deep significance in our community.  
The Iona community have composed this hauntingly evocative and moving hymn. If you look at it on the link, you will be able to hear it sung.  Enjoy the way it bonds and uplifts us all.  It is called, Hymn for Our Times, and has been recently written by John Bell of the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Resource Group. John has made the hymn freely available for use in churches.

We will meet when the danger is over,
we will meet when the sad days are over;
we will meet sitting closely together
and be glad our tomorrow has come.
We will join to give thanks and sing gladly,
we will join to break bread and share wine;
and the peace that we pass to each other
will be more than a casual sign.
So let’s make with each other a promise
that when all we’ve come through is behind,
we will share what we missed and find meaning
in the things that once troubled our mind.
Until then may we always discover
faith and love to determine our way.
That’s our hope and God’s will and our calling
for our lives and for every new day.
https://iona.org.uk/2020/06/15/we-will-meet-a-new-song-by-john-l-bell/

Scripture readings.  It is strangely new to consider that next week we will be together!I am reverting to the thematic readings which will be used on the SEC service on youtube tomorrow at 11am. Isaiah 55: 10 to 13. Psalm 65: 9 to 14. Romans 8: 1 to 11. Matthew 13: 1 to 9 and 18 to 23.Next week I will send you the readings until the end of August.
With my prayers and best wishes

Revd Kathy Barrable

07552 503859

In the rush

Beloved in Christ

I trust that this has been a good week and that you are looking forward to planning or meeting some special family or friends a little further afield. ‘Normal’ will be appreciated as never before won’t it!

The bishops office is keeping us up to date with implementing Phase 2, and we are discussing re-opening the churches for private prayer at present. The Advisory Committee is looking into the future – phases 3 and 4. Bishop Ian has been in touch with priests and invited us to a preliminary meeting within Area Councils via Zoom. It will be sacred space to deepen our reflections on church services. I rely on what you think, and so our seemingly light-hearted Zoom meetings are critical. Please share your feedback and ideas with me by phone or email should you wish to. In England, for instance, weddings of up to 30 will be permitted, but no singing allowed.  How important is singing to you and what difference do you think the lack of participating in hymns as against perhaps playing organ music or listening to a hymn will make? Much earlier, we discussed how we might adapt during the Eucharist and sacramentally… what do you think now? I am very aware that many who have been shielding will be ultra cautious re-entering events and group meetings.

The vital question is: what kind of church does God need us to be now?

Church visits: as yet no one has asked to visit church.  I fully understand and respect that many of you are being careful at this stage. What is right for you is right for our churches.  

Home visits: It has been a privilege to visit some of you in your gardens.  All of you are wonderful people and I am humbled to get to know you beyond the paper or screen we are accustomed to.  Even a phone call cannot make up for face to face!  May God bless you, those you love at home, and those precious to you as we move to being able to visit their homes!

Please pray for Bishop Ian as he is now additionally Interim Bishop for Argyll and the Isles.  I wonder how he will manage this daunting task, as there are so many complex issues within our state of being, in Scotland now, as well as within our own diocese, and even congregation. ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ (Shakespeare) and he is leading us through unchartered terrain with grace and facility. I wil send him an email wishing him well and offering our prayers. Bishop Kevin is now Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, so your prayers for him and his diocese now too please.

I have asked Bishop Ian to record a video of a service for us here in Newport and Tayport. It will be a treat to have aour Bishop’s personalised sermon won’t it? We will also have it on hard copy so that we can ponder it at leisure.

Following, ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’, let’s shift to a more personal reflection. YOU! There is a fourteenth century British proverb whish says, ‘Opportunity makes the man’. I wonder if we could reflect on the opportunity lockdown has given each of us – have we taken it as a time of gift, or have you discovered some gifts along the way?  Has your behaviour, or attitude changed?  Have others – even strangers, been different this lockdown?  God has given every one of us unique gifts:  this could apply to each of us, diverse as we are: (1 Corinthians 12 : 7 to 11) Ponder these gifts and see which one or more applies to you.  In Genesis 12:22, we read that we are blessed to be a blessing, so shall we live into this actively this upcoming week? God had you in mind when creation began, Ephesians 1:11, and we are assured that we are here for a purpose: let us , if we have not done so already, identify what that purpose is, and live into it with clear focus.

Let’s look at the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12: 4 to 11. By recognising our gifts, or naming the gift we see in others, our unique purpose, let us share it actively with our church. Church, by the way, is, in Greek, ‘ecclesia‘ which means ‘the people’.  I suspect that some of us, me included, has been gifted new depth in church friendships.  Judging how easily you share parts of your lives with me, how much more must it be if you have deep friendships over the years?  That means, our family, friends and our church.  We are considering how church would be: should we now consider how YOU will be in church.  What will you do to add something new? Perhaps an action, an initiative, a proposal – which we need now more than ever.  I am not saying the church needs to change, but rather what you bring from your heart and experience, into this newness.

Here are some prompts for your thoughts and prayers (some were touched on during our Zoom chat).

At this phase 1 of lockdown:

*      What relationship, perhaps a new one, has been a change agent?

*      Has your home circle revealed some new aspects of relationship?

*      What gives you joy in lockdown

*      What, most of all, do you long for after lockdown?

*      Has your home space altered? Have you needed to create a study, or a pace for something you want or need to do? Has your relationship with God/ your prayer pattern/ your routines changed/ modified/ adjusted?

I hope you are looking at the SEC Sunday service at 11 am.  They are indeed inspiring and varied. The Thursday evening Service of the Word is also recommended: I a. always peaceful when I share prayers with others further afield.  What is great, is that you can view services at your leisure, and I’m wondering if this ‘convenience’ isn’t making a big difference to young families!

READINGS FOR THE DAY

Last week’s readings (Pentecost 4). The SEC service focussed on the feast of St Peter and St Paul. Here are the continuous readings:

Genesis 22: 1 to 14.  Psalm 13.  Romans 6: 12 to 23.  Matthew 10: 40 to 42.

This week’s Sunday readings 

Genesis 22: 34 to 38, 42 to 49, 58 to 67.  Psalm 45: 10 to 17.  Romans 7: 15 to 25a.  Matthew 11: 16 to 19, 25 to 30.

With every blessing.  Thank you for all you are, and the way you love our Lord!

Kathy

07552053856