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Easter 7

Beloved in Christ

Betty took this picture and her metaphor is of the church… ‘passed this tree on my walk today and thought it might illustrate the church after lockdown – new growth, but in a different way, on a firm foundation’.  It’s worth a meditational reflection isn’t it.  What about sitting quietly, gazing into the picture on your screen?  

Tomorrow’s collect asks of us

Triune God

Jesus prayed that we might be one;

Help us transcend our differences

And find our unity in Jesus Christ our Lord;

Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit

One God now and forever.

Amen.

I have been blathering to God about how easily we slide into difference rather than togetherness: always forming an opinion, or even judgement, long before all the facts are known. And how easily we exclude ourselves and another from the grace-filled acceptance of difference or individuality.  In looking at my neighbourhood and scanning Dundee from so many angles whilst walking.  I realise that each home, each family, each person is created uniquely, according to God’s plan! Our Zoom and telephone chats reveal the same. That is the space in which grace can and does co-operate. I ask us each to pray that we hold off judgement and see situations and another as Jesus would, and in that relationship we nourish, support and allow others to become themselves, as Jesus did. Richard Rohr and many others describe this immediate assessment separates us from God, calling it ‘dualistic’ thinking. As Jesus shows us, we can catch ourselves in the act and simply leave judgement out of our meeting spaces.  Indeed, in our relationship with God too – we are one, inseparable from God, made to receive that flow of nurture, and not separate ourselves away from that.

Flowing from this thought, I’m considering the pressing question of what things (and in church) will look like, as we ease out of lockdown. It demands new thinking and movement. We are holding a clergy and lay reader meeting to discuss just that, this Friday. Our vestry secretaries have outlined our activities, in community, and in serving others in need, and therefore, ‘different’. I’m so proud that we have established such ties ecumenically, and in helping those in need.  It will remain foundational to our outreach and community ministry, even to growing the church. 

I hope that God graces us by allowing us to deepen and strengthen what we already have in place, and celebrate the interesting creative ideas coming out of last week’s challenge of new ideas and input flowing from the questions posed in the previous email. The Zoom meeting was held without me, as I was entrapped in getting home from Perth and that business I had to attend to. Delightfully, many marvellous ideas were forthcoming and a good time was had by all.  Here are the questions again, so that you can give us your input, via email, or even a call if you like:

☆New services and times… midweek? What service? Shared or alternating between the 2 churches? Different venue? 

☆ A retreat – a day/weekend.. where?

* Social activities… a walk, a picnic, a tea in a garden, a venue (a garden centre?) Tentsmuir….

???

☆ different groups… either by extending or a new target group… how to contact them…. where are they? Whether you’d like to be involved or pray as we go there…. 

☆ Any courses or themes you’d like to follow? A bible study? (which book?) A coffee get together? At home, at church, where? When.. morning afternoon evening?

☆New places to advertise

Some new questions for your consideration please:

# what gatherings can we ‘do’ via Zoom, if it’s difficult for us to meet?

# would you like us to develop services online service/sermon/ prayer/workshop/ topic for reflection, so that you could watch them at your convenience, in your own home?

# Several members have said that their families have got them using Zoom for chats, quizzes and even gatherings like birthdays.  Would you let me know if you are now on Zoom?

#Others say they now have cellphones – please give me your number, and we could have a wassap chat or video.

The lovely telephone chats I am having with you are wonderful sharing spaces.  Though it’s sometimes difficult to put face to voice should we meet on a walk, it’s a great comfort to me to have that connection and level of easy sharing.  Faith circles become contextual if we talk about things topmost in our minds. I am aware that you are all bravely moving along, but also aware that lockdown takes each of us differently, from day to day, and from person to person.

Readings for the week are:

SUNDAY Acts1: 6 to 14   Psalm 68: 1 to11   1 Peter 4: 12 to 145: 6 to 11     John 17: 1 to 11

MONDAY             Acts 19: 1 to 10               Psalm 68: 1 to 6                   John 16: 19 to 33

TUESDAY            Acts 20: 17 to 27             Psalm 68: 7 to 20                John 17: 1 to 11a

WEDNESDAY      Acts 20: 28 to 38             Psalm  68: 28 to 35             John 17: 11b to 19

THURSDAY         Acts 22: 30, 23: 6 to 11   Psalm 16                             John 17: 20 to 26

FRIDAY                Acts 25: 13 to 21             Psalm 103: 1 to 2; 19 to 22 John 21: 15 to 19

SATURDAY          Acts 28: 16 to 20             Psalm 11                            John 21: 20 to 25

So, prayers for you this week are: that you feel the indwelling presence of God in all you do; that you and your family are safe, loving, accepting and happy; that you witness and share the growth of the people of God in new and exciting ways, and that your world as we move towards Pentecost is as pink as our lovely flowers, darkening to red in this coming week!

Yours in Christ

Kathy

07552503859

Easter 6 and Ascension

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ

How have you been this week? Many of us are feeling the constraints of another 3 weeks of lockdown, aren’t we? It’s that longing to get into the familiar structures and routines, as well as having the freedom to make daily choices. Above all, to be with family and friends! There is a niggling feeling raising the question of what is it going to be like, and how misshapen the familiar might become!

So we journey with the early church, in its own adjustments. The early disciples must have experienced the dead ends and re-configuring our world is faced with. And, they must have felt frustration. However, the living memory of Christ was with them, making some sort of sense of the days. They relied more and more on their new group of Christian friends for sustenance. I can identify with all the above… it is our group of believers who are becoming foremost friends, as they offer spiritual comfort, and joy; meaningfulness and assurance. It’s not about gathering at church on a Sunday, but more about how God’s presence is deepening and suffusing our friendship, with brightness, comfort and direction. This newness in relationship will surely bond us strongly as we journey on.

The disciples were encountering Jesus, and this was their topic – Jesus’ appearance and the peace and grace that he alone offers, linking the Jesus they knew with the Jesus of the encounter, and the revelation that Jesus would soon leave them in physical person. It was witnessed by Jesus’ new friends and disciples, on a mountaintop.  Not any disciples, but his closest Peter, James and John, not on any mountain but probably on Mount Horeb/Sinai, where the Law had been given to Moses. They saw Jesus linked in conversation with the prophets, Jesus talking to God, his father, and Jesus departing.

What would your translation of this be, in your own life right now? Some points for prayer and reflection:

Are we willing to accompany Jesus to the mountain?

What is our own present frame of reference?

 What do we feel as Jesus leaves us?

What is this Holy Spirit that will come to us?

Are we still in spiritual lockdown?

Or, are we ready for the newness which the Holy Spirit along brings?

Shall we enter the next few days pondering our relationship with Jesus, both in the past, and now at a critical faith point? Can and how could we be receptive to a new current of thinking, processing, do-ing?

We started our Zoom conversation on Wednesday recounting our personal relationship with God, our ‘conversion point’.  I wonder what yours is?  We realised how much our background colours our faith walk, and I could celebrate how distinctively different we are, in both experience and tradition.

Let’s use this time to look at our church anew! May I ask you to consider, whilst we remain in quiet lockdown, where God might be nudging our churches?

☆New services and times… midweek? What service? Shared or alternating between the 2 churches? Different venue? 

☆ A retreat – a day/weekend.. where?

* Social activities… a walk, a picnic, a tea in a garden, a venue (a garden centre?) Tentsmuir….

???

☆ different groups… either by extending or a new target group… how to contact them…. where are they? Whether you’d like to be involved or pray as we go there…. 

☆ Any courses or themes you’d like to follow? A bible study? (which book?) A coffee get together? At home, at church, where? When.. morning afternoon evening?

☆New places to advertise

☆ It’s a given that the strong ecumenical links are nourishing, and sustained. However if there’s a new initiative to add on, great! 

☆If you’d like to put your thoughts on an email beforehand, fine, but let’s explore now! 

READINGS FOR THE WEEK

SUNDAY

COLLECT: O God, you reveal yourself in love;

Pour into our hearts such love towards you

That we, loving you in all things and above all things,

May obtain your promises,

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

One God, now and ever.

Amen

                              Acts 17: 22 – 31. Psalm 66: 7 to 19. 1 Peter 3; 13 to 22. John 14: 15 to 21

MONDAY              Acts16: 11 to 15. Psalm 149. John 15: 26 to 16: 4a.

TUESDAY              Acts 16: 16 to 34.  Psalm 138. John 16: 4b to 11

WEDNESDAY        Acts 17: 15, 22 to 18: 8. Psalm 148. John 16: 12 to 20

THURSDAY ASCENSION DAY  Acts 1; 1 –to 11.  Psalm 47/93. Ephesians 1: 15 to 23. Luke 24: 44 to 53

FRIDAY                  Acts 18: 9 to 18. Psalm 47: 1 to 6. John 16: 20 to 24

SATURDAY           Acts 18: 23 to 28. Psalm 47: 1, 2and 7 to 10. John 16; 23b to 28

‘See you’ tomorrow in St Mary’s for Eucharist and at St Margaret’s on Thursday at 3pm in St Margaret’s, Tayport.

May the spirit of the living Christ be with you!

Kathy

075 525 03859

Easter 5

  Beloved in Christ
I wonder what consolations the past week has delivered at the doorstep of your heart, this week. From the sound of those in our Zoom discussion, it seems as if most felt that lockdown has been a healthy, life-giving period: yet I know of many who are now steeped in despondency.  That is what Ignatius describes as desolation. It is deep and dark and we have all touched that reality at some stage, hopefully not now. Yet, according to those who guide us, desolation, once accepted, is the time for real self understanding and knowledge, a time to re-assess and re- grow, The extremes and way in which we move from one to another, consolation and desolation, might sound like a different turn of phrase but in fact it is Ignatian.  
In clergy discussions and in our Wednesday Zoom meetings, I re-introduced  Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ 5 stages of dying: anger, rejection, bargaining, depression and ultimately, acceptance. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you reflect on where you are on the scale, and where is the grief cycle you have spent time.  What I do know is that God is wherever we are, closer than our breath, and seeing us as the ‘apple of God’s eye’ God’s Imago Dei.  I also know that there are some, maybe many, who we can reach out and be as Christ to them, giving assurance and comfort.  Keep some of that for yourself.
It is leaftime early summer and this season is very beautiful, and invitational.  Let us grow deeper roots and support those who need, like the beech trees, to cling to sloped ground, and, once rooted, stay stable. Just look at the magnificent rootedness in the attachment!
I will be at St Margaret’s tomorrow and love our Eucharist and time together.  Soon, soon we shall meet.  I almost wept when I saw church in action once again, in Germany.
I’m delighted with the way Zoom is enabling us.  St Mary’s, set up by Betty, had their first, very satisfying vestry meeting, and the Wednesday group met, discussing Elizabeth Kubler Ross and how that impacts on our status quo.  We all desire the group to enlarge, as each of us make a difference to one another. I certainly felt nourished and enriched, having see your faces once again, and learned from your wisdom. I’m also delighted that these weekly emails are on our respective websites! Well done Christine and Betty!
Hoping too that you are enjoying the SEC Sunday Eucharists. I thought our Primus was wonderful, talking about his crozier as something to lean on whilst he blathered to others.  I just love that picture.  I also picked up his Monday brief reflection on YouTube.  We have great praying joyful and real leaders! 
Tomorrow, Sunday: Acts 7: 55 to 60; psalm 31: 1 to 5 and 17 and 18; 1 Peter 2: 2 to 10; John 14: 1 to 14.  See you from St Margaret’s and know you are prayed for! Follow the SEC online service at the same time. 
A lovely Collect you could pray this week is:Eternal God, your son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth ad the life for all creation:Grant us Grace to walk in his way. Rejoice in his truth, and share his risen life;who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.Amen, 

MONDAY Acts 14: 5 to 18                            Psalm 115:1 to 11                         John 14: 21 to 26
TUESDAYActs 14: 19 to 27                           Psalm 145: 10 to 13, 21                John 14: 27 to 31a
WEDNESDAY Acts 15: 1 to 6                              Psalm 122                                     John 15: 1 to 8
THURSDAYActs 15: 7 to 21                             Psalm 96: 1 to 3, 10 to 13             John 15: 9 to 11
FRIDAYActs 15: 22 to 31                          Psalm 57: 6 to 12                           John 15: 12 to 17
SATURDAYActs 16: 1 to 10                            Psalm 100                                      John 15: 18 to 21

Let’s be reminded of Jesus’ own words,’No one puts new wine into old wineskins; if they do, the skin will burst, and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are kept in good condition.’ Let us help each other to make newness and healthiness!
Grace and peace Kathy

Easter 4

Beloved in Christ I’ve just been chatting to some parishioners, and laughingly commented that the first topic of conversation is the weather, and so it should be, as it is changeable and directly affects us!  All in the midst of spring… I’d forgotten how nature’s episodes show off the snowdrops, then daffodils, then bluebells, then buttercups, nettles —– and it’s so with us – God is revealing seasonal changes in us, and we are always taken by surprise by the renewing season of feeling change, and warmth in our spirits.  We are on our way to Pentecost, aren’t we?  I pray that your encounters with the resurrected real Jesus are sustaining you, and maybe giving you new insights. St Augustine said that  we are spiritual beings on an earthly journey.  Let us live into that and be sure that every day we are attending to the spiritual garden God is now giving us time to potter around in!
ZOOM conversations on Wednesday meetings at 8pm are wonderful: last week we looked at how to ‘do’ church when we come out of lockdown: we started to picture ourselves arriving, listening to scripture and exploring God’s new way of being not do-ing in a changed world,  preparing for communion and partaking in it, (not to forget taking collection). Next week we return to a more spiritual, reflective focus and discussion.  We need that spiritual nourishment. We have decided to open our link to anyone you would recommend joining.  Fresh insight is so valuable, and refreshing. 
WEBSITES: Christine and Betty have added to our internet pages – do take a look at stmaryschurchnewportontay.org and stmargarettayport.org. It’s great that we are sharing photos and these newsletters.  It would be marvellous to have some overseas interest in joining Zoom! 
SERVICES I hope you are enjoying the Episcopal video of the Eucharist on Sundays at 11 (or  you can watch them later at your convenience). By the way a lot of people are enjoying the flexibility of worship, during this lockdown. I continue to celebrate the Eucharist, tomorrow at 11 at St Mary’s.  You will see some photos of St Margaret’s last week. I was very moved to look from the altar at the empty church, and longed for you to take up your usual places!  It is a beautiful experience for me, and I am aware of your presence, and pray for each of you. Do join me once again. In the afternoon at 4, I have another dedicated prayer and healing service, and have decided rather to hold that at home, than to transgress the law and go out again in a day. Light your little candle and join me. 
READINGS. Are you enjoying the Eucharist readings – I think we should keep to them throughout our green Easter season.They are 

SUNDAYActs 2: 42-47Psalm 231 Peter 2: 19-25John 10: 1-10
MONDAYActs 11: 1-18Psalm 43John10: 22-30
TUESDAYActs 11: 19-26Psalm 87John 10: 44-50
WEDNESDAYActs 12:24 – 13: 5aPsalm 67John12: 44-50
THURSDAYActs 13: 13-25Psalm 89 1-2, 19-26John 13: 16-20
FRIDAYActs 13: 26-33Psalm 23John 14: 1-7
SATURDAYActs 13: 44-52Psalm 98John 14: 7-14 


FACE MASKS That strange picture shows you how well the little masks I made for you work.  I made several rows of reinforcing stitches so that they are more durable. Do use them when you shop! Please pray for Steve and Dorothy Lemon, who showed some cv symptoms and are in self isolation. ENJOY this time – make it God space

Thoughts and prayers Kathy
07552503859

Coronavirus update 17 March 2020

The Bishop’s advice on the coronavirus is that all church services are now cancelled until further notice.

However, there is a Eucharist every Sunday morning at 11am , hosted by one of the Bishops, on YouTube or Facebook. Follow the links from https://www.scotland.anglican.org/ to listen live, or the service can be watched later.