News for May 2017

Dear Friends,

You may remember that last year, all parishes within the Church of England received an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to join them in a Novena (Nine days) of Prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost. This has now grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. So this year churches, families and individuals are being asked to join in this global wave of prayer for more people to come to faith in Jesus Christ. Once again, the timing is between Ascension Day and Pentecost.

The choice of timing is very significant. We think of Jesus’ disciples after his Ascension, spending time waiting and praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus told them: ‘Stay in the city until you have been clothed from on high’ (Luke ch.24. v.49b). During this time of prayer, we are invited to join in that waiting.

Archbishop Justin writes in the introduction to this year’s prayer booklet: ‘Some days I find that prayer comes easily.  On others, it’s a struggle.  But I’m always mindful that prayer – the act of meeting with God in conversation, silence, longing – is not just another thing we do.  It’s the breath that sustains us.  The thing that God calls us to before we think or do anything else.  It’s not a Church of England thing, it’s not an Anglican thing, it’s a Christian thing....  Prayer is the place where change begins….  These nine days are a dedicated time to prayerfully wait in the ‘in-between time from Ascension to Pentecost.  In it we choose to align ourselves with the love of God, so that those around us may come to know more of Him.’

As last year, we are offering three special opportunities to spend time in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost:

  1. On Saturday 27th May, there will be a parish Quiet Morning at Burnham Abbey.  Please sign up on the list in the Bar Lounge on Sunday mornings or email/phone the Church Office if you would like to come.  As usual, you are invited to arrive in time for the Eucharist with the Sisters at 9.30 am followed by an introduction to the morning at 10 o’clock then time and space for you to use as desired – to spend time in prayer (the chapel is a wonderful place to pray), go for a walk, sit in the gardens, read, even snooze! We end with worship together and lunch for those who would like to stay. The Sisters invite a £5 donation from each of those who come.
  2. On the afternoon of Saturday 27th May, at 4.30 pm, we will be having another Prayer Walk around Cox Green. We will meet and begin at the Community Centre. This is a wonderful opportunity to ‘soak’ our community in prayer by walking around the parish together and stopping at different places to pray – such as the schools, the Community Centre, the Leisure Centre, the shops and offices, the library, the surgery, local pubs, and the scout hut. Please do come along and join us – if only for part of the walk. For those unable to come, or perhaps not very mobile, you could join us in prayer from home, or go by car between the different stopping places. A few people did this last year, and it seemed to work well. You don’t have to come for the whole time, but just join us for part of the walk if you prefer.  Children are also welcome! They can tell us about their schools.
  3. A special Prayer booklet ‘Nine Days of Prayer 2017 – Conversations in the In-Between’ has also been prepared. This contains a picture, readings, prayers and reflections for each day between Ascension Day and Pentecost. This can be downloaded from the website: www.thykingdomcome.global or bought at church for £1. There are also other ideas and prayer resources for churches, families and individuals, and you can sign up to say you are taking part.

Those of you involved in the street collections for Christian Aid Week (many, I hope!!), which is the week before, may like to begin this prayer for our local community by praying for your street/s and the households you visit, as you distribute or collect up your envelopes.  It is another lovely way to soak our parish in prayer.

May is also ‘Vocations month’ in the diocese. At ChoGS we will be having a special focus on vocation at our 10 o’clock services with some visiting preachers. Look out for more details in Bleatings and in the Diary section of this newsletter.

Wishing you all a blessed Ascension Day and Pentecost.

Joan