A letter from the Bishop of Worcester for April

As I write this piece, the stock markets have crashed and fear is beginning to mount as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK has risen to over 300. It is difficult to predict where we’ll be by the time you read this and it’s important that we continue to heed official advice.

Alongside this, the Bishop of St Albans has come up with four ‘golden rules’ for Christians which we won’t hear from the Government. I commend them to you:

Golden Rule One. Each one of us can think about how we can protect and support our neighbours. So much of the public rhetoric is sowing fear about the danger of other people. So, while ensuring you take all the official precautions, offer help and reassurance to others – and don’t demonise anyone or any group.

Golden Rule Two. Think about who may be suffering the most. For those of us who are healthy, there is much less to worry about, but the elderly, the housebound and those with chronic health conditions may be very anxious. Could your church do an audit of vulnerable people and share out the responsibility to phone them each day? There’s nothing like a friendly voice to offer solace when someone is worried. A smile can bring cheer, even on the phone. If you visit, follow all the official precautions.

Golden Rule Three. Don’t give in to panic and start hoarding food. There is plenty to go around, so practise the Christian discipline of sharing. Ask your neighbours what they need and do your best to help them get it. If you are self-isolating you will, of course, need some supplies.

Golden Rule Four. Live today to the full. None of us ever know what the future holds. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25–34), Jesus challenged his followers to live each day fully and not be afraid. Every time we are tempted to give in to fear we need to make a conscious choice to respond in trust and openness.

To that I would add: don’t forget to pray and remember, as we approach Easter, the wonderful truth that lies at the heart of our faith, that perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

Rt Revd Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Worcester

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Useful online resources for Prayer, Study and Reflection

  1. Church of England resources for Morning and Evening Prayer, including apps for Smart Phones:
    www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer
     
  2. Archbishop of Canterbury video of bible studies:
    www.facebook.com/pg/archbishopofcanterbury/videos/
     
  3. Ignatian Pray as You Go resources:
    www.pray-as-you-go.org/
     
  4. Diocese of Worcester Sermon Podcasts:
    www.cofe-worcester.org.uk/news/category/sermon-podcasts/
     
  5. Worcester Cathedral are streaming their 8.30am service each morning on their Facebook page:
    www.facebook.com/WorcesterCathedral/
     
  6. Ignatius Loyola prayerful reflection—The Examen:
    www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/

Or you can get completely out of this world by looking at NASA’s astronomy picture of the day!

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World Day of Prayer 2020

Held at St. Michael’s Church, Little Witley

Theme: “Rise! Take your mat and walk”
Prepared by Christian women of Zimbabwe

Here in St Michael’s church we participated in a very moving service – one small part of a great wave of prayer which encircled the globe on 6th March 2020. The first service took part as the sun rose over Samoa and ended some 36 hours later back in the Pacific as the sun set over American Samoa.

Each year the service is written by a different country – this year Zimbabwe.

Our own service was largely coordinated by Eleanor Baber and led by Marjorie Workman with the help of and participation by many from 4RIVERS CHURCHES. We were invited to reflect upon the challenges facing Zimbabweans as they seek love, peace and reconciliation and look at how this can affect our attitudes towards each other and our own communities, all highly relevant at this time.

Vickie Melling dealt with the technical side of setting up a screen showing some amazing pictures of the country and art of Zimbabwe. We were fortunate in having Christopher Carter playing the piano for the hymns.

There were lots of objects and pictures on display, all provided by the congregation. These represented the country and its people – flags, musical instruments, crafts, indigenous food and so on.

In the reading, Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be made well?” We were invited to reflect on this – what does it mean to experience God’s love and healing, to “Stand up, take your mat and walk”? Where in our lives and communities do we hear Jesus’ life-changing question: “Do you want to be made well?” What can we all commit to in order to make the world and our community a better place?

The prayers and hymns were inspirational and the whole service was enjoyed by a large congregation.

The photos show the interior of St Michael’s church with some of the things on display.


Gail Hayward
Churchwarden, St Michael Little Witley

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March’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

March’s Draw (The twelfth and final draw in this series)

March’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Julia Curtis rolled the dice on 3rd March to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result, the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winner is Mrs C Gardner of Eastham (Draw no 315)
The £30 winner is Mr WR Austin of Lindridge (Draw no 195)
The £20 winner is Mr J Cumming of Eastham (Draw no 293)

Remember a new series starts in April – just £10 to be entered in 12 monthly draws with prizes each month of £50, £30 and £20 – if you wish to join – please contact Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or at robin.c.dean@gmail.com, or your local co-ordinator. If you wish to help your local co-ordinator, please contact them or Robin as above.

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Pancakes at Great Witley Rectory

On Shrove Tuesday, the Rectory was, once again, filled with activity and good appetites. As can be seen in the picture, a great way to meet and chat together and enjoy pancakes of course – there was a very efficient production line going, from mixing batter to cooking, serving and, of course, eating.

Thank you to everyone who helped in any way and also to those who came and enjoyed the end results and thank you to everyone who generously contributed to the informal collection. We raised £100 for St Richard’s Hospice, which was brilliant!

Thanks also to Rev Ted and Caroline for opening their home to everyone.

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Bishop John’s Lent Message

The transcript follows:

The waters are beginning to abate but the floods in Worcester, as elsewhere this year have been as high as they’ve been in the past ever and there have been more of them. It’s all a consequence of climate change.

Lent is traditionally a time of penitence and there’s nothing for which we need to be collectively more penitent than climate change. It’s undoubtedly the most pressing and crucial issue of our times. Penitence involves being sorry but it also involves taking action and unless we collectively take action very soon there will be catastrophe ahead for very, very many people across the globe.

The Church of England is issuing a challenge this Lent. It’s a 40-day challenge “Care for God’s Creation” and copies of the booklet are available from the Diocesan office or through the Church of England’s app or you can sign up for them to be sent to you via email (www.churchofengland.org/livelent) and I encourage you to reflect on the challenge of climate change and see what action you can take. All of us collected together can, by our own small efforts, make a difference and we really need to do that.

At the same time my Lent appeal this year will be for our brothers and sisters in our link diocese of Morogoro. People have suffered terribly with the floods here, but in Morogoro, as elsewhere, the effects of climate change are causing untold suffering; in flooding, in drought and more recently as across East Africa with the plague of locusts, that’s affecting people appallingly.

So I ask you to donate to that appeal but most importantly I ask you to think about the environment to respond to the challenge to “Care of God’s Creation” as you keep this Lent. May God bless you during it.

Rt Revd Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Worcester

You can donate to Bishop John’s Lent appeal by following this link.

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Teme Valley Tote starts again

A new series starts in April and we will be collecting your subscriptions in March.

All surplus from the Tote goes to the Churches in Teme Valley North and Teme Valley South – last year this amounted to over £3,000.

Each ticket costs £10 and enters you into each of the twelve months’ draw. There are three prizes each month (£50, £30 and £20). You are able to have as many tickets as you wish. Often people buy a ticket for each member of their family.

Your local Teme Valley North Co-ordinators are:
For Knighton — Duane Hubbard
For Lindridge — Mary Walker
For Pensax — Val Grainger
For Stockton — Sandra Jabbett

Your local Co-ordinators will welcome people to assist them in collecting – please contact them if you can help.

A number of people pay by Standing Order – if you are one, we will check that your payment is received and will only come back to you if there is a problem. We have Standing Order forms if you wish to pay in this way – it is also possible to pay by Bank Giro Credit if you have Internet Banking.

If you are not already a subscriber, please contact your local Co-ordinator as we welcome new subscribers.

If you have any queries about the Tote, please contact Robin Dean (Tote Organiser) on 01886 853 295 or e-mail at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

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A letter from The Dean of Worcester for March

This year the whole of March falls within Lent. That makes it too late to talk about Ash Wednesday and how we should be keeping Lent, and too early to talk about Easter, the great day for which Lent is the time of preparation. So instead, let’s remind ourselves that the word ‘Lent’ is an old English word simply meaning ‘spring’. In other languages, the word for Lent refers to the forty days (such as the French Carême) or the season of fasting (such as the German Fastenzeit). Our language invites us to ponder the fact that Lent and Easter occur in the spring.

The connection to new life and rebirth is obvious. As the natural world comes back to life, as leaves and flowers appear, as animals come out of hibernation, as the days lengthen and we spend more time out of doors, so too Christians celebrate the new spiritual life that flows from the dying and rising of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In St John’s Gospel, Jesus compares his own death and resurrection to the planting of a seed: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. now, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself’ (John 12: 24, 32). He is the seed, buried in the earth, but raised up in glory, extending his risen life to all who follow him.

In the natural world, plants produce more seeds, which in turn produce more plants. So too the followers of Jesus are not only the ‘fruit’ of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we are that new generation of seeds which must be planted in order to bear more fruit. Each Christian life is a life of dying and rising. Each Christian life replicates the pattern of Christ’s dying and rising. ‘We die with him’, says St Paul, ‘in order that we may live with him’. How do we ‘die’? We die to self, we die to selfish and self-destructive instincts, we die to all that separates us from Christ. And how do we ‘live’? We gratefully remember the promise of Jesus that he has come that we may have life, and may have it in all its fullness. We allow the risen life of Christ to live in us.

The Very Revd Peter Atkinson
Dean of Worcester

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February’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

February’s Draw (The eleventh draw in this series)

February’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Julia Curtis rolled the dice on 2nd February to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result, the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winner is David Banks of Stanford (Draw no 579)
The £30 winner is Mr DJ Bunn of Knighton (Draw no 688)
The £20 winner is Jane Stone of Lindridge (Draw no 126)

Remember a new series starts in April – just £10 to be entered in 12 monthly draws with prizes each month of £50, £30 and £20 – if you wish to join – please contact Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or at robin.c.dean@gmail.com, or your local co-ordinator. If you wish to help your local co-ordinator, please contact them or Robin as above.

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Christmas Crafts 2019

Lindridge Church held its annual Christmas Crafts at Lindridge School on Saturday 14th December where the children and their families made Christmas cards and other Christmas decorations.

The particular favourite was glue, glitter and baubles, plus making paper chains – who could make the longest chain without breaking it?

Thank you to everyone who came along to help, and a note that we need more glitter for the future!

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Christmas 2019 roundup at Lindridge

A big thank you to all who helped to clean and decorate the church, which looked stunning. Thanks also to the team who decorated the Christmas Tree, which was generously donated by Steve Wheeler.

Once again, the Lindridge Church Choir, led by Andrew and Jason treated us all to a wonderful service of carols, readings and poems on December 21st. The church was filled with stunning music and singing. After the service there was warm mulled wine and nibbles to share while we chatted. A retiring collection for Maggs Day Centre was taken from which was raised £180 – thank you to all who contributed so generously.

On Christmas Eve families joined together at Lindridge Parish Hall for a Nativity celebration with a difference. The story of Jesus’ Birthday and an innkeeper who became more and more irate with the visitors who came knocking on his door looking for baby Jesus – it turned out well in the end! All the children who came along took part and dressed up as angels, shepherd and wise men, plus a little sheep. The Nativity finished in a traditional Christmas Eve way, with a visit from a very special person who was at the start of a very busy evening!

For the second year a group from Lindridge Church went Carol Singing around Eardiston, finishing at The Eardiston with more singing and fun. Our thanks to The Eardiston for making us so welcome, and to all the families who came out to listen and join in with the singing.

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Farewell to Pensax Thrift Shop

A short article on the history and closing of Pensax Thrift Shop has been added to the History pages. You can find it here.

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Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group win The Derek Marks Junior Cup

The Toddler group entries at the Lindridge Autumn Show both won first prize and one was Best in Show in the Junior category. Well done Toddlers and all who helped with the cutting, glueing and fun.

Up-cycled wellington boots were painted and decorated in the fashion of decoupage, but much closer to cutting and sticking. One boot was filled with garden flowers the other was used as a planter for herbs.

Thanks to everyone who helped Toddler serve tea, coffee and cakes at the show. £59 was raised towards the Toddler Group funds. And thanks to Lindridge Parish Hall for hosting a brilliant event.

Vickie Melling



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St Lawrence Clubs at Lindridge CE Primary School

Our weekly clubs run each Thursday during term time, and are open to all ages and classes, from Reception through to Year 6.

We’ve had a busy year, celebrating many different occasions, enjoying stories, games, song, dance praise, creative prayer and craft activities. This term we have been learning British Sign Language through song and prayer, which has been thoroughly enjoyed by all.

We explored many topics including the celebration of the feast of Pentecost when we read in the Bible that Jesus followers were filled with God’s power and they rushed out into the street to tell everyone about him, this power gave them the strength to continue the work that Jesus had started. We thought about the gifts of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and how we can all use these gifts in our everyday lives.

We looked at our responsibility towards planet earth and towards each other, and thought of many examples of how we can care for God’s world. We talked about endangered species from home and abroad, and it was decided to adopt the magnificent Susa group of mountain gorillas. The children love receiving updates from WWF-UK.

We talked about Fairtrade Certified products, and how the Foundation was formed, especially for the poor countries, and how we can all make a difference in reducing poverty and improve working conditions through our everyday shopping. We were surprised at the huge range of products that are available to purchase marked Fairtrade.

Special thanks go to all of our volunteers for their dedicated help and support at both lunchtime and after school clubs, and we look forward to meeting once again for lunchtime club during the autumn term.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Lindridge Pentecost Flower Festival 2019

Thanks to all who helped decorate the Lindridge St Lawrence Church for the Flower Festival on Pentecost weekend.

The birthday of the church was celebrated in style and the church was overflowing with wonderful displays from across the Lindridge Parish community – everyone contributed. Special thanks go to Dianne and Wendy for bringing together all the displays and for their wonderful creativity.

Whilst it was a wet and blustery day, there was a steady stream of visitors – from as far as Manchester to about 100 metres! The BBQ was going and lunch was served, and then we welcomed everyone for tea, coffee and delicious cake in the church. Folk sat and chatted in the church, enjoyed the games and admired all the displays.

We give thanks to God for the beauty of the world and for all His gifts. Psalm 95 verses 1 to 3 “O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”

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Easter Craft Workshop

Easter Craft Workshop at St Lawrence Lindridge C E Primary School

The community came together once again for a very enjoyable morning of Easter crafts, which was held on Saturday 13th April, in the school hall.

Children of all ages had fun making individual Easter gardens, symbolising the importance of the Easter story. Plenty of other seasonal themed crafts were on offer for all to enjoy, including painting eggs with patterns and faces, Holy Week stained glass window hanging decorations, Easter baskets, spring tissue paper flowers, cards, fun Easter masks, and the very popular chocolate egg nest cakes were available to make and eat! Delicious refreshments were served throughout the morning. This event was well supported, and thanks go to all those involved in helping in so many ways during the morning.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Palm Sunday at Knighton

On Palm Sunday morning the Right Reverend Graham Usher, The Bishop of Dudley led the worship at Knighton Parish Room and Knighton Church.

At the Parish Room, children from Lindridge St Lawrence Primary School, and elsewhere, sang songs learnt through recent assemblies with Rev Ted and they sang them beautifully.

The Bishop talked about the story of Holy Week and the children enacted this story and walked through the congregation at the Parish Room shouting “Hosanna”, “Blessed is He”, and ululating in celebration.

The congregation then processed to the Church with balloons and palm crosses, where Lindridge Choir greeted them and where we joined together for Holy Communion. To finish our Palm Sunday celebration the Choir sang “The Ukrainian Orthodox Hallelujahs” and “Thuma Mina” (Send me, Lord), which was extremely moving.

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Pancakes at the Rectory

On “Shrove” Monday (yes Monday!), the Rectory was filled with activity and good appetites. A wonderful way to meet and chat together and enjoy pancakes – there was a great production line going, from mixing batter to cooking, serving and, of course, eating.

Thank you to everyone who helped in any way and also to those who came and enjoyed the end results and all who generously contributed to the informal collection – we were able to donate £80 to the Children’s Society.

Thanks also to Rev Ted and Caroline for opening their home to everyone.

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A thank you from Reader Vikki

THANK YOU!!!!

I wanted to say a huge thank you to all who have supported me through my Reader training – I have been overwhelmed by the kind words of encouragement and people’s prayers and appreciated seeing so many of you at my licensing; representing the different churches across the deanery. It really has been a joy being with you the last five years and getting to know you and I look forward to the years ahead as Stourport Deanery’s Mission Developer and Reader. I also want to say thank you for my lovely gifts (pictures attached): the Parker Pen set was a gift from the deanery, it is ages since I have written with anything other than cheap pens so I’m really looking forward to using them. The 4Rivers (Shrawley, Witleys, Abberley & TVN) gave me a Home Communion Kit which I will also cherish and hopefully put into use sometime soon. I also received a very nice leather Bible from the Diocese.

Yours in Christ,

Vikki
xx

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Vikki Day’s Reader Licensing

On 15th September, in Worcester Cathedral, Vikki Day was licensed as a Reader to Stourport Deanery.

There was a celebration afterwards at Church House in Areley Kings where Rev Ted presented her with a Home Communion Kit in a bright pink box. Rev Mark Turner, Rural Dean, also made a presentation on behalf of the Deanery.

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