A reflection for the second week of Lent, from Archdeacon Robert

Transcript

I don’t have a particularly good relationship with Lent – maybe I don’t have great will-power, which I don’t, or possibly it feels too much like a test, and I’m not convinced God wants to set us tests. Sin seems to loom large, and it can feel somehow, well, ungracious.

But for centuries it has been part of the Christian experience, a season which marks out the Christian year, and in its own way tells something of the Christian story. It is, after all, something we do together so it’s not really about what I give up or what spiritual heights I aspire to: it is what we’re doing together.

What we’re doing together is saying that actually we don’t have all the answers. Just as Jesus had his forty days in the wilderness, we all have wilderness experiences inside – and that’s alright. The Christian faith isn’t just about being on cloud nine, but amid those bleak times, wow, don’t the chinks of glory make a big difference.

Bishop Rowan Williams once described sin as forgetfulness of God’s goodness. Lent is that time, being mindful of our sins, when we can remember how good God is – a penitential season, yes, which reminds us of the generosity of God’s love.

Some of you will have heard of St Benedict, who founded the Benedictine order, based on a rule he put together in the sixth century. It orders daily life, in this case in the monastery, and includes what you can and cannot do. What impresses me about it is that for almost every rule he seems to make an exception. The rule is not there to catch out the weak or the fragile – no, it is there to hold them and support them in their life together.

Maybe that is the sense of this season of Lent. It is not there to test our discipleship or endurance, but, as we keep this penitential season together, to remind us of God’s goodness, another way of showing us God’s love, how much he loves us.

Robert Jones
Archdeacon of Worcester

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A refection for the first week of Lent, from Bishop John

Transcript

Lent is a time for reassessing our priorities, a time to seek to see things from a more godly perspective. Traditionally Christians have attempted this through giving something up. ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ we are sometimes asked.

This year the Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging us to start something as well. He suggests, for example, spending time each day praying for someone or some situation in our broken world, or finding some small act of kindness each day, even the smallest thing like making time to chat with someone who is having a bad time.

He says that the surprising thing about this process of starting rather than giving up is that it can have the same effect: we begin to see where our hearts and minds need changing, we start to understand where we have become selfish or uncaring or indifferent, we find ourselves turning towards the fuller, more loving, more hope-filled life that Jesus longs for each of us to live.

I echo the Archbishop’s encouragement and, as a suggestion of what a small act of kindness might be, I commend this year’s Bishop’s Lent Appeal for our brothers and sisters in Peru. It’s so easy to take for granted all the blessings we enjoy in this country. Giving a little to those with whom we are joined in faith through our link, for whom life is so hard, might help to make us more thankful – and therefore happier as well as more loving.

May God bless you this Lent.

+John
The Bishop of Worcester
Rt Revd Dr John Inge

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Children’s Easter Craft Workshop – Saturday 13th April

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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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March’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

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

March’s prize draw of the Tote was decided when Rev’d Julia Curtis rolled the dice on 2nd 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 Iris Knott of Eastham (Draw no 265)
The £30 winner is Mrs P Peel of Knighton (Draw no 707)
The £20 winners are Mr and Mrs John Shew of Stanford (Draw no 596)

A new series starts in April – please contact Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or at robin.c.dean@gmail.com if you wish to join and have not been approached by your local coordinator.

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A letter from the Archdeacon of Dudley for March

Driving to church one Sunday morning recently I heard a report on the radio about ‘slow art’. Not something I had considered before, but I discovered there is a Slow Art Movement, and a Slow Art Day (6 April this year), with a mission to help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.

Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” The idea of looking slowly is to make discoveries and experience creativity in new ways. Statistically, visitors to galleries view art masterpieces for an average of just 17 seconds, which is perhaps unsurprising in our fast-paced, sound-bite society, and this movement is seeking to challenge that, to slow people down.

This made me wonder if we might do well to embrace ‘slow prayer’ this lent, and slow reading, and slow looking. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s oft-quoted words remind us of the need to look slowly:

“All of earth is crammed with heaven.
And every bush aflame with God.
But only those who see take off their shoes.”

What do we see each day?

Do we see Jesus in the face of others? Do we glimpse anything new in a familiar Bible passage? Would we have recognised the Messiah for who he was when he was presented in the temple as the elderly Simeon and Anna did, or would we, like the remainder of those about their business that day, simply not have noticed? Would we have pushed through the crowds to touch the robe of Jesus, or simply passed the throngs by, assuming the rabbi was another rabble-rouser? Do we see, and take off our shoes, because we are on holy ground, or do we miss opportunities because we don’t look slowly enough? Do we take time to make discoveries which bring us joy and make us love God more?

Lent is an opportunity to embrace the discipline of slow, that we might see “God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6) We might choose to take in some slow art too!

The Venerable Nikki Groarke
Archdeacon of Dudley

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Pound the Bounds Returns For Its 19th Year

The annual Pound the Bounds event in aid of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is returning Sunday 5th May 2019 in Rock, Worcestershire.

Getting involved in the fun outdoor event not only raises money for the lifesaving charity, it offers participants glorious views of the Worcestershire countryside as they stroll, walk or even run one of the many routes.

The event first took place in May 2000. Since then, each year has seen an increase in attendees, resulting in more money being raised for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. In 2018, £9,376 was raised in total for the charity.

Michelle McCracken, Worcestershire fundraising executive for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Anybody can get involved with Pound the Bounds. There are routes more suitable for young children, such as the Family Treasure Trail, which is a three-mile adventure. In comparison, there is the magnificent marathon style 26-mile hike.

“It’s a great opportunity to get involved with a fun activity for all the family while raising much-needed funds for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. Each year, in excess of £9 million needs to be raised to keep the charity operational, and with no Government or National Lottery support, events such as this are hugely important to us.”

Participation prices vary from £3 – £8, depending on your chosen route; the family treasure trail, independent or guided six-mile walk, half marathon route, 18 miles around the Wyre Forest, or the full marathon. More details about purchasing tickets will be made available in due course. Refreshments are available for purchase throughout the day.

For more information about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, visit midlandsairambulance.com and follow the organisation on social media.

Charley Burke
PR & Communications Co‑ordinator
For and on behalf of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity
Registered Charity Number 1143118 (Formerly 1001064)

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Teme Valley Tote – New Series starts in April

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.

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

Each ticket costs £10 and enters you in 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 – Sheila Hardiman and Duane Hubbard
For Lindridge – Mary Walker
For Pensax – Val Grainger
For Stockton – Sandra Jabbett

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.

If you are not already a subscriber, please contact your local co-ordinator.

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

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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 3rd February to select the set of random numbers and the starting point. As a result, the prize winners are as follows:

The £50 winners are Mr and Mrs Brian Roberts of Lindridge (Draw no 166)
The £30 winner is Jennifer Northwood of Stoke Bliss (Draw no 766)
The £20 winners are Mr and Mrs Michael Lewis of Knighton (Draw no 724)

A new series starts in April – more details available soon.

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A Letter from the Bishop of Dudley for February

In many churches that I visit there is a box next to a sign saying, ‘For the Food Bank – Thank You’. I hear about numerous lunch groups, ‘knit and natter’ sessions and after-school clubs, and once I saw a poster that read ‘Down in the mouth? Join our Loneliness Group for a faith lift’. I still wonder whether the group is thriving.

Across the Diocese of Worcester, social action and community outreach is flourishing. The results are just in from a survey conducted at the end of 2017 which asked about how our churches are involved with activities such as food banks, night shelters, community cafes, debt advice, breakfast clubs and youth groups. 220 of our churches responded and between us we are involved in approximately 500 projects that directly support other people.

These 220 churches ran 168 projects, hosted another 64 projects and 79 projects were carried out in partnership with other organisations. We supported, in other ways, a further 202 projects. That is an incredible amount of good will and lots of commitment to loving our neighbour.

The Halesowen Welcome Group, working with refugees and people seeking asylum, are so grateful for the support that they receive from our churches. In Worcester, the food bank believes that no one should have to face going hungry and has provided thousands of food packages over the last year. In Evesham, the street pastors are out, even in the early hours of a cold February night, supporting people who are upset or vulnerable. There are countless other projects and groups quietly going on that bring life in abundance to people.

Why do we do it? First, because there is great need. We see people in our communities who are need of support and want to respond with care and compassion. However much we would like it to, the state can’t afford to provide everything and, whilst we rightly challenge political decisions, we can respond as a community as well. We know that every act of kindness is a lived out way of taking seriously Jesus’ words to love God and our neighbour.

When we reach out to another, even by the act of leaving some tins for the food bank, we are seeing the face of Christ in the poor and seeking to be where he is to be found.

As a result, we can bring that all-important ingredient of ‘joy’ into peoples’ lives, helping them to connect with others, and be less lonely and isolated. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, this gift of ‘joy’ moves beyond welfare so as to help people fare well. In such a way, we witness something of the kingdom of God in our midst.

Thank you if you are part of the 86% of our churches already involved. You might want to consider how your commitment might deepen in understanding, prayer and action, and your worship and life as a community enhanced even more, as you make these connections with the incarnate Jesus.

Rt Revd Graham Usher
Bishop of Dudley

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‘Singing Nowhere’ with Paul Heppleston – 23rd/24th March

‘Singing Nowhere’ with Paul Heppleston

Saturday 23rd March (evening) Sunday 24th March (morning)

Abberley Village Hall

By popular demand Paul Heppleston is returning to lead a singing workshop at Abberley Village Hall on Saturday 23rd March at 7pm, and also to lead worship based on the workshop the following morning, 10.00am, at the same venue. Look out for more detail on notice boards and fliers, which will be available soon.

From Paul: “Participation in song (especially in a group) is known to be energising and therapeutic. Add a spiritual dimension and the fact that ‘people tend to sing their faith’, including songs that can speak louder than sermons”.

All you need to bring is a voice box of whatever age or ability plus a smile. Especially welcome are people who say “I can’t sing”… bring your friends, neighbours, relatives etc.

The Iona Community is Paul’s main inspiration, plus others…

About Paul

Paul Heppleston was brought up in South Wales and has spent most of his adult life in Scotland. Ecological training at university was followed by several years’ work on sheep, snails and seals – then into teaching Biology. Music in the broadest sense was threaded through his childhood but only emerged to be the main factor in his life in his 40s.

Paul spent 20 years in Orkney and now lives in the Peak District where he is the Musician at his Baptist/Methodist LEP church. He travels north as often as possible where wild walking draws him back, as well as to his daughter in Glasgow and the islands that are so significant in his life. He belongs to the Iona Community.

Come and join with ‘Singing Nowhere’ and bring your friends.

All Welcome

Admission Free

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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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St Lawrence Clubs, Lindridge CE Primary School

Our weekly lunchtime and after school clubs run each Thursday during term time, and are open to all ages & 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 “All of God’s People in the Community.” Not only those in our church congregations but outside the church walls to people in our local community and beyond. As well as celebrating today’s Saints; those who care for us and shape our lives; i.e. families, teachers, doctors, nurses, and the emergency services, we talked about some unusual occupations such as “Pet Food Tasters” and “Water-slide Testers!” There are some great jobs out there we didn’t know existed! We considered those in our local communities whose work often goes unrecognised, such as those at home caring for loved ones.

The children were introduced to the meaning of the Eucharist and Communion Services in church, when we remember the events of the Passover Supper. The children had fun taking part in a ‘special communion’ with Reverend Sallie, where we acted out the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples, and learnt about the chalice and paten and what they are used for.

Special thanks go to all of our volunteers for their help and support at both lunch time and after school clubs.

We look forward to meeting once again during the autumn term.

Liz Whitehead, ALM Children’s Worker & Reverend Sallie Butcher

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Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group Update

The Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group is a church-run baby and toddler group that meets at Lindridge Parish Hall each Thursday morning during term time – from 9.30 am to 11 am. If you have children between 0 and 5 years, please do come and join us for fun activities and to make some new friends.

Recent activities include the soft blocks, which were very much enjoyed as can be seen in the pictures below. We have also enjoyed planting sunflowers to be taken and shown at the Eastham Fete.

Our current term finishes on Thursday 19th July; we then have a break and resume in September.

There is a charge of £1.50 for each family for each session attended. If you have any questions, please contact Vickie at lindridgetoddlers@gmail.com or 01584 881 086.

Come and enjoy time together – no need to book, just come along!

Vickie & team


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Good Friday Crafts 2018

Many children, parents, carers and volunteer helpers came together at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School for this, our annual children’s Easter craft session.

In addition to Easter Gardens, many seasonal crafts were on offer for all to enjoy, and delicious refreshments were served throughout the morning.

Thank you to everyone involved for your help during the session, and for making this event so enjoyable.

Christingle Collection Candles

We would like to thank all families at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School for their generous support in fundraising for the Children’s Society during November in preparation for our Christingle celebrations.

We managed to raise a fantastic £87 which helps further the charities work with underprivileged children.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Annual Christmas Crafts and Christingle 2017

On Saturday 9th December, children, parents, carers and volunteer helpers gathered at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School for this annual celebration. A great social event with the community coming together (in spite of the weather!), as we prepared for the festive season ahead.

As well as preparing and talking about the symbolic meaning of the Christingle, many other crafts were on offer for all to enjoy, including wreath decorating, Nativity lanterns, stencil painting, snowflakes, crackers, Christmas cards, scratch art, and much more. Delicious refreshments were served throughout the afternoon.

We gathered for our Christingle Praise led by Reverend Ted Whittaker, with song, dance, prayer, reflection and poem. Lights were dimmed and candles lit, as we passed the light of Christ on to our families, neighbours and friends.

Thank you for all your generosity and kind donations received in the collection candles distributed to all school families during November. All monies are handed on to the Children’s Society to further their work with underprivileged children. Total sum collected will be reported shortly.

Thank you also to all those involved helping in so many different ways during the afternoon, making this event so successful.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Eardiston Footbridge

Do you remember this Bridge?

It spanned the A443 in Eardiston up until the 1960s and connected Eardiston House to the Pleasure Gardens on the opposite side of the road. The locals of the day claimed that Princess Victoria once walked across the bridge to play a game of tennis. Since that day the bridge had fallen into disrepair and was also in the way of new road widening schemes.

After much deliberation, it was purchased by a Dr D.H. Edmundson and transported to Huddington Court just outside Droitwich. It was re-erected as a feature spanning the moat around Huddington Court where it still stands today.

Very recently Mr Edmundson, grandson of the former, also of Huddington Court, contacted TVN about the history of the bridge and as a result, Janet Marks and I were invited to visit the bridge in its new home.

It was a perfect autumn day when we went to Huddington Court, a beautiful 15th Century Manor House surrounded by lovely gardens and a moat, and there, in a new coat of gleaming white paint was Eardiston Bridge.

We couldn’t resist the invitation to walk over the bridge and stand for a while thinking of its history and Janet shared some of her memories of its time in Eardiston.

Below are some of the photos we took.

Do you have any stories of Eardiston bridge or any old photos? We would love to share them, please contact the webmaster who will put you in touch with either Janet or myself.

Dianne Smith

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You can find an article on the history of the footbridge written by Derek Marks here.

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Toddler Group Update

The Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group is a church-run baby and toddler group that meets at Lindridge Parish Hall each Thursday morning during term time from 9.30 am to 11 am. If you have children between 0 and 5 years, please do come and join us for fun activities and to make some new friends.

Thanks to Nicky, the children recently enjoyed making bird feeders by covering paper tubes with lard (you can also use peanut butter) and rolling them in birdseed. The tray of birdseed had entertainment value of its own as the children used it to fill containers, and decorate the floor!

There will be the usual Christmas crafts in December and our special visitor; please do come and join us. There is a charge of £1.50 for each family for each session attended. If you have any questions, please contact Vickie at lindridgetoddlers@gmail.com or 01584 881 086.

The last session in December will be Thursday 14th and we return in the new year on Thursday 4th January 2018.

Come and enjoy some fun and fellowship – no need to book, just come along!

Vickie & team

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Pensax Thrift Shop

Pensax Thrift Shop will close its doors for the winter break at 11am on Wednesday 6 December. We would be very grateful if customers could collect any of their remaining items by this date as we are unable to store anything over the winter.

Thank you to our volunteers for their hard work over the year and to all our customers for their continued support. Even after over forty years of trading, Pensax Thrift Shop continues to offer a local outlet for you to sell those no-longer-needed items – and you never know what useful and unexpected bargains you may find in any of its departments!

May we wish everyone a Happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you when we re-open for our 2018 season on Wednesday 7 March at 9am.

Pauline Briggs

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