An article for March by the Archdeacon of Worcester, Robert Jones

An article in the Church Times took me back to a hymn I’d not sung for many a year with its wonderful opening line, ‘O Love that wilt not let me go’. This is the only sort of love which really counts; it’s the one we recognise in our own loved ones, in parents who loved us into life, in friends who mean the world to us – and, of course, in the God revealed in Jesus Christ.

It is one year ago that we first went into lockdown. Perhaps you can recall what you were doing then when life was more ‘normal’. I can remember going for drinks with neighbours the weekend before it all happened, when Covid seemed something quite distant. Now there are few of us who have not been affected personally one way or another. We know people with Covid, we know people who have died from Covid, and all of us are living with the consequences of Covid.

Lent takes us back to Jesus’ forty days and nights in the desert. It seems to me that we are living our own wilderness experience in a way we could never have imagined. For Jesus this was a time of struggle: as the 23rd Psalm puts it, he walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Yet he was held in a love which would not let him go, and emerged from it to a ministry which was to turn the world upside down in faith, hope and love.

Whatever else is lacking during this time of wilderness, one thing not absent is loving kindness. We’ve seen it in NHS workers, teachers, neighbours and many others. In practical down-to-earth ways we have seen and experienced living examples of ‘love that wilt not let me go’.

George Matheson, who wrote the hymn, had his own wilderness experience. ‘Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering’, he says, and then he wrote these beautiful lines:

I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain
that morn shall tearless be.

Tracing the rainbow through the rain. Isn’t this God’s tenacious love for us, stronger than we can imagine, mirrored by our human experiences of being loved? We’ve surely had plenty of rain lately, but, you know, I’ve seen the odd rainbow too – hold on to such precious glimpses of glory in times as these.

Robert Jones
Archdeacon of Worcester

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March’s Teme Valley Tote Winners

March’s Draw (The last 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 Win Stones of Stanford (Draw no 507)
The £30 winners are Mr and Mrs Jason Spencer of Pensax (Draw no 344)
The £20 winner is Mr W Austin of Lindridge (Draw no 188)

If you have any queries please contact Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

On 1st April we will be starting a new series – please save your £10s for this!

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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 winners are Family Burgoyne of Stanford (Draw no 577)
The £30 winner is Calum Hillhouse of Lindridge (Draw no 120)
The £20 winner is Flocat Spilsbury of Eastham (Draw no 267)

If you have any queries please contact Robin Dean on 01886 853 295 or at robin.c.dean@gmail.com.

On 1st April we will be starting a new series – please save your £10s for this!

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An article on Lent from Bishop John

It might feel as though we have been in the season of Lent for a very long time. Because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to celebrate Easter properly last year and the remainder of the year had a distinctly penitential feel to it, as has the first part of 2021.

There has been so much sadness, grief and loss during these past few months and we shall be living with the consequences of COVID-19 for years to come. My hope and my prayer, though, is that not all of those consequences will be bad.

Lent is the time for us to turn our faces towards Jerusalem and prepare to follow our Lord on the way of the cross. We do that knowing that out of crucifixion, God brought resurrection. That is the Christian pattern of things – God’s redemption involves bringing good out of bad, joy out of pain, new life out of death.

After the resurrection, Peter wanted to go back to fishing. It was what was familiar to him and he felt he could find comfort in that. But God was calling him to something much more exciting.

It would be a sadness for us to try to go back to the way things were before the pandemic, just as it would have been for Peter simply to resume his life as a fisherman. Like Peter, I believe God is calling us to something much more exciting.

This year, at the end of what feels like a very long Lent, it would be good for us to reflect upon and pray about what the ‘new normal’ might look like. I hope it will involve more care, more community, more goodness and more Godliness – but God will work things out much more wonderfully than I could ever plan.

Rt Revd Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Worcester

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Letter from Rev Ted on Church Closures during the current Lockdown

COVID CHURCH CLOSURES

Living through history sounds grand but often isn’t. Covid stories may be dramatic for the grandchildren of today’s children, but the reality is much bleaker for many: education disrupted, careers crashed, businesses bust. And the wall-to-wall media coverage has expanded our vocabulary: R-number, lockdown, pandemic, self-isolating, and plenty of slang, including the self- explanatory “covidiot”.

In the midst, most citizens – and it is a huge majority – are doing their best to comply with safety. I was in Stourport just the day before writing this walking up the High Street towards Specsavers: there was a significant flow of vehicles, but very few pedestrians among boarded-up businesses and many closed shops. Many were wearing masks in the street, and people were acknowledging others with their eyes while stepping aside. Three youths greeted me with ‘hello mister’ while stepping into the road to offer me safe distance. I might wonder how things have changed by the time people read this article?

Our medical services, teachers and social services, law enforcement and goodness knows who else are all doing their best in highly demanding times, as are many volunteers and neighbours. And people of faith communities are highly motivated to contribute to others’ wellbeing. Of course, this includes people of different faiths, but I can only speak for the local Christians who, as far as I can see, are doing so many good things in the communities where we live: praying for and checking on neighbours, collecting prescriptions, organising deliveries, and we have been providing services of prayer and church worship for those who need them, but sadly this last practice has to stop for the time being.

In previous lockdowns, the government classed church as ‘leisure’ and forced us to close. There was an outcry – albeit it a measured, graciously expressed one of course – as not even clergy were allowed to enter their church buildings for prayer. And Church, we argued, is related to many people’s mental and spiritual well-being. We are part of the helping services, not some kind of hobby. So this time round, the government has not forced the closure of church buildings, but left it for the faith communities to decide for the best.

And this time, the local church council representatives, have decided, reluctantly, that it is simply unwise and too risky to organise gathered events of any kind, no matter how carefully orchestrated. We discussed many aspects to this, including the vulnerability of many church volunteers themselves. I was impressed by the care shown by local church councils’ members who addressed the matter with great thoughtfulness and wisdom. The decision to close the buildings is not taken lightly, nor because we are afraid, but because we celebrate and value human life. We can still conduct funeral and/or burial services, subject to keen safety constraints, and emergency only weddings & baptisms. Churchyards remain open for local individuals to use.

While the church buildings are closed, the Church itself (ie. the people) is very much alive, and open, and here to serve and pray for the community.

Do contact us if you think we may be service.

Please stay safe, and act to keep others safe,

Yours,
Rev Ted

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Father Christmas visits Lindridge School

The children of Lindridge Primary School enjoyed a surprise visitor on the last afternoon of the term, when Father Christmas arrived on the school playground in his red tractor.

They were absolutely thrilled.

The children of Lindridge have been amazing and Santa assures us that they are all on the good list. It must have been all that handwashing having completed the Autumn Term with very little absence.

Amanda Greenow-Langford
Headteacher



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Lindridge School with Project Touchline (faith teaching through sport)

Lindridge St Lawrence School invited Chris Andrew from Project Touchline to work with the children using sporting skills and teamwork to embed the values of the school (Hesed, Hamdah, Honesty and Horizons).

The following video is a celebration of their experience.

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A welcome party at Lindridge St Lawrence

Swallows have been nesting in the porch at Lindridge Church. They are now using the well-placed notice board as their resting place before fledging – here’s hoping the notices will still be readable when they leave! It is really good to see them as the first brood were taken by a sparrowhawk, or similar.

Our church buildings might not be full of people just yet, but the wildlife is happy!

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Congratulations Sharon and Mark

Congratulations to Sharon and Mark who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this week.

The occasion was marked with a socially distanced blessing from Rev Ted in their garden.

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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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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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