The latest edition of Good News, St Mary’s Parish Magazine is reproduced below (together with additional material from 4th September notices), use the links to the various stories & news items.
- Harvest Festival Weekend.
- 3 Parishes Men’s Breakfast.
- Operation Christmas Child.
- Prayer for Healing Part 2.
- Dates for Your Diary (Including Services),
- Sunday Gospel Readings,
- Regular Events,
Harvest Festival Weekend Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd October
We look forward to welcoming you to the various events during our Harvest Festival Weekend. Our Family Harvest Communion Service will take place on Sunday 2 October at 9.30am, led by Mandy Elmes.
Church open to visitors – Sat 1st & Sun 2nd October – 2pm – 4pm
The church is always decorated beautifully for harvest and it will be open over the Harvest Festival weekend for visitors to enjoy the displays and perhaps to sit for a while and enjoy a few minutes of quiet reflection.
This year we will be supporting the Colchester Foodbank and the Open Door Project run by Colchester Baptist Church. We would welcome any donations of packet and tinned food stuffs which you can bring to church or to the church office up until Monday 3rd October.
If you have any queries please contact Liz Dixon in the Church Office:
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
Usual office hours: 9am-1pm Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri.
‘It’s not how much we give but how much Love we put into giving’ (Mother Teresa)
God’s Gifts to Us
We have recently been thinking about stewardship … giving back to God some of what he has given to us … our time, our skills, our possessions and our money. Because God loves us, He has given us gifts and talents which we have been able to use in our lives. These talents are free gifts of grace, and it is good if we use them for the benefit of others, and in response to God’s love for us. It is good to think of ourselves as stewards of these gifts and talents rather than owners of them. If you like, our lives should be lived out in response to God’s love to us and the gifts he has given us.
The Old Testament tells us how Moses taught the people of God to give a tenth (a tithe) of their produce back to God, and the prophet Malachi showed the people that when they were diligent in their tithes, both decreed and voluntary, God more than blessed them, and they were better off even though they had given more.
When Jesus came, he developed the Old Testament teaching on tithing so that those who heard Him understood that money and the accumulation of wealth was not an end in itself, but that when they were shared openhandedly with God, they benefitted everyone, particularly those in need and themselves. You could say that his teaching was counter cultural to the thinking of first millennia Jews and it is certainly counter cultural to our thinking today where we are encouraged to accumulate more and more wealth. Extreme wealth doesn’t make us happier or healthier, we are only blessed by it when we share it with God and use it in His ways of justice and mercy.
How much should we give and to whom should we give?
I believe we are asked to give out of what we have received and are blessed by God when we do. It may be a tenth of our total income, or a tenth after tax or a tenth of our income after we have taken off our basic living costs but what we give is up to us.
Most Christians want to support a range of charities, both Christian and secular, and they will allocate their giving between the local church and other local, national, international charities. It is up to each of us to decide how we apportion the money we give back to God, but let it be an active decision, not something which is avoided or drifted into.
How your money is used at St Mary’s
When we give money to this church it goes into one of two types of fund: the General Fund and Designated Funds. The General Fund covers the day-to-day running costs of the church and the Designated Funds cover the costs of specific items or projects, for example the fabric fund maintains the structure of this building.
The largest outgoing of the General fund is our Parish Share of 69% followed by 6% on our church office, 5% on heating, 5% on cleaning and 4% on maintenance which isn’t covered by Designated Funds. Designated funds care for the specific projects that they are given for. Should you be wondering what the Parish Share pays for it is the direct costs of the clergy in our Deanery – things like salaries, accommodation, our share of the Colchester Area Team (people like Jenny Tomlinson who came and ran the ‘Wings for Worship Training Day’ here), a share of ordination training – something I was blessed by 10 years ago, a share of the cost of the national church and a share of the cost of the Diocese.
In this church, this year we are forecasting an income of £35,000 about a £1,000 up on last year, of which just over two thirds comes from regular giving, envelopes, standing orders and direct debits, and the gift aid which can be reclaimed on this money. Last year only 6% of our income came from collections during services; the rest was made up from the fees earned though services like weddings and funerals – no fees are associated with Christenings.
Our forecasted expenditure this year is £38,000 which, if you are a wiz at maths, you will have worked out is £3,000 more than our income and we take this money from the dwindling reserves in the General Fund. If everything goes as we forecast, there will be £1,422 left in the General Fund at the end of this year, and if we carry on as we are, we will have an empty General Fund next year. This is not a happy position to find ourselves in.
Could you be in a position to give or do a little more?
It is for this reason I am talking about the stewardship of our talents and gifts. Whatever they are, and we all have them, I am asking that we review them whether it be making coffee and washing up, encouraging the Thursday group, running ‘5Ts’, being on the PCC, caring for the churchyard or the giving of our incomes. Please review your stewardship of your talents and consider whether you are in a position to give a bit more time for an existing or a new venture, and whether you are able to increase your giving. This could be by changing from occasional to regular giving or it could be by increasing your regular giving in the envelopes, or by Standing Order or Direct Debit, by gift aiding your giving if you are a tax payer.
In addition to all of this, and more importantly, please pray for this church and its growth in the Kingdom Of God. This is more important than all of our wealth, or absence of it. Always remember that God’s gifts to us are free, and the greatest of them was Jesus who lived, died and rose again that we might inherit eternal life.
Rev Mandy Elmes.
If you would like to come along, please contact Jos Carter on 01206 272755.
Operation Christmas Child – Shoe Box Appeal
We will be organising another Christmas Shoe Box appeal this October, following the success of the last two years. If you would like to take part, the leaflets with the age-group stickers and list of suggested items are available in church or from Liz in the church office.
Please include a £3 donation per box to cover delivery costs.
Prayer for Healing After Sunday Services – Part 2
In the August edition of the Good News we included the first part of a sermon by Rev Mandy Elmes which outlined her vision for offering a prayer ministry after Sunday morning services.
To recap; when we think about some of the healing stories in the Gospel, the one thing which links them all together is the presence of Jesus. When Jesus was anywhere, his Father’s love was also there, and whenever Jesus healed, the power of the Holy Spirit was also at work bringing change and transformation. Mandy continues:
I am suggesting therefore that the key ingredients in a time of prayer ministry are
- A focus on the Father’s love
- A focus on the presence of Jesus
- A focus on the power of the Holy Spirit
So how do we focus on the Father’s love?
We are each invited to enter into a glorious relationship with God the Father. When we do this we become His children; we are adopted into His family. He loves us so much He gave us Jesus who gave His life for us so that we can have a wonderful relationship with Him. The amazing thing is that God loves us as much as He loves Jesus.
It’s easy to feel that God ‘tolerates’ us and wishes that we are more like other people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. God loves us just as we are … His unique and cherished child. He rejoices over us individually as our sins have been dealt with and forgiven by Jesus, so there isn’t anything which can stop us enjoying his company, and he enjoys our company as much as He enjoys Jesus’ company. This means that we need to dare to believe that the Father’s love for us is real and personal, that He doesn’t want us to be anyone else and He loves the time we spend with Him.
How do we focus on the presence of Jesus?
Jesus said He would always be with us (Matt 28:20) but too often we overlook His presence. So when we pray for another person we need to ask them where Jesus is for them at that moment. This helps them to focus on Jesus’ presence during the time of prayer.
There is no specific right or wrong answer to the question ‘where is Jesus for you at this moment?’ People experience Jesus in many ways. For some, Jesus will be a physical presence in the room behind, beside or in front of them. For others they are reminded of a place which is special to them, and they go there in their minds to be with Jesus – perhaps a beauty spot, in a peaceful building or on a boat. Many have an intense sense of peace in Christ’s presence. When we are focusing on Christ’s presence it is good to ask the person who has requested prayer what they would like to say to Jesus, or what they would like Him to do for them. This is how we bring our requests to Jesus; if you like, we have entered into a two way conversation with him. This conversation may progress in many ways; a random thought, a Bible verse, a picture in your mind, a voice, a sense of touch on you in some way, or a song. All are good and all of ways that the two way conversation with Jesus is able to continue.
How do we focus on the power of the Holy Spirit?
In Ephesians 1:18-20 Paul prays that our eyes may be opened to the incredible power that is available to those who believe. This power is available because of the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us (1 Cor 6:19; Rom 8:11). As He does, it is reasonable for us to expect God’s loving power to be at work in us. It isn’t given as a once-off single dose, it is available for us all of the time. Paul says, “Go on being filled with the Holy Spirit.” As we pray for others it is good to acknowledge the Holy Spirit and ask Him to bring the touch of Jesus to them.
How will we pray with you?
When prayer is offered in this church after services this will be the format:
- Two people will go to a nominated, quiet part of church and will be available to pray with you. This may be for healing, but not exclusively.
- They will focus on The Father’s love, the presence of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, and, if you give permission, they will put a hand on you, but this is not essential.
- You will spend time with God, and He will meet with you and minister to you.
There is no guarantee that God will do exactly what you ask, as he may have other plans for you, but we can be assured that the Father gives us the Holy Spirit when we ask, and that he opens the door in this way. Something good will then happen.
When we have done all of this we have to ‘let go and let God’. Let him act in his own way and in his own time. We cannot come with a stubborn insistence that we’ve got it right and our will must be done. Prayers for healing are qualified by the recognition that God’s will is supreme. In the New Testament, for one reason or another, God did not always heal even great people of faith. Paul’s thorn in the flesh and the sickness of some of his friends are examples.
When we pray “in Jesus’ name” it is not an incantation but a submission to His will and authority. Our responsibility is to pray and to leave the results with God. When God gives a gift of healing, it is always intended to glorify Jesus Christ and point us to believe in his gospel. When God heals someone, he does it for the common good of the church, as a witness to the world and for the blessing of the individual.
God wants us to be whole, and healthy, in body, mind and spirit, and we need to come to come to Him and ask for this wholeness, as he has told us to do. So to ask for prayer for healing and wholeness is Godly, Christ-like and Scriptural.
When will the prayer ministry be available?
Several people in church have had training in this ministry and they will form part of a prayer ministry team. The prayer ministry team will be commissioned at the Harvest Festival Service on Sunday 2 October so we will be able to offer the prayer ministry from that Sunday onwards.
Rev Mandy Elmes
Senior Citizens Lunch
The next Senior Citizen’s lunch will take place on Saturday 29 October @ 12.45pm. Please contact Murray Harlow (01206 242007) if you know someone who would like to come, or if you can help prepare and serve food on the day.
Joint 3 Parishes Service – 30th October @ 11.15am, All Saints’ Church, Great Horkesley
If anyone would like a lift, please contact Liz in the church office or Richard & Dorothy Chadborn (240541).
Christmas Services at St Mary’s:
- Carol Service, Old Church – 2.30pm Sun 18 December
- Christmas Eve Crib Service – 3pm Sat 24 December
- Christmas Eve Carol Service – 6.45pm Sat 24 December
- Christmas Day – 9.30am Christmas morning Communion
Prayer Ministry Team
Don’t forget that there is now a prayer ministry team available to pray with people after the Sunday morning services.
A huge thank you to everyone who decorated the church, donated food for our harvest appeals, or who helped man the church to allow visitors to enjoy the beautiful harvest decorations.
Messy Church – Sunday 9 October – This month’s theme for Messy Church will be Harvest – hope you can join us!
Dates for Your Diary
Sunday Gospel Readings – October & November
|Sunday 2 October||John 6:25-35||Jesus the bread of life.|
|Sunday 9 October||Luke 17:11-19||Jesus heals ten men with Leprosy.|
|Sunday 16 October||Luke 18:1-8||The parable of the persistent widow.|
|Sunday 23 October||Luke 18:9-14 or
|The parable of the two men who prayed.
Jesus is rejected at Nazareth.
|Sunday 30 October||Luke 6:20-31||Jesus gives the Beatitudes|
|Sunday 6 November||Luke 20: 27-38||Religious leaders question Jesus about the Resurrection.|
|Sunday 13 November||Luke 21: 5 -19||Jesus tells about the future.|
|Sunday 20 November||Luke 23: 33-43||Jesus is placed on the cross.|
|Sunday 27 November||Matthew 24: 36-44||Jesus tells about remaining watchful.|
Open House & 5T’s (Together on Thursdays for Tea @ Two Thirty)
- Open House every Thursday morning at 9am in term times
- 5T’s – 2.30pm every week including school holidays
Wired – Our Youth Group for Secondary School Students.
Fridays @ 7.45pm in the church hall.
- 14 October – Strictly Wired;
- 11 November &
- 9 December – Christmas party
For more details contact [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
- Priest in charge: Rev Dr Mandy Elmes,
The Rectory, 1 Church Close,
West Bergholt CO6 3JZ
Tel 01206 240906
Mob 07872 649967
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
- Parish Office & Good News Editor
Liz Dixon 01206 243683
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
- Licensed Readers:
- Richard Chadborn – 01206 240541
- Michael Foster- 01206 241022
Ronnie Seymour – 01206 273579
- Church Wardens
Richard & Dorothy Chadborn – 01206 240541
- Home Groups: (Bible Study) Contact Michael Foster – 01206 241022
- Hall Hire and Church Bookings: Contact Murray on 07989 720256
- Website and email
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]
Follow us on Twitter @stmarysbergholt or Facebook
- Rainbows, Brownies and Guides
Enquiries regarding Rainbows, Brownies & Guides to 07757 636446, [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or www.girlguidingessexne.org.uk.
- Cubs & Beavers contact: 241666;
- Scouts contact: 240549