We join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service. Prince Philip continually demonstrated his unfailing support and unstinting loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen for 73 years.
We pray that God will comfort Her Majesty The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family at this time.
May His Royal Highness rest in peace and rise in glory.
God of our lives,
we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
for his love of our country,
and for his devotion to duty.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy,
through our Redeemer Jesus Christ.
Please be advised that the Government has requested that - in order to reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission during this period - local churches do not offer physical books of condolence for people to sign. Instead, please sign the online book of condolence, which is available here.
(Photo – Press Assoc.)
PART ONE: Once upon a time, in a land not far away, lived a tribe of Egos. The life quest of the Ego, even without thinking about it, was to put an end to God created life on planet Earth. A tale of how needs became wants and wants joined forces with ambition, to become a powerful motivating force.
But, and quite a big but, the great fallibility of the tribe is that every Ego thinks it is superior to every other Ego, thus forming an ideal working partnership with Status. Encouraging both to become detached from physical reality, placing them firmly within an alliance of spiritual tormentors and motivators. Spiritual entities who’s sole desire is to control the physical being.
This enslavement of the physical also involves many sub-species of Ego, such as Exploitation, Greed, Waste and Choice, a close ally of Waste and promoter of the unnecessary.
Many years ago, a rather unusual man, actually warned people of the insidious power of the Ego, which he referred to as, “The Self”. He offered ways of facing up to them and resisting them, but they were in a powerful position within the hiding places of the human psyche and broadly speaking he was ignored. So they crucified him, just as they may crucify us all eventually, thus achieving their objective.
PART TWO: Relies on the belief that Almighty God creates and mankind discovers. In a logically evolving world that enables mathematical sequence, this power of discovery has revealed the Spiritual influence we may refer to as Almighty God. Within this reverent relationship we may refer to God as Landlord - Humanity as Tenants and Holy Scripture as our Tenancy Agreement. Once we tread the path of separation from this faithful view, to set out alone under the guidance of “The Self” or Ego, we naturally court disaster. Painful malfunctions which could have been avoided, had we complied with the tenets of Holy Scripture revealing God is in everything and always has the last word.
We are confronted in 21st century with two ego-driven disasters and a pandemic, two global and one national. Spiritual wake up calls from our Creator God and Landlord. Disunity and separation feature bold in all of them, indicating a need to be guided by a rectifying spirit of unity and reconciliation, which were the cornerstones of Christs ministry on behalf of his Father.
At a time when we are being encouraged by digital technology, to separate and hide within a virtual world, a parody of human connection, our task may be made even more difficult.
What are the chances we may ask in a quiet moment, to turn personal, national and even international interest away from the pursuit of self, to that of sacrificial love driven unity? Well, we do pray, “Your will be done Father” and we know that nothing is impossible for God. So is faith alone going to be enough? Perhaps it is if sincere and enables the physical being to swim against the tide, when necessary. It worked for Christ and he has promised that it can work for us, but not without risk!
In most cases, wants and choice have to be sacrificed to needs and we will have to face this challenge. Praying away the personal pain and hardship it may bring. It is not an attractive message but one which lies at the very heart of Christian Mission, where the needs of other issues take precedence over self interest………...All we now have to do is live it and encourage it.
The last few words: Revelation 22: Vs’s 18t to 21 RD. Feb. 21
At present we cannot enjoy the company of many of those we would wish to be with. Nor can we all meet together in order to offer and share prayers for those people and situations we know are in need of them.
Each Wednesday morning a few of us join together (by Zoom) to pray for our communities and those in particular need. However, not everyone is comfortable with this form of communication, nor necessarily available at that time.
Yet we can still collectively offer prayers together as a church family albeit from our own homes at any time. If you would be interested in joining a prayer circle, undertaking to offer prayers regularly for those who need them, please do let me know. ( firstname.lastname@example.org, or 0787 3316492 ).
If you would like prayers offered by this circle for a particular person or situation please also use these contact details. Confidentiality of information will be maintained, and only sufficient information in order to frame a relevant prayer would be needed. Sharon Paine
Understandably many foodbank contributions have ceased as the churches are closed and as a consequence the local foodbank are not likely to receive many donations in the foreseeable future. If you would like to make a financial donation to Shepway Foodbank they would be extremely grateful. To do so online type in:
Shepway Foodbank then click on Shepway Foodbank I Helping Local People in Crisis then click on Donate Money and follow the instructions. Offline you can ring 07912573404 and ask about donating.
Well, 2021 has well and truly started now. As I write this, we are reeling from having witnessed extraordinary scenes in Washington D.C., whilst we ourselves have again been plunged into Covid lockdown. The daily figures and reports coming from our hospitals and from those we know and trust in the medical services are bleak. Our school buildings are again closed to all but those children who really need to be there, and our families are again struggling with the juggle of everyday life and home-schooling, whilst our teachers are again attempting to simultaneously provide high standard remote education and nurturing in-person tuition, while they’re worrying about their own families. Our church buildings are allowed to open for public worship, but are under no obligation to do so, as the safety of the people of God is of paramount concern. Here in the Elham Valley Group, much as we would dearly love to be gathering together for worship in one of our beautiful sacred spaces, we’ve taken the decision that to do so would be to put lives at risk.
But all is not lost. We can find alternative ways of coming together – for worship, for education, for community – even whilst we are mourning the events we used to be able to attend. We can check on our neighbours and friends, especially those who live alone or who are otherwise isolated. We have seen such evidence of communities coming together over these past 10 months, a real expression of what it truly means to be part of the family of God. And, as vaccinations are rolled out, there’s a real sense of there being light at the end of the tunnel, of there being hope.
Hope. It’s an idea so often expressed. Sadly, we tend to use it now in situations where we actually don’t think there is any hope – it tends to have a negative connotation. Think about it. “I hope there’s a space at the supermarket when I arrive.” The unspoken expectation is that there won’t be a space.
When, in Jeremiah 29:11, God declares “For I know the plans I have for you – plans not to harm you, but to prosper you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” he’s not expressing an abstract idea, to be longed for in vain, with little expectation of it becoming real. He was speaking to the Jewish people who were experiencing suffering and hardship under the domination of their Babylonian enemies. They were desperate to be released immediately from the occupation and despair, and would believe anything that spoke in to that desire. God’s response isn’t to release them immediately from that suffering; rather it is to promise that good will come out of the trauma, that the dark times won’t last forever.
In many ways, our own times echo the desperate experiences of Israel during Jeremiah’s prophesying. We too long for an end to this suffering, the eradication of pandemic, a return to ‘normal’; we long for the day we can get back to the way things used to be. We long to be able to lay our loved ones to rest in the way we want to, to celebrate love and birth with parties attended by family and friends. We long again to holiday in far-off places, and meet up in the local coffee shop for a natter. Through the words of Jeremiah (and so many other examples of course!) God assures us that he hears our cries and he listens to our pleas, and he promises that the future he has planned for us is still there.
So, as we settle in to 2021 and the challenges it has for us, perhaps we can, as the Jews facing exile in Babylon were encouraged, find a way to be thankful for all we do have, even if it’s not what we wanted. Perhaps we can find a way of exploiting the opportunities the hardships have for us, even whilst we’re grieving what could have otherwise been.
Sometime this week, set a few moments aside to think through what you’ve been able to do because of the restrictions we have faced. It can seem an impossible task, in the midst of such encompassing darkness, yet holding fast to God’s promise of hope is what we are called to. For me, I’ve been pondering the quote below, from a film I love. I wonder which of my own flawed and imperfect prayers God has answered over the past year, maybe not in the way I had envisaged, but answered nonetheless. It’s not for me to question the reason why things happen the way they do, but it is my calling to respond to each situation I face in the most loving, life-giving, hope-filled way. And, even in the present darkness and isolation, I hold fast to the promise Jeremiah voiced for us, that God knows the plans he has for us, plans not to harm, but to prosper, to give us a hope and a future. May God’s hope and love and peace bless us abundantly this year.
Zoom is a videotelephony software program. The free version provides a video chatting service that allows up to 100 devices, such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones and landlines etc to use it at once.
It is completely free to use and is secure.
It is possible to join meetings (in our case, services) and not interact at all with the other participants if you don’t wish to – just keep your camera (webcam) and microphone switched off, if you have them.
It is also possible to access a meeting by landline telephone.
Whichever way you choose to join the meeting/service, you will need to ask the organiser for the link to the website and the meeting identification code and password, preferably a few days before.
Here is a handy guide (opens in a new tab/window) produced by the A Church Near You website :
The Jesus Chapel will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 4pm. A maximum of two people will be allowed into the chapel at one time. Social distancing must be observed, and sanitising items will be available just inside of the north door and in the Jesus Chapel. Please sanitise your hands and wipe down the chairs before and after you use them. There will be no prayer books, bibles or hymn
books available, so please bring your own books if you require them. Just the direct route from the north door to the Jesus Chapel will be accessible. Two chairs will be available just inside of the church for people who are waiting. The same sanitising wipe down procedure for these is required. Other people who are waiting are requested to wait outside of the church. .
9am to 5pm daily
9am to 5pm daily, (please don’t come in just to look around)
Everyday, during the day
Open all day, every day
Open all day, every day
There are plenty of ways you can still enjoy worship and fellowship from your own home
On the Internet:
Click on The WORD on Sunday tab above for weekly reflections and prayers from members of our Ministry Team.
Zoom services - see above. Contact Alison Dale (email@example.com) a couple of days before for the link.
Here are some links for videos of services and further resources from Canterbury Diocese and the Church of England
Canterbury Diocese Parish Support For some excellent resources and Apps for prayer
The cathedral will live stream a midday Eucharist and Evensong at 5.30 p.m. weekdays, and at 3.15 p.m. weekends. Please follow this link to access the live stream on YouTube
Follow the Church of England on Twitter
Daily Hope Free phone line: 0800 804 8044
Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full
worship services from the Church of England at the end of a
telephone line. Options available include materials such
as Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer updated daily,
from Common Worship, and a recording of the Church of
England weekly national online service. A section called
Hymn Line offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled ‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection and is based on an initiative by the Connections group. The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
Assistance during Isolation
Alison Dale and some of the churchwardens (see below, marked with *) have a list of contacts who can help or provide a service to everyone in the Group, from walking a dog to supplying take-away meals. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more, or wish to make an offer of assistance to others.
ELHAM VALLEY GROUP OF CHURCHES CONTACTS:
Priest-in-Charge Rev’d Jane Weeks: 01303 840219 (Monday to Thursday. Jane is not available on Thursday evenings and all-day Friday) firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Priest Rev’d Stephen Dougal: 07764775507 email@example.com
Pastoral Team Leader Paul Jarvis: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Benefice Administrator: Alison Dale: 07985025381 (Thu-Fri 9-11am)
Elham *Peter Swain 01303 840408 - *Graham Ernest-Jones 01303 840645
Acrise*Simon Smith 01303 892162 - Martin Bradley 01303 864289
Denton & Wootton Sue Clough 01303 844324.
Lyminge *Phil Hawken 01303 862151
Stanford *Sara Myers 01303 814183 - *Paul Smallwood 01303 813198
Paddlesworth Celia Mosley 01303 893609 - *Lindsey Smith email@example.com
At 8am every morning, the Ministry Team will be saying morning prayer - do join us in spirit!
Here are some links for further resources from Canterbury Diocese and the Church of England:
https://canterburydiocese.org/parishsupport/coronavirus/prayer-worship-during-coronavirus/- some excellent resources and Apps for prayer
CHANGING LIVES PRAYER NETWORK
The Lord's Prayer...
The cathedral will live stream a midday Eucharist and Evensong at 5.30 p.m. weekdays, and at 3.15 p.m. weekends. Please follow this link to access the live stream on YouTube:
"Almighty God, please guide us into selfless humility that may encourage us all, to be mindful of the plight of others, in the nature and example of Jesus Christ.
To consume and take in accordance with needs, not wants, mindful of the plight and longevity of the planet which you have created, and our impermanent status as tenants.
Aware of the truth that God creates and provides, while we evolve through the discovery and development of that fact.
Loving Lord, you have made it clear to us, in many ways, that we must change and rebuild the way we lead our lives, please be with us, our strength and guide, as we attempt the difficulties of that change.
Lord... In your mercy, hear our prayer.”
For those who don’t know about Open the Book (OtB), this is a project which has been helping local primary school children hear key Bible stories from teams of Christian volunteers from one or several local churches.
One OtB team still wanted to do something for the children while unable to visit their local school. They are helping to fund a project to help children isolated in high-rise flats, or with large families unable to afford resources while isolated, called Grow@Home. This involves giving the families brown paper carrier bags filled with coloured and regular pencils, paper, rubbers and pencil sharpeners and with ideas of things to do and links to websites.