As I write this it is Saturday 25th July, the Feast of St James, the Apostle. He was beheaded by order of King Herod Agrippa 1, who also had John the Baptist beheaded. Legend has it that James made a missionary journey to Spain, and after his death in Jerusalem, his body was taken there and buried at Santiago de Compostela. A small church was built on the site of the apostle’s tomb in 819AD, and since then the site has become a significant place of Christian pilgrimage. Now there is a glorious cathedral there, one of the most beautiful Romanesque cathedrals in Spain and is visited by thousands every year. This once small place, that holds a significant part of the Christian story, is now the most important site of pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome. I’ve been to Jerusalem and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is on my bucket list.
We know that pilgrimages don’t have to be a great distance, they can be small. Every year I take the Year 4 children from Clewer Green on a pilgrimage around Clewer, starting at school and ending at St Andrews. We follow the footsteps of Christians in Clewer, in our local history and a real shame we missed out this year.
Now we start a new pilgrimage, just a small one, back into church to worship together. We’re starting small, like a mustard seed, and in time we will grow again.
We open for Morning Prayer for all the family, next Sunday 2nd, at 10.30am. It will be a short act of worship with music from Robert, but no singing I’m afraid. Be prepared to give more time to allow for the social distancing rules, and please wear your masks. It is a small step to return into our place of worship that has played a part in developing faith of many Christians over the centuries. This time of Covid-19 has meant things may never be the same again, but we will find a new way, the seeds of faith are sown in many ways, in exciting ways!
Stuart has given you more info about our return to worship together further in the pews news, please read it.
Our sermon contribution today comes from Bishop Olivia.
I look forward to seeing you soon, until then, blessings.
|Welcome in the name of Christ. God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.|
and also with you.
Faithful one, whose word is life.
Come with saving power
to free our praise,
inspire our prayer
and shape our lives
for the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
you give us gifts and make them grow:
though our faith is small as mustard seed,
make it grow to your glory
and the flourishing of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Kings 3.5-12
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ 6 And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
129 Your testimonies are wonderful; •
therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The opening of your word gives light; •
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and draw in my breath, •
as I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, •
as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Order my steps by your word, •
and let no wickedness have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from earthly oppressors •
so that I may keep your commandments.
135 Show the light of your countenance upon your servant •
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes run down with streams of water, •
because the wicked do not keep your law.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.
Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52
31 He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
33 He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52 And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON – Bishop Olivia
July 26th 2020
Watch: https://vimeo.com/439928029/297ef53f28 (7:44)
Tom Wright has written a book recently, and in record time, which some of you may have read. It’s called God and the Pandemic. In it, he comments at length on Roman 8:v28, which is most often translated as we have heard it today All things work together for good for those who love God.
The problem, he says, with this translation is that it makes Christians think that they ought to be able to say, any time there is a problem or a disaster, ‘oh well, it was probably for the best’; or to throw a blanket over any bad thing that happens and say ‘well never mind, all things work together for good’.
And he asks, is that really an appropriate response to what the world has been dealing with over the last few months? Just to accept it passively, as one of those things, but cheerfully reckon that it will be all right in the end? Why, he says, should we assume that God works all things for the benefit of those who love him?
He wants us instead to take another look at the way this verse is translated. The verb used actually doesn’t mean ‘to work for the benefit of’, it means ‘to work together, or to work with’ – synergeo. That changes the meaning quite a bit. Because what Paul is actually talking about is God working with people, doing what God wants to do in the world not by himself, but through human agency. And this is our human vocation, to work with God . God himself co-operates for good with those who love God. And so this verse is about how God calls us to work with him, to be part of his purpose in the world.
In this time of grief and anger at what has happened to our world through COVID, and what we are doing to our world through our carelessness of the environment, through our disregard of issues of justice and equality, we should all lament, and repent. But we are not being called to sit and wring our hands. We are being called to work with God in the task of healing, teaching, reaching out to those who are in poverty or distress, campaigning and comforting. We aren’t simply spectators in God’s great story. We are active participants. This is also what our diocesan vision tells us, that we are called to be more like Christ, for the sake of God’s world. And not just being, but also doing.
What are we participants in? What is this great story – the story of God’s Kingdom – and how can we understand it? Our Gospel reading has some answers.
In Matthew 13 Jesus has an intriguing string of metaphors about the Kingdom of Heaven – the Kingdom which we are called to be active participants in bringing about.
He says it is like a mustard seed – so tiny you can hardly see it, but with awe inspiring ability to grow so big that it towers over us and gives shade, nourishment and a place to live. That helps us to take heart, to have courage – because although the Kingdom, rooted in each place begin with something so tiny, it grows and expands and develops.
Jesus also says it is like yeast, that almost magical substance which causes dough to double in size, which transforms fruit juice into wine. It doesn’t take much of it to have the most extraordinary transformative effect.
And Jesus says it is like hidden treasure, which, when it’s found leads to an explosion of desire and joy, in which we want to to give up everything that has previously been of importance to us, and concentrate on this, to give our lives meaning and purpose.
He says it is like a person who discovers the very finest example of what he has spent his life searching for and for which he sells all he has. It is of almost unimaginable value.
And, Jesus says, it is like a net which is cast wide and deep and encompasses everything without any judgement.
Pictures of the Kingdom of God. And what exactly should we be doing? What would Jesus do? Let’s take a look at Jesus, and what we know about him. How would we sum up his character, his values, his mode of working?
He noticed people, and valued them: women, children, widows, lepers, slaves, those with mental and physical dis-ease, foreigners, Gentiles. He was radically inclusive; spent a lot of time with those on the edge of society, eating and drinking and hanging out, but he also reached out with love to the rich and privileged. He wasn’t bothered about religious purity, who was in and who was out; he wasn’t even very bothered about individual sinfulness, although he came down hard on the systems of oppression, economic exploitation and social hypocrisy which scarred the lives of the vulnerable and marginalised. He constantly challenged the power structures of his day.
So we have God’s invitation to work with God in the great task of building God’s Kingdom here on earth, and we have the person of Jesus, and his vision of what that Kingdom looks like. And our response is both local and global.
Little things matter. Small acts of kindness and compassion. A quick word. A smile. A generous act. A spontaneous gift. A phone call. A listening ear. These things add up amazingly and wonderfully into an ecosystem of kindness and love in which all can feel valued and cared for and included. They spread and produce results far greater than the original action. When we help people to discover the love of God, by working with God, their lives are transformed as they realised their own value and preciousness. And we are not to be choosy about who we share our discoveries with – judgement is not our business; love is our business.
And big things matter. The decade we are in – 2020s – is one in which the leaders of our nations will make decisions that will shape the future of our children and grandchildren for ever. Our environment is rapidly reaching a number of tipping points from which there will be no return. The way we engage with artificial intelligence will steer whether it becomes a force for good or for harm. Our economic system and the way in which it is used by huge global players will impact on everyone and increase the gap between those who have and those who have not.
Our political and economic systems are powerful, and we must engage with them and work to align them with the vision of the Kingdom.
We know that our country has suffered badly in this pandemic. But we have electricity, and running water, and hospitals which are staffed and equipped, and infrastructure which works. We have homes we can retreat to and shut the door when the R number goes up. We are really, really privileged. Many countries in the world are not in this position, and the effects of the pandemic are devastating in poor and crowded communities without healthcare and infrastructure. The situation is desperate. The Disasters Emergency Committee, which is a consortium of 14 Non Governmental organisations has launched a major appeal for help – and there will be an opportunity to donate what we can afford at the end of this service.
So let out with joy and be led forth with peace and work with God to build God’s Kingdom here on Earth. Your Kingdom come, O Lord. Amen.
PRAYERS – Mulle Price (and Cara Smart, Curate of St. Paul’s Wokingham)
With love in our hearts for God and one another, let us pray –
Loving God, we pray for your church as we start to navigate how we can worship together, both on and offline. As we start to meet together again physically we give thanks for all who are giving their time in helping to make decisions, cleaning the church, deciding and sharing guidelines and enabling people to come and pray once more inside the buildings that have held our memories safe. We pray for inclusive hearts and minds which will make sure that all are welcome and able to worship together still, and for the generosity to sow seeds of love, mercy, compassion, justice, hope and joy. And help us to continue to keep in touch with those not yet able to join us physically.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer
Generous God, we pray for all those who have been and still are affected by coronavirus, for the medical staff and carers who have cared and nursed people with very little respite, for those who are still suffering the after-effects of the virus and are finding it hard to cope with the feeling of exhaustion and fatigue. We pray for those who have been able to enjoy the relaxation of lock down, for those who are tentatively starting to see friends and loved ones, and for those who are still shielding and may be more anxious than before. Help us to respond with understanding and contact.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer
Compassionate God, we give thanks for our schools, for all the teachers, staff and governors who have continued to have their children’s best interests at heart, providing online teaching and resources as well as helping the children feel safe and secure. We pray that they may enjoy the summer holidays and be able to rest and find refreshment. We pray for the families exhausted from balancing home schooling, employment, illness, redundancy and other concerns and for the families that will struggle over the holidays, giving thanks for the continuation of free school meals over summer, whilst realising that we also need to keep campaigning and fighting for the equality that comes with the eradication of poverty, We give thanks for the establishment of so many food banks, considering maybe where we may be able to help there.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer
Creator God, we pray for the energy to continue campaigning for our planet and the climate crisis. Help us to remember what we have learnt about pollution and CO2 damage during global lock downs – give us courage to change our unhealthy and damaging habits. We pray for our leaders, politicians and all those in power to recognise and call out where we need to change and how. We pray for the ability to come together as a whole world, to understand our interconnectedness and be strengthened by the hope that change can come. Raise up your church to be your well washed hands and faithful feet, to be present to the pain, to respond with love in action, if even from a safe distance.
Merciful Father – we ask you to accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Go forth into the world in peace,
be of good courage,
hold fast that which is good,
render to no one evil for evil,
strengthen the fainthearted,
support the weak, help the afflicted,
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you always.
BCP evening prayer will continue this Sunday at 5pm via a Zoom link. We will send out the order of service, and the readings, later.
1 Kings 6.11-14, 23-28
Acts 12 1-17
SUNDAY COFFEE ZOOM
After you have watched or listened to this Sunday’s online service of your choice, we invite you to join us for a chat over coffee via Zoom at 11.30 for about half an hour.
We will resend the meeting details later.
EVENING PRAYER DURING THE WEEK
We are continuing to hold Evening Prayer meetings every Tuesday and Thursday at 1700 (5.00pm).
The liturgy is Common Worship in contemporary language.
The best way to follow along is using the Church of England’s Daily Prayer App.
It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
We will resend the meeting details later.
|OXFORD DIOCESE CHURCH AT HOME|
26 July 2020 10am – watch online or dial in
The Rt Revd Humphrey Southern, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese, presides. The address is given by the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Olivia Graham. The service has been recorded in Cuddesdon’s Edward King Chapel.
This week we are supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee’s COVID-19 Appeal. The pandemic has badly hit a number of countries, including Yemen, Syria and South Sudan. The effects of this have been especially felt in refugee camps and amongst displaced people who have little access to medical care, basic food, shelter and water.
By supporting the DEC appeal there is a chance of protecting millions of vulnerable people and saving many lives. At the end of the service there will be an opportunity to donate to the appeal online, but you can donate at any time using the link below.
The order of service is available to download now. As ever, links to watch, listen or dial in to the service will be published on this page at least an hour before the service starts.
Download the order of service (PDF)
Set a reminder to watch on YouTube at 10am using this link
Donate to the DEC appeal via Christian Aid
Parishioners unable to access the internet can dial 01865 920930 to hear the service.
Watch previous Church at Home services
The services are also available to listen to on Soundcloud.
Reflections for a Church in Lockdown
Episodes are available to listen to now, or download it wherever you get your podcasts (search ‘My extraordinary family’)
|PLEASE PRAY FOR|
Healing: Blake, Sam, Reuben, Margaret, David, Don, Karl, Hugh, Sarah, Elsie, Lesley, Joanna, Miriam, Refugees, Prisoners, the Homeless and those who mourn.
The lately departed: Julie Boyd, Linda Smith and John Kempton, and those whose anniversary falls at this time.
Community prayers: Community prayers: Clewer Green School, the head teacher Martin Tinsley and all the pupils, staff and governors now taking a well earned summer break. For all our Care Homes, for the safety of residents and staff.
Parish Cycle of Prayer: Please pray for all who live or work in Hermitage Lane, Longbourn, Maidenhead Road, Rays Avenue, Wells Close, Vale Road, and Buckland Crescent.
Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Pray for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. Pray for the Churches in Northern Uganda, Bauchi (Nigeria) , Kansas (The Episcopal Church), Northern Zambia (Central Africa), Belize (West Indies), Kanyakumari (South India), Northwest Ankole (Uganda), Bendigo (Australia), Northwest Texas (The Episcopal Church), Benin (Nigeria), Bermuda, Northwestern Pennsylvania (The Episcopal Church), Bethlehem (The Episcopal Church), Norwich (England), Bhopal (North India), and Kapoeta (South Sudan).
Please continue to pray for and support your neighbours and families in any way you can whilst keeping yourself safe.
Please be patient as we implement the recommendations to ensure everyone’s safety.
The advice from the Church of England and Oxford Diocese is that we should all wear face coverings in Church.
The one way system we used for Private Prayer is no longer in place, and all three aisles are in use.
On entering the Church, please use the available hand sanitiser.
We need to record who is attending Church, so will be keeping a log. A data protection (GDPR) statement is available.
Please find a pew marked with the green Available Pew sign. One person, or one household/bubble per pew.
If you would like to light a candle, please do so one by one. Take an unlit candle from the top of the candle stand, light it and then put it back.
After the service, please leave the building promptly, keeping social distancing at all times.
On leaving the Church, please use the hand sanitiser again.
|PARISH MAILING LIST|
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Church Finances – message from Andrew
If you are filling your envelopes and have a stack at home, if you can, please bring them round to the Rectory and we can get your giving paid in. Thank you
In the light of this suspension of services you might like to consider continuing your regular giving by paying directly to our bank account, the details of which are:
HSBC Bank, High Street, Windsor
Sort Code: 40-47-37
Account number: 11373366 Account name: PCC St Andrews Church
Symbols of hope and happiness – I would like to set you all a creative challenge. How about knitting or crocheting symbols of hope and happiness, flowers, hearts, crosses, doves etc. Any colours and shape. Then when we are able to gather, we can join them all together to make an altar frontal or a banner, in celebration of faith, hope and love. Let me know if you’d like to join in. Revd Rosie
Pictures can be posted to the St Andrews Facebook Page
|Windsor Foodshare – are now putting boxes in various locations in the area for donations. They welcome all non-perishable foods. Details on their Facebook page:|
|Christian Aid group appeal for DEC Coronavirus Appeal|
Dear Christian Aid friends and supporters
As you may have seen on the BBC and ITN last week and from other reports in the media the Disasters Emergency Committee has launched a major Global Coronavirus Appeal. Millions of lives are at stake as Covid-19 hits refugee camps and war torn countries like Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, DR Congo, Afghanistan and the Royingha camps in Bangladesh. Many people are living in crowded camps with little access to medical care, clean water or enough food, making them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. The virus is now spreading much more rapidly in the developing world and this is likely to become, sadly, a bigger story in the next few weeks.
Christian Aid is one of 13 major aid agencies who are part of the DEC, along with CAFOD, Oxfam and TearFund and here in Windsor we are supporting their work raising funds for this appeal. We know that many of you have given generously already this year but we believe it is important to get behind this appeal and ask you to consider giving generously again.
Please either donate directly to the DEC website:
Or through our own justgiving website (the advantage to this is we can see how much we have raised):
Thank you for considering this appeal.
Windsor Christian Aid Group
|Trevor Morgan’s Fundraising for a school in Kenya|
Trevor has asked us to remind you that he is still collecting banknotes and coins, from any country, any age. The need for funds in the school in Nakuru, Kenya is even greater as a result of the pandemic and like here, the school has had to close, and children are struggling. Trevor is happy to collect coins and notes from anyone.
Please email the Parish Office – firstname.lastname@example.org – if you can help.
Robert, our organist, has sent us a link to a YouTube video of Psalms being sung by Guildford Cathedral Choir, directed by Barry Rose, during services at Guildford Cathedral and elsewhere, 1961-1974. It is many hours in length, and there is a key to which psalms are where in the recording in the first comment on the video. Click ‘Read more’ to expand the comment.
You might find that it helps to reflect and relax in these times. Thanks to Robert.
WEST WINDSOR HUB
A PROVISION FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY – A SUPPORT HELP-LINE CONNECTING YOU TO RESOURCES AND ASSISTANCE OR A FRIENDLY CHAT OVER THE PHONE
If you have help from family or friends we encourage you to continue to accept help from them as usual. If any of your circumstances change and you need help from outside these support groups then please contact us to let us know. If you are having difficulties we advise you to call the HUB number above and we’ll arrange help for you.
The Parish Office is now closed.
Sharon (our administrator) is currently on furlough.
Out of hours office number: 07490 094261
Email: email@example.com – Stuart will pick up any emails
Revd Rosie Webb: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01753 852334
Parish website: www.standrewsclewer.org
Churchwarden: Stuart Cockman
Pastoral helpline number: 07946 590223