Monday, 6 April 2020

HOLY WEEK SERVICES



Live streamed and online services via:

www.facebook.com/stmaryhandbridge

www.youtube.com/stmaryhandbridge

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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

LETTER FROM LAURA/WEEKLY BIBLE READINGS


LETTER FROM LAURA












Lent to Easter, Via the Coronavirus

We have made a lot of changes in church about how we do things.  The spread of infection has come to the forefront of our mind. I don't know how you felt, but it hit me hard when I heard Boris Johnson say that 'many more will lose loved ones.'  Some may have panicked, some will have made new plans, some will have rolled their eyes, some will have vowed to change nothing and decry those who are panicking. What a strange lot we are as human beings.

Mark, my husband, and I both work in environments with people from lots of different countries. We have discovered that people have a tendency to trust the advice of the country from which they are from. We have heard:  “Post soldiers outside people's houses and shoot them if they come out;” “Make everyone stay indoors and deliver state food packages.” It may be hard for them to hear the measures in the UK: “If you are not feeling well, stay indoors for a week.” “Ridiculous!” I am told.  “It will never work!” Imagine, we have the audacity to dare to get through a pandemic by initially relying on people's altruism. 

God gave us the tools to deal with pandemics, but they have another name: the fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5.22-23)

Firstly, Self-Control.  That we have enough self-control to realise that we may not need 36 rolls of toilet paper and that we follow the rules when we are bored of them.
Next, we need patience. Patience to wait for an unfolding epidemic, patience to wait for medicine, patience to remember to put others before ourselves who may have underlying health conditions.  Also, we need the patience to stay away from infection when we are bored of staying in.  When we have lost the will to protect ourselves, we must protect ourselves for others.

We need kindness and goodness, where we are ready to help our neighbours when they have no one else. We need to be brave and we need to trust others that they will leave enough for us.  We need generosity with our time and our patience.  We need gentleness not judgement when we see others behaving badly; when we see others being selfish.  We need to search for peace in a time of worry and fear.  We need to remember to love those around us, with our thoughts and actions.  We need to behave lovingly.

That leaves faithfulness and joy. Joy may be hard at the moment, but we remember at this time of year the joy of Easter. The 'fear and joy' of the women running from the tomb with the words, 'He is risen'.  Throughout our life we will experience fear and joy like the women at the tomb. And it is through our faithfulness, that we start to glimpse the world through God's eyes. That we see the rhythm of life and death, fear and joy.

Let us prepare for pandemic with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.                                                                                      

Revd. Laura Rhodes, Assistant Priest


St Mary's Parish Magazine can now be downloaded from https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/12578/page/55537/view/

Weekly Bible Readings



First Reading
Psalm
Second Reading
Gospel
5th April  2020
Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 118:1-2. 19-29
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 21:1-11
Passion
Matthew 26:14 – 27:66
Or Matthew 27:11-54
12th April 2020
Easter Sunday
Either Acts 10:34-43 or
Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2. 14-24
Either Colossians 3:1-4
or Acts 10:34-43
Either John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10
19th April 2020
Second Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:14a. 22-32
Psalm 16
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31
26th April 2020
Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:14a. 36-41
Psalm 116:1-3.10-17
1 Peter 1:17-23
Luke 24:13-35



Friday, 27 March 2020

ST MARY'S MAGAZINE


The April Parish Magazine has now been published and has been e-mailed or delivered (via the local distributors using their hour's exercise) to subscribers.

                                                         

For those who normally collect the magazine from Church, copies can be collected from the following "outlets":
Newsagent and the Co-op in Handbridge. It will be available shortly from the newsagent in Westminster Park.

Whilst the cover price is £1, the magazine is free to collect - just put some money in the box when you are back to Church. 

WANT THE MAGAZINE E-MAILED TO YOU AS A pdf?
E-MAIL: stmaryseditor@gmail.com

THE MAGAZINE CAN ALSO NOW BE DOWNLOADED FROM https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/12578/page/55537/view/

Thursday, 19 March 2020

ST MARY WITHOUT -THE - WALLS





A message from our Rector, Ric Whaite:


"On Tuesday, 17th March the Church of England announced the suspension of all public worship in its churches and chaplaincies until further notice. At St Mary's this will include Wednesday evening's School of Prayer and Compline, our Thursday morning service, Thursday's Confirmation group and ALL Sunday services.

THERE WILL BE NO PUBLIC SERVICES OF ANY KIND AT ST MARY'S HANDBRIDGE THIS SUNDAY, 22ND OF MARCH.

The St Mary's Handbridge Centre is also closed, and user groups have been informed.

As the first Sunday where public worship will be suspended, this Sunday, Mothering Sunday, is a particular focus. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer and Action. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds.

At 7pm this Sunday, please light a candle in the window of your home as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer. 

Church will continue to be open as often as possible. Morning Prayer will be said by the Rector and, where appropriate, Holy Communion also. Holy Communion is necessary so that consecrated wafers can be distributed to people in their homes (along with service booklets) when requested. Where appropriate, Communion may be distributed using an envelope through a letterbox. In other circumstances, a visit might be possible to share Holy Communion. Please bear with us as we try this out.

Have you, as a parishioner, yet supplied St Mary's with an e-mail address? If you have not, please do so and send an e-mail to rector.stmaryshester@btconnect.com so you can be included on regular messages to the parish, as well as requests for support."

The Church of England has highlighted a number of resources for people to use in their homes. Just log on to www.churchofengland.org



Friday, 14 February 2020

NEW £98,000 GRANT FOR ST MARY'S HANDBRIDGE CENTRE


                                       

Since the Centre opened in June 2018, it has proved to be a great success, being used by an increasingly wide range of organisations in the community.

Until now a team of volunteers has been used to help the day-to-day management of the activities and events taking place in the Centre. The parish has been grateful to these volunteers for their support and the dedication they have shown in making the Centre a success. However, although the help of the volunteers is much appreciated, in the long-term, it is not an ideal situation.

We are delighted to announce that the Centre has now secured a Reaching Communities grant of £98,408 to fund up to three part-time staff to manage the Centre for the next four years. 

At the end of the four-year period St Mary's expects the Centre to be self-funding to enable staff to be employed in the future.

Volunteers will still be needed, and very much appreciated, in the short/medium term, particularly at times when the demand for the Centre is high.