Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rector's View - December 2016

Dear friends,

Another year of crises and the principalities of this age continue to raise turbulent echoes to advent journeys of long ago. Still we hear biblical narrative translated into today’s reports of displaced persons.

Here an abridged BBC report on the migrant crises:-

"The authorities have detailed plans to compel the dispersal of the populace to orientation centres for the processing of applications.

Across the country orientation centres have been created: in former barracks, disused hospitals and training-centres, and of out-of-season holiday villages, those who say they have family there are expected to go.

The planning is thorough, the intentions are good, but there are many imponderables".

And from the biblical text:-

"And in those days a decree went out that all the world should be registered. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also, … He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn".

So we might ponder on those born in today's travail, whether they may offer the world hope of such peace and salvation as raised light that first advent.

And as we rehearse again our Saviour's birth, might we ponder such journeys as we have faced at the compulsion of this world, to whom did we turn, for compassion mercy and lodging.

And to a world beset with rival claims to sovereignty authority and power may we uphold the light of those rulers truly wise, who seek to offer gifts of sacrificial service and of loyalty to the healing of division.

May this world be blessed by the gift of God's Love.

Grace and Peace be yours this Christmas.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rector's View - November 2016

Dear friends,

We are looking forward to hosting our Advent Saturday Workshop 26th November at All Saints Wickhambrook from 12 Noon. We will be opening our new Labyrinth with our afternoon workshops and the evening's screening of the Estevez movie "The Way" starring Martin Sheen. Through the afternoon we will be discussing three episodes from the film which relate to our own life stories, and the stories of the Gospel, and sharing our own walk together in the way of the Labyrinth, the way of prayer.

"The Way" tells the story of the 800 kilometre journey across Spain to Santiago de Compostela. We'll begin and end with some pilgrim fare – a ploughman's lunch to begin and a fish and chip supper to close the afternoon, ready to settle down to the evening's screening of the complete movie. If you’re interested in sharing our stories, our own live "movie blog", then do give me a ring.

November's story of Remembrance marks not only our nation's remembrance of the First World War, 100 years on, but also our own in marking All Saints and All Soul's day. This year's Remembrance Service will be held Sunday 13th November 10am at St Margaret's Cowlinge, and will mark the story of a local family. Three Bitten brothers along with cousins, Ransomes and Starlings, seven in all, are named among the fallen on St Margaret's War Memorial, and their relatives have arranged to mark their centenaries this year by sharing in our laying of wreaths, reading of names, and two minutes silence, and I have invited a family member, the reverend Mark Janes a Baptist minister to preach for us and share their story.

Our service of All Soul's offers the lighting of candles in prayer at the reading of the names of our own dear departed. If you would like to attend our service and share in this then please do give me a call and let me know the names of those you would like remembered. Our All Soul's service will be held Sunday November 6th 3pm at All Saints Wickhambrook with refreshments served after in the Benefice Hall.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as may choose to share both the story of faith's pilgrimage and the remembrance of those who have died, whether the fallen of War or our own dear departed. In our telling and remembrance we turn the path of our lives away from this world's darkness toward the light of this world's hope, that we may build peace, peace in the lives of the nations and peace in the lives of our families’ friends and loved ones.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rector's View - October 2016

Dear friends,

As the year's seasons draw to a close in Harvest festivals, the Church marks the remembrances of November. Our national Remembrance Sunday service is this year 13th November 10am at St Margaret's Cowlinge. Our All Souls' remembrance service will be held the week before on 6th November 3pm at Wickhambrook All Saints'. All who wish are invited to this service at which we read the names of those who have died, whose funerals have been ministered by myself since last years' service, or any who have experienced bereavement who wish for their loved ones to be remembered in this way. Throughout October lists will be available to sign after each morning service in church, though you may like to ring the Rectory, so you can be sure to add the names of your departed loved ones to those we will name in our service. After the service we will gather in the Benefice Hall next to the church for refreshments and opportunity to chat.

Harvest both for the working of the field and the works of our faith crowns the year with her glory and signals the time to prepare for next year's growth. In our discipleship of faith those who follow the Way of Christ are called to grow faith wherever the seed is scattered. As the Church's year is crowned with the festival of Christ the King the Sunday following marks the Advent of our Christ as the church with all the world prepares for the celebration of the story of Christ's birth.

All Saints' Wickhambrook will be telling the story of faith's pilgrimage, we invite all who may to an afternoon workshop by way of our live "Movie Blog", not via the web but held at All Saints Wickhambrook the Saturday before Advent Sunday, that is the 26th November from 12 Noon. We will be looking at the Emilio Estevez film "The Way" starring Martin Sheen. "The Way" tells the story of the 800kilometre journey across Spain to Santiago de Compostela. We then will view the stories of the lead characters, and share their pilgrimage in walking our own Way of pilgrimage, that is our newly mown Labyrinth now in All Saints' churchyard. We'll begin and end with some pilgrim fare – a ploughman's lunch to begin and a fish and chip supper to close the afternoon. Then in the evening we will be screening the complete movie. If you're interested in sharing our stories do give me a ring.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rector's View - September 2016

Dear friends,

Our little union of nations continues her sojourn through the years into an uncertain future as we struggle once more with what it is to be, not a part of, but apart from Europe, tracing and retracing the path of our history. For many folk the journey of our lives too can be one of changed directions and retraced steps.

And I am reminded again, as we approach the height of the holiday season, of the journeys our forebears once made from all across the nation states and nations of Europe, lesser or greater, folk of high rank or low, yet common to a deeper path of unity and loyalty in faith. So they shared their journeys along the Way under the Stars following the direction of the heavens even to the ends of the earth, across from all points East to farthest West till at Cape Finisterre, the pilgrim, gazed westward across the Atlantic to be reminded by the stars of the night sky in the pointing finger of the Milky Way, of the journey we all ultimately share when at the end of the journey of our lives we find our place amidst the heavens. At the drama of this revelation the pilgrim was bounden to return across the same Europe they had trod before back again to their own lands as the fields of their labours called them home. Such journeys offered the pilgrim transformative Holy days, strength, hope, and vision for whatever uncertainties their futures would face, for they had experienced a trial common to all pilgrims met along the Way, through which they could recognise their greater sharing together in this pilgrimage of life.

Still today is this same pilgrimage made, open to those of faith or none, the pilgrimage itself predating discipleship in the Way of Christ. Among the parishes of Bansfield Benefice, beginning with All Saints' Wickhambrook we will be establishing little echoes of this journey in our churchyards. And at the beginning of Advent this year, All Saints' Church will launch this "Way of Prayer", or "Labyrinth", with an afternoon workshop and an evening screening of the Emilio Estevez film The Way, featuring Martin Sheen. The Way was a lifetime's ambition for Father and Son team Estevez and Sheen, as they sought to evoke in film something of this great journey across Europe to Santiago de Compostela and beyond.

Our screening day will be open to all, whether of faith or not and I will include more details in future newsletters. But for now I pray you all may experience in your holidays, times to offer strength hope and vision for the journey of our days ahead.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Monday, August 1, 2016

Rector's View - August 2016

Dear friends,

Our little union of nations continues her sojourn through the years into an uncertain future as we struggle once more with what it is to be, not a part of, but apart from Europe, tracing and retracing the path of our history. For many folk the journey of our lives too can be one of changed directions and retraced steps.

And I am reminded again, as we approach the height of the holiday season, of the journeys our forebears once made from all across the nation states and nations of Europe, lesser or greater, folk of high rank or low, yet common to a deeper path of unity and loyalty in faith. So they shared their journeys along the Way under the Stars following the direction of the heavens even to the ends of the earth, across from all points East to farthest West till at Cape Finisterre, the pilgrim, gazed westward across the Atlantic to be reminded by the stars of the night sky in the pointing finger of the Milky Way, of the journey we all ultimately share when at the end of the journey of our lives we find our place amidst the heavens. At the drama of this revelation the pilgrim was bounden to return across the same Europe they had trod before back again to their own lands as the fields of their labours called them home. Such journeys offered the pilgrim transformative Holy days, strength, hope, and vision for whatever uncertainties their futures would face, for they had experienced a trial common to all pilgrims met along the Way, through which they could recognise their greater sharing together in this pilgrimage of life.

Still today is this same pilgrimage made, open to those of faith or none, the pilgrimage itself predating discipleship in the Way of Christ. Among the parishes of Bansfield Benefice, beginning with All Saints' Wickhambrook we will be establishing little echoes of this journey in our churchyards. And at the beginning of Advent this year, All Saints' Church will launch this "Way of Prayer", or "Labyrinth", with an afternoon workshop and an evening screening of the Emilio Estevez film The Way, featuring Martin Sheen. The Way was a lifetime's ambition for Father and Son team Estevez and Sheen, as they sought to evoke in film something of this great journey across Europe to Santiago de Compostela and beyond.

Our screening day will be open to all, whether of faith or not and I will include more details in future newsletters. But for now I pray you all may experience in your holidays, times to offer strength hope and vision for the journey of our days ahead.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Friday, July 1, 2016

Rector's View - July 2016

Dear friends,

As I write, the hopes and dreams of peoples and nations are held in the hand of an electorate, as also the sports arena sees a procession of winners and losers.

Who ultimately will be the victor though may be a matter of debate and even take years to be seen, as our global village struggles, in an age of biblical challenge, pandemic, climate change and displaced persons, to understand such cross-generational biblical questioning, as from the defensive plea of Genesis, "Am I my brother's keeper"?, to the teaching of the Gospels, "Who is my neighbour", to Jesus' own recognition of the hour before him in his first miraculous act, "What concern is that to you and me, my hour is not yet come".

Well for Christians our concern is modelled on the Acts of Jesus Saviour, our Christ, who chose to make the hour of our need, his hour, sharing our joys and sorrows, ultimately sharing our mortality, giving his life to save his followers and his nation. As they struggled to understand what he had done for them, they understood his Word lived on in their deeds, the Acts of the Apostles, as today, the Acts of Christian peoples throughout the world revealing Christ's continuing presence, his risen life, amidst our hours and days.

Among Jesus' many encounters is that of the hour he met the Gerasene demonic, a man out of his mind, beset by illness and ostracized by society. The Gospel story mirrors his fate with that of the Judaic peoples of his day, occupied by Rome's Legions, for the Gerasene is held captive in chains and himself occupied by a legion of demons. His violence imprisoned him and society placed guards against his entry for protection. Jesus liberated him from the possession of these legions, sending them to their end via a herd of unclean swine, livestock of the Roman occupation. No wonder the reaction of the Gerasene people's was one of fear, sending Jesus and his followers back from their shores. The healed Gerasene, now in his right mind, wanted to follow Jesus after his own liberation across the waters to this hoped for sovereign Judea, but Jesus asked him to stay amidst the Decapolis, the ten cities of Rome's federal state, and "declare how much God has done for you".

So are we called today to speak of the good we see, to offer release to those who look for liberty, and to make the hour of their need our own. In this is ultimately our victory, that our shores should offer hope and freedom from fear, that our lands, our global village should know the good as that righteousness of God's Kingdom come.

Yours in Christ,

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Rector's View - June 2016

Dear friends,

June offers some great occasions to share the fellowship our Benefice offers to her villages, beginning with the Denston Gala Concert 4th June – I hope you've got your tickets, we eagerly anticipate a feast of music and refreshment, St Nicholas Church is looking forward very much to hosting this special event. And then 19th June we host our Benefice Summer Barbeque with thanks to our generous hosts the Town family at Aspen House Stansfield, this will include our 11:30am Tent Communion service where we will delight in sharing the meal of Christ's presence and confirming our fellowship together with refreshment and barbeque through to the afternoon. If you're looking for a Sunday to say hello and find new friendship among the fellowships of our benefice this would be a great Sunday to join us, do look for tickets in advance if you're able, though you can buy on the day. And at the close of the month we enjoy a traditional parish Patronal festival at St Peter's Ousden for a 5pm service of Readings and Hymns. So three events to mirror our turning of the church's seasons to Trinity, bringing to mind the fellowship of Heavenly Father, Blessed Son and Holy Spirit.

Our Sunday worship closes with the word of blessing "The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord". It is good news not only to be assured that we are indeed blessed in Spirit by the love of Father and Son, but also that our knowing God passes all understanding. Faith is beyond the certainty of proof. We know God not through book study nor through courses of learning, though these may help, but through the love of family and those we may meet. Those whose discipleship in baptism is to follow the Way of Christ, are called to share their knowing God in the good news as Jesus proclaimed of God's Kingdom on earth as in heaven. And everyone carries the hope of better days, the Christian gospel (good news) is carried in the hearts of ordinary people of faith as you or I, who look for the good in all things.

If you are looking for the good, then make that first step of faith, to seek out the Christian family and ask one of our number to share with you their hope in God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector