Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Rector's View - March 2017

Dear friends,

March brings anticipation of Easter's new beginning by this season's lengthening days, so named Lent. Today's consumer society knows little of preparation when everything can be sourced from your local convenience store, yet ensuring this daily 24/7 supply still requires planning and preparation. With ‘disposable incomes’ still in evidence amidst our high streets, clearly the thought of doing without so that everyone may share all the more in the feast day to come, is counter cultural.

Even the Church in her Lenten preparation for the Easter Festival to come, prefers these days the more culturally normative ‘taking up’ of some personal challenge. Giving up our indulgences to make room for that truly personal journey of finding value in our faith is often dismissed, and so we lose something of promoting community life in bearing the suffering of the life in whom is our faith, our Christ. Our Christ called us to follow, in discipline, discipleship, putting aside all things by which we fall short of the mark, another counter-cultural term - sin. By acknowledging our falling short, our sin, we are able to turn our lives around, being penitent, to follow the one who bore the marks of suffering for our new start, our redemption.

None of us enjoys confessing our falling short, this is a society all about proclaiming our strengths, we are selective even to the extent of a few ‘alternative facts’ about our job histories and careers, after all who will employ someone who talks about their mistakes.

Well the Easter story is all about the love of our heavenly Father, to call out to us again and again, and when we find strength to speak of our mistakes, will speak to us in the living Word of His Son, that we in Him may live anew. The heavenly Father's forgiveness is 24/7, prepared and planned in the story of Jesus' "forty day" wilderness journey against this world's temptations. However unfashionable or even unfathomable to the modern ear is our calling to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the course of our own forty days. No flowers then decorate the church, chocolate, alcohol, sweets, indulgences set aside, fast days – Ash Wednesday, Fridays, Good Friday - study, good works taken on. So as winter's bare field, as the plough may turn the soil, we turn our lives bare, that the Son's lengthening days may warm our hearts, to share the good of this life with all people, as is our loving Father's purpose in creation, fullness of life.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rector's View - February 2017

Dear friends,

Amidst all the uncertainties of our changing world, European and Transatlantic alliances undermined and under threat, we look for surety and trust in all that is familiar and known to us.

The story of our faith has ever sought to remind creation's children of the Creator's sure and loving purposes for us. That whatever the uncertainties and trials of the day to day, creation provides of her plenty and of her good, where we match our work to her trust.

The raging of winter's storms abates, and in the sunburst's calming display we look to returning days of promise ahead, that we may regroup and defend against all that the winter's shock has undermined and destroyed.

God's promise to us in scripture, as in creation's turning of the seasons, is ever to call us back to His loving purpose, whatever storms undermine our sureties and trusts, God waits on our return, His love rises amidst the winter of our hearts in sending us the risen life of His Son, our teacher, our Salvation, our Christ.

The Good News of our Gospel has recounted the wilderness call to renewal made by John the Baptist. In his day the people looked to restore the golden age of days long past, John's teaching caught the mood of the people looking for their new day, yet he chose to redirect their search to one in whom his trust was sure.

Jesus asked those who looked his way "what are you looking for". Just as we question our sureties and trusts realizing our need for wisdom and teaching, we, as Jesus' first disciples, are invited to "come and see" and follow Jesus' word through the momentum of this unfolding year.

The lesson of Jesus' teaching is that in Him we can rebuild our lives and look to that fullness of life which is God's promise. The disciples trusted to Jesus' call, as still by the discipleship of our baptism and confirmation we may find our hope of new beginning, trusting to the work of our faith, that we may be blessed to grow in knowledge and love of God.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rector's View - January 2017

Dear friends,

At the turning of the year we raise our thoughts to new beginnings, a new diary and a new page, unsullied and pristine, nothing missed or passed by. The tattered pages of last year's diary though, before being stored away, can offer guidance to the coming year and help us set our course.

The calendar of our Church's year too encourages us to review as we hear afresh the story of God's love through the pages of scripture and the lives of the Saints.

Our television screens also seem awash with reviews of the year applauding the achievements of the great and the good. And among the festivals of the Saints which saw out our year we have the lesson at the close of St John's Gospel that should all the things Jesus did be written down, the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. So we who follow Christ are encouraged to enliven His coming among us in the living pages of our lives.

The festival of St John is set between the commemoration of the martyrdom of St Stephen and that of the Holy Innocents, and we are reminded that whilst we review the lives of the great and good they too as we, are amidst a world of great trial and suffering. God set the course of His love in Jesus into this world, and asks that we who follow Jesus’ Gospel enliven Christ's love that our lives be among the good news of Jesus’ living. This may mean being prepared to turn the pages of our lives to new beginnings or offering again our friendship to those missed or passed by.

New Year's day marks the naming of Jesus, the name given Joseph by the angel bearing God's Word as Joseph dreams "You shall name him Jesus, for he will save his people."

May our dreams this New Year bear the name of our Christ that we become part of the unfolding story of God's saving love for all peoples.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

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