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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rector's View - May 2016

Dear friends,

From Xanadu to Utopia, from Metropolis to Matrix's Zion, these films illustrate our continuing desire to look to paradise, such universally held visions of faith lead us to go beyond the understated hope that "things can only get better" to ponder what if things were the best they could be – perfick! Whether you hear 'Pop' or 'Ed' here (Darling Buds of May or Shaun of the Dead!) underlines our failure to realise the best we could be, looking for God's Kingdom on earth seems ever through human history fraught with the dream turning to nightmare. Yet the worse things get, the greater the hope of our prayer "On earth as in Heaven".

John Lennon's vision seems to sidestep the failings of world faiths in seeking to realise God's Kingdom come. "Imagine there's no heaven,.. no hell below us, above us only sky, imagine all the people living life in peace". Yet the dream of the Christian faith in heaven's New Jerusalem is also that of heaven and earth passed away Revelation 21, a city without any Temple, for God is seen to dwell among mortals, all are blessed in knowledge and love of God.

Such is the call of our Archbishops, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, that amidst the suffering of worldly conflicts, amidst the pain of our daily living, those of faith and those of none should raise the hope of a new better day. Christian's express this in the daily prayer "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as in heaven." The Churches of Bansfield Benefice will be sharing this prayer, as across the nation, in the week before our celebration of Pentecost (15th May) when God's Spirit was seen anew among Jesus' disciples. The promise of faith in this Pentecost event is that God's Spirit is given to all who would turn and follow Christ, as witnessed by His Church to this day. And so in the week before Pentecost, All Saints Church Wickhambrook will be open for prayer each evening up to 9pm. There will be prepared a special display for people to see, to meditate, to pray. Candles may be lit, and a member of the church will be present (from 7:30pm) ready to help and encourage if needs, cards with the text of the Lord's Prayer will be ready for use. I hope many will be drawn to turn anew toward the Way of Christ in looking for the Kingdom at hand this day, at your hand and at mine.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rector's View - April 2016

Dear friends,

Our Diocese has just welcomed our new bishop of Dunwich, bishop Mike, to assist our diocesan bishop Martin. Bishop Mike's service of welcome and installation was a great occasion and included an intoxicating spiritual mix of hymnody and worship song, with organ, choir, soloist and orchestra. But the music of welcome wasn't confined to the arches of the cathedral, the bells rang out their joyful welcome for the whole of Bury St Edmunds to hear. Bishop Mike encouraged his flock to be bold in proclaiming their faith, to embrace spiritual entrepreneurism, to speak of the benefit, health and strength in serving other's needs, and gathering together to share our faith and praise our God.

So, taking up bishop Mike's call I'm setting out the benefit for health, socialising, and fun in sharing the welcome call to worship, that is the stimulating pursuit of bell-ringing! We have two ringing towers in regular use in our benefice, at St Margaret's Stradishall and St Margaret's Cowlinge. You don't have to have faith or be a regular worshiper, though having an open mind and willingness to use your instruction to celebrate Sunday worship and Christian Marriage is a good start. But let me borrow some further invitation from an excellent website http://www.bellringing.org/fitness/.

You've heard of workouts with dumbbells, now try church bells! Bells are the largest and loudest instrument in the world. But they are also the perfect way to get gentle physical exercise and increase active living for people who are looking for alternatives to conventional sport. Just like the practice of the Christian faith, it's better together!

What's even better is that bell ringing is open to everyone - young and old - and with any level of existing fitness. Whilst bells can weigh up to 4,500kg most are much lighter and are rung using mainly technique rather than strength. The movement of bell ringing often helps many people to stay active longer and increase agility.

  • Professional trainers and health experts now recommend bell ringing to &elip;
  • improve agility, co-ordination, and reaction times
  • tone core abdominal muscles and glutes
  • work biceps, quads and calves with minimal force
  • develop muscle endurance

As well to enjoy the new friendships an active social life brings! Once you have learned the basic techniques you will always be made welcome when you visit any of the 5,000 other towers in the UK. A warm welcome awaits you at our two towers of Cowlinge and Stradishall, why not give our tower captain a call today:- David Wedgwood - please use the contact details in the footer of the page. (Practice nights mostly Stradishall Fridays 8-9pm, but check first with David.)

And very occasionally even I have a go, so do say hello sometime.

Every Blessing

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rector's View - March 2016

Dear friends,

The winding road of our Church's year takes us from Epiphany – showing – through Lent – preparation – to Passiontide, Holy Week and Easter, quite a pilgrimage.

So often in Christian faith we can be so focused on personal revelation we diminish the greater life we proclaim, that of our company together in the risen life of our Christ. Many Christian communities come together for Palm Sunday processions to enact this greater presence we share through our common discipleship, following together in the Way of Christ. Palm Sunday is the second of the great processional days of Christ's Church, the first being Christ's Presentation in the Temple – Candlemas for our bearing candles, Palm Sunday for our bearing palms. These processional days frame February through to March and help us reflect on our work through Lent of growing our Easter faith.

Our Diocese is celebrating the installation of our new assistant bishop Mike, a great gathering witnessed his installation as bishop of Dunwich in St Edmundsbury cathedral, and we look forward to our part in his promotion of growth across our Diocese particularly amongst our young. Our demonstration of support for this new ministry among us, shared with our diocesan bishop Martin, reminds us of our common purpose to share knowledge and love of God and of His Son. We demonstrate that knowledge and love through our actions, and in this we are ever better together.

So our Palm Sunday procession, demonstrates our part in Christ's mission, the growth of God's Kingdom on earth as in heaven. As we share in hailing our Christ as King, we grow in our conviction all to play our part in bearing the fruits of God's Kingdom. Some may indeed take on great works, as our bishops Martin and Mike, though ours may be the lesser task, in the personality of Jesus we in our deeds become one, ours is no lesser task in growing God's kingdom than those great leaders of faith we welcome and applaud. Through our service in practical neighbourliness and friendly welcome we too go about our modest work in making real the story of God's love by our simple living, looking for no reward save that of knowing we do our Lord's will, as Ignatius Loyola's prayer puts it. We by our preparing the way, encouraging, applauding, turning to good works, welcome our Christ into our lives and share His Kingdom with those whom we meet this day. As we come to the end of our Lenten journey carrying our palms, we are reminded of our last procession carrying our candles, the light of our lives, and with joy determine to live in that greater light together growing God's kingdom for Christ's risen life today.

Yours in Christ,

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector