Friday, December 1, 2017

Rector's View - December 2017

Dear Friends

So it’s about… ? Well the Christmas advertising campaigns are upon us again in our journey through Advent searching for that special Christmas gift or preparing for that best Christmas ever. The Cavalier Carver, The Mince Pie Maverick and the Double Dipper entice us to feast with Lidl. An elf racing through the snow to retrieve the misplaced present for Argos. Geoffrey the Giraffe helps Santa for Toys R Us. Kevin the carrot looks for love for ASDA’s Imaginarium Christmas workshop, M&S and Paddington Bear, Debenham’s and Cinderella. All trying to convince us of what they do best.

The Christian story holds that each of us is special, for we each bear God’s likeness. God’s purpose is fullness of life for each of us, that we should be our best ever. And to convince us of this God chose to live with us in one called Jesus God’s Son. You can hear the Church’s campaign at a church near you with help of our more usual cast of angels, shepherds and kings. Last year’s statistics revealed 2016 to be a record year for Christmas attendance at services in cathedrals, the highest figure since records began. A one year rise of 5%, meant that 131, 000 people came to cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. These figures were echoed across parish services as the church embraced the challenge to do what we do best, tell the story of God’s love. The Christmas campaign is just the beginning, throughout the year Christians put God’s love into practice in providing tidings of comfort and joy to those who most need it, that all should know fullness of life.

A blessed and happy Christmas to you all, be assured of our warm welcome to you should you choose to share the Christmas story with us this year.

Yours in Christ,
Brin.

Rector at Bansfield
#GodWithUs

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Rector's View - November 2017

Dear Friends

This year’s Remembrance Service will be held Sunday 12th November 10am at St Peter's Ousden, and I hope many of you will be able to join our remembrance, our laying of wreaths, our reading of names, and our two minutes silence. Many of you may be able to recall the story of your own ancestor’s wartime service, whether newly researched or past on within the family from generation to generation. The hope that such remembrance would ensure the preserve of peace is lost to us, conflicts continue the world over and still today those who serve their country in the armed forces will gather to remember colleagues in arms lost in battle. Please give generously to the work of the Royal British Legion at this time that they may fulfill their pledge of lifelong support to the armed forces community and their families.

Our service of All Soul’s will be held Sunday November 5th 3pm at All Saints Wickhambrook, here we remember and give thanks for the lives of our own dear departed. This too will be marked by the reading of names and includes the opportunity to light candles in prayer. Invitations have been given to those to whom we have ministered through this year but the service is open to any who would like to join us and share our commemoration. If you would like to attend then please do give me a call and let me know the names of those you would like to be remembered. We will offer refreshments after in the Benefice Hall.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as may be able to join our season of remembrance, and pray we may yet find the course of peace in the lives of the nations and peace in the lives of our families’ friends and loved ones.:-

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule; Amen.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Rector's View - October 2017

Dear friends,

The power and destruction of this year's hurricane season reminds us to offer thanks for the blessing of our relatively mild weather. And through October we remember to give thanks for the blessing of the seasons in Harvest Thanksgiving. It is a good practice to count our blessings, even in the darkest of circumstance, for in counting the good of our lives we may rise from despair to hope and remember to offer hope to others in their need. By seeking out those things to offer thanks for we re-align our lives turning away from those things which bring harm toward those things which bring good.

In giving thanks for the produce of the land we remember creation's gift to provide for our need that we may provide for the needs of others. Through good stewardship and accountability we may ensure and protect the blessing of creation. So we value energy sources that have potential to stabilize climate change, we value working practices that make for a safer working environment for those working on the land, we value the food we buy making amends for unsustainable restrictive markets and food waste. All this through counting the good and turning from the bad. So we pray for and offer aid to those rebuilding lives and homes at this time as we offer our Harvest prayer:-

Lord of the harvest,
with joy we have offered thanksgiving for your love in creation
and have shared in the bread and the wine of the kingdom:
by your grace plant within us a reverence for all that you give us
and make us generous and wise stewards of the good things we enjoy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Friday, September 1, 2017

Rector's View - September 2017

Dear friends,

Returning from vacation I thought to check the state of our benefice’s grass cut Labyrinths, one behind All Saints' Church Wickhambrook, the other at All Saints' Stansfield. After three weeks rain and sun to my dismay they seem beyond recovery and I began musing the phrase about not letting the grass growing under your feet. Well it turns out there is a song inviting the lesser known wisdom just to let the grass grow "Let the grass grow under your feet, 'til it grows knee deep. Let the bright day amble along, 'til it ends in sleep. A man's life is very quickly over, make time pass by wandering through the clover … "

This from a 1957 musical "Free as Air" (from the some writing stable that gave us "Salad Days"), among the opening numbers it evokes days of rest and holiday island idyll, indeed letting the grass grow.

Well I may have to accept an end to this year's Labyrinth season, but will look out for opportunity to reinstate them next year. Many of us will be returning from our rest and time away to difficult or challenging circumstance. Perhaps with the onset of mobile devices many felt unable to take a break from daily stresses. I hope your time away has at least helped with perspective, but if you're still looking for inspiration in returning to daily demands and challenges, here's the wisdom of Niebuhr' Serenity prayer to reflect on:-

O God and Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed;
courage to change that which can be changed,
and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

Grace and Wisdom to you.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Rector's View - August 2017

Dear Friends

I hope August offers you rest and recreation, or at least fond memory of the same. It seems an age past that folk enjoyed sending and receiving postcards, sharing the view, "wishing you were here". August brings fond memories of holidays by the sea, and one treasured holy memory of visiting the shores of Galilee. This was long before the advent of the 'selfie' and so I rely on tourist postcards and Holy Land tourist guide to re-capture the moment, but for that I'm thankful to see more of the view than of me.

Across the generations we take pictures of those important to us whom we have befriended and loved, who helped us and looked after us in our travels. Jesus' followers offer their collected remembrances of his loving words and deeds in the narration of the Gospels, not speaking of self, but only of he whom they came to treasure, to revere and call Holy of God. His followers of this age have just been looking through the photo album of the Gospels, with its word pictures of Jesus' holy days by the sea, the sea of Galilee. Jesus had stepped into a boat, and perhaps having looked along the shore and seen a sower trudging ceaselessly across the fields, he told the story of the sower. Those who heard this story were completely dependent on the success of harvest, their lives had no room for recreation in each day's search for daily bread, perhaps some had only just left the field for the work of the sower to begin.

The path, rocky ground and thorns upon and among which the seed was scattered reminds us that our lives too can fall on hard times, and become diminished in competition with the thorns of this age.
Yet Jesus' story teaches us that God still looks for a harvest from the field of our lives whatever our circumstance. That harvest being that we be among the picture snaps of other's lives as befriended and loved, for the help we offered in looking after their needs helping them to grow in hope.

May this summer see your portrait in your harvest of good works among today's postcards of social media photo pages by those who come to count you for friend for your sure help and support in their need.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector
P.S. Do take a look at the The Blackheart Orchestra tour visit to All Saints church 3rd September 7:30pm http://www.bansfieldbenefice.org.uk/events/blackheartorchestra.html
If you’re planning on seeing them, do let me know.
Recently featured in Prog Mag TeamRock + http://teamrock.com/feature/2017-06-29

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rector's View - July 2017

Dear Friends

http://www.bansfieldbenefice.org.uk/events/blackheartorchestra.html

Last July we were, as today, changing our nations course and pondering the result of an election, what this might mean for Europe, for Britain, for England, for us. And I wrote of the Gospel story of the Gerasene demonic whom Jesus released from his anger and violence that he be in his right mind.

Our prayer from the day of Pentecost – the day of judgement – is that we should have a right judgement in all things, our Christ's call to all God's children being that we should find righteousness with God. So too for our election, pray we, against the fear anger and violence of these times, may find release and rightness of mind, that our purpose in government and responsibilities as citizens may continue to pursue righteousness for all peoples.

July's Gospels see the good news of God's action in the world revealed in the unity of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we have seen such good shown by Manchester and London's response to the evil of the past months, gathering together in displays of unity support and compassion for the grieving and injured. So may we seek to display our unity in these coming days, working together for the common good of all peoples, one family across the generations creeds and ethnicities of our Great British family.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

P.S. Do take a look at the The Blackheart Orchestra tour visit to All Saints' church in September via our website links. If you're planning on seeing them, do let me know. As to their name, well I'm reminded of the great man in black Johnny Cash singing his observations of this life's trials and struggles "I'd love to wear a rainbow every day, And tell the world that everything's OK, But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back. Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rector's View - June 2017

Dear Friends

https://www.thykingdomcome.global/

Summer welcomes us to explore our great outdoors once more, to venture beyond the usual haunts of dog walks and well-trodden pathways. As you perhaps look forward to journeys afar, do enjoy our open-garden season (11th June Ousden, 24th June Cowlinge), fetes (22nd July Stansfield) and carnivals (8th July Wickhambrook), as well look out for our churchyard paths - labyrinths at Wickambrook and Stansfield (and the Cathedral Labyrinth, Exploring Prayer Day 1st June).

The Church's Festivals of Pentecost and Trinity explore spiritual insight, guidance and revelation in every age. The creation story of Genesis reminds us to fulfil our purpose to steward earth's garden paradise, and increasingly we are becoming alert to the damage we are inflicting on our environment. Our combined attrition on our world's resources seems unstoppable yet take example from the visionaries of our day, we can change, and we can amend our ways. I was inspired by a recent broadcast which looked at humankind's impact on the environment from space, and the disappearing snow and ice fields of Mount Kilimanjaro. A local runner trains on the slopes of this mountain, and where once he would run through rivers and streams, as the forests around the mountain have been cut down, so the streams and rivers have slowed and dried as the ice and snows of the mountain top disappear. And yet, thanks to the vision of a local diocese, whose bishop leads regular pilgrimages of his flock into the cleared fields to plant trees, local streams have begun to run again.

Here we have a story of hope, one visionary action can inspire and lead us to change our course. The story of Pentecost, inspired those who had followed Jesus and witnessed His crucifixion to live His risen life, and the good news of new life in Christ has been broadcast throughout all the world.

We can change, we can look to life in all its fullness, the lesson of Creation's story revealing God's blessing in creation. Be refreshed in these blessed days of summer, and be inspired to believe we can change direction and become good stewards of this garden earth.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Monday, May 1, 2017

Rector's View - May 2017

Dear friends,

https://www.thykingdomcome.global/

Our Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is inviting Christians around the world to pray as one for people to know Jesus Christ, you might like to check out ideas for this wave of prayer through using the link above. One interesting question on the webpage asks "How do you talk to God? Do you find somewhere quiet and private and whisper, or do you climb a mountain and shout into the clouds?"

May's celebration of Ascension might be encouragement to us to shout into the clouds! And ongoing crises, international tensions, our incapacity to secure peace, care for our world or feed our poor, gives us plenty to rail against. Yet whilst the direction of our prayer is indeed Godward, it is we who speak the prayer and if we don't pray we are not in touch with our own wants or needs nor able to do for others as we would have them to for ourselves, that golden rule of Christian discipleship. As God surely hears us, so should we listen to what we say and in speaking of our hopes, in speaking of our thanks, we, in God given grace, find strength to make our prayer a reality both for ourselves and for others.

The daily prayer of Christian discipleship as the text of our website link https://www.thykingdomcome.global/ is derived from Jesus' Judaic heritage, the Kaddish prayer, "May He establish His Kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of the whole household of Israel, even speedily and in a near time!" Attentive to Jesus' call on His disciples to be doers of His Word and teachings, we might helpfully add – the Kingdom at your hand and at mine, quickly and speedily may it come". So our prayer helps us to realise that hope, God's Kingdom come in our day, even at our hand. Voicing that prayer we determine with God's help to make it real, a kingdom of peace and justice for all, for the blessing of this world's poor.

Do join our global wave of prayer however you feel able from this Ascension Day, 25th May.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

Friday, March 31, 2017

Rector's View - April 2017

Dear friends,

Mothering Sunday, Palm Sunday through Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter offers every good reason to join in and share the passion, the drama and renewal of the Christian Hope.

Jesus calls on all peoples, all of us God's children, to hear His living word of Hope risen again, whatever dark shadows may hinder our steps, His light rising over the near horizon lifts the spirit and warms the heart to find hope in our need, and His healing of renewal within the fold of His people.

A warm welcome awaits all who would join our worship at this time, whether to delight in Mothering or Mother Church, to process in the unfolding drama of the Passion or to share the rejoicing of all things Easter Morn, to hear again the cry of joy:-

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

No longer do we need to stumble on alone in our darkness, by Christ's Spirit we may find strength to race toward the dawning light to brighten our lives amidst Creation's garden and know fullness of life.

This gift of grace we share, that others too may find hope.

Please remember this world’s poor, the hungry the homeless, the grieving, not only by your prayer, but also by deeds of compassion and charity.

And a Blessed Easter to all.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton
Rector

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