Thursday, April 29, 2010

Church Commissioners' 2009 results confirm long-term growth

Church Commissioners' 2009 results confirm long-term growth - level of support to the Church to be maintained.

The Church Commissioners achieved a 15.6 per cent return on their investments during 2009. The Commissioners’ asset value has grown to £4.8 billion (from £4.4 billion at December 31, 2008).

For full details please see

Monday, April 26, 2010


Forty Days Of Prayer

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Psalm 62 v.8 (NRSV)

Your prayers are important to God


A Call to 40 Days of Prayer for the local Church*

(Parish, Benefice, Churches Together and all Christians.)

During the 40 days there will be weekly prayer meetings in the church hall covering the themes for the 40 days:

Ministry teams, worship leaders, musicians and singers
Church officers and administrators
Family units and single folk
The way forward

* Not forgetting we are part of the body of Christ worldwide and that we are in the world but not of it.

Encouragement from Stephen:

We cannot expect to overcome the challenges and difficulties which face us – finance, falling numbers, lack of church officers, among others – in our own strength. We only grow in faith and number in God’s strength. We deepen our relationship with Him, and with each other in prayer, as we humbly come before Him to seek His blessing and guidance in all that we seek to do in His name.

Please, for the sake of God and His Church, support this Prayer initiative. 

Note from Ann:

Surely the Church is worth at least 5 minutes extra prayer a day!

This prayer initiative is for us all to seek God’s help for our part in the Church (His people) and in the church He has entrusted to us (buildings etc.).

So that we can pray in unity there are 40 Inspirational Verses (1 for each day).

Guidelines for this prayer initiative, if needed:

Read the verse for the day, pray according to how you understand the verse in relation to the local Church.

More time to pray? Read the verses in context or any other Bible passage – what does it say to you? Something personal? or something to share (perhaps at the next prayer meeting)?

Don’t worry if your prayers move away from the local church into an entirely different direction.

No-one is excluded or forgotten – if you are unable to attend the prayer meetings, your daily prayer at home is still most important. Requests and shared thoughts will be prayed for at the meetings. Written prayer requests may be left in the church. 

“There is no condemnation in Christ” – better to catch up or pray ahead for 2 or 3 days if forgetfulness or circumstances overtake us, rather than give up! 

Bible verses (NRSV; NKJ)

Day: Church Leaders

1 Psalm 23: Any one verse (or all.) 

2 John 20 v. 22: . . . he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” 

3 Ephesians 2 v.20: built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

4 Matt. 11 v.28: Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

5 Psalm 32 v.8: I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you the way the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

6 Luke 11 v.9: . . . Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

7 Heb. 13 v.17: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing – for that would be harmful to you.

8 1 Peter 5 v.4: And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades.  Ministry teams, worship leaders, musicians and singers

9 John 15 v.16: You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 

10 Acts 14 v.23: And after they had appointed elders for them, in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

11 Tim. 2 v. 1: First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be made for everyone.

12 2 Chron. 29 v.28 So all the congregation worshipped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

13 Psalm 30 v.4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

14 2 Kings 3 v.15 ‘But get me [Elisha] a musician.’ And then, while the musician was playing, the power of the Lord came on him.

15 Psalm 33 v.3 Sing to him a new song. Play skilfully on the strings, with a shout of joy.

16 Psalm 150 v.4 Praise him with the tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

Church officers and administrators

17 1 Cor. 12 v.5/6: and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 

18 Heb. 6 v.10: For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

19 Phil. 4 v.13: I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

20 John 12 v.26: Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

21 Psalm 100 v.2: Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before his Presence with singing.

22 Col. 3 v.23: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men

23 James 1 v.5: If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

24 1 Peter 4 v.10: Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

Day: Family units and single folk

25 Psalm 68 v.6: God sets the solitary in families; . . .

26 Ephesians 5 v.25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it

27 Proverbs 19 v.14: House and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord. 

28 Proverbs 10 v.1: A wise child makes a glad father, but a foolish child is a mother’s grief. 

29 Matt. 19 v.14: but Jesus said ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’

30 1 John 2 v.14 (part): I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

31 Proverbs 20 v.29 The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their grey hair.

32 John 1 v. 12: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name


33 Psalm 127 v.1: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. 

34 2 Cor. 9 v.7: Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

35 Proverbs 3 v.9: Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase 

36 Rev. 3 v.8: I know your works. Look I have set before you an open door which no-one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and not denied my name.

37 Matt. 5 v.24: leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, then come and offer your gift.

38 Psalm 84 v.1: How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts!

The way forward

39 John 14 v.6: Jesus said to him ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No-one comes to the Father except through me.’

40 Psalm 86 v. 11: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Forty Days of prayer

Prayer Initiative - On Monday 26th April we are starting our "Forty Days of Prayer". This is a Benefice and Churches Together event. Please get involved if you can. We are meeting in the Benefice Hall on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. If you can make please come along.


Today we welcomed Matilda to the family of the Anglican church during out Benefice service at Cowlinge. Welcome Matilda!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vocations Sunday- 25 April 2010

VOCATIONS SUNDAY is an opportunity for churches to encourage everyone to reflect, discover and recognise God's call to them.

For more information see

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

General Synod Elections

Every five years the entire General Synod is re-elected giving 378 people a chance to be part of the big picture in saying how the Church of England is governed.

For full information please see

Friday, April 9, 2010

Licensing of Haverhill Benefice Missioner

The Benefice of Haverhill and Withersfield are licensing Captain Andrew Payne C.A., as Benefice Missioner on Wednesday 21st April at 7,30pm. This will be a St Mary's church Haverhill with the licensing being performed by the Rt. Rev'd. Nigel Stock, Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

The Benefice Missioner will be working full time in Haverhill out in the community bringing the church to them. He will be working ecumenically and in the schools, old peoples homes, anywhere where people are. He will set up study groups and house groups. He will be working with some fresh expressions of being church.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gift to Kagera

We are please to announce that the Bansfield Benefice has donated over £1100 to Kagera. All Saints' Wickhambrook donated £1000 and the rest of the money came from a retiring collection after the Benefice Palm Sunday service at All Saints' Wickhambrook.

Our diocese has a link with Kagera in north-west Tanzania, one of the poorest areas in Africa, which is struggling with increasing temperatures and water shortages. The wonderful news is that the Church of England has chosen Kagera as one of the three areas it will be supporting in its newly launched Climate Justice Fund, in partnership with Tearfund.

For more information about the Benefice's association with Kagera see


We celebrate Easter, not just on Easter Day, but for fifty glorious days - the season lasts until Pentecost or Whit Sunday. We celebrate the victory over death won by Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life, which he offers to us today. He died once and for all for the sins of all humankind. He willing and lovingly paid the price for our sins, so that we don't have to. His victory - the power of His Resurrection - is with us always and can touch our lives, if we allow it to do so. To think of Easter only as a past event is to miss the central Easter message, for Christ is the Resurrection and the life.

There is a true story from Uganda, which illustrates the transforming and life-giving power of Christ's Resurrection now. It was Easter morning. Pastor Kefa Sempangi returned to his house after taking the morning service ... to run into an ambush from a gang of five armed killers. "We are going to kill you", said the leader. "If you have anything to say, say it before you die." Kefa began to shake. "They won't need to kill me", he thought. "I'm going to fall over dead." But then, as he recalls, from far away he heard a voice, and he was astonished to realise that it was his own:

"I do not need to plead my own cause", I heard myself saying. "I am a dead man already. My life is hidden in Christ. It is your lives that are in danger. You are dead in your sins. I will pray to God, that after you have killed me, he will spare you from eternal destruction.&uot;

The leader stepped forward, his face had changed. "Will you pray for us now?" he asked. It was the turning point. All five men were to become members of Kefa's church.

We don't have to wait until the end of our lives to experience the life-giving power of Christ's Resurrection. We too can recognise the power of the Resurrection in our everyday lives, whenever all that separates and injures and divides is being overcome by that which unites and heals and creates. When we manifest goodness, we are ourselves raised from death and are also the agents through whom others experience resurrection. That which we glimpse in this life, we can confidently expect in fullness in the life of the world to come.

May the life-giving power of the Risen Christ fill your hearts with joy and gladness, this Eastertide and always,