Saturday, August 20, 2011

Historic Churches Trust Cycle Ride

The annual Historic Churches Trust Cycle Ride takes place on Saturday 10th September. It’s a fun and healthy way to raise funds
for your parish church and for other historic churches. Please consider if you could participate as a cyclist, walker or church sitter and/or by sponsoring one or more of our cyclists, walkers or church sitters.

Howard's Retirement as Organist

The Benefice Service at Lidgate on 25th September will be our Benefice celebration for Back to Church Sunday, when we encourage people who used to attend church, and those who have never attended, to come to church. Please think and pray about who you could invite. Further details and invitation cards will be available at all churches from the beginning of September.

This service will also be Howard Sheppard’s last service as an Organist in the Benefice. Howard has served the churches of the
Benefice faithfully for over twenty years and has now decided to retire at the tender age of 93! Please join us to say a heartfelt
thank you to Howard.

A note of thanks

On a personal note, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the Benefice service at Wickhambrook on the 14th August so very special. The service, especially the music, was wonderful. Even more uplifting was the obvious love and warmth from our many friends in the Benefice. The lovely and very generous presents were a delightful, and much appreciated surprise, as were all your cards and greetings. Thank you all so much, we feel privileged to be here.

Stephen & Anne

Monday, August 1, 2011

August News letter

Dear friends,

The last few years have seen an extraordinary revival of interest in the beliefs and practices of the first Christian communities in the British Isles. People hunger for a rhythm of worship which has roots, which reflects the human concerns of our time, yet also lets heaven into our everyday world - an expression of Christianity which enables them to enjoy God's presence, to experience awe and to express spontaneity, variety and local colour.

Celtic Christianity brings us back to our common Christian ancestry and heritage and cuts through the numerous divisions and barriers that have been created by Christians over the last thousand years or so. It offers a simple, yet deep, approach to prayer and worship.

Worship was central to the life of the Christian communities which flourished in the British Isles between the sixth and tenth centuries AD. These communities went about their daily tasks conscious of God's presence and blessing in even the most mundane aspects of life. They steeped themselves in the language and images of the Psalms. They regularly met together to praise God, to express their deep penitence to Him for their failings, and to ask for His protection in a dangerous and threatening world. Their worship was characterised by simplicity, freshness, rhythm and brevity.

Celtic spirituality can refresh our ways of coming into God's presence and speaking with Him. It naturally and powerfully finds the presence of God in all things - the reality of His protective power and enfolding love, the blessings of creation, the closeness of the angels and the hosts of heaven, and a real sense of the communion of saints.

Celtic Christianity has become an important part of my own spirituality and discipleship and I have been associated with the Iona Community for many years. I find Iona refreshing and invigorating - if you ever get the chance why not visit Iona? There are also a good number of books about Celtic Christianity. If you would like to find out more, I would be happy to recommend some further reading.
A Celtic Benediction

Deep peace of the Running Wave to you.
Deep peace of the Flowing Air to you.
Deep peace of the Quiet Earth to you.
Deep peace of the Shining Stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

With every blessing.


Rev'd Stephen Abbott
On a personal note...

Anne and I celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary when we were on holiday in Jersey last month. We would very much like to have a further celebration with our friends in the Benefice, now that we are home.

I am very pleased to say that Archdeacon John Cox has agreed to Celebrate and Preach at the Benefice Service at Wickhambrook on 14th August at 10.00am, during which we will also renew our Wedding vows. It was Archdeacon John who brought us to this Diocese, when he interviewed me for the Incumbency of Brandon in 1996.

Everyone is warmly invited to join us for this joyful occasion and for refreshments in the Benefice Hall afterwards. Hope to see you there.

Stephen & Anne