Newsletter 18th August 2023
A few weeks ago, I knocked on the door of a parishioner whilst dressed in civvies. He was unknown to me and I to him (a long story involving a mug and the Minsterley Jubilee fete). We chatted for a few minutes about the whereabouts of the mug owner, when suddenly he enquired, “who are you anyway?” Deciding that this wasn’t an existential question which required me to declare that I am a child of God, I told him I was the Vicar. His response was to put his hand over his mouth in horror, convinced that in the few minutes of idle chat, he must have sworn or said something else completely inappropriate. I’m pretty sure he hadn’t (not that I would have minded awfully if he had)
My suspicion is that many people approach the church and God in this way: that even if they can’t recall anything specific, with the conviction that they must have sinned in some way and should therefore be embarrassed to be in His presence. The truth is that even if they have fallen short in some way, any disapproval is outweighed by His pleasure in our company. We are all children of God.
Also, thoughts for the week kindly sent from Richard…
Last Sunday’s reading in Matthew was of Jesus walking on the water and Peter jumping out of the boat. On doing my own prep for the sermon I came across this quote from John Calvin which I found very challenging:
‘If it is thou,’ he says, ‘bid me come to thee.’ But he had heard Christ speaking. Why then was he doubtful and bewildered? In his small and weak faith there breaks out a thoughtless wish. He should have kept to his proper limits and rather sought from Christ an increase of faith so that by its leading and guidance he might at last rise above all seas and mountains. But as it is he wants to fly without the wings of faith, and without Christ’s voice having a genuine firmness in his heart, to make the waves solid under his feet. There is no doubt that his desire sprang from good principle, but because it degenerated into a faulty excess it ceased to be praiseworthy. This is why Peter quickly suffered for his rashness. By this example believers are taught to beware of over-much rashness.
We might ask why Christ grants Peter’s wish. By doing so He seems to approve it. But the solution is easy. God often looks after us better by denying what we ask. But sometimes He gives way to us so as to convince us of our foolishness by experience. Thus by yielding to them more than is expedient He daily trains His believers in sobriety and moderation for the future. Add that this was profitable for Peter and the rest and is profitable for us today. Christ’s power shines forth more brightly in Peter when He makes him His comrade than if He had walked on water alone. Yet Peter knew, and the others saw plainly, that because he did not abide in a firm faith and rest on the Lord’s Word the secret power of God which had made the water solid failed. But Christ deals kindly with him, for He did not want Him to sink completely. Both these things concern us also. Just as Peter began to sink as soon as he was overtaken by fear, so our frail and transient fleshly ideas sometimes cause us to sink in the course of our activities. Yet the Lord pardons our weakness and stretches out His hand lest the waters should swallow us up. We must also observe that when Peter saw that his temerity had turned out badly, he committed himself to Christ’s mercy. Wherefore we also, even when we are suffering a punishment we deserve, must flee to Him to have mercy on us and give us the help we do not deserve.
I was extremely struck by this – how much of our own hard work for the Lord is actually in our own strength and as such not enough to overcome the waves that surround us? Fortunately we have a generous Lord whose hand is always ready to grasp us as we sink.
From Fran and Greg for the cards, flowers, and good wishes we received on our respective birthdays. Your love and kindness is much appreciated.
New Treasurer for Pontesbury
Roy Munton has been appointed as the new Treasurer for St George’s, with Gerald Worrall acting as his assistant. Roy may be contacted on 07751 764442 (email address to follow). We are extremely grateful to Mike Bowen, who took on this role at very short notice, for all his hard work in this role over the last twelve months. Mike continues to act as Treasurer for HTM.
Krys Rodgers has now begun work as Parish Administrator for Pontesbury & Minsterley. Her email address is email@example.com. Please note that Alison Bebb has been offering Krys wonderful support and will do so as long as necessary.
Please make a note in your diaries that there will be a joint service with the Congregationalists and Methodists on Sunday September 10th at 3 p.m. at Pontesbury Congregational Church (a garden service). If you would like to join the planning team for the service, please let Greg know.
Please find attached a flyer listing harvest services and suppers. Note that there is also a Harvest service at Hope on Sunday October 8th at 9 a.m. This year we are making the focus of our harvest celebrations support for the farming community. Our harvest appeal is for RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) who support farmers through difficult times.
For understandable reasons, foodbank donations are down across the nation, as people tighten their belts. Nevertheless, the need is only growing. Even one tin makes a difference.
Next Sunday is a Group Service at Holy Trinity Minsterley at 10.30 a.m. As a family of churches, we are starting to wonder whether people would appreciate the opportunity to meet together more regularly, say once a month. If you have strong feelings about this either way, do speak to a churchwarden or one of the clergy about it.
Please note that Richard, Claire, and family are on holiday until the end of August. Although they are not going away, please allow them space for family time.
Songs of Praise
The next Songs of Praise service hosted by Pontesbury Baptist Church will take place on Sunday September 3rd at 6.30 p.m. All are warmly welcomed to attend. They are keen to have hymn nominations. If you would like to sing a favourite hymn, please let Mike Wells or Greg know.
To St George’s on being awarded Silver Eco-church status. We will celebrate this when Kirsty Stevens from Caring for God’s Acre comes to speak at the service on Sept 24th.
Calendar for the Week
Coffee at St George’s 10-12
Meeting of St George’s choir at 6.30 p.m.
Morning Prayer at Shelve at 9 a.m.
Holy Communion at Pontesbury & Minsterley at 10.30 a.m.
Pontesbury Fundraising and Outreach Committee at 7 p.m. in WER
Foodbank at HTM 10-12
Oasis at 12 noon at Minsterley Methodist Chapel
Pontesbury Standing Committee in WER at 9.30 a.m.
Café at HTM 10-12
Minsterley Finance Committee at 2.30 p.m.
Foodbank at St George’s 10-12.00
Group Service at HTM at 10.30 a.m.
Photo credit: Nadi Lindsay: Pexels