Thoughts from The Vicarage with Bishop Olivia, confirmation and compassion
Please find attached Pews News for this coming week which includes service times for this weekend, which sees a BCP Holy Communion at 8am in St Michael & All Angels.
The beautiful purple poppies you’ll see in Pews News are a reminder of the animals who gave of their lives in war – I thought they were too lovely not to include – even if it is a week late!
Thank you to all who attended the Acts of Remembrance last week. The churches were all dressed for the occasion and thanks to all those who contributed in any way. The refreshments in St Michael & All Angels were most welcome and proved a great success! Thanks to those who organised and managed them. It was really encouraging to see so many both at The War Memorial and in the Church. A particular joy was welcoming additional wreath layers representing two groups new to wreath laying at the War Memorial; the Youth Group and the Trainers.
Please continue to pray along with Bishop Olivia for all those who are preparing for confirmation – their names are on the attached Pews News. Bishop Olivia is leading the service on Wednesday November 29th at 6.30pm in St Michael & All Angels Lambourn. All, and I mean all are welcome to what promises to be a very special service. There will be with equally special activities out for children and families!
We have 14 people, both of younger and of more mature years, who will be confirming their vows. This very special celebration will be followed by refreshments, photo opportunities and a chance to meet Bishop Olivia over a glass of wine or a soft drink and nibbles!
Our get togethers at the Vicarage in preparation for their big day have been brilliant – I hope that everyone has enjoyed our time together as much as I have. Our last official get together is Tuesday 21st 7pm at The Vicarage. The very important essential rehearsal will be on Tuesday 28th in St Michael’s at 7.30 pm with the confirmation service on WEDNESDAY 29th at 6.30.
The season of Advent is hot on the heels of the confirmation service with the chance to join in Advent groups which begin on November 27th 2pm at Christine’s home and take place on December 5th, 12th and 19th. This year there will be a video as well as a small booklet – both of which will form the basis for time to chat and mull over the content. There are four reflections on the theme of the God who welcomes everyone. Please sign up in church if you would like to join in.
Finally, as we pray for peace, for compassion and a cessation of warring many have asked me about contributing to much needed aid to those suffering. Christian Aid, the Red Cross, Red Crescent and Medecins sans Frontieres are all working within the war zone. Obviously, we must each prayerfully make our own choice regarding donations. St Michael & All Angels is supporting Christian Aid this year and the question may well be asked what are they doing in response?
Christian Aid has been working with the poorest and most vulnerable people in the Middle East since the early 1950s, when they provided humanitarian relief to Palestinian refugees. Their established partners in Gaza are ready to respond with medical relief and community-led initiatives such as: food, shelter, sanitation, protection. They are actively exploring ways in which they might also support Israeli civilians who’ve been directly impacted by the violence. Your donations can make a real difference to the current conditions of those affected. There will be retiring collections in our churches over the next four weeks should you wish to contribute.
Very finally, a prayer for our time….
In a world of hatreds, Lord, teach us to love;
in a world of discord, teach us to seek harmony;
in a world of division, teach us to seek relationship;
in a world of dispute, teach us to seek resolution;
in a world of wars, teach us to make peace.
Teach us your way. Amen.
God bless, keep, and strengthen you, in this month of remembering and always,