Dear <<First Name>>

Welcome to the
Athelney Benefice Weekly Bulletin

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!Selah Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed. For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:8-12

Sighs too deep

Cake, anyone?

It all began with a short text from a colleague. "BBC Points West will be at the Royal Oak in Stoke St Gregory tomorrow… they’re doing a bit about HOTV" (Heart of the Village) . I don’t need much encouragement to wander along to the cafe, and when there’s a chance to help promote such a wonderful enterprise on the local media, it only seemed right that I participate fully. So I had to eat cake, sit and chat for an hour or two and generally chill amongst lovely people. It was a tough gig, but I don’t mind if it’s for a good cause.

In truth I felt a bit of a fraud. I’m still one of the newest arrivals in the area, and so I can hardly lay claim to having been implicit in the HOTV success. All I have done is film the pub sign being hoisted into place. But the whole venture has been an absolute Godsend for me (and, yes, I do mean that literally).

When I arrived in deepest, coldest February, to take up temporary residence in the Church Room in Stoke St Gregory, I made a beeline for the cafe for lunch, mid morning coffees and, as it turned out, a great many encounters. It was mid-lockdown and as the new vicar it was the only place I could 'bump into' people. Being a vicar is all about getting to know people, being available for them in their own lives' journeys, finding ways to chat and hear what is important in people’s encounters. When the world is locked down, you need to have places to do that safely. It was chilly to sit out in the courtyard of the cafe, but it has now warmed up (mostly) and I am so grateful for the opportunity to use this excellent venue.

My only problem is that the cakes are far too enticing, and have no will power. It is a recipe for conversation, and weight gain. But no matter. With courage and determination I have managed to consume cake and much coffee, and the friends I have made are already innumerable.

So, when Points West came over the horizon, there I was: singing the praises, engaging in more "random" chats (random now means "unusual", not anything actually unpredictable). I am not part of the group who have made HOTV a reality. But I am determined to be part of the group who make it turn a profit.

Now the Bible bit: almost all of the wonderful encounters Jesus had with real people was out in the world (think of the five thousand, the temple courtyards, the healing and helping). Almost every time he was in the synagogue he got into trouble. Cake isn't much mentioned in the Gospels, but you can still eat it and know you are doing God's work.

Revd Simon

Sunday Worship: St Bartholomew


Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your word: grant that your Church may love that word which he believed and may faithfully preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18

Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

John 6:56-69

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Post-communion prayer

Almighty God, who on the day of Pentecost sent your Holy Spirit to the apostles with the wind from heaven and in tongues of flame, filling them with joy and boldness to preach the gospel: by the power of the same Spirit strengthen us to witness to your truth and to draw everyone to the fire of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Pastoral Care

Years Mind

We call to mind parishioners who have died at this time in recent years.

Margaret Denman, Sanna Wardle, Bruce Wall, Liz Grant

For those who are sick or in need

We hold in our prayers those affected locally and nationally by the Coronavirus: patients, carers, families, and friends.

We pray also for Alan, Alison, Andrea, Andy, Anne & family, Anne, Aoife, Audrey (2), Barbara, Ben, Bill, Brian, Chris & Jean, Dave & family, Jean, Val, Jan and Peter, Di, Diane, Eileen, George, Gill, Helen, Janet & family, Jean, John, Joyce, Judith & David, Kay, Ken, Lorraine, Margaret, Mary, Mignon, Nicholas, Pam, +Peter, Jane & family, Portia, Primrose, Ralph, Rita, Sheila, Sue & Robert, Susan, Thomas, Victoria … ... and for their families and carers, and all those who are in need but not named. Give thanks for those who have recovered.

If there are people or concerns that you wish to be mentioned in prayer, please tell the vicar or churchwardens.

Please note: during August we shall be renewing the prayer list. If you are a ‘sponsor’ for anyone mentioned in these prayers, please can you let Simon or churchwardens know if you wish for their names to continue to be published?

The zoom broadcast this week will be from the 11am Eucharist at
Stoke St Gregory

Each Sunday we endeavour to provide an online Zoom broadcast of our worship from one of the Benefice parish churches. This is a little bit hit and miss because connection is unreliable. Please click on the link below and we will be online (we hope!)

Zoom Worship Connection
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