Dear <<First Name>>

Welcome to the
Athelney Benefice Weekly Bulletin

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy (Ps 126:1-2)

Apologies for the rather late arrival of this missive!

Sing Out!

We are an odd nation. We're never really ready for extremes. Whether it's deep snow, when the shop shelves are in danger of emptying, or a heatwave, when we all bemoan the need for a proper siesta (no? just me then) and hanker after a bit of a breeze, these extremes remind us just how predictable our unpredictable weather is. I can hear your tsk-ing and harrumphing. "Our weather is anything but predictable," you're thinking, "that's what makes this country so unusual." Well, yes, we are never quite sure (we think) just how much it's going to rain, or we're never quite relaxed that a spell of nice warm sunshine and a gentle breeze is going to carry on long enough for us to venture out without a hat and a brolly. But it's predictable enough to know that summers will be warmish and winters coldish, and the bits in between will be grey and overcast-ish.

Look out across the levels and you're presented with a view of predictable seasonal rhythm. Summer growth, winter floods. Go wider and the green and pleasant land is a testimony to a cycle of the temperate. It's in the very name: we live in a temperate climate. Not too much this and not too much that. But now it is is apparently becoming less temperate—intemperate even—and the past week of sub-tropical sunshine and humidity has been a strange time. The thunder forecast for today hasn't come to pass in North Curry, but with the temperature down we can move about during the day without melting into a messy pool: that is of course a good thing.

What is certainly less predictable is the changes in the pandemic. This is most assuredly uncertain and this week we (the church) have finally begun to look about and think that perhaps, just perhaps, we can begin to hope for a time of unregulated worship, lasting all the way through the second half of the year, even to Christmas (less than six months away: bought any pressies yet?)

But let's not get too hasty. Unlike the weather, where a brolly is all we need, the pandemic is less easily defended against. Less predictably than the daily forecast, we still aren't quite sure whether the infections are less dangerous than before or if the hospitals will be overwhelmed again. It is a time of uncertainty and tense hope.

But... it is a time for a little bit of stretching and yawning, of thinking, "Perhaps... just a little bit of normality?" And so, with great joy, across the benefice, in all the churches, we are now going to be singing in full voice from the pews. Not just the organ and a choir, but the whole congregation. It might be a little scary for some, so we shall keep our masks on, and we shall maintain a sensible and sensitive distance from each other. But: we can sing!

We cannot know fully what the future holds, but we can pray and have faith that this time of deregulation will continue. As I write I have just heard a clap of thunder. The sounds of the weather are vast. I hope our singing will be with equal power and joy.

Revd Simon

Sunday Worship: Eighth Sunday after Trinity, St James


Merciful God, whose holy apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, was obedient to the calling of your Son Jesus Christ and followed him even to death: help us, forsaking the false attractions of the world, to be ready at all times to answer your call without delay; 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.

Acts 11.27-12.2

At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believersliving in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.

2 Corinthians 4.7-15

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Matthew 20.20-28

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Post Communion

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.

Joyce Gridley, Michelle Sutton, Sylvia Dawe, Eric Willoughby, Donald Phillips, Margaret Hayhoe, Revd Charles Townshend

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.

News and Notices

Covid and Relaxation of Regualtions

As you will have read above, the restrictions on singing have been relaxed, and so today, for the first time in over eighteen months we can sing in church. Please wear your masks, even though it is not required by law, since there are some who are understandably cautious about the virus, and we all need to respect each other’s concerns. But to sing is a joy and so let us be joyful in however we can sound behind a mask!

Coffee Morning

Thank you to Liz and Keith Gibbs for their coffee morning last week. They raised almost £500 towards the North Curry Bells Fund (Appeal of Bells). And since cake was involved, it must have been a joyful time. There will be photos in the next magazine. I wasn’t able to attend since I was still moving boxes, having moved into the vicarage, but that links to:

Thank You!

Louise and I so grateful to all the warm welcomes we have received having at last made “landfall” in the benefice! The cards, the flowers, the meals and the garden vouchers are wonderful: you are all such lovely folk and we are so very happy to have become part of the landscape at loooong last.

If you have any news that you would like included in this bulletin, please send it to:

The zoom broadcast this week will be from the 10am Eucharist at North Curry

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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