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Welcome to the first edition of “Good News for Ashford” from the Ashford Town Parish. 
This will be a monthly communication to keep you informed of what is going on in and around our parish.  There will be a message from our Team Rector, updates on parish services/events, prayer resources, as well as news from around the parish.
 
We hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions please contact
contact@ashfordchurches.co.uk

MESSAGE FROM THE TEAM RECTOR
 
Open Doors
When the PCC met in February, it decided not to seek to extend the exemption from Open Public Worship in the parish when it expires on Palm Sunday, unless the current situation regarding Covid-19 infections deteriorates.

I realise that might not sound terribly interesting! But what it means in practice is that we are hoping we can give people the opportunity to celebrate Easter at a service in one of our church buildings, as well as at an online service. We are also very much hoping that while of course, previous restrictions will remain necessary, we can continue to have regular services in our church buildings from that point on, and in due course, some of those restrictions can begin to be eased.

That decision means we have some practical thinking to do. How can we best offer in-person and online services together across the parish, not just for a few months but perhaps for the foreseeable future, as online availability may be something we don’t want to lose?

It might also be a good moment, though, to reflect on the spiritual value of our buildings. Most of our congregations worship in spaces that were built for that purpose many centuries ago – Singleton being the striking exception here. What have we missed while we’ve not had access to them?

Well, it’s not as if the church has been closed. The church is the communion of those who believe in Jesus Christ. The church is, first and foremost, who we are – his body – not a place that we visit. We are still the church, with or without a building. We are the church when we’re at home, or at school, or at work, or out and about in the neighbourhood, and.........
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PRAYING WITH AND FOR ONE ANOTHER
Some suggestions are offered below for things we might focus on in praying with and for one another across this parish this month. They could be drawn on by those who lead intercessions in main services as well as by individuals and groups as we pray through the week.

Prayer for Lent
Lord God,
We give you thanks for our shared journey through the season of Lent. We pray today for everyone across Ashford Town Parish especially those suffering ill health or struggling in isolation.  
As we, the pilgrim people of God, prepare ourselves afresh for mission, by gathering to discern your will with the help of the Holy Spirit, strengthen and inspire us afresh in this generation. That in word and deed we may boldly proclaim the good news of God in Christ as we love you and serve Ashford. AMEN

Week beginning Sunday 7 March
  • Return of all children to schools: for teachers and other school staff in our communities; for children, especially those preparing for the transition between primary and secondary after such a difficult year.
  • Our Church schools: John Wallis Church of England Academy – Headteacher Damian McBeath, Chaplain Ian Rich
  • The Sawyer family in their bereavement, together with the people of St Mary's Ashford in particular.
  • Our buildings: that the finalising of the St Francis kitchen project may move forward with pace, to enhance the church’s witness and service in that community.
  • Life after lockdown: for the re-establishment of links with the uniformed organisations and other agencies.

Week beginning Sunday 14 March (Mothering Sunday)

  • Mothering Sunday: for all those who have a mothering/caring/nurturing role..........
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WHAT'S GOING ON THIS MONTH?
MARCH
Sunday Services:
Great Chart – 9.15 am via zoom
Ashford St Mary’s – 10.00 am via zoom
Kennington St Mary’s – 10.00 am via zoom
Kingsnorth – 9.45 m for 10.00 am via zoom Singleton – 10.00 am via zoom
For more details and how to attend, please email contact@ashfordchurches.co.uk
 
10th & 17th March – Parish Lent Course – 2 pm & 8 pm – It is still not too late to join our Lent course.  For more information or how to book a place, please email phil.sibbald@ashfordchurches.co.uk
 
20th March 2021 – Kingsnorth Church Charity Auction – 3 pm.  For more details, please email duchc.cd@gmail.com
 
27th March 2021 – Meeting of the Standing Committee – 10.00 am

 
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WORD ON THE STREET

Parish Mission Enabler:
As we discern a vision and corresponding priorities for mission in our parish, we are looking for the right person, lay or ordained, to join us on the journey for the next three years as our Parish Mission Enabler.
 
To do that, we need someone who is:
  • versatile, determined and creative in pursuing opportunities for mission
  • energised by the challenge of coordinating and equipping people from our diverse congregations to share in God’s mission across our town
  • ready to give and receive support as part of a team.
If you know someone who might be suitable, do please encourage them to look at the job information on the Church of England's 'Pathways' website.
 
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OUR DIOCESE OF CANTERBURY

Ashford Town Parish is part of the Canterbury Diocese.  Please click on the button below to find out what is going on in our home diocese.
Diocese of Canterbury
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