​Ash Wednesday

Almighty God, create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, lamenting
our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain from you, the God of all
mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness.

  • Malek (South Sudan):
    Bishop Peter Joh Abraham Mayom 
  • Tohoku (Japan):
    Bishop John Masato Yoshida
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Flooding in Powick

From the Revd Gary Crellin from the Old Hills Malvern benefice:

The village of Powick nestles
in the hinterlands between the Malvern hills and Worcester. It also
straddles the flood plains of the Rivers Teme and Severn. As this inter has been more wet than frosty, the main road has flooded intermittently since last summer, but not at the scale and duration as this past week. 

Flooded road in PowickThe last time
the River Teme flooded in such a dramatic fashion was in 2007, but
local residents could not have predicted last week’s floods would be worse than
then. 16 houses in this community were affected, with residents being put up in local hotels and families. Roads were closed though the village, including the main arterial
road between Worcester and Malvern. Only now can damage and the
extent of loss, both physically and spiritually, be established.

St Peter’s Church was keen to help. The church in Powick commands a great
view of the flood and my first reaction was to sell everything – cash
in the investments – we need wood and tar to build an Ark! In the end, an ark was what we provided. In response to
community need, I opened the church to receive donations of food,
cleaning materials and bedding to help those that really needed our help. Over 100 people arrived with donations over two nights and the church was given over to a
big “Bring and Share” opportunity. As well as donations, we heard people’s stories and provided opportunities just to hold in prayer those families so afflicted by
this painful experience.

The pastoral need in the part
of the village is only being assessed now that the roads are passable and
access to the scene is possible. I have heard families that had to be
rescued by Fire and Rescue by pontoon barge . The damage is extensive – some families have lost such a lot – in terms of processions and
livelihood. I know that the churches can be used to support those in need
after the initial burst of helpful support has passed and the cold realisation
of what lies ahead becomes apparent. We need to be there to journey along
side these people who will be journeying through the shock, pain and stress of
this predicament, not just this week but in the months to come.

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Sermon podcast: Lent 1

Press the play button to listen to the recording or click on the download link to download a .mp3 file to your computer.

Matthew 4:1-11

As
Lent begins and we once again hear readings about the temptations of Jesus, and
prepare to begin a season of self-discipline, fasting and repentance, as we
have so often before, I wonder what will mark out this Lent, Lent 2020 as
different.Because if we are growing as
disciples, each yearly observation should go deeper, as our relationship with
God matures.Healthy disciples are those
who are being gradually transformed into the likeness of Christ, which means
living our lives differently.

Coming
to this gospel passage afresh this Lent, I was struck particularly by the
temptation put before Jesus to worship the devil and be given in reward ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their
splendour’.Jesus responded of course
‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve
only him.’

As children of God,
kingdom people, we have in fact been given this world in all its splendour to
steward and care for, as part of our worship of God the creator. We need always
to ensure, like Jesus, that the beauty of the earth prompts worship of our God,
and not the created order itself, but we do need to take our responsibilities
as stewards of the earth seriously.

Statistics suggest
that we not many generations away from extinction due to our abuse of the world.The climate emergency is real, very real –
the created order is in bondage to decay through the actions of humans who were
called to care for it, but haven’t..

I was recently
representing the diocese at the General Synod session where we debated the hard
reality of global warming and the extinction of both animal and plant species.
We responded with bold (some would say reckless) ambition – a target of
net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 (not 2045 as originally proposed). We
listened to the campaigners and lobbyists and recognised lots of good work
already being done, and, although the vote was close, we declared our belief
that the emergency is real, and the need for further action urgent.

We have yet to
work out what reaching the target set by Synod will look like in this diocese,
but change will have to come in how we heat our churches and homes, reducing
our reliance on single-use plastic and so on. If you haven’t already explored
how to become an eco-church, now would be a good time to do it.

One way you could
get involved right now is by joining in with #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation, the Church of England’s Lent
Campaign for 2020. With weekly themes shaped around the first Genesis account
of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the
abundance God has created. This year’s #LiveLent challenge offers 40 short
reflections and suggested actions to help you, your family and your church live
in greater harmony with God, neighbour and nature. It’s easy to order the
booklet online, or it’s available as a web version

In their intro, the
Archbishops of Canterbury and York write

This Lent, we hope both adults and children might
engage in God’s plea for us to “Care for Creation”. It is an opportunity for us
to rebuild our relationship with our planet, and in turn with the God who is
Lord of everything. During this time, we hope you might engage in prayer, learn
more about the remarkable world we have been given and build habits that last
beyond the season to protect and honour the earth.

This Lent let’s resist
the temptation to do nothing about the environment and leave the climate
emergency for others to worry about and sort out.Let’s choose to face the challenges that lie
before us with hope filled action, informed, realistic and radical.Let’s ask God to equip us through his Spirit
to live out kingdom values of love, compassion, justice and freedom as we care
for God’s creation.

Questions:

  • How
    can I play my part in caring for God’s creation?
  • What
    Lenten discipline will help me grow as a disciple of Jesus?
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Kidderminster East Team Ministry

Pray for the communities of St Chad and St Cecilia. Give thanks for all the good
work done at Café Chad and for the numbers of people who have helped in all
the services during the vacancy for a Team Rector. We thank God for the different
groups who use our church regularly and for our parish-wide Messy Church events.
We also thank God for our recent parish Alpha course.

  • Malaita (Melanesia):
    Bishop Samuel Sahu 
  • Tirunelveli (India):
    Bishop Jayaraj Christdoss 
  • Harare (Zimbabwe):
    Bishop Chad Nicholas Gandiya
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Woman with Down’s syndrome takes UK Govt to court over allowing abortion up to birth for disabilities

The post Woman with Down’s syndrome takes UK Govt to court over allowing abortion up to birth for disabilities appeared first on Anglican Mainstream.

from Right to Life: A 24-year-old woman who has Down’s syndrome has launched a landmark case against the UK Government over the current discriminatory abortion law singles out babies with disabilities allowing abortion right through birth for conditions including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot. Heidi Crowter has joined with Cheryl Bilsborrow from Preston, […]

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Authority not authoritarianism

The post Authority not authoritarianism appeared first on Anglican Mainstream.

by Stephen Kneale, Building Jerusalem: […]  Katharine Birbalsingh is the headteacher at Michaela Community School in Wembley. She is something of a marmite figure. People either seem to love her approach to education or hate it with the heat of a thousand suns. She came to prominence having given a speech at the Conservative Party […]

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Jean Vanier sexually abused at least six women, says report

The post Jean Vanier sexually abused at least six women, says report appeared first on Anglican Mainstream.

by Heather Preston, Christian News: An investigation into L’Arche founder, the late Jean Vanier has revealed he engaged in sexually abusive misconduct with at least six women across three decades. On Saturday the leaders of L’Arche – a network of communities bringing people with and without disabilities together – published the results of an internal […]

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Dear Lord, Can I Have a Word? A Letter from a Contemporary Clergyman…

The post Dear Lord, Can I Have a Word? A Letter from a Contemporary Clergyman… appeared first on Anglican Mainstream.

by David Robertson, Christian Today: Can I have a word – about your word? I’m a humble clergy person who seeks to apply your teaching to today’s world. I want to spread the message of your love and grace – you know the formula. I don’t have much time for the Old Testament (except for […]

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