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St Mary the Virgin Parish Church - Hutton

Stay Connected 22nd November 2020

If you would like the weekly "Stay Connected" emailed to you, please contact the Benefice Office Contact and we will put you on the mailing list. This is a replacement for the weekly pew sheet and contains many useful things so that you don't feel so isolated.

For Video Online Services with Rev Anne Wilkins every Sunday from 10am - Click Here

Dear friends,

This Sunday is Christ the King and that marks the last Sunday in the church's year. It's also sometimes called Stir Up Sunday, when traditionally it is the day to make your Christmas puddings - we made ours several weeks ago. The reason it is called Stir Up Sunday is not just because of stirring the Christmas pudding but because of the prayer that is said on this Sunday. 'Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people; that they plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.' It is a prayer asking God to stir up us, wake us up, give us a good shake that we would bring forth good fruit. For me that starts with the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. I wonder which of these you need to ask God for this coming week? When we have these fruits of the Spirit then many of them lead on to good works eg. kindness and love overflow to blessing others. As we make a Christmas pudding to share with others so the fruits and gifts of God to us are meant to be shared also.

The making of Christmas puddings came from the Victorians and they had many traditions that went with the making. One of them was that each member of the family gave the pudding a stir and as they did they made a wish. I wonder what you long for in your heart as we draw close to the end of this unique year? Yesterday I was reading a great book on prayer by Pete Grieg called How to Pray - I can well recommend it. He was saying that if an angel came to you and told you that the next day your one prayer would be answered - what would that be? You would certainly pray that prayer. He also said that if the angel told you the prayer would be answered on the 365th day and you would need to pray each day would you do it? Probably. Prayer is not about making wishes, it is about asking God to be involved in a situation or a person. Also yesterday I was challenged to pray much more specifically for people and situations - to ask God to show me what He wanted for that person or situation.

So on this Stir up Sunday - when many of us would prefer to hibernate until Spring - let's wake up, be alert, get going, be all stirred up in a good way and let's be fruitful in our lives so that we are blessed and that we might bless others. Let's get serious about prayer, because it works and the Lord is waiting for us to come to Him. Use your time wisely to be blessed, to bless others and to pray.

With every blessing

See:    This weeks Stay Connected Sheet pdf          Prayer Calendar November pdf

Sunday Services - Sadly St Augustine’s Locking and St Mary’s Hutton church buildings are closed again during the second lockdown. Follow us here online

St Mary’s Hutton church building is open for private prayer on Thursday 10am - 12noon. Each session will be supervised and all seating will be at a distance of 2 metres. If you have any questions about this please contact the wardens: Dave Bradley 01934 814205 and Mary Potter 01934 812788.

Crosslinks Magazine
The Advent and Christmas edition of Crosslinks Magazine can be viewed here

Candle of hope
During lockdown please join us in putting a light of some sort (maybe not a lit candle!) in your window after dark to shine forth the Lord's hope and love in the darkness. So spread the word and get others to join in.

Shoeboxes
This year we have been again supporting the Samaritan Purse Shoebox Appeal. We have collected 80 boxes including 40 from Hutton School . A huge thank you to everyone who helped fill a box.
John and Margaret

Local Help
If you are self-isolating and need shopping or supplies please ring Anne 01934 823556 for Hutton and Locking villagers or Steve Cope 01934 813871 for Hutton. Any Foodbank donations can be left on the doorstep of John and Margaret Bailey, 31 Willow Drive, Hutton or Chris and Anne Wilkins, The Vicarage, The Green, Locking, where they will be collected and taken to the foodbank. They are in need of: Tinned potatoes, Instant mashed potatoes, Shampoo and deodorant, Tinned meats, plus any other food items but please no pasta!

The Red Cross has launched a help line for anyone that is “feeling lonely or worried, finding it difficult to access food or medication, or are concerned about someone else who is”
Call free and confidential on 0808 196 3651 to chat to a Red Cross volunteer.
Help is offered with:
- Help with practical information and advice.
- Emotional support.
- Connecting with local support.
- The phone line is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

Got some good news?
Then why not share it here so we can all celebrate. A special anniversary, a new baby, an engagement, an achievement. It can be something big or very small - if it's good news then let us all know.

Mustard Seed FairTrade Coffee Morning
As we begin another lock down, the “Mustard Seed” will sadly be closed for coffee and social gathering during November. Hopefully we will be able to resume on Wednesday 2nd December, 10 – 12noon. Watch this space . . .

However, the FAIR TRADE goods will be readily available to everyone through November. Our shopping habits can be led by our Christian values showing that we care. We can all make a difference to the unfairness of the world by choosing ethically sourced products, and the Fair Trade symbol will guarantee safe and fair working conditions for the growers and producers, wherever they may be in the world. Let's be active in helping to improve the lives of these people, and help lift them out of poverty. We, who have so much -
“Let our lives mirror what is written on our hearts”. . . . .
For free delivery of any items in the Traidcraft catalogue, please call Gill & Eric on 813716 .
Catalogues, Christmas cards & Advent Calendars all available to order now.

Christmas Market Trail
On December 12th a Christmas Market Trail is being planned in Hutton by the owner of Toot Sweets, a food and drinks company based and living in Hutton. As churches we are proposing to have three stalls at times throughout the day. There will be a home made goods stall, with an instant Christmas present draw; a books and jigsaws stall and a Christmas Lights display in the evening with refreshments being given out. Profits from the lights will go to '4 U Mandy Jones’, a charity committed to relieving those suffering from or affected by skin cancer and those from the stalls will go to the churches. So, if you have any bottles, home made goodies or crafts, preserves, books, jigsaws, mince pies, little Christmas gifts please get them to either Mary Potter (812788), Jane Barry (813802) Sue Williams (811270) or Anne Wilkins (823556) and we’ll distribute them accordingly. If you want things to be picked up, give one of us a ring. Full details of the Christmas Market Trail can be found in Hutton News, Crosslinks, on Hutton Parish Council web-site and on Toot Sweets’ Facebook page www.facebook.com/TootSweetsvan

Funerals
When you can't attend a funeral. One of the really sad things at this time is that not everyone who would like to attend a funeral can, due to the restrictions on numbers. Over lockdown I have been sending this service to people and suggest that they read it and light a candle at the time of the service to feel that they are part of it. I do hope that it helps you. See - A Simple Reflection at home on a Funeral

Collect for Christ the King
Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King: keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Readings for the week
Readings for the coming week. Why not read the readings through slowly twice and before you do ask God to speak to you today. We are reading through the Gospel of Luke.

Sunday 22nd November Matthew 25: 31 - end
Monday 23rd November Luke 21: 1 - 4
Tuesday 24th November Luke 21: 5 - 11
Wednesday 25th November Luke 29: 12 - 19
Thursday 26th November Luke 21: 20 - 28
Friday 27th November Luke 21: 29 - 33
Saturday 28th November Luke 21: 34 - 36

Prayer Chain - If you need prayer for yourself or another then there is a team of people ready to pray. For Locking, please contact Anne Wilkins phone 823556 or for Hutton Kay Cole phone 811424 and they will send out the prayer request.

Please Pray
Please pray for Diane Hiscocks as she is working at Weston General Hospital on the Covid ward. Pray for her safety as well as all the other staff.

Prayer requests - please feel free to send prayer requests to Chris in the office, if you would like them to be included on this sheet, or call Anne on 823556. If you would like someone to pray with you please call Anne and she will pray on the phone.

Nature Notes
With the onset of winter and the current feelings of gloom, resignation and despondency surrounding the second lockdown, here are a few observations from nature to bring a little hope and encouragement:

1. The sun is always shining somewhere, it’s just that we may not be able to see it.
2. The hazel, birch and alder catkins are already formed, waiting for Spring.
3. Every raindrop has the potential to become a rainbow.
4. The tide may ebb, but it always flows back.
5. Dawn never fails to come.

A few years ago I wrote down an inspirational sentence from the end of a daily devotional reading and memorised it: ‘Faith is a bird that looks for the dawn and sings while it is still dark’. Then there is the passage from Romans 8, v 18-25 with the promise of restoration when Jesus returns to reign, and the wonderful Psalm 104 that causes us to ponder and give thanks for the greatness and goodness of God through His creation. When life is hard, may we all take comfort from God’s word, and keep looking out, and looking up. Gillian

Reading for Sunday 22nd November
Matthew 25: 31 - end The sheep and the goats

‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
‘Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?”
‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
‘Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after me.”
‘They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and did not help you?”
‘He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’


Reflections on Matthew 25: 31 - end
A few weeks ago, the Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford was in the news. He was campaigning for free school meals to continue throughout the October half term and also provide support for families during the Christmas school holidays, so that, in his words “In my mind, no child should ever go hungry in the United Kingdom.” (www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54841316 8th Nov 20). This is not something that he could have done on his own, but using his position as a footballer, he motivated a large swathe of the population, over 1.1 million people, to support him to petition the government, and he won. The BBC writes ”A winter grant scheme, to be run by councils, will provide support with food and bills, and a holiday food and activities programme is to be expanded. Rashford said it would improve the lives of almost 1.7 million children. The move represents a climbdown for the government, which had said Universal Credit was the best way to help.”

Marcus Rashford cared for those who had no voice, those who are helpless and on the breadline, those who were starving and in need of food. He cared, he motivated others and the outcome was that he won, by unlocking additional governmental funding for those in need. It is reported that his mother is a Christian, her values could have influenced his actions.

This is a wonderful example of this Sunday’s Gospel reading in action. I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.... Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me, says Jesus (The Message Bible). Every human is made in God’s image and eternally loved by God. God also knows what happens to each and every person because he cares and loves each one of us. He is, to use the technical word, Omniscient, which means all-knowing. God is all all-knowing in the sense that he is aware of the past, present, and future. Nothing takes him by surprise. His knowledge is total. He knows all that there is to know and all that can be known.

So God knows when we show acts of kindness to people, maybe through giving of food to the food bank, supporting charities like HoverAid who supply water filtration kits (and medical aid) to Madagascar, or Somewhere to Go who help the insecurely housed in Weston, donating clothes to a charity shop or visiting the sick in hospital or at home, although at the present time in lockdown, a phone call is nearly as good (or zoom, skype, facetime...).

Do these small actions make a difference? Yes, very much so. God knows what we do and at the end of time, there will be a reward. This will come when, remembering the beginning of the Gospel reading, Jesus returns as a glorious magnificent King, when there will be a sorting out of all peoples, from those who are right with God and have shown it by how they live their lives, the ‘sheep’ and those who have ignored God and have shown it in how they have lived their lives, the ‘goats’. Those who are right with God (the ‘righteous’), will be invited to be with him for ever. Geoff wrote a bit about this last week, of knowing 100% our guarantee of eternal life. Those who are right with God through Jesus will show it in their lives, being motivated and caring like Marcus Rashford, by doing something positive for those with no voice by random acts of kindness where nothing can be given in return, and in doing this, Jesus says “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

What about the goats in the story? Jesus says “Depart from me....” So there will be a day of reckoning. My hope and prayer is that all of us will be like the sheep, going to be with Jesus for ever. Please don’t be found to be a goat at the end of time, but be right with God through Jesus now and live your life reflecting this hope and certainty, bringing glory to God and showing His love to others on earth.

Chris Wilkins

Home study
Home study - take time to read the Bible passage Matthew 25: 31 - end and reflect on these questions:

1. Verses 31, 32 - How do you imagine what it will like when Christ returns? Does this description change what you have thought at all?
2. Verses 32 & 33 Why do you think Jesus uses the image of sheep and goats? How does the idea of a separation make you feel and why?
3. Verse 34 - What is special and different about the sheep?
4. Verses 35 & 36 - Do we see Christ in the people around us in need and how do we respond? Does this verse make us feel uncomfortable and why? What needs to change in our mind and behaviour?
5. Verse 37 - 40 - What do you notice about their response to Jesus? How do these verses challenge us? Take time to pray for people you see and maybe know who are in need and see them as Jesus in need and respond accordingly.
6. Verse 41 - 45 - Compare the response to Jesus of the sheep and the goats? What was the difference in their actions? How do we feel about what happened to the goats?
7. Verse 46 - It would be be great to discuss how we gain eternal life. Here it could be suggested that we are saved through good works - which we know we are not. How does this fit in with the belief that we are saved through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus? Where does good works fit in with this?

Listening Chapliancy Phone Line
Serving Bristol, Somerset and South Gloucestershire
We are a faith-based service offering chaplaincy support for people of all faiths and none in times of emergency
Are you recently bereaved or concerned about end of life issues? Are you a key worker overwhelmed by what you are facing or dealing with at work? Are you worried about someone who is seriously ill, especially if you can't visit them? Are you anxious about the effect that the COVED 19 crisis is having on your life? Maybe you would just like someone from the faith communities to talk to.
If you live in the Bristol, Somerset or South Gloucestershire area: Call 0330 229 1700 • 8am-11pm • 7 days a week
CARING and CONFIDENTIAL

Would you like your dog walked?
If you live in Hutton and have a dog which needs walking, please phone Anne (823556) and she will put you in touch with someone who is offering their services.

Go green this Christmas
if you want to get rid of all the plastic and throw away rubbish, then Dunelm are selling recyclable: crackers, wrapping paper and gift bags. We had the crackers from them last year and they were great!

Prayers :

A prayer for times of isolation

‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come… will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38-39)

God of heaven and earth,
in these times of isolation,
apart from loved ones
distant from friends
away from neighbours
thank you that there is nothing
in all of creation,
not even coronavirus,
that is able to separate us from your love.

And may your love that never fails
continue to be shared
through the kindness of strangers
looking out for each other,
for neighbours near and far
all recognising our shared vulnerability,
each of us grateful for every breath,
and willing everyone to know the gift
of a full and healthy life.
Keep us all in your care.
Amen.

From: www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers

For those who are ill -
Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.
Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For hospital staff and medical researchers
Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health;through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A prayer at bedtime -
Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep.
Tonight we pray especially for (names family or friends who are affected by Coronavirus) and the people of (country or place which is affected by Coronavirus).
Please give skill and wisdom to all who are caring for them.

O God of unconditional love,
you who show no partiality in respect to people or nations,
we have heard your good news of great joy for all the people.
We hear that good news, and in hearing, believe.
We know that your sanctuary is a house of worship for all people,
with no regard for the colour of our skin.
As we worship you, knit us into a people,
a seamless garment of many colours.
May we celebrate our unity, made whole in our diversity.
Forgive us for our inability to let our “old selves” die to the world. Amen.
Church of Scotland

Desiderata
GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. By Max Ehrmann © 1927

The Journey Prayer – St Brendan
God, bless to me this day,
God bless to me this night;
Bless, O bless, Thou God of grace,
Each day and hour of my life;
Bless, O bless, Thou God of grace, Each day and hour of my life.
God, bless the pathway on which I go;God, bless the earth that is beneath my sole;Bless, O God, and give to me Thy love,O God of gods, bless my rest and my repose;
Bless, O God, and give to me Thy love, And bless, O God of gods, my repose.

Bible Q and A This is a very interesting site that answers some of the tricky questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. You can also submit questions too. Why not give it a go?
https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/bible-q-and-a/