I read in a recent interview with the leader of a very different church from St Mary's – that:

Most of the members of the church are in their 20s and 30s. There isn't a 'proper church
building' - they meet in a coffee shop on Sunday mornings, the shop owned and run by the
church leaders. Their worship is modern and informal, most of the church members are
converts with no previous experience of church life. But something that the leader said in the
interview struck a chord with me.

She said that the city centre location, the vibe that they had created, the coffee shop itself and
the hospitality are all good, but they are not mission. None of those things make disciples.

Although our situation here in Ecclesfield is very different, we have a traditional Church
building whose beauty and history attracts many people. We welcome people into church
for coffee, for concerts and for the pastoral offices of Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals.
There is a prayerful and welcoming ambience at St Mary's that visitors appreciate and
comment on.

But none of that is the same as making disciples.

Before returning to the Father, Jesus said to the apostles: "Go ... And make disciples of all
nations, baptise them ... And teach them to obey all that I have commanded you. And I am
with you always, to the end of time." (Matthew 28:19-20)

We are called to love and serve and welcome all people. We are also called to make disciples.
Not so that we can feel good about being part of a thriving church, but so that they can
know the presence and the power and the hoe of Christ for themselves.

The driving force of Jesus' mission was the Father's love - God loved the world so much that
He sent his Son (John 3:16). And Jesus calls and then sends disciples today for the same
reason: His love for all people.

The only motivation for sharing our faith with another person, speaking of what Christ
means to us, of what faith means in our lives, what God has done for us, is love. Love for
Christ who has died for us and for the world, and love for the person that we are speaking to.
To share faith with another is an expression of our love and concern for them. It is to want
the very best for them.

We are not all evangelists that is a particular gift of the Holy Spirit. We are all witnesses. We
can simply speak, truthfully and simply of what we know of Christ. If no one is prepared to
speak, how will others hear, how will they respond to God's amazing love?

The first step for us is prayer.

It is to ask God to give us opportunities to share our faith with others. God always calls some,
He has called us, for the sake of others, so that through us He may reach out to others with
His love and His mercy, with the promise of His eternal kingdom.

May we continue to be a church of welcome and of prayer, and also a church where disciples
are called and made.

Tim
Click here for the Churchyard Burial Records
Following Jesus; Celebrating Life; Welcoming All
We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus,
who love God and worship him, who know the power of the Holy Spirit and who show
God’s love in every part of their lives.
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Prayer for the month
Thought for the month
Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words...,  A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
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I wrote this prayer because I felt that God was calling us as His church to grow. Of course,
God calls every Church to grow, but I felt that this should be a particular focus for 2019.

As I prayed about this coming year I was drawn to the later chapters of John's Gospel; to
Jesus' farewell in chapters 14 to 17. Jesus is speaking to the disciples just before His arrest and
Crucifixion. What He wants to convey to them (and through them to us) is important to
Him. It is almost Jesus' "last will and testament" to the church.

The main points in these chapters are that Jesus calls His church to grow by staying close to
Him, by being in the Vine. He calls us to love the Father and to love one another just as He
has loved us. And He tells the Church that we will only be able to grow if we have the Holy
Spirit.

So, in response to Jesus words, we pray and we dedicate ourselves to grow as a church.

To grow in faith. To trust Jesus with our lives and with the future of our Church. It His
church and His mission. Our part is to discover what Jesus is doing, where He is present and
active and to work alongside Him. In all that we do we entrust ourselves to Christ's love and
care.

We pray also that we may grow in hope. The Church in the Britain today is poor and weak,
we feel marginal. But we know that nothing is impossible with God. There is no opposition,
no problem, no setback that is greater than God. God's love in Christ is the greatest power in
the universe. It is because of this that we are a people of hope.

We also pray that we may grow in love: love for God expressed in making worship and
prayer a priority; love for one another expressed in practical ways and in being faithful in
fellowship; and love for 'the world' the people that God created, the people that He loves, the
people that Jesus died for. We show our love for others in practical ways, in being a
welcoming church and in helping them to come into a life-giving, life-changing relationship
with Jesus for themselves.

We also pray that we may grow in number. That God will call many people, into His
kingdom. We pray for renewal in the church, and an awakening in society. That a bigger
church may do a bigger work for Christ.

We live in a society that is divided and ill at ease with itself. Part of our calling is to bring
healing to our land and its people, and to pray that God will raise up leaders of vision and
integrity.


Please pray for St Mary's in 2019.

God bless,
Tim
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  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and Thought for the Month have been
    updated for February 2019- see below

  • We have added a New Burial Records Page  covering over 6000 individuals
    interred in the St Mary's Section of Ecclesfield Cemetery from 1875 onwards

    The oldest issue available is February 2011.

  • Listen again to recently recorded Sunday Sermons -  Listen Again

  • Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices page for service times and the
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February is probably my least favourite month. It is dark, cold and wet, and I don't even
have Christmas to look forward to!

There are a few special events at St Mary's this month as well as the regulars.

On Monday 4the Feb at 7.30pm the PCC are meeting in church as usual. If you
anything to raise please contact Tim or one of the wardens. On Tuesday the 5th we have a
meeting with the architect scheduled to finalise the plans for disabled access via the West
Door. This is a key part of our plans for St Mary's. We want to be able to welcome all people
into our beautiful Church, because a part of outrage calling is to extend the Father's welcome
to all.

On Wednesday 6th Feb Bishop Pete is visiting the deanery. The clergy chapter will be
visiting St Mary's between 4.30 and 6.30pm for refreshments before going on to Shirecliffe
for the Deanery Synod.

On Saturday the 9th at 9am it is our monthly Prayer Breakfast. Someone, I can't
remember who, once said that "Churches get what they pray for." I don't know if that is true,
but we are entrusted by Jesus with the mission of His Church here in Ecclesfield, and prayer
is how we begin, continue and end our work in His name. Prayer keeps our focus on Christ
and keeps us depending on the Holy Spirit. Prayer and worship are the most important
things we do as a church. If you have never been to the prayer breakfast, or if you've not
been for a while, come along in February.
You are invited!

On Monday 11th at 6pm we welcome the Ecclesfield Beavers group working on their
faith badge.

On Monday 18th at 1pm there is the opportunity to receive basic Safeguarding
training
. If you are not sure if you need this training speak to Tim or Andrea, to book in see
Andrea. On Sunday 24th at 5.15 our Youth Fellowship meet in Church, we will be starting
the Youth Alpha course. If anyone is interested in coming along, see Tim. At 6.30pm also on
the 24th we have our monthly Prayer & Praise, again you are invited.

Finally, every month we have the opportunity to welcome into St Mary's two
groups of people
. Once a month we have baptisms (this month they will be on Sunday 3rd
Feb at 12 noon); once a month, on the third Sunday at 10am we welcome families who have
recently been bereaved.

As a Church we are not simply a club for members, we are here for all people whoever they
may be. We hold this church on trust for God and for the community. It is our privilege to be
able to welcome people at significant times in their lives, times of joy and of sorrow Visitors
often comment on the friendly welcome that they receive at St Mary's.

Thank you and keep up the good work!

God bless,
Tim
Twitter - keep in touch with Tim Gill @RevTimGill
The Knave and South Aisle roof works are now complete
and we are once again water tight
Our Thanks to all those involved in the works and
particularly to the Heritage Lottery Fund and its
supporters for their generous contribution.
Thanks also to Ecclesfield Feoffees for their contribution to
the work done on the North Aisle roof
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A prayer for St Mary's for 2019

Heavenly Father,
Your son Jesus Christ has called us into His Church here at St Mary's.
Pour out upon us your Holy Spirit:
that we may worship you with all our hearts and minds;
that we may love one another as Christ has loved us;
and that we may be fruitful in your service.
Help us to grow as a Church in faith, in hope and in love;
and add to our number those whom you are calling,
that as a bigger Church we may do bigger work for your glory.
Amen