I am writing this article on a very hot morning early in August before I begin my summer
holidays. This is the time of year when I plan for the Autumn, because it is in the Autumn
and early Winter that we have lots of big ‘celebration services.’ We welcome guests and
visitors for the Heritage weekend and for Harvest thanksgiving. In November Remembrance
Sunday is always an occasion for the whole community and not just for the Church; this
year more than ever with the centenary of the first Armistice. Then we will move rapidly
towards Christmas, another community celebration that it is our privilege to host in this
beautiful Church.

As I was thinking about all of these events, I remembered some words of one of my great
heroes, the late John Wimber, who often said that “Jesus wants His Church back!” If we are
not careful we can begin to treat the Church as ‘ours’; we can begin to look on visitors as a
distraction. When we do this we are beginning to think and act like a club, and not like a

The Church is the body of Christ. We belong not to ourselves but to God; we live not for
ourselves but for Christ who died for us. We are to be a symbol of the presence of God in the
world. Our mission is to share in Christ’s mission to reach out to all with the love of the

As the risen Christ said to His disciples on the evening of the first Easter Day: “As the Father
sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). These words were not just for the first disciples, they are
for every Church and every Christian in every time and place. they are for us.

It is our calling and our privilege to embody the Father’s welcome to every person who enters
St Mary’s. To provide a welcome, space for prayer, and a reminder that they are God’s good
creation. That the Father loves them as His own children, and that Jesus died, not just for the
world, but for every one of us.

Wimber’s words remind me that St Mary’s is not my Church. Nor does it belong to the
congregation or to the community. It does not belong to the Diocese or the Bishop (but don’t
tell him that I said that). St Mary’s is Jesus’ Church or it is not a Church at all.

We hold this building in trust: for our community, for the future, and most of all for God.
May everything that we do in this place give glory to the Father through our Lord Jesus
Christ. Amen!

God bless you, Tim
Click here for the Churchyard Burial Records
Following Jesus; Celebrating Life; Welcoming All
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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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Prayer of St Brendan

Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.

Give me faith to leave the old ways
and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.

I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now are in Your hand.

Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.

This prayer is attributed to St Brendan, known also as Brendan the navigator. An Irish monk
and one of the earliest Irish saints, Brendan lived in the sixth century. He is reputed to have
set sail in a small coracle of wood and ox hide from Ireland and ended up in Newfoundland
in Canada. The story of his travels is said to have inspired Christopher Columbus!

Whatever the truth to the legend of Brendan, this prayer is one that reminds us that life itself
is a journey into unknown lands. The prayer reminds us that we do not travel, either into
new places or into the future, alone. Christ who is Immanuel, God-with -us, never deserts us.

Christ is present with us as we travel, and He is already present in places to which we travel.
Christ as the lord of time and eternity holds the future in His hands. We can journey without
fear, trusting Christ’s promise.

As Christians we travel in an attitude of trust, even in unfamiliar places. More than trust we
travel in the hope that with our spirits ‘tuned to the music of heaven’ our lives, lived
faithfully, can make a difference. That as we follow Christ’s call to live as faithful children of
the Father we can bring God’s blessing to others.

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First Words
Link to Christian Aid Week website
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  • Emley Band Concert - tickets now available see Forthcoming Events page for
  • Heritage Open Days 2018 - Church will be open Friday 14th & Saturday 15th of
    September 10am to 12.30pm - With a talk by Mel & Joan Jones on the Saturday
    evening - for details see Forthcoming Events page
  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and Thought for the Month have been
    updated for September 2018- 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 September 2018 issue of the Parish Magazine is now available On-Line see:
  • Bishop's Letter - A brief biography to date of Pete Wilcox the new Bishop of
  • Listen again to recently recorded Sunday Sermons -  Listen Again
  • The  Diary and Rotas  page now has on-line features and will always be 'up-
  • Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices page for service times and the
    latest news.
  • Free Wi-Fi available in church for those who need to be 'connected'
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September always feels like the beginning of a new year to me, the result of having spent so
many of my years in education. It is the start of the busiest time of the Church year, taking
us right up to Christmas.

Saturday 8th September in place of the monthly Prayer Breakfast there will be a
Morning of Prayer for Renewal for ourselves and for our Church. It is a time to go deeper
with God. There will be worship, teaching and prayer ministry. We will begin at 9am with
breakfast, and begin the worship at about 10am, ending at about 11.30. All are welcome. For
more information see Tim.

We will take part in the
Heritage Weekend again this year. Church will be open to receive
visitors on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th September. On the evening of the 15th there will
be a presentation on “The Gatty Women” by Mel Jones. This is a ticketed event, but the
tickets are free!

Sunday 23rd September at 6.30pm we will welcome our new Bishop of Sheffield, Pete
Wilcox, for a special service of thanksgiving and dedication. We will invite those who have
been involved in the replacement of the roof over the summer, giving thanks for God’s
provision and craftsmen’s skill. We will celebrate St Mary’s place in God’s mission for so
many centuries and dedicate ourselves as the Body of Christ today. Everyone is very

This Autumn we will be running a daytime
Alpha Course. We will begin on Thursday
20th September at 11am
in Church. This is an opportunity to learn together and to grow in
our relationship with Christ. If you would like more information, see Tim.

Advance notice - on
Friday 12th October we will have our Harvest Supper in the Gatty
Hall, and on
Sunday 14th October at the 10am service we will have our Harvest
Thanksgiving. As usual we will be collecting food and toiletries for the Archer Project and
there will be a cash collection too. Look out for more information soon.
God bless you, Tim
Twitter - keep in touch with Tim Gill @RevTimGill
St. Mary’s Church, Ecclesfield, a Grade 1 listed building, has received confirmation
of a grant of £220,000 for major repairs to the church roof and the installation
of a state of the art security system.
Click here to read the full Press Release
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