|On Wednesday 6th February Bishop Pete made a visit to our Deanery. He met with clergy,
wardens, Lay Readers and Deanery Synod representatives. Bishop Pete came with a
challenge - we are facing a crisis, not just in Sheffield but throughout the Church of England.
It is a crisis of people and finances.
To most of us who met with our Bishop this was not news. There have been warnings for
most of the past twenty years; but now we have reached the point where we cannot ignore
the crisis. If we do not act quickly, we will see the Church of England continue to decline and
simply fade away.
The next ten years will see great challenges as we re-think what it is to be God’s Church, the
Body of Christ, the community of Jesus’ Disciples.
I firmly believe that God is calling us to a healthier and more sustainable way of being Christ’
s Church, a more Biblical way of organisation and ministry.
However, we are the generation of Christians who are called to live through the period of
transition, and that will not be easy. It will need humility, grace and forgiveness. We will
make mistakes and we will at times lose sight of our calling in Christ.
Before the changes truly begin we must commit ourselves to pray for our Diocese, our
Bishop and our Church. We need to open our hearts and our minds to God’s Holy Spirit,
and ask God to guide His Church through this difficult time.
I am convinced that we will look back on these years of change as a time of pruning when
God was preparing us not only for new mission but also for new growth. I believe that we
will emerge a more spiritually healthy Church and a larger and more varied Church.
I am not optimistic about the future of the Church, but I am hopeful. Optimism is about
expecting things to work out; but hope is about trusting God with our futures.
I am convinced that there is nothing in the whole of creation, no crisis, no problem, no
opposition, that is greater than God’s love in Christ. And I know that all things - ALL things
(even crises) - work together for good for those who love Christ (see Romans chapter 8).
We do not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future, and when we
know that we do not need to know any more. We can go forward as a church and as a
diocese in faith and in hope and in trust, in love for one another and for our Lord. Amen.
|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.
|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
|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.
This prayer is attributed to the sixth century saint Benedict, the founder of the Western
Monastic tradition. I love this prayer because it is clear when I pray it that faith is not
something mindless or thoughtless; rather it engages the whole of our mind and intellect.
Too often we hear from Christianity’s detractors, that faith is opposed to reason, and that it is
not possible to be a person of intelligence and a believing Christian.
Of course this is nonsense. In our age as in every age the faith of Christ has attracted people
of all levels of education and intelligence. More than that we are to love God not only with all
of our heart, but also with all of our mind (Mark 12:30). Benedict knew that God is the
creative mind behind the laws of creation and that all of our gifts and talents, including our
minds, are given by God to be used in the service of God’s kingdom.
Benedict’s great achievement was his ‘Rule’ for monastic communities. Although it builds on
previous regulations and rules for Christian communities, Benedict’s rule is marked by a
spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness, qualities which we need in today’s world.
As we pray this prayer, we commit ourselves to loving God and our neighbour with all that
we are - including our minds!
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|In March the marriage season well and truly begins with weddings taking place on most
Saturdays in the month. They are always joyful occasions and it is a great privilege for us to
be able to welcome people into our Church. Please pray for all of the couples getting married
at St Mary’s this year, and pray for all of the hundreds of people who will come into our
Church to celebrate the marriages of their friends and families.
The other keynote of this March is Lent.
Ash Wednesday falls on the 6th March. We will mark it at 7.30pm with our usual service
of Eucharist with the opportunity of having the Cross marked on our forehead in ashes made
from old Palm Crosses.
The Lent Course this year, held on Wednesdays at 7.30pm in Church, is called Life on the
Frontline and it encourages us to ask how we can serve God and neighbours in the place
where we live.
On Monday 4th March it is our PCC meeting. If you have anything that you wish to have
raised at the PCC please speak to Tim or one of the wardens.
Finally, a reminder of some regular events at St Mary’s:
• Saturday 9th March 9am is our monthly Prayer Breakfast;
• Friday 15th March - Lent Lunch 11.30am- 12.30pm - Homemade Soup and bread
£3.00 - Cakes and coffee also available - proceeds to Christian Aid
• Sunday 24th March at 5pm we welcome our Youth Fellowship as we continue to
explore life’s big questions with Alpha Youth;
• and on the evening of Sunday 24th March at 6.30pm it is our monthly Prayer and
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|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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