St Andrews Church, Taunton

Reaching lives for change and hope

August 2019

United We Stand....


“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.”                  Matthew 12,25


 

By the time you read this a new Prime Minister will have taken office. Shortly before she departed, Teresa May gave a speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, her last major speech as Prime Minister. She expressed concern about an “uncompromising absolutism” in UK and global politics and warned that if “ill words” went unchallenged, it could lead to “ill deeds” later on.


Of course, as soon as a politician offers moral advice, their detractors line up to quote occasions when the person had failed to live up to their own advice. In fact, Mrs May did admit that she hadn’t always been perfect herself, but which of us has never opened our mouth and very soon wished we hadn’t?


She had a point. She was right to worry that a political culture was developing that was based on winners and losers. It implies that the quality of the debate does not matter, nor doing the right thing, but only that you get your way. In the playground, that is the path of the bully. On the world stage, it is the path of the dictator. Not only Jesus, but history, shows that those who behave like this, in the end, fail.


One of the unforeseen consequences of Brexit is that has sharply divided us as a nation. The trouble with a close vote is that it leaves some feeling that they only just won (and have to hold on to their victory for grim death) and others that they only just lost (could the decision be overturned?). It has proved so emotive that the outcome has seemed more important than the process.


The Gospel of Jesus Christ has a very different take on how to conduct the business of every house, city, nation – and in particular church, where the Kingdom of God should be foreshadowed.


In the hymn, “From heaven you came,” known as the “Servant King,” by Graham Kendrick, the final verse concludes …



       “So let us learn how to serve,

        And in our lives enthrone him;

        Each other's needs to prefer,

        For it is Christ we're serving.”

 

That is not the language of winning and losing, at least not as the world sees it. After all, the greatest victory ever hardly looked as such from the foot of the cross that first Good Friday! This is the language of seeking the good of others before yourself, and if you have any power at all, to use it humbly and so that the needs of the powerless and most vulnerable have priority.


Most important of all, however, is the reason why we should behave in this way. It is, as Graham Kendrick wrote, because it is Christ we are serving. We serve Christ like that because that is how he serves us. Undeserving and disfigured by sin, Christ nonetheless embraces the world with arms stretched wide upon the cross and brings us salvation – the right to enter God’s presence with heads held high as his children. God sees the good in us despite ourselves, and it behoves us to do the same for others – even when we disagree.


When we start our day at Morning Prayer, I often like to pray that, as we go about our business, others would see the presence of Christ in us, and that we would see him present in others. It is a shorthand reminder of that other saying of Jesus at the parting of the proverbial sheep and goats…


“Truly I tell you, Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.”      Matthew 25,40


Robin


News Desk

Congratulations …


… to Mark Wonfor and Clare Allajbej (neé Hodges) on their marriage on 3 August. Ruth Cook and Robin shared regular Home Communion services with her parents, Tony and Di, and officiated at each of their funerals. It will be lovely to be part of a happier occasion as Mark and Clare begin a new episode in their lives together.


Cream Teas


As part of the fund raising efforts for the New St Andrew’s Project, Cream Teas will be served in the Vicarage garden on Saturday 10 August from 3.00pm until 4.30pm -see p. 14 of the magazine. All welcome!


Summer Lunch


More food! A Summer Lunch will be available after the Parish Eucharist in the Hall at 12 Noon on Sunday 18 August. Please book a place by contacting Ali Perry on 01823 278571, or a member of the Fund Raising Team, one of the Churchwardens, or at the Parish Office. Tickets priced £10.00.


Covenant Service


Our next shared service with Rowbarton Methodist and St Peter’s churches will be on Sunday 1 September at St Peter’s, at 10.30am. This one of the times of year in the Methodist tradition when church members re-dedicate themselves to God’s service. The prayers are very powerful ones and serve as a useful reminder of our calling as Christians at any time of year, but as many return from their summer holidays and some gear up for a new academic year at schools and colleges, and Autumn beckons, the timing is especially useful.


Readers Wanted!


Not Church of England licensed Readers (though that would be nice!) but people to read with children. One of our Mission Action Plan resolutions this year is to strengthen our links with St Andrew’s Church School. Keith Atkins, our Head Teacher, has invited any who would like to, to come in to school and practise the children’s reading with them. Appropriate DBS clearance would be needed but the school will deal with all of that. Those holding DBS clearance for the church will need to apply again for the school. This is a lovely way to support the children as individuals, and build up relationships across the church-school family. As last year, Keith will be addressing us at the Parish Eucharist on Education Sunday, 8 September.


Parish Picnic


The Railway Children invite us all to join them for a Parish Picnic on Sunday 8 September at Fyne Court from 12 Noon until 2.00pm. Bring your picnic, blankets and deckchairs and enjoy lunch together with our young people. There will be games for the children (of any age!) while there are excellent walks around the grounds. Apart from car park charges (free to National Trust members) there is no admission fee to Fyne Court. If you would like further details, contact Sue Lodge on 01823 352471.


Welcome


Beginning in late August, we welcome three new clergy to the Taunton Deanery. On 29 August the Rev’d Justine Richards, formerly Chaplain at Wellington School, will be inducted as the new Vicar of St Michael’s, Galmington. In the following weeks, the Rev’d Tobie Osmond will come to the town as Vicar of St Mary Magdalene and St John’s, and the Rev’d Sr Elizabeth Shearcroft, CA, as Vicar of All Saints, Halcon. Tobie was successor to our former Vicar, Julian Smith, at Wells St Thomas with Horrington, while Elizabeth comes from Immanuel & St Andrew, Streatham.  We wish them all every blessing in their new ministries.