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St Andrews Church 

Greenway Avenue 



TA2 6HU 

Tel: 01823 332531
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February 2019

Keeping the Big Picture in view


As if we hadn’t already received enough treats over Christmas, we all like a visit to the High Street sales in the week leading up to New Year. My bargain was a half price copy of the actor, Sir Michael Caine’s biography, curiously entitled, “Blowing the b***** Doors Off: and other Lessons in Life.” (This being a nice polite journal I’ll leave you to fill in the asterisks if you want to! Hodder & Stoughton, Caine’s publisher, was obviously less coy. There was a time when that would have been truly shocking!)


The title is a quotation from one of Michael Caine’s best known films, “The Italian Job,” which ends with the gang of robbers in a coach hanging precariously over the edge of a cliff on a mountain road. They all rush to the back of the vehicle as a counterweight. One false move and they’re done for!


All of which must be what it feels like to be in Parliament at the moment. Everyone wants to avoid a cliff edge but equally no one can agree how to do so. Whatever our own personal views the Prime Minister certainly needs our prayers. The Scriptures positively enjoin it!


I have avoided preaching about Brexit. It is a very divisive subject, more so than normal party politics as the stress lines are completely different which makes it harder to predict who believes what. Nevertheless, it is an area where, as Christians, we should be trying to use what we believe as a basis for our view taking and our decision making. The question, “What would Jesus do?” is the test of any course of action for us all.


Short of a further referendum, few of us are likely to be making any meaningful decisions on this subject at all. But I do offer a couple of general observations which might help separate the wood from the trees.


First, times have changed and there is no going back, only going forward. Some of us may bemoan, for example, the appearance of expletives in book titles, but that shift has taken place whether we like it or not. There is no golden age to return to – a great deal of sin and hypocrisy was swept under the carpet then anyway – but we can lend a hand in shaping a positive future according to the opportunities we are given.


Second, in an increasingly complex and globalised world (another change we cannot reverse) I would have thought it behoved the human race to seek as much cooperation between cultures and nations as possible, which is why the EU was founded in the first place. We forget our history at our peril.


When we are tempted to get bogged down in detail, or to doubt the integrity of those with different views to our own, we all need to grasp the bigger picture. What is it that we are trying to achieve, what greater good are we aiming for, and how can we best do this, together?


Michael Caine’s book was a little different to what I expected. Instead of an exact chronological story of his life, it was a reflection on the lessons of life learned in his 85 years so far, drawing on examples from his life. One of the techniques he had learned was to, “use the difficulty.” Whenever he suffered setbacks he looked for something positive about the situation that he could use to overcome them. Indeed, it feels like it is his positive approach to life in general that has brought him both success and joy alike.


Our St Andrew’s story stretches back nearly 140 years. The challenges we face today simply form the latest chapter. How can we use the difficulty and remain positive so that we can fulfil our fundamental aim to proclaim God’s Kingdom – the biggest picture of all – to the community we serve?



News Desk

Feast of the Presentation

Candlemas, or the last day of Christmas! Apart from our usual morning worship, including at the Parish Eucharist the ceremonial removal of the figures from the Crib, there will be Choral Evensong, led by our Choir, at 6.00pm.


Winter Warmer

On the same day the Fund Raising Team are offering us a Winter Warmer Lunch in the Hall. Tickets are £7.50 per head and are available from Ali Perry or the Parish Office. This will be the first cooked meal for the parish using our newly refurbished Hall Kitchen. If this event is a success it may be possible to include the occasional Sunday Lunch in our programme across the year.


Table Top Sale

Saturday 23 February from 10.00am to 12 Noon in the Hall. If you have items to sell you can book a table for a modest fee, and then retain your sales income. Contact Ali Perry or the Parish Office for more information and to book.


Ash Wednesday

This year Lent begins on 6 March. As usual there will be a Said Eucharist at 10.00am and a Sung Eucharist at 7.30pm, both offering the Imposition of Ashes.


Help Needed

Both Serving and Sacristy teams need new members at this time. If you would like to join either of these teams, both of which provide key support for our worship, please see Robin or Martyn Trott. The Flower Team is also keen to add to its number. Please see June Acreman.