St Andrews Church, Taunton

Reaching lives for change and hope


2nd AUGUST 2020


10.00am Service of Spiritual Communion


Collect: Generous God, you give us gifts and make them grow: though our faith is small as mustard seed, make it grow to your glory and the flourishing of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Readings:    Genesis 32.22-31, Matthew 14.13-21


For your prayers:

  • All those across the world affected by the Coronavirus; the sick and the frightened
  • For all medical professionals and researchers
  • The residents and staff of care homes, including those in our parish - Cedar Lodge, Aspen Court and Northway House
  • The sick and those who have died

RIP:  Peter Fulljames

         Marilyn Dodwell

Information Update:

  • The Church will be open for private prayer on Sundays, 12.00 noon to 3.30pm, and Thursdays 9.00am to 12.30pm.
  • Meetings and events are suspended until further notice, and the hall and office will remain closed.
  • We will no longer hold Zoom Coffee each week, but there will be occasional social events on Zoom which will be advertised here.

Funeral for Peter Fulljames

Peter's funeral will be livestreamed to St Andrew's Church Facebook page at 1pm on Friday 7 August and will include the Eucharist. Members of St Andrew's with roles at the service will represent the wider congregation there, and all are invited to join online and to make your spiritual communion during the Eucharist. Sadly, we cannot invite everyone to attend in person because of the current restrictions. 


Struggles and Astonishment

Have you ever seen a crop circle? I know of them through photos such as the one of Milk Hill, Wiltshire (2001).

Michael Glickman, an architect and mathematician, was captivated by them and spent much of his life struggling to make sense of them. He found that they usually occur about this time of year, mostly in the UK and especially in Wiltshire. They appear overnight, unobserved in farmer’s fields. They vary in diameter from 10 – 900 feet. What causes them? He can find no one explanation and is not convinced by scientific explanations. Sometimes crop circles are made by people but not often. He likens them to toys on a nursery floor: gifts for play! He was clearly astonished by them (see the picture) but refrained from calling them miraculous.

His struggles to understand them and encourages us to respond to our astonishing world playfully. Jacob, Isaac’s second son, struggles both to stop being a trickster, a fault that Katy mentioned last week, and as he wrestles with an angel/heavenly being in the night. Earlier that evening he had safely seen his wife, maids, sons and property across the Jabbok ford in readiness for his meeting with his estranged brother Esau. Now on the eve of making peace with Esau, alone at night, he finds himself wrestling, struggling to survive. He prevails. Victory comes at a cost: his thigh is put out of joint and he is left with a permanent limp. Jacob asks for a blessing which he receives and calls the place Peniel: ‘for I have seen God face to face and yet survived.’ But Jacob is re-named by his adversary. His new name is Israel: he who struggles with God and survives.

We are in the midst of struggling against catching coronavirus and taking safe steps to survive.

Jacob’s sin, his cheating of Esau, is somehow absolved, put behind him. He can begin a new life with a new name. Maybe you are astonished and grateful that you and those you care for have survived – I do hope they have. What can we learn from this story?

We have to face our struggles including suffering and lockdown, We may have to face being misunderstood. We may be dealing with old age or our health. We may be struggling to find the right way to use some gift we have, some talent. We may struggle in matters of faith and be tempted to give up on God. We may want a job. We may find certain relationships difficult and struggle to keep trusting the other. 

Struggle is part of life and involves suffering. We may have learnt that running away from suffering does not send it away. On the contrary facing up to it, enduring as best you can, in some astonishing way leads to new life, the next opportunity. 

Jesus faced severe temptation, severe mis-representation and the hostility of groups like the Pharisees. He suffered rejection but endured to the end. In our episode from Matthew he has heard of John the Baptist’s death, his cousin. To cope Jesus takes himself off by boat to a lonely place to grieve and be close with his heavenly father. But crowds find him. Should he send them away? He resists that temptation and has compassion on them and heals their sick. But it is late and the disciples urge him to send the crowds away to find food for themselves. Here Jesus faces another challenge. No, you find them some food. We have five loaves and two fish, they tell him. Give them to me, he says, drawing on what little is available. You know what happened. All present ate and were satisfied – and amazingly there were left overs galore. A miracle. Imagine the talk afterwards, not least by those whose food was shared!

We will each have our view of this, our own understanding, as we make our own journey of faith; and yet we are Jesus-followers and members of one another. Faced day by day with people’s needs Jesus had to do something. He did not turn away. He could not abandon the crowds. He took what was there and shared it with everyone. With his father’s help he found the answer, as he did each time. That’s why he is our role model, why we are encouraged to be like him.

Jeremy Harvey



Out of Darkness

The following hymn has never been sung at St Andrew’s and I am planning to introduce it when we are able to sing again in our worship. The words have a strong call to service and mission; ideal as a gathering song during Advent and Easter, Baptisms and Confirmations. Please take the opportunity to listen to the hymn and enjoy a sing-along at home.

The words are based on 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


Out of darkness God has called us,

Claimed by Christ as God’s own people

Holy nation, royal priesthood,

Walking in God’s marv’lous light

Verse 1

Let us take the words you give,
Strong and faithful words to live.
Words that in our hearts are sown;
Words that bind us as your own.

Verse 2

Let us take the Christ you give,
Broken body Christ we live.
Christ the risen from the tomb;
Christ who calls us as your own.

Verse 3

Let us take the love you give,
that the way of love we live.
Love to bring your people home;
love to make us all your own.


Rather than a hymn or chant I have selected the following Organ Prelude on Rhosymedre by Vaughan Williams. Rhosymedre is a hymn tune written by a Welsh Anglican priest John David Edwards who named the tune after the village where he was vicar from 1843-1885.
The voluntary develops the tune associated with the words of the following hymn (1st verse)

Author of life divine,
we see your table spread
with drink the mystic wine,
and food the eternal bread:
preserve the life that you have given
that we may eat with you in heaven.


If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace 

Contact tracers will: • call you from 0300 013 5000 • send you text messages from ‘NHStracing’ • ask you to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact-tracing website

Contact tracers will never: • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087) • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind • ask for any details about your bank account • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone • disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts • ask about protected characteristics that are irrelevant to the needs of test and trace • provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS.

Face masks

Esther Checketts has reiterated her offer of free home-made face masks for anyone in the congregation who would like one. Please email Lesley using the Parish Office email address if you would like one and Lesley will co-ordinate the replies to Esther.

Community Art Project – Hope

An opportunity to draw or paint Christian symbols of hope, using a circle design, which can be displayed to the wider community. Please contact Katy on 01823 330854 for more information.


Yarn Bombing

Get creative with your knitting needles and crochet hooks so that we can yarn bomb the railings around the Church Hall to show a visual presence of St Andrew’s being there for the community.  Please contact Esther on 07879 491276 or Sue on 07791 721780 for more information.


Church Services by Telephone – free

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has launched a free national phone line as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus. Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.

The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.


 The seasonal Daily Prayer leaflet for is on the parish website. See also…


You can hear the Prayer for the Day (Collect) read aloud on the Church of England website at


Prayers for use during the current crisis…


Weekly online services are available at



  • St Andrews Church
  • Greenway Avenue
  • Taunton
  • Somerset
  • TA2 6HU

01823 332531
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