I was ordained in Coventry Cathedral on July 4th 1999, a date forever emblazoned on my memory. Strangely, I also remember one key moment on July 5th 1999. What did a newly ordained minister do on his first day? Heal the sick, preach the good news to the poor, spend extended time in prayer? He visited Office World and bought a desk. That desk has served me well. Anyone who has visited my study over the last 16 years will have seen it (generally cluttered with all kinds of stuff that I am currently working on). Well, that desk is no more. My thinking at the turn of the last century was that ordination was such a big thing to happen to me, I must need a big desk. I’ve certainly found uses for it, but as I prepare to move on, I realize that it will be too big for my new study. It rather symbolises the pain of the moving process – the letting go of things that have been of profound significance to us (I know – it’s only a desk!) so that we are free to do whatever God calls us to. As we enter another period of lockdown, we are all challenged to consider what is dispensable and what is indispensable about our Christian lives.
The second lockdown means there will be no in person services until December at the earliest. We will continue to provide an online service in what is now the accustomed form. One thing that will be different this time round is that the church will be kept open for private prayer during daylight hours on Thursdays and Sundays. Do make use of this, remembering to sanitise on the way in and way out.
Please note that although the service for Remembrance Sunday will be posted at the usual time, it is designed for us to start watching at 10.15 a.m. so that we arrive at the act of Remembrance at 11 a.m.
Sunday’s Memorial Service will be unaffected by the new lockdown measures and will still be posted online on November 8th at 6 p.m. The service is an opportunity to remember all those who have died in the parish over the last 12 months. Names will be read aloud in what we think will still be a very moving service. We are happy to add names of those who died longer ago or elsewhere. Today is the last day to request names to be read, which must be sent to Julie before 2 p.m.
Click here for the Safeguarding Training document. If you are a church volunteer, please ensure that you complete course C0 (mandatory) and C1 (depending on your role) which are both now available online. If you have any queries please contact Julie on 07756 918847 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite Covid restrictions, it is still our intention to collect toys this year for Christmas. They will be distributed via the Family Centre in Tile Hill to children in the area who might otherwise go without (not least those whose families have lost jobs through lockdown). The centre currently has 100 children on their books that they are trying to support. As always, we will ask you to bring only new toys, unwrapped, and place them under the Christmas tree. Covid rules mean that we will have only limited windows to do this and that the deadline is set for 5 p.m. on Sunday 6th December. We know some of you have started Xmas shopping already and might appreciate this early warning.
Many, many thanks to all those who sponsored our walkers so generously. This Friday is the cut off date for any contributions to be made. We will announce a final total next Monday.
The next Book Club meeting is on Monday 4th January 2021 at 7.30 p.m. on Zoom. The book we will be reading and discussing is THE RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY, by John Mark Comer. The book’s focus is ‘How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive’ and addresses ‘the compelling emotional and spiritual case against hurry in favour of a slower, simpler way of life. Whether or not you have been thinking about this over the last year the book may help to focus on this.
We will meet on 4th to share our views on the book and to discuss some of the questions it raises for us. The group is open to all; if you have never been part of a book club this might be the time to give it a try. If you are interested in being part of the group please contact Sue Masters (07958 322026) or Greg Smith.
To donate to Central foodbank, Sue Barnes is coordinating this so please contact her to drop off food at her house. Contact Sue at email@example.com. If you are unable to give food you can also donate online here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/rddonate-checkout/
For Ted Drayton’s family – his funeral takes place on Thursday morning. Please see below the tribute Greg has sent on behalf of St Andrews.
The words of Romans 12 have been presented to me 3 times in the last 24 hours, the last time by our two Archbishops, Canterbury and York, who write:
In one of the climactic passages of the New Testament, Paul says to those who follow Christ that their “love must be genuine, that they hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good.” He asks them to “serve the lord”, exhorting them to “rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (See Romans 12.9-12.) None of this is easy. Especially not at the moment. But it is our calling.
I first got to know Ted several years ago as Nick’s dad and was impressed by how supportive he and Heike were of their children.
On his retirement, the two of them joined the St Andrew’s fellowship and I had the privilege of getting to know him much better. He starred in a number of dramatic productions, with great skill, although never neglecting to tell me he was doing so under protest. He will be remembered by all at St Andrew’s as the loudest person in the congregation, whether belting out his favourite hymns at full volume or by joining in the liturgical responses more loudly than everyone else put together.
I still recall the first time I heard him pray (seeking God’s blessing on a Christmas nativity). He prayed with such authority, eloquence and power that I felt humbled to have heard him. More recently, we were part of the same Allesley Green prayer group, which he supported and enlivened so faithfully. There I discovered how compassionate he was, always showing care for others above his own needs.
We will all miss him very much and will continue to pray for Heike and the family that they will know God’s peace at this difficult time.