Further to last week, I noted that Boots (Nottingham) PLC have a placard saying ‘Prescribe Kindness’, which is I believe what we are about. A practical way we might demonstrate that is perhaps by simple invitation (Back to Church Sunday comes to mind), or by offering someone a Covid-secure lift to church…………
This Sunday, 24th October, being a 4th Sunday, sees us gathering for worship at Henley, summoned by bells, for 6.30pm Evensong & Sermon; it is currently the only evening service in the benefice, and I would like to commend it to you …a) if you have never been before b) you like the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) c) you like hymns, psalms and canticles (this Sunday with a locum organist), d) would like to be together in worship with folk from all our parishes, and e) enjoy a sermon! It is not a Henley service; it is a benefice service that is held at Henley, and it reminds me to say that we attend church not just for ourselves, but in fact to form a congregation…we are there for each other.
The equivalent service next month, 28th November is Advent Sunday, the first Sunday of the new Church Year, and Evensong makes way for an Advent Carol Service, again for the whole benefice at Henley, 6.30pm. Please do come and share in that seasonal act of worship.
Next Sunday is 31st October, the day after the clocks have gone back an hour, and we might all have had an extra hours rest. It is a 5th Sunday, which means a Benefice Service, hosted this time by Great Blakenham, and is at 11am, their usual time, followed by coffee/tea in the Parish Room, and an opportunity to be together socially. I fully realise it can be an opportunity to ‘have a Sunday off’ and/or to visit distant family, but it is also a God-given opportunity to worship without home-church responsibilities. Please do try and come….. ‘not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:25)
The afternoon that same day sees us together again, 3pm at Barham for the annual Service for Departed Loved-Ones, sometimes called an AllSoulstide Memorial Service, when we remember the Faithful Departed, and those whose faith is known to God alone. Those we have loved and lost will as usual be remembered by name, in prayers and time for reflection, with readings and hymnody. The next of kin of those we have laid to rest in the past 18 months have been contacted, and we know that others will come along too, enfolding those who continue to be bereaved, as heaven (the Church Triumphant) and earth (the Church Militant) unite through the narrow gate of death. We continue to be there for each other.
All good wishes, kindness shared, and blessing