A Service to Celebrate and support Our Link Diocese, Kagera.

Focus on Kagera

We are getting ready for the service about the Diocese of Kagera, in Tanzania, which takes place on sunday 12th March. Just wish we had the warmth of Kagera but we are truly grateful that we aren’t facing the ongoing drought that has affected that part of Africa.

Is this how you wear a kanga?

Some clothes are just not warm enough to wear in St. Mary’s in Spring. come and join us but do wear a little more than a tee shirt and kanga!

The Walk About Nativity image image

2016 Woolpit to Bethlehem, Walk About Nativity.

a lovely cast of characters – from the evil Herod to the arch angel Gabriel and of course, the special baby with his parents Mary and Joseph brought the story of the Nativity to life – with the assistance of many children and a donkey called Ember. We celebrated the moment when God revealed himself and his love for us by being incarnated as a baby.

 

Re.v Ruth’s Ramblings – December

We are getting used to the idea now but I guess we will all remember for a long time our shock on the morning of Wednesday 9th November when we awoke to the news that Donald Trump was the president elect for the USA.

We had heard disturbing rhetoric from him over the course of the election campaign. Some of what he had said reminded us of the distortions and lies that had been used during our own brexit referendum and some was racist and sexist in ways that seemed utterly unsuitable for someone aspiring to high office. Yet, he touched a chord in part of the American psyche that resonated with people to the extent that a majority voted for him to become the 45th president of the USA and one of the most powerful leaders in the world. We all wonder what sort of leader he will make. Will he be able to work with others, listen and understand the needs of those whose views are different to his?  Although at present he is showing a different side from his nature than the one we saw during the election campaign it is hard to believe that he will be the sort of president we want and expect: and because he is not what we expect, we are fearful.

This situation reminds me of a different country at a different time where the people also had very clear expectations of who their next leader would be and what he would be like. Two thousand years ago the people of Israel, under Roman occupation, were longing and waiting for the promised Messiah.

They dreamed that God’s anointed one would lead them to victory over their oppressors. They hoped he would be both a mighty warrior and a powerful leader and judge of their people – after all he was to be from the line of David, the fabled warrior king who made their nation great.

We know that when the promised messiah came it was as a vulnerable baby, born to a working class family, in humble circumstances – not as a prince, born in a palace. He grew up in obscurity and taught that the kingdom of God was not a mighty national state but was about living as God wants us to live – in love and compassion. He taught people to love others as God loved them and he demonstrated God’s love by dying on the cross – the shameful death of a felon – to bring forgiveness to us all. Those, whose expectations were that God would show his power through military might, found him completely unacceptable, but to those who understood that God came in humility to demonstrate his love for humanity in humility, he opened the kingdom of God and brought eternal life.

This Christmas time let us come to the manger with our hearts open for the new and wonderful way that God worked when he first sent Jesus, his Son to be our Christ, and also to the possibilities that living life according to God’s kingdom will bring.

Jesus Christ, God’s holy one, may not have been what people expected but to those who welcome him into their lives this Christmas, will find far more than anyone could have dreamt.

And, of course, keep praying for America, that their new president will be able to rise above expectations too.

Remembrance Sunday

In the year of the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme Remembrance Sunday is very powerful, as we remember so many men from this community who died in the course of the battle.

The service at St. Mary’s starts in the church at 10:50 am and we process to the War Memorial to join with others for an act of remembrance before returning to church for the main service. Mike Birt will be preaching this year.

At Drinkstone the service starts at 10:55am and we are pleased to welcome back the Norton Salvation Army band who will be leading our worship.

St. Mary’s Autumn Bazaar

Saturday 5th November

10:30 am until 2:00 pm in Woolpit Village Hall.

Refreshments including soup, hot dogs and cakes  and lots of different stalls with lovely crafts, Fair trade goods, toys, gifts, books and bric-a-brac.

for more information call Betty curry 01359 240332

Rev. Ruth’s ramblings – October 2016

Oh dear, it’s that time of year again! No, not Autumn (although it is), not the run up to Christmas (although that’s happening far too fast) but the time of year when I’m hooked to Strictly Come Dancing.

Although at the beginning of the season I may know only one or two of the names of the contestants by week four I am utterly captivated by them all. But the reality of life is that I’m not in to watch it every Saturday and Sunday evenings. I do have work to do and even a social life of sorts. So I am very grateful for iplayer which allows me to watch ‘Strictly’ at all sorts of odd time and in all manner of funny places.

I can remember a time before iplayer, set top boxes, videos etc when you didn’t get a second chance to see a favourite TV programme. If your weren’t there, in front of the TV at the right time you missed the show. Now, of course, we have many ways of catching up on things we have missed so the need to be at home at a particular time is passed. The ability to replay and relive favourite programmes is one we now take for granted. There are times we would like our lives to be like that too. To be able to rewind to experience something again, to relive a moment or, better still, to go back and do it better. I wonder what it would be like if we had something like iplayer for our lives?

Of course we have our memories. I recently heard someone on the radio say that anniversaries are when we are able to count the leaves on our tree of life.  We recall not only our past joys but also the times we have failed and the mistakes we have made. So often these mistakes loom large in our memories – for some reason particularly at night.

This is where our memories differ from something like iplayer. If there is a TV program I didn’t like then I don’t bother to catch up with it later or I can skip the parts that I find disturbing. Not so with our memories. It is so often the bad bits that we play over and over again and these outweigh the good memories. It doesn’t need to be this way.

Jesus came, not to take the bad memories away but to transform them. His love for us and his death for us gives us the knowledge that we are forgiven for the bad things we have done. When these memories return we can say, ‘I have said sorry for that, God has forgiven me, now I can go on and do it better.’ Where we are reliving memories that hurt Jesus brings his healing peace and teaches us forgiveness. God doesn’t want us to carry either past memories of failure or of pain. He wants us to grow from our past and be the people he knows we can be.

iplayer allows us to watch our favourite TV moments time after time; memory enables us to relive our past; faith enables us to look at the past and improve the future. That’s so much better than a rewind or record button. That’s God’s remake option.

Rev Ruth’s Ramblings February

My father, who came over from Australia to stay with me for Christmas and much of January, found the dark evenings very disorientating. He had come from the brightness of a subtropical summer, arriving in England close to the shortest day of the year. It took most of his stay to get himself orientated to the time of day. He was never convinced when I told him that the days were lengthening – to him they were alike – grey days with VERY long nights.

But we, who live here, are very aware of the increase of day light. It might only change by minutes each day but we are conscious that there is more daytime very quickly. Light comes into our world and we look forwards, knowing that spring is on its way. Then the first snow drops appear, followed by aconites, and we are confident that there will be an end to winter – even if we know we still have bad weather to endure. Increasing daylight and the first flowers do not bring a promise of lovely weather, what they give is hope that the bitterness of winter will not last forever.

The cycle of the Christian year also brings us immense hope. We know that there are very dark periods in our lives that we have to endure. Lent is part of the winter season for the church. It is the time when we, through acts of self denial and discipline, draw closer to the pain both of Christ, as he turned his face towards Jerusalem and death, and the world. We touch on the darkness of grief and the loss that so many people have to face. But we do so with the hope and promise of Easter and resurrection. As we look around at the appalling acts of terrorism and violence that are committed in our world, the suffering of vulnerable people in many places, we grieve with God and feel the chill of winter. But the Easter story and the Christian year tells us that there is hope. We believe that we have a God of love who will not leave us in winter forever but will bring his light and joy into the dark places of the world. We have a God whose power raised Jesus from the dead. He will bring healing to the broken world and joy where there is now pain. We don’t know how it will happen, or when, but we know that he will. Just as seeing the increasing daylight tells us that one day it will be summer again, so does the season of Lent. We know that it will come to an end and we will be met by the risen Christ on Easter morning. So our Christian hope is that one day God will make all things new. As Julian of Norwich said, ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.’

Do not lose hope. As Christmas gives way to Lent and Lent to Easter, God is promising us that pain and darkness will give way to joy and redemption.  Just keep trusting.