10AM each Sunday morning – Come and join us for our family communion service.
Departure of Colin and Sheila Mansfield to warmer climes:
And so we say goodbye and God-bless to Colin & Sheila Mansfield, who have been active members and office-bearers of our church of St Mary’s since they joined the congregation way back in November 1999. They were former members and church elders of the bigger church (the Barn Church) just next door, before moving in to join us. They had previously been with the Barn Church since 1986. They bridged the congregations of both churches in an ecumenical way, Sheila helping with the Pensioners Dinners on Thursdays at the Barn, whilst Colin became an active member of the joint Balloch Walking group, similarly other church members joined in with activities in both churches. 32 years is a long time to live/work/retire in the same bungalow and neighbourhood, and they have witnessed Christ to many people throughout that time. The Leaving Dinner was held at the Culloden Moor Inn, at the end of July, many attended. Picture above of the couple was taken last year, when someone had a “big” birthday to celebrate, Christine Hardwick presented the bouquet of flowers. Now, nicely settled into their new home at the little country village of Newton Solney, Burton-on-Trent, and close to family relatives and long-time friends ~ Ed.
The Lamb of God John 1:29-42 by Colin Mansfield
Agnus Dei, … Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In Latin or in English, even these words are exquisite. And the concept they capture is far, far beyond that. It is the very heart of Christianity. Let’s take a moment to let that sink in. As human beings, we are wired from head to toe with self-preservation instincts: we are given a school education, health & safety rules, insurance policies, and lawyers standby ready for if we fall. Yet here is a man Jesus willing to throw all that away. He is without sin, without guilt, yet he is willing to lay down his life for our sins, for our guilt ~ which we are oblivious of ~ in our own little worlds ~ which are governed by Fear and Security.
Why? In the bloom of health, in the prime of life, 30yrs old, why embrace an agonising death? There’s a one-word answer. But it is powerful enough to explain the entire life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The one-word is: LOVE and God loves us first, God doesn’t wait for us to find Him and for us to love Him. Jesus is human, but more than human. He is the love of God made flesh. He was, is and will always be God. He was before all creation. He is in us and around us today. He grants us Freedom and will call us to eternal life tomorrow. But still many people turn away to live in their own little stockades, surrounded by fear of the future, worries of the present with cctv security systems and burglar alarms.
SAYING NO & SAYING YES
As you know, on this day, millions of Christians around the world engage in the ancient ritual known as “the imposition of ashes.” The practice of using ashes as a sign of penitence goes back to the Hebrew people (“sack-cloth and ashes”). Christian use of the ashes goes back to the 2nd century, and it was widely practised by the 5th century.
Ash Wednesday begins the forty-day journey of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is intended to set the believer on a sobering time of self-examination and repentance, in preparation for the renewal of faith one might receive in the observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the supreme feast of Easter.
Many Christians try to take this time seriously. Churches almost go into a time of mourning, even though Sundays are always “Feast Days”. Traditionally we don’t sing the ‘Gloria’, we don’t have flowers etc – all intended to give the great contrast when Easter joy bursts in! Mothering Sunday come in mid-Lent, often referred to as “Refreshment Sunday”.
by Revd Alan Price
Sensational headlines telling us of the latest atrocities performed by Islamic State or other extreme Islamist groups are becoming so frequent, we almost take them for granted. Whilst it must be remembered that more Muslims have been killed than Christians, in this article I want to consider the problem faced by fellow-Christians.
Persecution of Christians can be traced historically based on the biblical account of Jesus in the 1st century AD to the present time. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both Jews from whose religion Christianity arose and the Roman Empire which controlled much of the land across which early Christianity was distributed. Early in the 4th century, Christianity was legalized, eventually becoming the State church of the Roman Empire.