Thanks to those who have been in contact,  please keep in touch about the magazine by sending an email to stmarywestacklamwebmagazine@outlook.com . 


Thank you..   Pauline and Bob editors.....


 

August Magazine




This is the fifth Parish Magazine on St Mary's website.


Pauline & Bob - co editors..

 

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Dear Friends,

 

It's Summer!  It's holiday time!  And this Summer is very different from any previous summer. And this summer holiday is very different from any other holiday season.  The hot topic of this Summer is whether a holiday is essential and whether anyone is planning to have their holiday abroad.  The pandemic and quarantine policies make people rather more cautious than usual in planning their holiday.


For one reason or another, getting out and about is felt to be essential. One man says that for him and his family the summer holiday is essential. His wife works for the NHS, so she needs a break and to visit her mother and family – they live in Spain and there’s been no family reunion since Christmas.  A more moving story is about a lady who has started to reorganize the holiday that the lockdown has postponed.  She had hoped to celebrate the completion of her chemotherapy treatment by walking the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall late in March, and now she has re-booked her accommodation – soon she will begin her long-postponed trek. 


Whether it is essential or not, a holiday is an important part of our life, particularly at this highly pressurised time.  This has always been the message. Genesis tells us that God rested after the seven days of creation. The Ten Commandments tell the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day, after six days of labour to rest on seventh. The Sabbath is for the Lord and God; “bless the Sabbath and consecrate it” (Exod. 20 11). It is kept for the Lord and is also a day of rest, rest for us from earthly work and rest from it in order to worship God. It is a holy day.   This tells us what holiday (from the old English ‘holy day’) really means.  A holiday is not just a period away from work, to rest and to relax. It is also a time that we can nourish our souls and minds, when we can be attentive to the deeper level of aspect of life that we normally are too busy to notice.


Pandemic lockdown, travel restrictions and quarantines offer us time to look at holidays in a new way.  Holiday is not more hustle and pressure, different only in content from what we have been enduring during our daily life, but rather it is truly a period of relaxation and rest, whether out and about or in the ordinary beauty of our own garden. For whatever the place, the time reminds us - through the birds, the tranquil walks in the field, the leisured reading – that this is an occasion for meditating and praying.  Maybe in the pandemic we can make holiday holy again..

                                                                                                                                          


Norma

 

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Random Ponderings  by a  Recognised Parish Assistant

  

'Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another' – Jesus (John 13:34).

 

I have a vivid childhood memory of watching two little boys having a fight – crying with rage and pain as they tried to get the better of each other. Their Mum was standing on the back step and calling to them, “I love you both!” before going down the path to sort them out!

 

I wonder if that's how God sometimes feels about all of us. How easy it is for individuals, and even nations, to start behaving like children. We fight and struggle to be top dog, or to get our own back against someone. On holiday in Devon, I heard a local legend about a man who had asked to be buried at the highest point in the graveyard, so that he would be the first from his town to arrive at the Last Judgement. He had a quarrel with a neighbour, and he wanted to get his side of the argument in first! It is rather easy to imagine God saying to the pair of them, “But I love you both!”

 

I knew the Mum of the two little boys I mentioned earlier; she was an accomplished peacemaker, and good at seeing that real justice was done. She was also good at soothing bumps, bruises and hurt feelings – and so is God, if we'll only bring them to him.

 

The hurts of life can be very real and very deep. Jesus knows; he went through pain and rejection all the way to the Cross. But he said, “You are all brothers … you have one Father – the one in heaven” (Matthew 23:8-9), and he urges us to put matters right with one another, whether we have wronged someone else (e.g. Matthew 5:23), or they have wronged us and need our forgiveness (e.g. Matthew 6:12). It may not be easy to forgive, and it doesn't necessarily mean that we will ever trust the person again – sometimes that would not be wise. But holding a grudge is not the way of peace. Jesus is very good at forgiving. He can help us to do it – and to put right the things for which we ourselves need the forgiveness of others.

 

The two little brothers are men now, and have long forgotten whatever they were fighting about that day. They value and respect each other, with all their differences. Secure in their Mum's love (she had no favourites), they learned to love and forgive. Enfolded as we are by the deep and everlasting love of God our Father, with his help we can do the same.

                                                                                              

 

                                                                                                                          Hilary Longstaff


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Church must ‘learn afresh how to share the gospel’, Archbishop of York tells Synod


The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, has called on the Church of England to “learn afresh how to share the gospel in the world” as Church and Society face “turbulent times” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In his first public address since his confirmation as Archbishop, he spoke of the pain and loss many have experienced in recent months and the major challenges ahead.


Archbishop Stephen was speaking to members of the General Synod, who were meeting remotely following the cancellation of the annual July group of sessions in York.  He spoke about lockdown, as a time when people have experienced a “stripping back of our lives”, bringing hardship but also clarity and a renewed focus on God.

His comments came in a joint presidential address, alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.


Archbishop Stephen went on:    “Do not misunderstand me,” he said. “I hugely miss our church buildings and our liturgy, … I cry out for the pain of all those socially distanced funerals, the thousands of people who have died alone, the baptisms, weddings and ordinations that have had to be postponed; the economic misery which is around the corner and the devastating impact of this pandemic upon the whole life of our world.


“But neither can I deny, that it has forced me to encounter things about myself which I had allowed to remain hidden behind the security of the things I have had to relinquish.”

He spoke about a group he is leading to discern a vision and strategy for the Church for the next decade.


The vision, he said, is the easy part: “It is unchanging – it is what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and continues to do through the power of the spirit.”


Archbishop Stephen said that the Church will have to make decisions about priorities amid limited resources. He hopes to bring some proposals to Synod next year.


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ST MARY’S THE FUTURE...........?


As we know, Acklam has existed as a church and a community associated with it for hundreds of years. As life changed and patterns of worship changed the church has adapted.  Buildings have come and gone. The church and hall have existed in their present form since the 1950s and 1960s respectively. There was a time when church bazaars sold fur coats - yes really – and the church had every seat taken on the monthly parade Sundays. The hall was a hive of activity with uniformed organisations, the Saturday Youth Club, run for years by Albert Watson and his team, and then the Sunday Evening Club was added by Kitty Hailstone, with the proviso you had to attend evensong first. The Mothers’ Union and senior Social Clubs thrived. Christmas and Easter saw queues outside church as the congregation for the 9am service waited for the 8am service to leave.


Times have changed however, and the congregation now is much smaller than it once was. This has implications for the future, brought to a head by the current Covid pandemic crisis and the prospect of a changed future. For some time now the PCC have been having worrying discussions about finance.  As things stand the pattern of church life we have is not sustainable. We are being forced to take a hard look at where we are and what we think is needed for the future. Our present income/outgoing is simply unsustainable, and some hard decisions will have to be made.


There have been rumours flying around that we have sold the hall to a property developer. At this time, that is simply not true.  However, the hall is under discussion as part of the church assets, as it is, and has been for a long time, a serious drain on resources. Selling the hall won’t solve our problems but it could ease them.  It is part of the ‘where do we go from here?’ debate.


Before lockdown we had arranged an open meeting to discuss the future of the hall as part of future developments. We had also arranged a meeting with a Diocesan representative specialising in making the best use of church buildings.  Both meetings had to be cancelled.  We plan to reschedule both as soon as is practical.

In the meantime the PCC asks you to give prayerful thought to our future, what is realistic and how it is achievable.  All suggestions will be given due consideration, but doing nothing is not an option.


Jenny Lomas on behalf of the P.C.C.


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Canon David Winter is feeling very solitary just now

 

THE WAY I SEE IT:  What have you missed most during lockdown?

 

It’s a good question, because it is about the things that make us tick. When I examined my list, I found obvious things – going to church, live sport on TV, meeting up with friends for a coffee or a beer.

 

But as I thought more deeply about it, I realised that what I missed most was TOUCH. For nearly four months I have not touched another human being!

 

That is an astonishing deprivation. When a baby is born, its first experiences are all of touch. The strong hands of the midwife, mother’s excited and loving embrace, tiny hands reaching out to feel mummy’s face.  We touch our way into life.

 

And then it goes on. Holding hands with friends, being hugged by grandma, your first serious kiss, and perhaps a last tearful one at the end of a much-loved life.

 

We greet each other with a holy kiss, the Bible says. And why not?

 

Sight, smell, hearing and touch. Four senses. And I think lockdown has taught me that the greatest of these is touch!






Sunday Services Resume


The government ruled that churches were able to resume Sunday services in places of worship from the 5th July.  The Church of England then sent out their guidelines on what had to be done within churches to enable them to open, following which the vicar in discussion with the PCC decided that we couldn’t achieve a safe full opening for a communion service (in one kind only i.e. wafer) until the 19th July.


Without going into fine detail each individual church has to do a risk assessment of its building and see how many people can be accommodated safely.  Also, the C of E stated that baptisms, weddings and funerals could take place but there would be a limit of 30 people present.  Regarding services, the limit on people present would be determined by the size and shape of the building, so obviously a cathedral could have perhaps a hundred whereas a small church may only manage say 5.


After wandering around with a tape measure set at 2 metres for an hour or so in St Mary’s the best that could be managed was 32, this included the 6 already marked out previously for private prayer. Having established that the risk assessment was completed, but this was a fairly simple task seeing we had already set up most of the requirements for private prayer, the final task was to mark out pews to indicate where people could or could not sit.


When the 19th came I was surprised and heartened by the number of people who came to this, the first service, the number actually approaching the maximum allowed.  But seeing there were several family pairs this meant they could sit together, taking the seating room allocated for one.  Before the service started yours truly had to do a little explanatory talk about the format i.e. how to go to receive communion and why everyone is asked to give a name and telephone number so that the Government Track and Trace system could be used if anyone did contract the virus and attended church.  It all went smoothly, with most people adhering to the wearing of face coverings, and using the hand sanitiser on arrival. This was also available before communion, and on the way out.  The one way system, entering through the front porch and leaving by the Baptistry door, worked well too.


Unfortunately, at the moment no singing is allowed or for that matter shouting!!  Jack was more than happy to come and play the organ before and after the service and little interludes where there were gaps, which helped give a bit of normality.


The service on the 26th was just the same except we had changed to route to receiving communion to enable easier spacing.


So, if you haven’t been to church since March, it is safe come along, but don’t forget to bring a face covering!!   As you can see from the photograph everybody seems happy as they are all smiling !!!   honest !!!!


  Bob Willis

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The Rectory

St James the Least


My dear Nephew Darren

 

When the churches reopen for public worship (whenever that is!) I hope you will come and take Evensong one Sunday. But, thinking of your visit last August, I would prefer you used the pulpit when preaching. How could Colonel Brockle complete ‘The Times’ crossword and Miss Balmer her knitting with you constantly walking up and down in front of them? They found it most disconcerting, as out of politeness, they were obliged to listen to you. It was a unique experience they do not wish to repeat.


Those few who defy Anglican tradition and sit at the front of the church were also placed in the dilemma of trying to decide whether they should keep turning in their pews as you paraded down the nave and then rotating back to the front as you re-emerged up the side aisle. It did Lady Plumptree’s vertigo no good at all. It also allowed people to see that you were wearing suede shoes. For many of our worshippers, the most appalling of heresies are as nothing when compared to brown shoes under a cassock.


I appreciate you made heroic efforts and got your sermon down to 30 minutes, but that is still 20 minutes longer than they anticipated and 29 minutes longer than their attention span.


No, use the pulpit in future; that is the reason why stonemasons 600 years ago put twenty tons of marble in our church in the first place and it would be a shame to disappoint them. It also means that from a distance of 100 yards and a height of 20 feet, no one can tell that the glass of water I use liberally while preaching is in fact a gin and tonic.

I concede that our pulpit has its dangers. I have known several bishops come to grief as their robes wrap themselves around the newel post as they ascend the steps. One, unable to untangle himself, was obliged to preach while half-way up the steps and with his back to the congregation, while our verger was dispatched to find a pair of scissors.

Perhaps, before your next visit, we may install a mechanical floor in the pulpit, so that after 10 minutes, it slowly lowers you into the crypt while the congregation can get on with singing the last hymn before getting home in decent time.

 

Your loving uncle,

 

Eustace

 



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 A Churchyard update


As we moved towards spring I was able to give the churchyard grass its first cut of the year, always a big moment after the long wet and winter months. It’s good to get it back into some sort of order. I always do the first cut on a high setting on the mower and gradually reduce the setting as spring moves to summer. Little did I realise that first cut would be the last for a very long time - the lock down had arrived!


Moving the story on as the lock down was eased slightly, I went to church to check the grounds; other than a once a week visit to the local shops, this was by far the furthest I had ventured, so it felt like quite an adventure. I soon realised I would not be cutting grass but hay making, such was the length!


So where to start, I broke the church yard into approximate one hour areas and over the course of a week or so managed to bring it back into some sort of order.


I was lucky that the weather at the time had settled down and worked in my favour, and I am now back to normal and can cut the whole lot in a morning or afternoon - hopefully once a week.  I have been using my step counter and it tells me I average two miles each time!   Who needs a gym?


Interestingly, I had to go to the garage to refill my petrol can, and I suddenly realised I was using more petrol in the lawn mower than in the car during lock down?  What strange times we are living in.


As you are aware, we have an excellent garden club work force who normally meet once a month and who work hard to keep the grounds in good order. We started the year off well as the weather worked in our favour and had a number of successful Saturday mornings; Unfortunately, due to the lock down we are back to square one, so when all this is behind us we will have plenty to do. That will be good news at least to one of our group, Colin Shaughnessy who loves cutting wood  - it’s difficult trying to stop him!


When all this lock down is behind us please look out for details of times and dates of our garden sessions.  We will need all the help we can get - why let Colin have all the fun?


Please remember it’s not all work -  our tea/coffee breaks (plus doughnuts!) with far reaching discussion on just about anything, are now a thing of legend,


What more can you ask for on a Saturday morning?   Just turn up… with your gardening gloves and a few hand tools… many hands make light work!


         Barry Lomas

STOP PRESS…


Since Barry wrote the above article, there has been a re think!!  It is now planned to make a start on the tidy up on Saturday 8th August from 9am onwards..


All gardeners will be allocated an area to work in, at a social distance of course, with the area left and right of the gates to be a priority (it is very over grown!).  It would be very helpful if everyone brought their own tools, and as it is not possible to take waste to the tip, please bring a garden waste bag (Barry does have one or two spare) which could be taken home to empty into your own green recycling bin.


Tea/coffee will of course be available but this will be served on a tray outside the vestry door and the coffee break will have to be taken outside (the weather app indicates sunshine!!)  If you would prefer to bring your own flask that’s fine…

 



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What is lurking in your garden?    

 

Is there something alien in your garden which is beginning to worry you? Something that is growing too fast, spreading too fast, for you to keep up with?

 

Gardeners across the country are being asked by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) and the University of Coventry to find – and report – the next Japanese knotweed before it ‘jumps the garden fence’ and causes havoc.

 

Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam both began innocently, as pretty ornamental garden plants. Then they escaped and have since marched across the UK like something out of War of the Worlds, causing immense damage to homes and waterways.

 

So now the question is: can you help a citizen science project to identify the next plant which could become a similar menace?  The project is called Plant Alert. It offers you an easy way to report any ornamental plants in your garden that you suspect are becoming aggressive. Just go to:  https://bsbi.org/plant-alert

 

Scientists say to look out for:  vigorous growth, prolific self-seeding, longer flowering periods. Plants which are logged on the Plant Alert app will be studied by botanists, and potentially restricted from sale.

 

Kevin Walker, head of science at BSBI, says: “Bitter experience has shown that species that are invasive in gardens are also the ones that are likely to ‘jump the fence’ and cause problems in the wild.”

 

Barry – watch out!!!!….. You never know what you might find in the undergrowth in the churchyard!!!!


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Please, please, stop buying compost with peat in it 

 

So says the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The large-scale removal of peat from bog “is destroying one of our most precious wildlife habitats. It takes centuries for a peat bog to form with its special wildlife – modern machinery destroys it in days.”

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Crosswords Clues (answers next month)


Across

1 and 3 Two of the disciples who witnessed the transfiguration (Luke 9) (4,3,5)

3          See 1 Across

8          ‘Let us draw — to God ’ (Hebrews 10) (4)

9          O Simon is (anag.) (8)

11        Form of government under the direct rule of God or his agents (10)

14        How Jesus found his disciples in Gethsemane (Luke 22) (6)

15        In The Pilgrim’s Progress, the name of the meadow into which Christian strayed  (2-4)

17        Glad sin rat (anag.) (10)

20        Spinal column (Leviticus 3) (8)

21        Valley of the Balsam Tree  (Psalm 84) (4)

22        ‘The oracle of one — — sees clearly’ (Numbers 24) (5,3)

23        Adam and Eve’s third son (Genesis 4) (4)


Down

1          David’s great friend (1 Samuel 20) (8)

2          ‘The Lord... will bring me safely to his — kingdom’ (2 Timothy 4) (8)

4          ‘ I ate no choice food; — — or wine touched my lips’ (Daniel 10) (2,4)

5          Seeking to vindicate (Job 32) (10)

6          Female servant (Isaiah 24:2) (4)

7          ‘For Christ died for — once for all’ (1 Peter 3) (4)

10        ‘Offering spiritual sacrifices — to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 2) (10)

12        Jesus said that some people had renounced this ‘because of the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 19) (8)

13        One of the three men thrown into the furnace (Daniel 3) (8)

16        ‘You have — of good things laid up for many years.’ (Luke 12) (6)

18        ‘Its rider held — — , and he was given a crown’ (Revelation 6) (1,3)

19        Equipment to Charity Hospitals Overseas (1,1,1,1)


Send your answers with your name to  stmarywestacklamwebmagazine@outlook.com



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Answers to July Crossword

 ANSWERS


 ACROSS: 1, Riches. 4, Abner’s. 7, Soul. 8, Damascus. 9, Statutes. 13, Add. 16, Craftsmanship. 17, Old. 19, Redeemer. 24, Walls are. 25, Wise. 26, Target. 27, Thieve.


DOWN: 1, Rest. 2, Courtyard. 3, Sadhu. 4, Arm he. 5, Nose. 6, Round. 10, Tutor. 11, Timid. 12, Sense. 13, Ashbelite. 14, Dips. 15, Echo. 18, Lhasa. 20, Exact. 21, Erect. 22, Flog. 23, Mede.


Winners:  Mabel McGurk - Peter Warren





Anagrams                                                                           STEEP CLIMBS IN YORKSHIRE

 

Rearrange these words to form the names of 10 destinations for walkers in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. All of them involve some uphill walking!  Answers may consist of one, two or three words.

 

1.         BORING GHOULE   2.         SPORTEY GINPROBER      3.         NOLLIE UNSTAFF    4.         PYNTHENGE   5.         KNOCCATOUN PANTOMIMES       

 

6.         DREW SHINE  7.         BEAKY GLIDER        8.         SHANFLEE GRUNTLER     9.         TANTO BUNKS         10.       WHATSER GIN DEER

                                                                                                     Compiled by Peter Warren           

 

Answers to July Anagrams    Winners:     Mabel McGurk, Bill Davison and Wyn Hirst

 

 

D.I.Y. EQUIPMENT   Answers

 

1.         CLAW HAMMER  2.         SCREWDRIVER  3.         PIPE WRENCH  4.         HANDSAW   5.         PLIERS   6.         TAPE MEASURE

 

7.         ELECTRIC DRILL  8.         SPIRIT LEVEL   9.         DUCT TAPE   10.       WORKBENCH   11.       LADDER   12.       TOOL BOX


Send your answers with your name to  stmarywestacklamwebmagazine@outlook.com


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THANK YOU

Last month we reported that Albert Pagan had been fitted with a pacemaker…  we are now pleased to report that he is doing well, albeit rather slowly.

Albert would like to thank everyone for their concerns, Get Well cards and good wishes, both to himself and Jean.   He is hoping to be back with us all just as soon as he gets the go ahead from his consultant. 


Also – Joyce and Joe Harland would like to thank everyone who sent cards and messages on the occasion of their 65th wedding anniversary last month. 



 

A recent Tweet from the Archbishop of Canterbury…..  Food for thought….


“When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don't, they don't.”   Archbishop William Temple




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By Peter Crumpler, a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, and a former Director of Communications with the CofE.

 

When Christ stood in Trafalgar Square

 

I’m not a big fan of statues – but my favourite was the life-sized figure of Christ that stood in London’s Trafalgar Square during the Millennium celebrations.

 

It stood on the square’s previously-empty fourth plinth, going almost unnoticed among the surrounding grand statues and with Nelson’s Column towering above it.

 

The statue, called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), was built by conceptual artist Mark Wallinger and erected in 1999. He explained: “I consciously made Him life-size. We are made in God’s image, and He was made in our image.

 

“So for the statue to stand in contrast to the overgrown relics of empire was definitely part of the plan.”

 

The figure was made of white marble resin, and depicted Christ standing before the multitude with His head slightly bowed.

 

I found the statue of Christ deeply moving and kept returning to Trafalgar Square to stand and gaze at it.

 

Because to me, the statue declared Christ’s vulnerability. It stood as a reminder that the God of all creation came to earth as a man and lived among us. He gave up His life so that we might have salvation.

 

There, with London’s traffic rushing by, pigeons coming in to land, and tourists snapping photographs of each other, Christ stood unobtrusively. Standing, you could say, at the door of our consciousness, and asking to be let in.

 

In a BBC interview at the time, the artist said that he wanted the statue to be an antidote to the “spiritually empty celebration” then taking place at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich.

 

It certainly had a deep effect on me. In April 2017, the statue of Christ was placed on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral during Easter. Again, I watched as tourists passed by not noticing the figure. It was a modern-day parable in marble resin.

 

When the Apostle Paul took a stroll around Athens, he spotted the various altars and statues to the Greek gods. He found an altar ‘To an Unknown God’ and declared that this was “the God who made the world and everything in it” who had made Himself known in Jesus Christ.

 

Just as Mark Wallinger took possession of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square for Jesus Christ – the reason for the Millennium celebrations – so Paul claimed the ‘unknown God’ altar in Athens for the Christian gospel.

 

The Bible has always been wary of putting people on pedestals. It shows us all sides of the people it describes, warts and all.

 

It tells us that Moses was a murderer, that David was an adulterer, that Paul persecuted the first Christians and that Peter denied Christ.

 

But all of us have feet of clay, and few of us deserve to be memorialised for centuries in stone or marble. Rather, we are gently encouraged to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

 

Maybe that’s the best way to make our mark in history.


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Watch out for this predator

 

If you like bees, then keep an eye out this summer for a dangerous invader from the Continent – the Asian hornet. A single Asian hornet can consume 50 honeybees in one day.

 

In recent years the Asian hornet has spread across Europe, devouring honeybees by the tens of thousands. They are most likely to be found in southern England after crossing the Channel from France, or in imported soil, plants and fruit.

 

An Asian hornet is mostly black, with thin yellow stripes, an orange face and yellow legs.  Measuring 1.2 inches, it is slightly smaller than the European hornet, and is of about the same threat to humans.  But they are deadly when it comes to honeybees. Asian hornets wait outside of honeybee hives and pounce on emerging workers, chopping them up alive and taking back the thorax to their own young.

 

If you think you have spotted an Asian hornet, report it through the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app:

 

Asian Hornet Watch app for iPhone
Asian Hornet Watch app for android

 

If you find a nest, don’t try to remove it yourself – it can be dangerous and should only be done by experts.

 

More details at:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-uk-sightings


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29th August              The beheading of St John the Baptist


When you go back to work after the August Bank Holiday this month, spare a thought for John the Baptist: however rough your local sandwich bar may be, it probably doesn’t serve you locusts with a honey dip; you won’t be imprisoned for saying derogatory things about the local MP’s wife, and even the boss from hell is unlikely to have a daughter who wants to hip-hop about with your head on a platter. 


John the Baptist, by our standards, had a terrible life. Yet the Bible tells us that of all the people in history, no one has even been born who was as great as him. Why? Because of the unique job God gave him to do, which has to be the best PR job of all time: act as God’s press officer.


This was quite literally the PR job from heaven:  with God as his client, John the Baptist’s job was to broadcast the news that the Messiah had come.  Not even Church House Westminster has ever attempted anything like that.


It always helps if PR people recognise their own clients, and the same was true of John:  he was the first person to recognise Jesus as the Messiah.  PR people also help their clients prepare for their public role, and John did the same for Jesus: he baptised Him in the Jordan at the start of His ministry.


PR people also stand up in public for their client’s point of view, and in John’s case it led to his arrest and imprisonment.  His death was finally brought about by the scheming of Herodias and Salome, and here the similarity ends:  for not even the most dedicated press officers literally lose their heads over a client.


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All in the month of August

 

It was:

 

250 years ago, on 22nd August 1770 that British explorer Captain James Cook discovered eastern Australia, named it New South Wales, and claimed it for Britain.

 

150 years ago, on 4th August 1870 that the British Red Cross Society was founded.

 

125 years ago, on 10th August 1895 that the Proms (Promenade Concerts) began in London.

 

100 years ago, on 21st August 1920 that Christopher Robin Milne was born. He was son of the author A. A. Milne, and he appeared as a character in his father’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories. (Died 1996.)

 

90 years ago, from 16th to 23rd August 1930 that the first British Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games) were held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

 

80 years ago, on 13th August 1940 that the main phase of the Battle of Britain began.  The German Luftwaffe launched raids on RAF airfields and radar installations. On 29th August Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force in a famous House of Commons speech, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

 

75 years ago, on 6th August 1945 that the US Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The centre of the city was totally destroyed, and 80,000 people were killed immediately. A further 60,000 died by the end of the year. It was the first city in history to be hit by a nuclear weapon.

 

Also 75 years ago, on 9th August 1945 that the US Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. 40,000 people died immediately and about 33,000 more by the end of the year. It was the second (and last) city to experience a nuclear attack.

 

70 years ago, on 15th August 1950 that Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, was born. She is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

 

60 years ago, on 8th August 1960 that the pop song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini by Brian Hyland became a worldwide hit. The record had been released in June.

 

40 years ago, on 14th August 1980 that Lech Walesa led a strike by shipyard workers in Gdansk, Poland, to protest against the dismissal of a trade union activist. On 30th August the striking workers won the right to establish independent trade unions. This led to the formation of the Solidarity movement.

 

30 years ago, from 2nd August 1990 to 28th February 1991 the Gulf War took place. On 2nd August Iraq invaded Kuwait. The United Nations Security Council then ordered a global trade embargo against Iraq. On 7th August the USA launched Operation Desert Shield, and then Operation Desert Storm, to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia.  Coalition victory.

 

20 years ago, on 5th August 2000 that Sir Alec Guinness, British stage and film actor (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, A Passage to India, Star Wars, etc) died.

 

15 years ago, from 23rd to 31st August, Hurricane Katrina hit the Bahamas, Cuba and the southern US states. New Orleans was badly affected when the levee system failed, and 80% of the city was under water for weeks. Florida and Mississippi were also badly hit.  More than 1,800 people died. It was the costliest natural disaster in US history.

 

10 years ago, on 5th August 2010 a cave-in at the San Jose copper and gold mine near Copiapo in northern Chile trapped 33 workers 700 metres underground. An international rescue operation was launched, and they were brought to the surface on 13th October after being trapped for 69 days. Around one billion people watched the rescue on TV.

 

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Support your local charity shops

 

Are you feeling the financial squeeze just now, but still enjoy shopping? Why not visit some of your local charity shops? 

 

Never have charity shops needed you so much. Coronavirus has meant a huge drop in donations, and many charities face huge financial shortfalls. 

 

The good news is that charity shops are well worth visiting this summer.  Vast amounts of clothes and household items were donated following the lockdown this Spring.  Grounded at home, people decided to declutter and clear-out! 

 

The result is that, as a spokeswoman for Oxfam says: “People can expect to find some really great treasures to buy.”

 

It should be very safe to shop, for as Julie Byard of Cancer Research UK, explains, the charity shops put all donated items into isolation before putting them on the shelves.  She adds: “We’re grateful for all donations and to everyone who volunteers and shops with us.”

 

Foodbank donations

As no doubt you will realise, Foodbanks have been inundated with requests for food parcels over the last few months, which means of course, their supplies have been severely depleted.

With the church being closed, donations have been virtually non existent.. but now that it is open twice a week, hopefully the foodstuff will start coming in again.  Just leave your donations in a bag at the back of church, and they will be taken to Middlesbrough Foodbank each week.  Thank you.

 

My Sister’s Place toiletries

Donations of toiletries have also stopped during the lockdown, but now that things are opening up, we are able to accept them once again.   Either leave at the back of church – away from the foodbank donations – or give/take to Pauline, 25 Heather Drive.

Thank you



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Church Commissioners announce £1m support for cathedral choirs

 

The Church Commissioners has announced it will support England’s cathedral choirs with up to £1 million available to ease the impact of COVID-19.

 

The initiative match-funds a campaign by The Cathedral Choirs Emergency Fund which pledged to raise £1 million through fundraising ideas such as a celebrity virtual choral evensong.

 

Following the Government’s announcement last week that singing could recommence in specific circumstances, the funding will pay the salaries of Lay Clerks (adult singers) from September until the end of the year, including the season of Advent and Christmas Day.

 

The Church of England is also supporting the ongoing research overseen by Public Health England into the risk of the spread of Covid-19 through singing and awaits the findings.

 

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally has encouraged the Government to take a proactive approach to allowing singing to return to our churches and cathedrals as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

In addition to the £1 million to support the salaries of Lay Clerks, the Commissioners are also providing £800,000 to support heritage skills, £1.1 million short-term support to cover the salaries of other cathedral employees and £2.5 million to support a number of revitalisation projects.

 

The Cathedral Choirs Emergency fund is an initiative of the Cathedral Music Trust, the Ouseley Church Music Trust and the Choirs Schools Association.


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When tourists get lost

 

Have you ever got into trouble while abroad? The true story is told of a group of tourists who went to Israel some years ago and arrived in Jerusalem very eager to see the sites of the old city.

 

Four members of the group were so engrossed in taking pictures of each other by the Wailing Wall that they ignored the summons from the tour group leader to go back to the bus. A little while later, they realised that they were all on their own in Jerusalem. That’s when their problems started. 

 

The four tourists decided to head back to their hotel. But no one could remember the exact name of the hotel. So, they hailed a taxi, and asked it to drive around Jerusalem looking for the hotel. An hour or so later, the driver gave up and demanded payment.

 

That’s when they discovered that they did not have enough money to pay the driver.

So the driver took them to the police, who demanded some identification. That’s when the four tourists remembered that they had left their passports in the hotel safe...  

 

Some hours later, the tour guide tracked down the missing tourists. They greeted her with tears of relief as she provided the police with their passports, paid their debt, and prepared to lead them safely back to their hotel. The police gave some parting advice to the tourists: “From now on, you stay close to your friend!”

 

Stay close to your friend. It’s good advice for all of us. If your life is going in the wrong direction, if you have run up debts of wrong-doing, if you feel lost and alone, you need to take action. You need to stop going on like this. Turn around and go in another direction. The Bible calls this action of ‘stopping and turning around’ repentance. 

 

Repentance is when you stop one direction, and you turn to God. For the good news is that there is a heavenly tour guide on whom we can all call. Only God can save us from the mess we are in. He sent us His Son to forgive us our sins, to provide us with an identity, and, if we walk with Him, lead us safely through life.  As the Bible says: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

 

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Getting to know next door

 

This time last year, how well did you know your neighbours?  Around one in five of us have since admitted that we had never even spoken to them.

 

What a difference a pandemic makes. Now twice as many of us have talked to our neighbours in the past week as compared with last year. A further one in three of us have also done something to help a neighbour. This works out to 33 million people having talked to a neighbour in the past week, and 15 million of them even helping one during lockdown.

 

Seven in 10 of us also said that people in our area are now more likely to stop for a chat, and three quarters of us want their new-found friendliness to continue.

 

The survey was commissioned for the Big Lunch, a National Lottery-supported initiative from the Eden Project.


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Some miscellaneous observations on modern life…


Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.


Junk is something you throw away about three weeks before you need it.


Some people are like blisters. They don’t show up until the work is done.


Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.


Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again.


You must have learned from others’ mistakes. You haven’t had time to think all those up yourself.


If at first you succeed, try to hide your astonishment.


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Women in majority of deacons ordained last year, report shows


Women made up the majority of deacons ordained in the Church of England last year for the first time, according to the latest statistics.

 

A total of 570 deacons were ordained in 2019, with women making up just over a half, or 51% of the new intake.

 

Deacons are the first of three orders of ordained ministry.  Whilst all clergy continue as deacons throughout, the majority are also ordained as priests at the end of their first year of ministry.

 

The statistics show that women made up around 32% of the 20,000 active clergy last year, with a growing proportion of senior posts such as Bishops, Archdeacons and Cathedral Deans, occupied by women, from 25% in 2018 to 27% last year.

 

Women were in the majority starting training for ordained ministry for the third year running, with equal numbers of men and women sponsored to train for ‘incumbent’ posts – such as Rector or Vicar - over the last two years. However currently only 25% of incumbent posts are occupied by women.

 

The number of stipendiary, or paid clergy, remained stable, at 7,700, between 2018 and 2019, following a period of decline. There were 7,830 Readers or licensed lay ministers compared to just under 10,000 in 2010. Readers and licensed lay ministers are not ordained but can lead worship and preach in churches, among other roles.  

 

The statistics show the number of stipendiary clergy from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds stood at 3.8%, while 7.8% of people entering training for ordained ministry last year were from a BAME background.

 

Out of a total of 550 people beginning training for ordained ministry last year, nearly a quarter, or 24%, were under 32 years old and more than two fifths, 44%, were aged under 40.

 

The Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, Director of Ministry for the Church of England, said: “In recent years there has been an increasing diversity among our clergy, but we will not be content until those in public ministry truly reflect the whole church and the communities which they serve.”


 

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Canon Paul Hardingham considers the times of our lives

 

Eternity in the human heart

 

‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

 

The 60s hit ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ by the Byrds is based on verses in this chapter: ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.’ The different seasons of life are not random, for God is in control and His timing is perfect: ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time.’

 

The verse goes on to say that God ‘has also set eternity in the human heart.’ This means that we all have an in-built sense that there’s more to life than what we can see, as we search for meaning in life. However, we can fill our lives with other things: career, pleasure, shopping and relationships. While good in themselves, these things can never ultimately satisfy. It is only a relationship with God through Jesus that truly satisfies. How does this challenge us?

 

Firstly, we are to live for God in all that we do, knowing that it all counts for eternity. This includes helping others find a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for eternity.

 

Secondly, we accept that there is lots in the current ‘season’ where it’s difficult to know what God is doing: ‘no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.’ However, we do know that everything has consequences for eternity.

 

Finally, how can we be more aware of eternity every day? Spending time with God in worship and prayer will bring us the true pleasure that belongs to eternity.

 

‘You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.’ (St Augustine).



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HYMN:  The story behind … JUST AS I AM

 

The hymn ‘Just As I Am’ must be one of the most famous in the world. It has been sung by tens of millions of Christians at Billy Graham Crusades the world over, just for starters! Yet it was not written by a professional who was ‘aiming’ at a specific market, as many songs seem to be written today. Instead, it was written by an artist in Victorian times.

 

Her name was Charlotte Elliott, and she was born in Clapham in 1789. She grew up in a well to do home, and became a portrait artist and also a writer of humorous verse. All was well until Charlotte fell ill in her early 30s, and slid into a black depression. A minister, Dr Caesar Malan of Switzerland, came to visit her. Instead of sympathising, he asked her an unexpected question: did she have peace with God? Charlotte deeply resented the question and told him to mind his own business.

 

But after he left, his question haunted her. Did she have peace with God?  She knew that she did not, that she had done some very wrong things. So, she invited Dr Malan to return. She told him that she would like to become a Christian, but would have to sort out her life first.

 

Dr Malan again said the unexpected: “Come just as you are.” The words were a revelation to Charlotte. She had assumed that she would have to put her life in order before she could hope to be accepted by God. Instead, she realised that Jesus wanted her just as she was – and He would take care of the sin. Charlotte became a Christian that day.

 

14 years later, in 1836, Charlotte wrote some verses that summed up how it had been between her and Jesus that day.  They ran:

 

Just as I am, without one plea,

But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bids’t me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
 
Just as I am, tho tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

 

Charlotte could not have dreamed that 150 years into the future, her verses would be sung by millions of people all over the world, as they responded to the Gospel presented at many great Billy Graham crusades, and made their way forward to do just as the hymn describes – to come to Jesus Christ, despite sin and fear and doubts, to come ‘just as I am.’

 


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SMILE LINES


Keep your distance!

 

I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch you with a six-foot pole” would become national policy, but here we are!

 

All in a name

 

I’m dyslexic, and recently attended a Zoom conference about the disorder with a friend. The speakers asked us to share a personal experience with the group. I told them stress aggravates my condition, in which I reverse words and letters when I’m tense.

 

When I finished speaking, my friend blurted out: “Now I know why you named your daughter Hannah!”

 

What am I?

 

A teacher gave her young class a lesson on Zoom.  It was about the magnet, and what it does.

 

The next day in a short test, she included this question: “My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I am strong and attractive. I pick up lots of things. What am I?”

 

When the answers were sent in, the teacher was astonished to find that more than half her students had answered the question with the word: “Mother.”

 

Who’s right for which job?

 

Does your company struggle with the problem of properly fitting people to jobs?  Here is a handy way to decide…. Take the prospective employees you are trying to place and put them in a room with only a table and two chairs. Leave them alone for two hours, without any instruction.  At the end of that time, go back and see what they are doing.

 

If they have taken the table apart in that time, put them in Engineering.
If they are counting the cracks in the floor,  assign them to Finance.
If they are screaming and waving their arms, send them to Manufacturing.
If they are talking to the chairs, Personnel is a good place for them.
If they are sleeping, they are Management material.
If they are writing up the experience, send them to Technical Publications.
If they don’t even look up when you enter the room, assign them to Security.
If they try to tell you it’s not as bad as it looks, send them to Marketing.
And if they’ve left early, put them in Sales.

 

Sick of preaching

 

Our new vicar had just been prescribed bifocals. The reading portion of the glasses improved his vision considerably, but the top portion of the glasses didn’t work so well. In fact, he was experiencing dizziness every time he looked through them.

 

He tried to explain this to the congregation on Sunday: “I hope you will excuse my continually removing my glasses. You see, when I look down, I can see fine, but when I look at you all, it makes me feel sick.”

 



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Do you need to have someone or a situation to be prayed for?

 

Ring Norma Crane on 01642 813945 to let her know you prayer request and she will contact others in the chain and they will pray on your behalf.

 

If she is unavailable ring:       Brian Livingstone            01642   279272