(with thanks to Revd Julie Bacon)
October feels different this year, well most things do!
The month brings with it the changing of the clocks, and the transient pleasure of a lay-in for late risers, but also the reality of the night’s drawing in.
There is a certain strangeness about human ability to alter and control time. This year time took on a somewhat surreal quality, usual lines and rhythms seemed blurred.
Time is defined as ‘the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future.’ From human perspective, time is linear and goes in one direction. Although many writers have delighted in exploring the wonders and dangers of time travel. I wonder if we could time travel in any direction what year or time we might like to visit or revisit?
What about for God? How does God negotiate time? God is mostly understood to stand outside of time. There was never a time when God wasn’t, and there will never be a time when God isn’t. But even though God exists outside time, and is not subject to it, God reveals Godself within time, because humanity and creation is within it. Then at a very specific point in time God in Jesus entered into the human timeline. The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos referring to sequential time, and kairos which signifies a ‘perfect’ moment in time. Somehow, when Jesus entered chronos, it was also kairos. God came to be in the world as well as outside of the world. Suddenly altering time for an hour or so seems somewhat easy!
May you enjoy your ‘new’ hour and know God’s presence with you, in any and all uncertainty.
Weekend Connection #error
Our weekend connection, church news and Sunday Reflection which goes out every Saturday unfortunately had a technical hitch as I was unable to send to the usual number of contacts. Unfortunately, any email contact that wasn’t saved in my contacts list was lost. So if you haven’t received your weekly email or indeed would like to be added to the mailing list, especially to keep uptodate with any new guidance please do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank-you!
Burrough Green Church- building work
We are delighted to say that building work for updating electricity, heating and installing water and a toilet has begun. The church is closed to visitors but church services should be able to take place as normal, although you may be directed in through another entrance. Our grateful thanks to Lucy, Peter and family for making this happen, the PCC, grant bodies and everyone who has supported the fundraising. Thank-you.
All Souls Memorial Service
Sadly this has been a difficult year for many of us losing loved ones, or friends whose funerals we were unable to attend. It is difficult to plan an open special service at this time but we are hoping to be able to give people the opportunity to light a candle for a loved one via a two hour ‘drop in’ at Westley Waterless on Sunday, 1 November between 4.00- 6.00pm.
If you will be attending the name of your loved one(s) will be said whilst you are there, if you are not able to attend but would like a name or names read out and/or a candle lit for them please let me or a churchwarden know. Thank-you.
Face coverings will be required and do listen out for any significant rule changes to church services.
I read this week about the annual migration of geese, isn’t their teamwork astonishing! As they fly in their "V" formation, the flapping of each birds wings creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying like this the whole flock has apparently at least a 70 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. This is most noticeable when a goose falls out of formation, it immediately feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone so quickly gets back into place to take advantage of the lifting power granted to it by the bird in front. When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back into the wing and another goose flies forward to take up the lead. The noisy honking you hear is of the geese behind encouraging those up front to keep going and maintain the speed!
What really touched me though was reading that when a goose gets sick or injured and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with it and follow it down to the ground, to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly again or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their own group.
What a beautiful thing this is, a real encouragement from nature to live well in community together; lending our strength, sharing the load, taking our rest and championing the more vulnerable.
In the words of Aleksandr the Meerkat ‘Simples!’.
‘So let’s do it .. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love, helping out, and in spurring each other on..’. Hebrews 10: 24 The Message.
God be with you,
Rector in The Rectory!
I was delighted to be inducted and instituted as Rector of the Raddesley Group of Churches in St Peter’s Stetchworth by Bishop Dagmar, supported by the Rural Dean, Church Patrons and our Churchwardens, in a small socially distanced service to mark the change in my role- in name only! It signified a celebration of the ministry and community of us all, for which I give my thanks.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss spiritual matters; baptisms, funerals, weddings, and the sacrament of reconciliation (confession).
That’s why God has placed me with you 😊 Blessings, Revd Nikki
Email: Nikkimann40@hotmail.co.uk Call: 01638 507980 Text: 07738 266057
A German Shepherd, Doberman and a cat have entered heaven.
All three are faced with God who wants to know what they believe in.
The German shepherd says: "I believe in discipline training and loyalty to my master."
"Good," says God. "Then sit down on my right side. Doberman, what do you believe in?"
The Doberman answers: "I believe in the love, care and protection of my master."
Ah," said God. "You may sit to my left."
Then he looks at the cat and asks, "And what do you believe in?"
The cat answers: "I believe you're sitting in my seat."
Laughter is so good for the spirit, that involuntary escape of joy creates warmth and actually triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. We certainly all need some of that!
C. S Lewis talked about ‘Joy being the laughter of heaven’ a gift from God to us. The ultimate laughter being experienced in the joy of reunion. In his books, whenever the children return to Narnia, there is always great hugging, laughing and noise! It is almost palpable that radiating warmth and great bubbles of excitement surrounding each person as they meet a friend or loved one again, after a prolonged separation. We see this now as people previously isolated begin slowly meeting up again in our churches, pubs, green spaces and gardens - mostly without the hugging and kissing- but still with eyes lit up, huge smiles and bubbling bursts of laughter!
Imagine what that ultimate joyous reunion in heaven will be like!
In this continued time of uncertainty, may there be bubbles upon bubbles of joy in your reunions physical or virtual.
Gosh. Doesn’t it feel like the world has shifted. Still reeling from the pandemic and its tragic human and economic cost we have been challenged by the ongoing pain of injustice and inequality. We knew it was there but seeing it played out on our screens has sharpened our awareness and for many awakened a desire for change; for a fairer, just, more inclusive and equal society where no one faces discrimination, where children don’t go to bed or wake up hungry, where mental health and community services are properly resourced, where everyone has a home, our list could go on and on.
Jesus in his life and teachings crossed boundaries racial and social, he preached on the least being first, on searching out and caring for the one in need because the other 99 were doing OK. He said simply ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ and that is a huge unquantifiable lot of love!
These are uncertain times but lockdown has shown us the power of communities pulling together and caring for each other. We can make a difference.
Bishop Desmond Tutu said ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’
How wonderful is that. Let us overwhelm the world together!
Love and Blessings,
It is ascension as I write this. Someone posted saying ‘Ascension is when Jesus goes to work from home!’ Very fitting for the season we find ourselves in. Jesus leaves his humanness behind to become fully God again. Or does he? I am not so sure. We are all part of our experiences the good and the difficult, they help build our understanding of the world and ourselves within it. I think Jesus took ‘us’ and his experience of humanity back into the very heart of God and it grew God’s heart.
St. Augustine of Hippo said that God, as Trinity (the three in one), exists eternally as a community of love. And we too are part of this community of love, with God and with one another.
These times have shown just how interconnected all of humanity is, and how the beauty of a community of love can play out between neighbours and between strangers. A holy dance indeed, long may it continue.
Smile Corner 😊
(Classic misprints - Diocese of Salisbury)
Next weekend's Fasting & Prayer Conference in Whitby includes all meals.
Sunday morning sermon: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.'
Sunday evening sermon: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
It was a baby mosquito's first day to fly out from home.
When the mosquito came back home later that day, the father mosquito asked, "How was your journey?" The baby mosquito replied, "It went great. Everyone was clapping for me!"
A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer:
Bartender ‘Sorry we don’t serve food here!’
What did the spider do on the computer?
Made a website!
Please do let us have your best jokes or funny stories, thank-you.
Easter this year has felt a little muted, and lonely, not its full sunshine. It’s made me consider Jesus’ resurrection, which for those who loved him came with bewilderment and deep uncertainty. Sometime in the night or predawn hours of that morning, a mystery beyond human comprehension transpired. No sunlight illuminated the event. No human witnessed it. There wasn’t a trumpet blast or an organ thunder. It’s holy fulness stays shielded from our eyes.
All we can know is that in an ancient tomb on a dark night God worked to bring life out of death. Somehow, from a place of loss and misery, grief and pain, God enacted resurrection. It took everyone even those who knew and loved Jesus by surprise, in the most mysterious of ways. And we learn the glorious truth that Jesus breathes light out of darkness, hope out of despair and life out of death.
Lingering at the tomb we can find a glimmer of light, a hope even in the deepest pains, even when all feels lost and impossible to navigate. We learn God is there with us and that Easter day comes, with a new dawn, a new path of life and a smile.
Easter Blessings to you all,
Weekly reflections can be followed on our church website www.raddesley.com or direct to your inbox if you email me Nikkimann40@hotmail.co.uk
I am here if you would like to talk 07738 266057 (Nikki) and the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day:
The 40 days of Lent correspond with Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. Where Jesus, God in human form, is tested. Why? Perhaps so he can look at each one of us who struggles with sin, addiction, overwork, the inability to say ‘no’, and say ‘yeah it’s tough’!
Throughout Jesus’ life he met intimately with those who were struggling and publicly identifies with them saying ‘whatever you do for the one who struggles, you do it for me’. There is no judgement, no commendation but rather a touching, intimate connection one on one, and in so doing, Jesus reveals their infinite dignity, before the face of God.
Can you imagine, that even when you don’t feel able, worthy enough to look up at God, God is already sitting with you.
As we reflect this Lent on what it is in our lives we might need to amend, get help or support, know that we don’t do it alone. We have the very one who created us rooting for us and thankfully they have a whole army of angels behind them!
In these 40 days, may you find stillness, may you find healing, may you find God.
Explore God in Lent
We will be running a Lent Course starting Sunday 22 March at 7pm in The Rectory and Monday 23 March at 10am at Clare Farm in Dullingham. All welcome.
Considering Baptism or Confirmation?
Baptism: Open to all, any age, no entry requirements
Confirmation: Open to those (aged 11–111) interested in exploring God and faith
To discuss either of the above do contact me, I would be delighted to hear from you. Revd Nikki email@example.com text 07738 266057
I don’t know if anyone else feels special significance in beginning a new decade? Maybe because I am a zero baby and counting the years in tens is easy, or turning 50 next week has made be rather contemplative! I spoke this week of the Magi journeying to the now child Jesus. They set off not quite knowing where the star would guide them, but acutely aware this star was life changing and held such special significance and probability of revelation that it was worth utterly uprooting themselves for. So convinced in it, they take the costly, kingly and prophetic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to lay at the feet of the one they are guided to.
They had a misdirection, stopping first at King Herod’s palace close to Bethlehem, understood they sought something more, and five miles on, beneath the star, they find the Christ child and kneel in awe and wonder.
I imagine their bursting smiles of joy on their journey back in experiencing this special one and being part of such a moment in history. Giving up their familiar, taking the long, dangerous journey had been worthwhile. The revelation had come to them and they had to follow it!
I wonder what discomfort I am ready to face this decade in deeper search of God’s signs and revelations, in choosing to make a difference to climate change, in better self-care of mental, physical and spiritual health.
May God bless your decades footsteps with good health and revelation of God’s wonder x
The old year is worn and tired.
Time now to kiss it goodbye.
Take with you its wisdom –
the authority and power of all that you have learned.
Remember the past year with love,
but let go of its despair.
Live the year that lies ahead
with fresh energy and hope.
Be strong, have courage.
It is time now for something new.
This month we commemorate once again the sacrifice made by an unimaginably vast number of people who served, supported and died during the wars. You could not have lived through the WWII and been unaffected, it was a local, national and global catastrophe. But as the number of people who lived through the horror is fading, are the lessons learned in blood fading from memory as well? As we see a rise in the far right and extremism, an increased acceptability of divisive language and the rejection and dehumanisation of those considered ‘other’ or ‘lesser’ to ourselves.
In praying for peace, in committing ourselves to peace, we’re committing to reject hatred, intolerance, violence and war. We commit to live out a better future.
Remembrance is a time to honour those who made and continue to make great sacrifices in war but also to pray and commit to the costliness of peace.
And remember if it all feels too cyclical and too much God says:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Gospel of John 16:33
Peace be with you,
We are currently having a beautiful and vibrant late summer celebrating harvest, but I can’t quite let go of the ‘Beast from the East’ winter weather warnings. So our chimney has been swept, eco coal and oil ordered I just need to root out my cosy PJ’s and hot water bottle! When you have the means to keep warm, cuddling up on a cold winters day can be restoring, it is as if mother nature gives us permission to slow down and do the human form of hibernating!
Mother nature also sets us a good example in autumn, throwing down its leaves, it’s summer baggage, ready to take the time to rest, and nurture from within until spring. For those who find darker days energy and mood zapping, full hibernation I imagine sounds positively inviting.
I give thanks for our changing seasons where hopefully we all have months which better feed our spirit and energy. God has given us beauty, diversity and subtleness, to enjoy, to consider, to point to the presence of the One who loves us unchangingly through-out the ages and through all seasons.
May you feel the warmth of God’s love envelope you no matter what season of life you are experiencing,
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Revd Nikki Mann
Nikki is the Priest in Charge of the Raddesley Benefice (which consists of 6 churches) in Cambridgeshire