Stoke St Gregory is a large, widely-dispersed village. The Parish Church of St Gregory is in the village centre and the Baptist Church is a short distance from the St Gregory’s.
St Gregory is far from common patron for a parish church and as pointed out by Bishop Brian Castle in his address at the installation of our vicar, there might be links to the historical presence of King Alfred in the 9th Century. Bishop Brian shared this:
Interestingly, this particular parish named after St. Gregory points to an important part of the story [of King Alfred]. St. Gregory the Great was a reforming Bishop of Rome (today we’d call him Pope) who lived 300 years before Alfred. Gregory was so influential in his reforms and organisation that he became an inspiration for Alfred. ... St. Gregory had written a book for his bishops called the Pastoral Rule which was a manual to tell them how to look after and organise the Christians and churches in their care. King Alfred was so impressed by this book that he himself translated it from Latin into English and sent copies to each of the bishops in his kingdom. Quite probably he enclosed with it a beautiful pointer (known today as the Alfred Jewel [a copy of which is kept safely in the Lyng Parish]) which could point to the words as they read them. It is quite likely this church is dedicated to St. Gregory the Great because of this connection between King Alfred and Bishop/Pope Gregory. So, here, in this benefice is the meeting of two of the greatest figures in Anglo-Saxon times, and both of them have days set aside for their commemoration by the Church. In the very DNA of this benefice, mysteriously embedded in the soil of Athelney, is a vision for a liberated society and renewing of the Church.
The full text of Bishop Brian’s address can be found here.
There are two well established private housing developments and one social development with approximately 40 sheltered housing units looked after by a travelling warden. Seven low cost units were completed in conjunction with the new village hall in 2006. Recently the ﬁnal go ahead was given for a much-needed housing development of 34 homes which will facilitate younger families to move to or stay in the village. As part of the development a new pavilion has been built. The Playing Field is the village War Memorial. It offers facilities for children and adults with a playground, tennis courts and cricket and football pitches. Next door to the Playing Field is the C of E Primary School (see later section). The School is a two minute walk from both the Village Hall (which it uses as a gym) and the Parish Church. The village has a long history of farming. Many of the small farms have been sold off over recent years. Now there are a small number of large dairy herds with the suppor -ting arable land. There are numerous businesses sited within the village notably a thriving willow industry, including the nationally recognised willow-growing and manufact- uring P H Coate and Son, with its Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre and a number of small artisan shops. There is a small garage which also supplies petrol. At present the futures of the Village Store and two pubs are in the balance but there is a major community initiative underway to provide these facilities through a Community Beneﬁt So -ciety. The Surgery and Post Office are in North Curry 3 miles away. There is a limited bus service to Taunton via North Curry.
Given the significant rise in cases locally (not just among the clergy!), I think it is important that we reconsider the way we distribute communion. For the present time, until things settle down again, we will be reverting to the previous system of “priestly intinction” whereby the president offers an “intincted” wafer to communicants. Please do not feel obliged to receive the wine in this way. It is perfectly acceptable to receive only the bread: please let the president know.
Get your thinking caps on for a fun flled quiz evening kindly hosted by Chris Barrington. Prize for the winning team. Followed by raffle. £10 per team of 4. In advance.
A Pop up Pub will also be available with a good selection of drinks on offer for a suggested donation.
Father of all,
We hold before you today the country of Ukraine and its people. We have no words to express the sadness we feel for them. We pray that your Holy Spirit will act to bring peace; that violence and brutality will have no place in its lands; that you will hold your people safe
Lord have Mercy
We pray that the people of your world will work together
To protect the poor and the afraid To heal the sick and the dying To free those oppressed and in prison We hold them all before you
Christ have Mercy
We hold before you those we know who are caught up in the situation. We pray for our armed forces. We pray for all those who stand for good in the face of evil. We pray for those hurting and grieving for their country. We hold them all in your love
And above all we pray for hope.
Lord have Mercy
Almighty God, who made all things and sustains all things, we come together remembering the past and full of hope for the future.
We thank you for the part you call us to play in our Benefice's continuing story.
Lord, bind us more closely together and unite us in the work of your kingdom in our communities. Help us to draw on the gifts and talents in our midst and to use them in your service.
May we be a welcoming and loving community, united in worshipping you and open to your guiding Spirit.
Holy Spirit guide us and fill us with vision and energy; make us faithful in prayer and worship, that we may discover your way for the future and see your kingdom grow.
We ask these things in the name of your Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Merciful Father and Lord of all life, we praise you that we are made in your image and reflect your truth and light. We thank you for the life of our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, for the love she received from you and showed among us. Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants, living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ. And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Elizabeth that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. For the Lord will not reject for ever.
Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’
Father in Heaven, whose Church on earth is a sign of your heavenly peace, an image of the new and eternal Jerusalem: grant to us in the days of our pilgrimage that, fed with the living bread of heaven and united in the body of your Son, we may be the temple of your presence, the place of your glory on earth, and a sign of your peace in the world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.