It is a long a narrow way to freedom

| Simon Bale | Vicar's Blog

I can't get the image out of my mind: a little child at his mother's side listening to her tell Lyse Doucet, (BBC) just how awful it is and how terrifying it has become to be a woman in Afghanistan now that the government has fallen to the Taliban. Lyse Doucet is everywhere it seems, just as it is impossible to escape being confronted by images and stories of desolation and despair. The bombing this week seemed inevitable. I have to confess that when I heard the news I thought, "well, that's no surprise, is it?" What a sad confession? Have I become immune to the threat of terror? I worry that I have.

When the twin towers came down on 9th September 2001, almost twenty years ago, I recall hearing politicians remarking that the world will never be the same again, and I also recall thinking, "wasn't it ever thus?" We are very poor at reflecting on historical precedents. Someone once said that all that remains is change. One very local example: eleven centuries ago (or thereabouts) Alfred was King of Wessex, holed up on Athelney and biding his time to fight back against the Danes which he did in Edington in 878 (you all know that, though). From that battle and Alfred's ousting of the Danes, and with many twists and turns down the centuries, we have a United Kingdom with a sustainable system of governance. It all seems to obvious and inevitable doesn't it? But it wasn't easy. Along the way there was dreadful fighting across the tribes of Wessex, Mercia and the rest, invasions from northern France, murders of Archbishops and executions of queens and kings, a civil war. And I haven't even begun to consider Scotland.

We too are the product of tribal conflict and it is a long road from such a state to the present day where we have come to rely on trust, respect and accountability to guide how we rule ourselves. It is often challenged, but it is a resilient means of social organisation because it relies on trust, respect and accountability. I am deeply thankful for this, and I am equally sorrowful and lament that it is not the same, yet, across the whole of humanity.

This is not in anyway at all a criticism of Islam. Islam is a righteous, sincere and profound faith tradition, born of the same roots as Christianity. It is all the more desperate that the teachings of Islam are being perverted by the jihadist tendencies. My prayer is that those who join dreadful groups such as ISIS-K et al. can live to see there is a way to freedom and reliable social organisation through reasoned adherence to their faith. Just as Alfred's tribal violence has led to present day resilience, I pray that Afghanistan's people can grow into a reasonable collection of governance: based on trust, respect and accountability. I pray for the small child. His mother and all those whose families struggle in the distant land of Afghanistan. It will clearly take more than the twenty years since 911 to achieve stability, and it is not worth giving up. Not ever.

Covid Update

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.

Open Gardens

The weather wasn’t especially helpful, but the gardens of North Curry still looked splendid and the people turned out to marvel! A grand total of £1656.10 was raised over the two afternoons and (by all accounts—the vicar was in quarantine) everyone enjoyed the fellowship, the flowers and the fancies. Thank you to Lorraine Bryan-Brown and Liz Gibbs for their terrific organisation, to Keith Gibbs for his help with communication and to everyone who supported in anyway: car parks, teas and cakes, and most of all by opening your gardens!

Evening Prayer

“For everything there is a season”, (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and it would appear that the season for evening prayer on a Wednesday in Stoke St Gregory has come to an end, by mutual agreement of those who have attended for some years. Following the hiatus of the pandemic, it has become clear that this time of prayer together is no longer needed as part of the pattern of worship in the parish and there will be no more Wednesday evening prayer from now on. Stopping a time of prayer can seem a loss and counter to the mission we all have as Christians, and, of course, anytime to pray is to be welcomed. However, the writer of Ecclesiastes was wise and perceptive. He goes on to point out that, “[God] has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Eccles 3:11) Prayer continues daily in our hearts, I know. And Monday to Thursday each week there is morning prayer across the benefice. A new pattern will emerge in Stoke St Gregory in due course: I have faith that this will be so. In the meantime, all are welcome at 9am in North Curry (Mon), Stoke St Gregory (Tue), Burrowbridge (Wed) or Lyng (Thu).

Ukrainian Cuisine Evening: Tuesday 5th July

Ukrainian Cuisine Evening at the King Alfred Inn, Burrowbridge, in aid of field ambulances. Contact the King Alf Pub for tickets

Evening of Romantic Song and Popular Favourites, Sat 20th Aug

Saturday August 20th at 7.30pm in North Curry Church: Gregory Steward, tenor, presents an Evening of Romantic Song and Popular Favourites. Tickets £10 to include a glass of wine/juice: available from North Curry Post Office or from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on the door. Under-18s free.

Lyng Harvest Supper, 3rd September at 6pm

Come and celebrate the season with friends and food. Delicious fare for us to share. Ticket £5 available in advance only to include supper and a glass of wine, beer or a soft drink. We will be collecting donations for the local food-bank.

A Pop up Pub will also be available with a good selection of drinks on offer for a suggested donation.

Lyngfest! Saturday July 30th, 7pm

Join us in the Village Hall garden for an evening of live music accompanied by Cheese and Cider tasting. Ticket £10 available in advance only. Kids go free. A Pop up Pub will also be available with a good selection of drinks on offer for a suggested donation.

Pastoral care, July 2022

Years Mind

We call to mind parishioners who have died at this time in recent years.

Sylvia Dawe, Joyce Gridley, Margaret Hayhoe, Donald Phillips, Michelle Sutton, Charles Townshend, Eric Willoughby, Ronald Boobyer.

For those who are sick or in need

We hold in our prayers those affected locally and around the world by the Coronavirus: patients, carers, families, and friends.

We pray also for Alison, Andrea, Andy, Anne & family, Anne, Aoife, Audrey (2), Barbara, Ben, Bill, Brian, Carolyn, Chris & Jean, Dave & family, Sally, Edna, Jean, Val, Jan and Peter, Diane, Eileen, Elizabeth & George, George, Hannah, Helen, Innes, Isaac and his family, Jean, John, Joan, Joyce, Judith & David, Kay, Ken, Laurence, Libby and her family, Lorraine, Margaret, Mary, Mignon, Pam, Portia, Primrose, Ralph, Rita, Sheila, Sue & Robert, Susan, Thomas, Tom, Vi, Victoria, Zillah … ... and for their families and carers, and all those who are in need but not named.

If you would like to have a name added or removed from this list, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A prayer for Ukraine

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

Amen

Athelney Prayer

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.

Amen

Upcoming events


04 Jul 2022
09:00AM - 09:30AM
Morning Prayer: NC

05 Jul 2022
09:00AM - 09:30AM
Morning Prayer: SSG

07 Jul 2022
11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bells Committee

08 Jul 2022
04:00PM - 05:00PM
Choir practice

10 Jul 2022
Zoom link

10 Jul 2022
09:30AM - 12:00PM
Zoom Worship in Athelney

10 Jul 2022
10:00AM - 11:00AM
United Benefice service

11 Jul 2022
09:00AM - 09:30AM
Morning Prayer: NC

11 Jul 2022
06:30PM - 07:30PM
Kathryn Astin

11 Jul 2022
07:30PM - 09:30PM
Parish Council: Stoke St Gregory

Trinity 4, 10th July 2022
Deuteronomy 30:9-14

Moses said to the people of Israel, "The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

"Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?' No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe."

Psalm 25:1-9

Ad te, Domine, levavi

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
my God, I put my trust in you; *
let me not be humiliated,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

2 Let none who look to you be put to shame; *
let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.

3 Show me your ways, O Lord, *
and teach me your paths.

4 Lead me in your truth and teach me, *
for you are the God of my salvation;
in you have I trusted all the day long.

5 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, *
for they are from everlasting.

6 Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; *
remember me according to your love
and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.

7 Gracious and upright is the Lord; *
therefore he teaches sinners in his way.

8 He guides the humble in doing right *
and teaches his way to the lowly.

9 All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness *
to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Colossians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 10:25-37

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, `Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.' Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."