The Parish of
From the vicar
I do not watch a great deal of television these days so should probably be prepared to be surprised by the material available. I did switch it on a few days ago to discover that there is now a competition for dog grooming. This discovery left me in a strange state in which shock and amusement blended with disbelief. I should perhaps have been disturbed as well, but it didnít seem worth making the effort even when I realised that this was a fruit of the licence fee. I can understand the idea of a dancing competition, but not one involving the pampering of a pet. It seems that anything is possible (or just cheap to make). Anyhow it gives out-of-work actresses something to do and brings pleasure to Ö somebody.
So how about a praying competition? Possibly not a likely choice for the mainstream channels, but just as a thought. There could be points for Ďeffective intercessioní or Ďsublime prayingí. If in difficulty contestants could play their Ďangel cardí to boost their praying power or if lost for words they could play a Ďsaint cardí to borrow a phrase from an expert. What fun it could be. Bonus points could be on offer for prayers that turn out to be in accordance with Godís will Ė although that could be too risky for the BBC. By the way, if one of the Christian channels has already come up with the idea please donít tell me in case I lose the will to live.
Seriously though, there has been a lot of praying going on over the last year and it is worthy of a report. It might not be possible to analyse our efforts in the same way that we would note income and expenditure to see whether the books balance or count the number of communicants on a Sunday morning, but it would be wrong and somewhat faithless to ignore the outcome of our efforts.
In order to try to reflect on how much prayer matters you might try asking yourself whether you feel closer to God as a result or whether things are going better in your life than you might have expected. Did the unexpected or unlikely happen? Have you experienced forgiveness or renewal? And that is just you. What about people you know? Some things are imponderable. If you are reading this I assume that you are still alive having survived almost a year of a pandemic Ė not exactly the Black Death, but still significant. Of course, you might have survived anyway, but can you be sure? Give thanks for all you have learnt in the last few months.
A characteristic of prayer is that because it is essentially relationship it operates as part of a web or network in which our hopes and fears, struggles and joys are enmeshed. Our intentions and the intentions of those who are praying with us and for us, whether privately, in a group or before the altar are taken by the Holy Spirit and sanctified. St. Paul sums up the economy of prayer:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8: 26-27)
As this happens we are connecting with heavenly things, not just with the purposes and activities of God, but with God himself. Through this faith develops its personal characteristics beyond being a matter simply a belief, no matter how confident, toward being the thing that defines us. This is something which has to be discovered and which is a principal theme of this season of Epiphany in which we are invited to reflect on Godís revelation of himself in Christ to both peoples and nations. What we discover is that all things Ė powers, principalities and all creatures are under the authority of God whether they are aware of it or not. Therein is the confidence of faith. The Lordship of Christ may be unknown in some places and ignored in others, but it remains a fact: it is the truth whatever Pilate or the philosophers may think.
So just keep praying. It may not be a competition, but it does define who we are as Christians. And we can always try to do it better: to pray a little harder and to discover more frequently the connections between our reading of the Scriptures, our worship and our thinking. As our relationship grows stronger in prayer, there are still plenty of people and situations to pray for: faithful, loving intercession remains an important part of who we are as Jesusí disciples. Donít forget that it all makes a difference.
Pray for grace to keep Lent faithfully: for a proper balance between sorrow for sin and hope in Christ.
From the diaryÖ
Please note that the following diary entries may be subject to change.
Tuesday 26th January, 10.00am Mass (Conversion of St. Paul, tr.)
Wednesday 27th January, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 28th January, 10.00am Mass (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor)
Friday 29th January, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 31st January Presentation of Christ in the Temple
Tuesday 2nd February, 9.30am Mass
Wednesday 3rd February, 10.00am Mass (MU Corporate)
Thursday 4th February, 9.30am Mass (St. Gilbert of Sempringham)
Friday 5th February, 7.00pm Mass (St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr)
Sunday 7th February Sexagesima (Second Sunday before Lent)
Wednesday 10th February, 10.00am Mass (St. Scholastica)
Thursday 11th February, 9.30am CANDELLED
Friday 12th February, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 14th February Quinquagesima (Sunday next before Lent) (no Family Service)
Tuesday 16th February, 9.30am Mass
Ash Wednesday, 17th February
Mass with imposition of ashes (Modern Rite), 10.00am
Mass with imposition of ashes (Traditional Rite), 8.00pm
Thursday 18th February, 9.30am Mass
Friday 19th February, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 21st February First Sunday of Lent
Tuesday 23rd February, 9.30am Mass (St. Polycarp)
Wednesday 24th February, 10.00am Mass
8.00pm Parochial Church Council
Thursday 25th February, 9.30am Mass
Friday 26th February, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 28th February Second Sunday of Lent
St. Peterís Church, Bushey Heath
wishes to appoint a
The sacristan assists the parish priest by helping to prepare for services and by caring for the sacred vessels and vestments.
No previous experience is required as full training will be given. This is a voluntary post which would suit anyone who wants a greater role in the liturgical life of the church, but is happy to work in the background.
For an informal discussion please speak to Father Andrew.
Please return last yearís palm crosses by Sunday 7th February so that they can be burnt before Ash Wednesday.
Father Robbie Lowís book
Our former vicar has written a childrenís book called ĎMamma Mia and the Pizza Pie Partyí, a charming story about the virtues of faith and friendship set in a little Italian town in the 1950ís. The book is beautifully illustrated and costs only £5.00 with the proceeds going to children's charities. Copies can be obtained from church or directly from Father Andrew.
Thank you from the Vicarage
We would all like to offer our sincere thanks for some lovely cards and gifts which arrived at the Vicarage for Christmas. Yours kindness and generosity is very much appreciated. Father Andrew, Fiona, James and William
St. Peterís Trust
At Christmas St. Peterís Church was delighted to receive a grant from St. Peterís Trust in the sum of £5000, adding the final amount for the much needed and longed for new heating system for our church. Over the years we have had many occasions to be grateful to the Trust and, for those who donít know about its work and its importance there is a brief summary below.
ST PETERíS TRUST
Registered Charity No: 1086394
In 2001 St Peters Trust was created by the then Vicar, Wardens and Treasurer of St Peterís parish,(Fr. Robbie Low, Bryon Parkin, John Lang and Alan Taylor) for the benefit of the wider Christian mission, support, relief and education, wherever the Trustees saw fit. This was in response to a regularly expressed desire for just such a vehicle for Christian giving.
It was established initially with a generous legacy from a non-Anglican friend of the parish, Miss Connie Duncan. Connie, a Scots Presbyterian, left her estate to be divided between the five churches who had helped her during her life. St. Peters was where she had happily spent her final years.
In name, it became St Peterís Trust but, as an independent trust, has no legal connection to St Peterís Parish. Nevertheless, for ease of administration and routine management the Trustees were initially taken from St Peterís congregation, but their remit remains wider than the particular needs of St Peterís Parish.
Over the twenty years that the Trust has been in existence, the Trust has benefited from legacies from both Anglican and non-Anglican friends and benefactors in about equal measure, allowing the Trustees to give help to many Christian organisations and individuals. St Peterís Church itself has benefited over the years from nearly £50,000 worth of grants for maintenance, mission and ministerial support. Help for local Bushey charitable work with poverty relief, refugee support and work with the disabled and young people takes it well over that figure.
Many individuals have benefited from specific sums, assisting their Christian work, evangelism, education, mission work, relief of poverty at home and abroad.
Projects assisting the poor and those under persecution have been aided. Grants have been given to organisations overseas, in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, often where our own and other churchesí young people have helped out in missionary, education and relief work. Grants have also been made to UK Christian initiatives with mission, food supply, disabled children and youth work. It is always a joy to see the difference these grants make to peopleís lives.
The Trustees, who include Alan Taylor, Simon Farley, Ros Dolphin and Sara Low, remain committed to ensuring St Peterís Trust money is spent in spreading Godís work and encouraging the work of the Gospel, by giving financial help to specific needs. It is, for them, a real privilege to be stewards of these precious gifts in peopleís lives through this Gospel initiative.
By prayerful, responsible, and careful management over the last twenty years, the Trust has, from small beginnings, established a strong base. It has become Ďthe gift that keeps on givingí.
What can you to do to help?
You can help by identifying worthy causes and individuals that would benefit from financial help, particularly young Christians who are often in need of a bit of financial support when doing vocational work or on mission.
You can also help by remembering St Peterís Trust in your will and leaving a legacy to continue this vital work, which our own St Peterís Church predecessors began. The Trust has benefitted from legacies from Mr Tom Cox, Miss Mary Tipping and Miss Mary Briggs amongst others. (In addition to lifetime gifts from former and current members of the congregation). Itís a great way to be remembered and there is an annual Mass offered for the benefactors.
Please consider the Trust in your will and the opportunity to continue this Gospel work by your generosity.
There is, of course, no need to wait until you are dead. The Trust is delighted to receive lifetime gifts. No amount is too small to make a difference either as a one off or regular standing order. We have, by the grace of God and the generosity of His people, done a lot thus far. We want to do more. With your help we can.
In the meantime we look forward to a warm welcome at St. Peterís as the new heating system gets up and running.
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Additional Curates Society Lent boxes
ACS works to support the provision of priests in Ďpoor and populous parishesí especially those in which the incumbent only receives a half-stipend (or no stipend at all). If you wish to have a collecting box for the work of ACS these are available at the back of church or from Fr. Andrew.
Lent Study Booklet
The Additional Curates Society has produced a study booklet for Lent containing readings and reflections for the season. It is written by Joan Whyman and is entitled ĎA New Dawní. If you would like a copy priced £3-00 please speak to Fr. Andrew who will be placing an order on Friday 5th February.
Stations of the Cross
Unfortunately it will not be possible to offer the Stations of the Cross this year as a result of Church of England COVID-19 restrictions.
Church Heating update
Unfortunately as a result of the state of COVID-19 infections nationally, the site meeting planned for 6th January to determine our new lighting requirements and the wiring runs for the new heating was postponed. It is hoped that the meeting can be rearranged for a date in late February or early March. At least we are still on course for completion of the project before next winter.
Attendance in 2020
You may be surprised to learn that the average Sunday attendance at St. Peterís in 2020 was 31 adults and 1 child. Given the number of regular attenders who have been (understandably) shielding this is an excellent figure for which St. Peterís should be heartily commended.
And more plaudits! In addition to this St. Peterís worked hard to ensure that the bills were paid in a difficult year. Not only have the utility bills and the insurance premiums been paid, but the contribution to the diocesan funds has covered the expense of having a full-time incumbent. Thank you for all your support.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).
www.stpeterbusheyheath.org.uk / www.achurchnearyou.com