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February 2022


27th February 2022

                                                                            The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

LADIES GROUP. Wednesday 20th April Afternoon Tea at the Vintage tea Emporium in Uttoxeter. Please reserve the date and give your name to Steph ASAP

 

ASH WEDNESDAY:– one of the greater Holy days of the Christian year. We hold our service of new beginnings at St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone at 7.30pm. We hope that many people from both our parishes will be able to come and join us there


Hymns for today

                        Aston                          Stone

82                                82

            175                              175

                        106                              106

96/53                           96/53

242                              Sheet

 

Please pray for the sick in the benefice:

Elsie Richardson, Vera Tomkinson, Gary Kelsall, John Richardson, Peter Bowler, Catherine Ritchie, Miles Brain, John & Ann Shuttleworth, Margaret Wright, Molly Wright, Norman Latham, Gillian Wright, John Hargreaves, June Stringer, Pam Miles, Jean Gulliver, Margaret Tomlinson, Dave McGlynn, Sue Kenchington, Carl Hartley, Mike Thompson, Helen Tallent, John Ecclestone,

 

For the recently departed, remembering their families and friends:

Monika Delonge, Irene Walker, Toby English, Caroline Davies, Alan Wilson

Remembering their families and friends at this time

 

This week:

Tuesday 1st March 11.45am- 1pm DROP INN CAFE St Michael’s Hall

Wednesday 2nd ASH WEDNESDAY

7.30pm Blessing and imposition of ashes with Holy Communion – St M&W

Thursday 3rd 10.30am Holy Communion – St M&W

Friday 4th 2pm World Day of Prayer service – see below

 

LATEST COVID GUIDANCEChurches still await guidance from Government but it is likely that all pews will be available very soon

 

ORGAN FUND:The Organ fun is now up to nearly £16,000 – huge thanks to all those who invest in the future of St M&W. Let’s keep the good work going

 

WORLD DAY OF PRAYER  Service to be held March 4th at 2pm, the Church at the Crossing (Station approach - former Youth centre)

 

CHRISTIAN AID WALKSponsored walk around Tittesworth reservoir on April 2nd. Mary Babb and Dennis Abbott are undertaking this. Please sponsor them if you can

 

Another song for you – this time Doris Day – “When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother “what will I be?”  Que sera, sera of course – whatever will be, will be! But what did you want to do with your life when you were little? Did you imagine things being the way that they are? And did you fulfil your dreams?

I have to admit I never imagined being a Priest, Rector of Stone and associated with Lichfield Cathedral! I was the quiet and shy one of two brothers and the idea that I would end up standing up in public would have terrified me

Naturally, we are probably asking the wrong question. The correct one would be – what was I meant to be? What should I be in God’s eyes – and have I fulfilled the purpose for which I was created.

In this week’s gospel we are confronted with the vision of Jesus as he really is – at the transfiguration. We gain a brief glance to the person that he is, as God sees him. Instead of a peripatetic rabbi in first century Israel, we see him as the Lord of Life – something we shall only really see at the end of our own lives.

So how does God see us? What could we be in his hands? I had a friend whose own life and potential as a Priest helped me to discover my own calling. Sadly he never fulfilled it. God allows us to make our own mistakes – and for all of us, always has a plan B when we get it wrong.

20th February 2022

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

“When you walk through the storm, hold your head up high – and don’t be afraid of the dark” words from the Musical Carousel of course – though notable taken on by fans of the Liverpool Football club with its chorus of “You’ll never walk alone!”

But this week we shall have been through two storms in Britain, named Dudley and Eunice. Steph and I have recently seen the tremendous effect of storms in a Forest park in Northumberland, sometimes looking as though a whirlwind had battered down various sections. The power of nature can be awesome indeed – and we take it for granted at our peril.

This week’s gospel is a familiar tale: St Luke’s version of the tale of Jesus stilling the storm. The experienced fishermen are unable to cope with one of Galilee’s violent events and, in deep distress, they wake the Master who has been sleeping through it all. As he saves them, his question to them is “Where is your faith?”

It seems to me that this can be taken in many, many different ways. At one level it’s a nature miracle, underlining the fact that the Lord is in charge of his creation. But perhaps we can be forgiven for looking at it slightly differently. It seems to me that we, as a Church, have been shaken by recent events. Our congregation numbers have been sadly depleted (though building again, I am glad to say), our National Finances have been depleted and the number of posts for stipendiary clergy has been reduced yet again. It would be easy to shout at God “Master, we are perishing!”

Yet, if we are doing that, perhaps the gentle question comes back again “Where is your faith?” The fact is that we should have an ultimate trust in God for the future. The Church began with hopeless disciples, no financial structure and an organisation that had to be sorted out as we went along. However, in God’s hands we went on to change the shape of history. Perhaps that anthem “You’ll never walk alone” is still inspirational for a Church that looks beyond today and into the eyes of our Lord!

 

Ian Cardinal

13th February 2022

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

Todays Gospel is “The Sermon on the Plain”.  We all know about the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthews Gospel, but this is like a miniature Sermon on the Mount.

It is called the Sermon on the Plain because, according to Luke “Jesus came down from the Mount and stood on a Level Place”.   Jesus was talking to all his disciples, not just the twelve, but to all of us. His teaching here is not for the super spiritual, but for every follower of Jesus .Matthews Gospel gives us the Beattitudes, but Luke refers to them as Blessings and Woes, four of each. To be blessed means to be favoured by God. And this favoured status shows up in what is given - possession of the kingdom, being satisfied, laughing, and having a great reward in heaven“ Woe” is a way of pronouncing God’s curse or judgment on someoneThe judgments are: no hope of the kingdom, hunger, weeping, and although the fourth is left unsaid, the opposite of reward is condemnation. Some of the blessing come now, and some later when the kingdom comes in its fullness. As with the blessings, some of the judgment occurs now, and some later, at the final judgment.

The coming of the kingdom brings about –The great reversal the exalted one and the humble one will trade places Disciples who are poor, hungry, weeping and rejected are exalted with the coming of the kingdom.

And disciples who are rich, well fed, laughing and socially accepted are brought low and judged.  Jesus is very clear. The coming of the kingdom will turn everything upside down.

Nichola Abbott

6th February 2022

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

Have you seen God recently? In a sense, this was a question our colleague Dennis asked us, as we celebrated the Conversion of St Paul. St Paul dramatically “saw the light” on the Damascus road – and Dennis pointed out that something took him to Church one Sunday morning long ago. Once again – we have a “God of surprises.”

Our readings this week are full of seeing God. Isaiah the prophet sees God dramatically in the Temple. St Paul tells us of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus (wouldn’t we all like to know more about that time Jesus appeared to 500 at once?) Finally we go with the fishermen to the Lakeside, where a huge catch of fish makes it clear to Simon that he is dealing with someone who is far and away beyond us and yet close, at the very same time

Church attendances notwithstanding, it is fairly clear that a lot of people in these isles really HAVE seen God recently. Statistics tell us that, when nailed to the point, between 30 and 50% of adults have something of a spiritual encounter at least once in every year! The sad thing is that they do not carry this through, of course. Unlike Paul, Isaiah and Simon, they don’t follow up on these experiences – and in consequence, miss out on a great deal. The underlying truth of all these things is that God calls us all – but are we listening?

Truthfully, our own encounter with the divine is ongoing. Every time we come to Church we expose ourselves to the “still small voice.” Our God knows us intimately – and longs for us to know him as well. There is no end to that knowing – I remember the dramatic words I read in a book at college once, which described the gospel as a vast sea. We can paddle around the edges, but the truth is that we can also easily get out of our depth as well!

Today begins 4 Sundays of “Ordinary time” for us in the Lectionary. One of our former colleagues used to so dislike the name. How can anything be “ordinary” as we journey with our Lord?

 

Ian Cardinal