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Each week Rector Ian Cardinal writes an article for the pew sheets and includes details of intercessions, diary dates and other information. Here you will find an archive of some of these, to read the full article please click on link on the navigation menu to the right.

17th October 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

The gospel for the Last Sunday after Trinity (Saint Mark chapter 10, verses 46b to 52) is that famous story of Blind Bartimaeus, who asked Jesus to let him see again. (Which was the theme yesterday for our first Messy Church for very nearly 2 years).

Thursday this week, was celebrated as World Sight Day, when we were reminded that millions of people around the world are needlessly blind, because they can't get simple surgery or treatment that would save their sight.

Bartimaeus appealed to Jesus directly to restore his sight, and today, as the hands that Jesus works through in this world are yours and mine, it must be to us that those people who’re not lucky enough to have been born in a country that has a National Health Service to take care of their visual health appeal.

Daunting though it may seem to stand in Jesus’ shoes, there are 2 things that we can all do to respond to those appeals.

Firstly, we can pray for people who don't have access to health services because they live too far away and cannot afford transport. We can pray for those living with permanent blindness, that our world will be increasingly inclusive to people with disabilities, especially remembering those communities around the world where provision is scarce.

We can pray for indigenous people to come forward to train to be ophthalmologists, optometrists, theatre technicians, hospital staff, outreach workers, and all those others who work tirelessly to restore sight. We must also pray that more jobs will be made accessible for people with visual impairments, and that the contributions all can make will be duly recognised. Let there be an end to "Ableism" in places of work throughout the world.

Secondly, however much or however little, we can raise money to help restore sight in the world's poorest places. There are many organisations (including Christian Blind Mission who I support) that we can join or send one off donations to. The results won't be as dramatic or immediate as when Jesus turned and said; "Go, your faith has made you well," but by funding training, equipment, and jobs, to save and restore sight, and educate attitudes, we can begin to do Christ's work, in today's world.

 

Berwyn Babb

10th October 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

SERVICE SHEETS, BOOKS AND HYMNBOOKS. We do wish to be careful about this and will ask you to return them to a table at the rear of Church, rather than sidespeople putting them away immediately.

 

This week’s gospel is the famous account of Jesus’s encounter with the rich young man. The young man in question approaches Jesus and asks his important question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  It’s an interesting tale, because there is no inference at all that, when Jesus recites to him the commandments, the young man is less than sincere when he replies “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.”  In other words, he is a good man, under the terms of the Old Testament. Yet he knows that something isn’t quite right

Jesus’s reply is often taken out of context of course. When he suggests that he gives away his wealth and joins the disciples, he is not necessarily saying that all of us should become mendicant Friars. Rather he is challenging the young man to do something positive. OK, he is not mixed up in adultery, theft etc. – but he is not yet, at any rate, able to see that his heart is set on something other than the Kingdom of God. There is something that blocks his closer walk with God – in this case, his money

So the challenge is directly to us: what is it that prevents us from walking more closely with God? It might be wealth – but equally it might be fear, anxiety or even current relationships that we have. In one of my parishes I knew a lady who would like to come to church – but her husband would immediately say “Then who is going to cook my dinner?”

The great shame of all this is Jesus’s promise – that those who are faithful will receive one hundred times anything they have to relinquish. Ultimately the whole of this story is about God’s gracious invitation. “Oh taste and see that the Lord is Good” (Ps 34)

 

Ian Cardinal

3rd October 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

SERVICE SHEETS, BOOKS AND HYMNBOOKS. We do wish to be careful about this and will ask you to return them to a table at the rear of Church, rather than sidespeople putting them away immediately.

 

            “Don’t worry!”  What an easy expression that is – and what a hard thing to do. Sometimes, as a Rural Dean I feel a bit like St Paul – “that which comes on me every day, the care of all the churches.”  Not seriously though – he had much more to be anxious about than I have

            But our Harvest readings remind us of that golden passage in the gospels concerning the Lilies of the field – why worry? asks Jesus. If God has a care for even these tiny things in life, does he not have more concern for us as human beings, his beloved children?

            That gets to the nub of things, of course. Jesus really isn’t asking us just to lay back and let God get on with things for us – that really isn’t a biblical message at all. Even in the earliest versions of Creation, Humans were put into Eden in order to tend Creation and work as gardeners. Instead, Jesus is asking us to re-order our priorities. Why should we spend endless time striving for things that don’t really matter in life? Instead let’s pursue that which is really much more important – our spiritual health. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” says Jesus – and all these things will be added unto you!

            So that takes us back to where we are right now. Our world is disordered – that’s a simple fact – Famine, natural disasters, Covid 19 – and frankly, our own selfishness have made the world that should be a garden of loveliness into a place where we scrap together for things that are ultimately worthless. I sometimes look at pictures like Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers – and reflect that ultimately it’s just canvas and oil paints. It’s our funny system of values that says it’s worth far more to us than a child’s life in Africa, etc.

            So harvest greets us – and makes us marvel at God’s wonderful provision. But it also challenges us in Christ Jesus to stop and ponder about sharing God’s gifts in a rather better way.

 

Ian Cardinal

26th September 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

SERVICE SHEETS, BOOKS AND HYMNBOOKS. We do wish to be careful about this and will ask you to return them to a table at the rear of Church, rather than sidespeople putting them away immediately.

 

COACH TO REV’D ALISON’S INDUCTION -GNOSALL – October 6th.  We hope to run a coach for transport. The cost will be a maximum of around £8 per head, possibly less, depending on the numbers wanting to go. See Nichola Abbott 814134

 

Are they “one of us”? That’s the question that haunts our generation. Whether it’s about the fashion of the day, something to do with which political party you support, even down to where you live, what type of car you drive and all the rest of the nonsense. It’s even been true of Stone within our lifetimes: are you a “top ender” or a “bottom ender”? We are all required to “fit in” with the people around us – and woe betides you, if you don’t!

What do you think Jesus might say to all these things? Today’s gospel should make us think hard. When the Disciples found somebody taking Jesus’s name, their immediate reaction was to say that he shouldn’t do so – he wasn’t “one of us”. No doubt they thought that the Lord would pat them on the head and say “Well done.” But if that was so, they were in for a bit of a shock! Jesus told them that the reverse was true in God’s Kingdom. Anybody working in Jesus’s name was welcome and should be commended

We have lived for years with the silly notion that we know the whole truth of Christian faith and that everybody else is, by definition, wrong. There’s an awful story about an early 20th Century Bishop of London being asked to address a gathering of thousands of children across London in a Baptist Sunday school: the answer was no, because it would be to countenance a division in Christ’s Church. How terribly sad

The Apostle Paul sked the Philippians to “make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in the Spirit.” We live in a world that loves division – but the love of our Father in heaven sends us down a very different road

 

Ian Cardinal

19th September 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

SERVICE SHEETS, BOOKS AND HYMNBOOKS. We do wish to be careful about this and will ask you to return them to a table at the rear of Church, rather than sidespeople putting them away immediately.

 

AFGHAN REFUGEE DONATIONSThank you for the enthusiastic response, but the centre is rather overwhelmed right now. Please could you hold on to donations and give them in a week or so

 

HARVEST SUPPER Aston Village Hall on October 2nd.  This will be a “bring and share” event – list to sign at the back of church.  The Speaker will be the Rev’d Jim Cartlidge

 

COACH TO REV’D ALISON’S INDUCTION -GNOSALL – October 6th.  We hope to run a coach for transport. If you would like to go, please speak to Nichola Abbott who will cost this out

 

There’ s a (sadly true) story of a Church where the Church Council started to fall out with their clergyman. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, the truth is that they didn’t treat him very well and eventually summoned him to a meeting, where they gave him a very big dressing down. “You must remember that you are our servant!” they said.  The Young man paused for a while and then quietly replied. “Yes, I am here to serve you – but that does not make you my masters”

“Who’s the greatest?” – That’s the question that comes from this week’s gospel. To the disciples it was something to do with status and power – and that’s always the way our world works still. But Jesus challenges his followers right to this day. True greatness in God’s eyes is not about riches and the rest. True greatness lies in the way that we serve each other. The sooner we learn this, the more contented we shall be

 

Ian Cardinal

12th September 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

SERVICE SHEETS, BOOKS AND HYMNBOOKS. We do wish to be careful about this and will ask you to return them to a table at the rear of Church, rather than sidespeople putting them away immediately.

 

5th September 2021

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

TWO MORE COVID RESTRICTIONS RELEASEDFrom this Sunday we shall revert to using service sheets, books and hymnbooks. We do wish to be careful about this and will ask you to return them to a table at the rear of Church, rather than sidespeople putting them away immediately.

We do not yet feel it safe to withdraw other measures and, particularly note that “the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others.”

 

Some of you may remember the 1966 song by The Kinks – “dedicated follower of fashion. It rather lampooned the 1960s cult of high fashion, and deservedly so. But nothing very much has changed, has it? So many people still rush to follow the latest trend. Woe betide anyone who isn’t “in” with the crowd, still in 2021

So who’s “in” and who’s “out”? In a rather different way that’s a question in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. By Mark 7, Jesus is already in trouble with the religious leaders and he’s gone off to areas of the country that are definitely “out”. People who lived there were not ethnic Jews – and to the people of that time, it would be unheard of to associate with them – it would make you ritually “unclean”

Jesus, of course, doesn’t concede anything – and he breaks all the rules of polite society by conducting two healings of people who were definitely not acceptable! By so doing he proclaims and lives a gospel for the outsiders. Just as he welcomes the tax gatherers and sinners, he goes to the people who need him. And all who do so are welcomed into his Kingdom.

Church is not just for the people who wear the right clothes or even speak in the right way. To follow Jesus you don’t have to be a “dedicated follower of fashion” – rather the reverse! 

 

Ian Cardinal

26th August 2021

St Michael & St Wulfad Church, Stone

and St Saviour Church, Aston

29 August 2021

 

 

15th August 2021

St Michael & St Wulfad Church, Stone

and St Saviour Church, Aston

15 August 2021

Festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary