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20th March 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

PATHWAYS OF PRAYER this Wednesday at 7pm via Zoom. This week – Augustinian patterns of prayer. To join:

•           Phone this numbers:  0131 460 1196 or 0203 481 5237

•           enter the meeting ID on your telephone keypad 871 1835 9468

•           you will be asked for a participant number - just enter #

•           enter the password which is 784381

or join online via ‘Zoom’ link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87118359468?pwd=QjRlY2VhTWlVNWxucUxmZGNlL0IwZz09

 

HELP FOR UKRAINEThe lists are at the back of Church. Carl Hartley has helped to arrange goods from the back of St M&W Church to a depot nearby Dunelm, Greyfriars, Stafford

 

PRAYER VIGILS (An hour of quiet prayer) are being held at Christ Church on Tuesday, St Dominic’s on Wednesday and St Michael & St Wulfad on Thursday – all 6.30pm – 7.30pm. All welcome for as long as you wish

 

MAUNDY THURSDAY IN THE CATHEDRAL:  The Chrism Eucharist. A list to sign if you wish to go with us is at the rear of Church

We live in a society that loves to make rash judgements. – “so and so deserved that” – “serves them right!” etc. Jesus reminds us in this Sunday’s Gospel not to make rash judgements.. When people say things like “their sin has found that out” Jesus simply reminds us that all of us need a better conscience than we have. Just like the parable of the fig tree that he goes on to quote, we are all called to be fruitful Christians, with lives that show a little of God’s love and glory. Perhaps the events in Ukraine should remind us all that ultimately all of us are in need of God’s mercy 

13th March 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

 

PATHWAYS OF PRAYER this Wednesday at 7pm via Zoom. This week – Practising the Presence

Members of the Ministry Team will be giving a short talk and enabling discussion and participation in different methods of praying. The meetings will be on Wednesday evenings, starting at 7pm March 9th.  Do join us for, what I hope will be, a stimulating session

To join:

•           Phone this numbers:  0131 460 1196 or 0203 481 5237

•           enter the meeting ID on your telephone keypad 871 1835 9468

•           you will be asked for a participant number - just enter #

•           enter the password which is 784381

 

or join online via ‘Zoom’ link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87118359468?pwd=QjRlY2VhTWlVNWxucUxmZGNlL0IwZz09

 

HELP FOR UKRAINEThe lists are at the back of Church. Carl Hartley has helped to arrange goods from the back of St M&W Church to Barnados in Longton. If you wish to donate money then you can do so via

https://donate.redcross.org.uk/ukraine/donate

or the Disasters Emergency Committee https://www.oxfam.org.uk/oxfam-in-action/current-emergencies/ukraine-crisis-appeal

 

PRAYER VIGILS (An hour of quiet prayer) are being held at Christ Church on Tuesday, St Dominic’s on Wednesday and St Michael & St Wulfad on Thursday – all 6.30pm – 7.30pm. All welcome for as long as you wish

 

MAUNDY THURSDAY IN THE CATHEDRAL:  A welcome return to this service. Please ask Wardens or Clergy if you would like to go

6th March 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

 

PATHWAYS OF PRAYERStarting this Wednesday at 7pm via Zoom. This week – Contemplative Prayer

Members of the Ministry Team will be giving a short talk and enabling discussion and participation in different methods of praying. The meetings will be on Wednesday evenings, starting at 7pm March 9th.  Do join us for, what I hope will be, a stimulating session

To join:

•           Phone this numbers:  0131 460 1196 or 0203 481 5237

•           enter the meeting ID on your telephone keypad 871 1835 9468

•           you will be asked for a participant number - just enter #

•           enter the password which is 784381

 

or join online via ‘Zoom’ link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87118359468?pwd=QjRlY2VhTWlVNWxucUxmZGNlL0IwZz09

 

HELP FOR UKRAINEThe Polish White Ealge Club in Riverway, Stafford  is open for the following items between 7pm and 9pm until at least Tuesday 8th, collecting

Blankets and bedding    Baby items

Towels                         New and nearly new Baby clothes

Bottled water                Duvets

Soap                            Calpol

Toothpaste                   Formula

New socks                   New pants

Feminine items             Toiletries

Plasters                        medical items

Coats                           Non-perishable/dry goods          baby food

If you wish to donate money then you can do so via

https://donate.redcross.org.uk/ukraine/donate

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

30th January 2022

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

“But what is it for?” I imagine we have all had things like that – perhaps a gift, or something that we have seen in a shop. I remember particularly being given a new kind of device for removing corks from wine bottles that was given to my parents. Admittedly my Father was not the most practical person in the world, but nonetheless, we never did get it to work

This Sunday’s readings involve the Temple. Originally it was King David’s idea, although he never built it. It was his Son, King Solomon that made it one of the wonders of the ancient world. Even allowing for Old Testament measurements not being exact, it must have been a massive place. The idea was that it was there for the glory of God – and, indeed, a central place for all the tribes of Israel to come and worship

All very well and good, but two things went wrong. One was that the Kingdom split into two and the Northern Tribes ended up with a place of their own; the other was that the people began to think of the Temple as a totem pole. Nothing bad would ever come of them, because they had the Temple “where God lived” in their midst. In effect, it didn’t matter how they behaved, because God would not – could not – desert them

So the Temple came to grief – and was sacked by invaders. When the people came back to Jerusalem they rebuilt the Temple. But this Temple was not so grand – and it never quite had the same feeling as the former one. It was almost as it were waiting for the glory and the presence of the Lord to return.

One day he did! But not as they expected. This time, instead of a cloud of glory, he came as a tiny infant, brought by poor parents, in on the 40th day of his life. Unsurprisingly very few people noticed what was happening – but the truth was that this Temple was finally fulfilled – indeed, completed – by the presence of God

So perhaps the question for us this week is – are you fulfilled? Has your life been what it ought to have been? What are you for? Because God our Father has a design for you, too. It may not be what you wanted – and certainly not what you expected! But there again – our God is the God of surprises – and loves us dearly

 

Ian Cardinal

23rd January 2022

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

And so, once again, we pray for Christian Unity. But I wonder what you make of the whole concept? In recent years we have seen the USSR break up, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Sudan and other counties break into constituent parts – and we, as a Nation, have gone through Brexit from the EU. Mrs Thatcher once spoke scathingly about places that were artificial constructs: but our own nation is just the same – and the pressure remains for Scotland and even Wales and Ireland to become totally independent of Westminster!

But Jesus prayed that Christians should be one body! It would be nice to pretend that Christians were immune from the sin of so much schism – but of course, it would be totally untrue. From the great arguments that beset the earliest church, the truth is that we have pretended, all too often, that we know best; that we have it perfectly right in our own church; that we are therefore superior to any other kind of Christian faith

“The Church is a community of sinners and not a community of saints” – that’s a well-worn saying and remains as true today as in any other age. The fact is that we can get things wrong – and we would be foolish not to admit that both clergy and laity down the ages have been guilty of using the Church as their own personal power base. But there is also another underlying truth: however sinful and muddled the church may be, there are always some true saints amongst us. Each of these has pointed, down the years, to an ultimate truth. That truth is this – the nearer we are to Christ on the Cross, the nearer we are to each other. When the Church is at its most godly, it shines with the light of God’s kingdom. That light draws us all more and more closely together into God’s Kingdom

Maybe we will not see the Church reunited as it was intended to be, certainly not in a formal single living entity. Maybe, in some ways, that will not matter. What will matter is that we pray for and love one another, as Christ has loved us. This Sunday evening we are asked to pray together for that united witness in a broken, divided and decaying world

 

Ian Cardinal

15th January 2022

The Parish Churches of

St Michael & St Wulfad, Stone, with

St Saviour Aston by Stone

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

We are in ordinary time, but these few weeks after Christmas are a “season of epiphanies”. Last week in the Gospel we went to a Baptism. This week, we are attending a wedding! Being shown another dimension in our relationship with God. If we are sons and daughters of God, it is because we have married into the family.

The Bible actually begins and ends with a Wedding . It starts with the wedding of Adam and Eve in the Garden and finishes with the marriage supper of the Lamb. Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the covenant relationship God desires with his chosen people.

When Israel breaks the Covenant she is compare to an unfaithful spouse. But God promises to take her back, to “espouse”her to Him for ever in an Everlasting Covenant.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus performs his first public “sign” at a wedding feast.

Jesus is the Divine Bridegroom calling us to his royal Wedding Feast. By his New Covenant He will become “one flesh” with all humanity in the church.

By our Baptism each of us has been betrothed to Christ as a bride to her husband. The new wine that Jesus pours out at today’s feast is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to his Bride and body. The “Salvation” announced to the families of nations.

 

Nichola Abbott