Weekly News

 

Weekly News for Sunday March 29th
Fifth Sunday of Lent: Passion Sunday
The Church remains closed until further notice. Now that we are all in lock-down, it is even more important to maintain strong communications links. We are all urged to keep in touch with each other, preferably by phone. The website and Facebook page will be regularly updated, and Bob and Grace are, as ever, always available.

Here are some of the elements of this Sunday’s service, for us to share together.

The Peace of the Lord be always with you.


The Collect for Sunday, March 29th ,Passion Sunday
Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Readings
Old Testament
: Ezekiel 37: 1-14; Epistle: Romans 8: 6-11; Gospel: John 11: 1-45
Psalm 130
1.Out of the depths I have called to you Lord
Lord hear my voice.
2.Hear my pleading with compassion.
If you Lord were to keep account of what we do wrong
who then could stand.
3.But there is forgiveness with you
therefore you are revered.
4.I wait with longing for the Lord
my hope is in his word.
5.I wait for the Lord more eagerly than watchmen for the morning
more indeed than watchmen for the morning.
6.Let Israel look for the Lord
for with the Lord there is mercy.
7.With him there is unfailing love
and he will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be forever. Amen

Kyrie

Lord, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy,
Lord have mercy

Hymns:
394: Lift high the cross
535: O sacred head sore wounded
195: From heaven you came…The Servant King
378: Lead kindly light
539: O the love of my Lord
For our prayers:
RIP: It is with great sadness that we learn that Rob Dick has died. Our love and prayers go out to Lesley and the family.
May the souls of the faithful, by the mercy of God, rest in peace, and rise in glory.
In Hospital: Tony Bacon and Michael Orde
Coronavirus:, all who are suffering from it, worrying about catching it, treating it, and researching it, and all who are working to keep us safe, and keep us fed.
Those whose Anniversaries of Death fall at this time, including William Gillis, Annie Brooks, James Piercy, Norman Keith, Brian Coulson, and all who mourn them.

Reflection
SOCIALLY DISTANT, SPIRITUALLY CLOSE.
This Sunday is sometimes known as Passion Sunday. The readings however talk about people being raised to new life.
I love the Ezekiel reading and of course it is very well known. The prophet talks about an encounter with God. Led by the Spirit, he is shown a valley of old dry bones. The question is asked, “Can these dry bones live”?  The obvious answer is “no”. However, God has different plans. He says “breathe into these bones”, and as he does, they begin to join together. There have been many cartoons showing this, and of course songs. (When you have a minute, try to work out all the songs, especially “Dem Bones”) The breathing and the prophesying continue, and new life is formed from the dried-up bones.
In the Gospel, Jesus comes to his old friend Lazarus. We know that Jesus and Lazarus were very close. Jesus often stayed there with the sisters Martha and Mary. He of course was saddened by the death of his pal and after a discussion with Martha and Mary about faith and belief, that great miracle of the raising of Lazarus takes place. It is interesting that the other person in this little scenario is Thomas who doubted later on after the resurrection of Jesus. 
So, my friends, these two stories I think are very relevant for us in 2020 as we face Lock Down, Corona Virus and a change to life and, dare I say, freedom as we know it.
The thing that strikes me is the hope in both of these stories. The main players listen to God and take action. The word that sticks out for me is the word “Breath”. He breathed on the bones and they came to life. I wonder if we give enough attention to breath and breathing. Most of the time it is quiet, gentle and automatic.  We hardly know it is happening, then suddenly it can all change, and, in a way, breath can be strong and powerful. The new breath brings life and energy and hope and a vision for the future. We don’t know much about what happened to Lazarus after his new life started but we do know there was joy and celebration.
I guess we all have experienced a breath of fresh air or new breath at times in our lives. There are times, and we may be in them now, when our bones and our beings feel dry and withered. A hard place to be and then something, a ray of hope or a breath of fresh air, appears, and we begin (sometimes) to feel new again, liberated and free.
We can be the purveyors of that breath. We can listen and respond to the needs around us and in our own way breathe new life into situations. This does not mean everything gets better, but it does show that through our gentle actions, expressions of care and love we can breathe and share God’s love into what can appear to be a very dry and withered situation. 
This week let’s keep talking, phoning, messengering, praying, and most of all breathing that new life which is the power of God’s love.These are not easy times but together we will get through them. We will return different, bruised and changed, but like Lazarus, the old bones will have new life.
With my love to you all
Bob

Closing prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do also for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever, Amen

So, let us all go in peace to love and serve the Lord, wherever and however we can.
In the name of Christ. Amen

 

Weekly News Extra for Wednesday March 25th
The Feast of the Annunciation
We would not normally be preparing a separate news sheet for Wednesdays, but t
his reflection has been written by Grace to celebrate The Feast of the Annunciation.
The Peace of the Lord be always with you.
The Collect
We beseech you, O Lord, pour your grace into our hearts, that as we have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.Amen
The Gospel
Luke 1.26-38 (New Revised Standard Version)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’
But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’
Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.
And now, your relative in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’
Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

 Reflection: Choices
Reflecting on this reading I was struck by two choices made. Firstly, that Mary, a feisty teenage girl who lived in the traditional Jewish village of Nazareth was chosen by God to carry his Son, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world; and secondly, that Mary chose to agree, to say ‘yes’, that she was willing to be the mother of God’s Son.
I love the words used by The Message Bible when the Angel Gabriel first met Mary, when he came as God’s messenger and startled her. Words that expressed God’s heart, God’s love for her. “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty. Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”
In November 2018 I sat in one of the churches of the Annunciation in Nazareth trying to imagine what Mary must have felt like when the angel appeared and spoke these words to her – his tone of voice, the expression in his eyes. His voice clearly must have been gentle and tender, and his eyes soft and kind to put her at her ease; to reassure her that she was not going to be harmed in any way.
And then a declaration that must have hit her like a bombshell – “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
How on earth did she process such a pronouncement? I wonder what came into her mind – pregnant with God’s Son while unmarried – the scandal, the tittle-tattle in her village. And what about her betrothed, Joseph’s reaction?
Mary knew her ‘family’ story, the history of her ancestors, the Hebrew people. She was well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures and knew the ways in which God had been speaking and working amongst his people in previous centuries. She knew the promises given – that a Messiah would come. That he would be the Saviour of the world. Not from a distance but Immanuel, God with us – right here with us, in amongst the pain and suffering, the mess and chaos, the fear and uncertainty.
And so she chose to say ‘yes’ to the angel. To say ‘yes’ to God. I will do it whatever the cost was her response. She loved her God and was willing to lay her life on the line for him.
At Christmas we sing these words, “O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.” The challenge for me when I sing that carol is ‘Am I willing to say ‘yes’ to God, to ask that Jesus is born in me today?’ Am I willing, like Mary to carry Christ, God’s Son, the Saviour of the world, whatever the cost?’
How our beautiful world needs a Saviour right now. If we choose to say ‘yes’ to being a Christ-carrier then we can take that Saviour with us wherever we go – the Saviour who shines light into the darkness, who gently wipes away our tears, gives hope where there’s despair, binds up our wounds, and who loves us with an immeasurable love.
With my love and prayers, Grace 

Let us pray:
God most high, whose handmaid bore the Word made flesh: we thank you that in this sacrament of our redemption you visit us with your Holy Spirit and overshadow us by your power; strengthen us to walk with Mary the joyful path of obedience and so to bring forth the fruits of holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, wherever and however you can.
In the name of Christ Amen

Additionally, all Christians are asked to say The Lord’s Prayer together at 11am today, Wednesday March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation

Weekly News for Sunday March 22nd
Fourth Sunday of Lent. Mothering Sunday

It is with great sadness that the decision has been taken to close the Church until further notice, due to the Coronavirus restrictions. However, we feel it important to maintain strong communications links and to this end, the Weekly News and Service Sheet has been revised, and you will find herewith some elements of the service which we can all share together. In addition, we are all urged to keep in touch with each other, preferably by phone. The website and Facebook page will be regularly updated, and Bob and Grace will maintain a prayerful presence in Church, and are, as ever, always available.

The Peace of the Lord be always with you.

The Collect for Sunday, March 22nd, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Mothering Sunday

God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself: strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Readings
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 1: 20-28; Epistle:2 Corinthians 1: 3-7; Gospel:Luke 2: 33-35

Psalm 127 v 1-4
1. Unless the Lord builds the house;
their labour is but lost that build it.
2. Unless the Lord keeps the city;
the watchmen watch in vain.
3. It is in vain that you rise up early and go so late to rest eating the bread of toil;
for the Lord bestows honour | and on | those whom he | loves.
4. Behold children are a heritage from the Lord;
and the fruit of the womb is his gift.
~Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. Amen

Kyrie
Lord, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy,
Lord have mercy


For our prayers:
In Hospital: Tony Bacon
Those whose Anniversaries of Death fall at this time: Thomas Robertson, John Cottrell, Agnes Forbes, Esme Margerison, Louis Patmore, Donald Beesant, and all who mourn them.

A Reflection from Grace for Mothering Sunday.
Based on today’s Gospel:Luke 2.33-35:
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:“This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed, so that the inner thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Joy and Pain
For many years on the farm, around this time of year we lambed eight hundred sheep. It was a 24/7 job. The days ran into each other. We grabbed sleep while we could with a rota for nights. And food was always a priority. In the evenings our girls, Keith and I, equipped with our torches went out into the fields around the farm-steading, often in the pouring rain or face-stinging sleet, to mother-up the ewes and their newly-born lambs. Quite a difficult task in a field of forty to fifty sheep and their offspring. Lambs being lambs often couldn’t find their Mums after jumping and tumbling with their mates throughout the day and so there was lots of anxious bleating as the ewes tried to find their vulnerable little ones and settle down for the night. Their natural instinct was to have their lambs snuggled up close; to keep them safe.

Having witnessed that inbuilt desire of a mother to protect her young I wonder how Mary must have felt as she listened to the words of Simeon the priest when she and Joseph brought Jesus, their beautiful baby boy to be presented to God in the temple, as required by Jewish law. “This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others…and a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Confusing, sobering words to a mother. Words that disturbed and instilled fear, and a sense of foreboding. On hearing them I’m sure Mary must have wrapped her arms more tightly around her precious child. Because we have the Bible we know what Simeon meant – this baby with all that his life promised ended in seeming defeat at Calvary. As his mother stood and watched at the foot of the cross that sword did pierce her soul – pain and agony filled her being; she was powerless – she couldn’t protect her beloved son – the situation was out of her control.

I’m sure we can relate in some way to how Mary felt in that feeling of powerlessness as we try to protect those who are most vulnerable in our families and our community as the world fights coronavirus. We are in uncharted territory. What does the future hold? Where will it all end?

Isaiah 40 verse 11 tells us that the Sovereign Lord “will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart.” If we’re honest we’re all feeling vulnerable right now, just like those little lambs we mothered-up on the farm. Maybe reassurance, strength, comfort and hope are to be found in being carried in God’s arms, mothered, held close to God’s heart. A safe and calming place to be in the midst of the storm.

With my love and prayers, Grace

So, let us all go in peace to love and serve the Lord, wherever and however we can.
In the name of Christ. Amen

       

 

 

 

Statutory Accounts

The Accounts for the year ending 30 September 2019 were presented to the Constituent Members of the Congregation at the Annual General Meeting held on Sunday December 15th 2019 at 1130am in St. Andrew’s Church.

Click these links to the full accounts and a summary:

http://standrewskelso.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Summary-report-Stats-18-19-v3-AH191124.docx

http://standrewskelso.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/St-Andrews-Episcopal-Church-signed-Statutory-Accounts-18-19-AH191122.pdf

What people say….

“My friend and I went to the 10am Holy Communion on Sunday 10 March 2019. We were on holiday and wanted to attend an Episcopalian Church. The service was delightful. I suspect that the congregation all knew each other but there was no sense of being outsiders. Both officiating clergy made a point of welcoming us and used our names during the sharing of the bread and wine. The sermon was thought-provoking with a smidgeon of humour to leaven the message. The hymns were traditional which we tend to prefer. The church building (Victorian) is also worth seeing with some attractive decoration and windows. We were on holiday but were we to live in Kelso, I don’t think we would seek further for a regular Place of Worship”

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