WHAT'S IN THIS WEEK
Words for this Sunday's Hymns & Readings >
Worship with us:
Our Sunday Service of Holy Communion is online for the majority of people; only those people with specific ministries essential for worship are able to attend in person.
We are open for Morning Prayer on a Wednesday at 9am, staying open for private prayer until midday.
Whilst nowhere can guarantee 100% safety, we have a thorough risk assessment for this and all activity in church.
Join us in worship! Head to our YouTube Channel to join us Live at 10am on Sunday, and access other videos. You can do that by clicking or tapping on this link:
Join us afterwards! We meet up after the service at 11am. After the live service, grab a coffee and click or tap on the link below to join us on Zoom:
NEW THIS WEEK
The PCC met on 24th February to discuss the implications of the recent roadmap for easing lockdown. A wide range of views were expressed by all members of the PCC, and a decision was reached—unanimously—to offer more opportunities for prayer in church throughout Passiontide, and to re-open for public worship on Easter Day. Discussions took into account the balance of transmission risks, with the desire to return to worshipping together confidently, once and for all.
Easter, the celebration of life conquering death is the most significant time of the year for Christians, and the return to worship on Easter Day will bring with it the additional celebration of the permanent restoration of our public worship. Even then, social distancing measures will still be in place, but a return to normality is ever closer. Thanks be to God.
Funeral of John Cure RIP
We were sorry to announce the death of a faithful member of our congregation, John Cure, who died on the 16th February. John’s funeral is on Monday 1st March at 1.30pm in church followed by cremation at Whitley Bay Crematorium at 2.15pm. Due to the current guidelines there is a limit on how many can attend the service so places must be reserved. There are a few spaces available for friends on a first-come-first-served basis. Please get in touch with the Office if you would like to reserve a place.
The service will be live streamed on our YouTube Channel (or follow the link below).
Judith, Robert and Suzanne would like to send heartfelt thanks for all the cards, support and prayers over the past few weeks.
Ann Hallatt RIP
It is with sadness we announce the death of Ann Hallatt on Tuesday 22nd February. Our love and prayers are sent to John and all the family.
Planned Giving - A Big Thank You!!
Following my letter to everyone about our financial contributions to St Mary's I am extremely grateful for the donations of £1510 that we have received from our congregation. These are very welcome, particularly at this time which is so challenging for everyone. There has been a small increase in the regular giving at our church and again, thank you to everyone who has been able to make this change at this time. If you are still considering an increase in your planned giving, please contact Rosie Tate.
We have recently received a certificate and a letter of thanks from the Bishop and the Diocesan Secretary for paying our 2020 Parish Share request in full and donating a small amount more than requested. This is an act of real generosity as we support churches and congregations in our lower income communities and throughout the diocese during the pandemic. Revd Canon Rachel Wood
Dave Haddock Plants
This year, Dave is continuing with his plant sales, with a third of the money going towards St Mary’s. Now is the time to be thinking about spring and summer plants. There are many new additions to the catalogue including Lawn Turf as well as Insect hotels, Hedgehog House, Log Stores, Bird Boxes and Bat Nesting Boxes! So do go over and have a look! Don't forget to mention St Mary's when you order!
Thought for the Week - Happy God
There’s a kind of anti-Lent movement going on within me at the moment. We’ve given up so much during 2020 and into 2021, how much more penance do we need to do? My courage failed me, of course, and I never did get round to writing that letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury to suggest this, but it did get me thinking about how we might make Lent a pleasure rather than a chore for ourselves.
Reading books is one of my greatest pleasures. I have full bookcases all over the house. Not only that, but each section of books represents a part of my life. The university books, the moving into my first home books, the early part of having ME books are all there on the shelves for me to pick up whenever I want. They’re like groups of old friends. So, my pleasure for Lent this year was going to be to re-read some of these old friends, to put my feet up and luxuriate in memories from the good (and not so good) old days.
The Holy Spirit, however, has had other ideas! The very first book I headed for was ‘A Revelation of Divine Love’ by Julian of Norwich. She wrote this in 1373 after she’d had a serious illness during which she’d had visions of Jesus who spent hours talking to her. It’s a beautiful, comforting description of how we are ‘enfolded’ in God’s love and usually it fills me with peace and comfort. But this time, as I went to pick up the book, it fell off the shelf and lay on the floor opened at Chapter 41 so I started to read there.
In this chapter, Julian shares that Jesus tells us how much God longs for us to hear from us and how happy our prayer makes God. Even though we may feel nothing, even if we are ‘dry and empty, sick and weak’ and we feel we cannot pray, our prayers still please God. God wants us to pray, waits for us to pray because as we pray, he forms us into what he wants us to be.
As I read this it struck me how God waits to hear from us like our families have been waiting for us, and we for them, during the pandemic; wanting us to be there in person to spend time with them; wanting us to chat about everything and nothing; making us happy, just by their very presence. I thought about how very easy it is to forget this when it comes to God. We can make God happy, just by being there with him.
So, I have given up something for Lent, after all. I’ve given up being annoyed when I struggle to pray. I’ve given up any thoughts that prayer should feel a certain way and that it should be of a certain standard for God to find it acceptable. I’ve given up any hopes that I should get ‘better’ at it. Instead, I just show up and trust that this makes God happy.
As my day begins, be my light.
As my day progresses, be my purpose.
As my day ends, be my comfort. (Lindisfarne Scriptorium)
DIARY & REMINDERS
St Mary’s Church Diary - meetings via ZOOM!
Sunday 28th February 11.30am St Mary's Concert Series meeting
Sunday 28th February 4pm Lent Course
Wednesday 3rd March 7.30pm Standing Committee
Thursday 4th March 7.30pm Service Planning Group (SPG)
You could still join in the Lent Course from this Sunday on Zoom at 4pm, so if you didn't get round to joining in last Sunday do contact the office and we'll sign you up!
Remember you can always look through previous weeks' notices. Whether you're looking for charity links, Dave's plant catalogue, the link to Derek's book, or an old prayer list... they're all there. All the notices we've produced since they went online are available by clicking the "Notices" tab at the top of the page, or here:
For your prayers this week:
Your Prayers are requested for
Alan and Margaret Stears
Rest in Peace
Don’t forget, you can add someone to the prayer list by emailing or phoning as usual, but you need to get their permission before adding them to the sick list. You can also use the form on the website here to submit a prayer request online.
This Sunday's Hymns & Readings
Remember that News and notices from previous weeks are all available to read by clicking "notices" at the top of the page. Sign up below to receive our weekly email by joining our mailing list.