Thought for the Week: Cairns
A few weeks ago I wrote describing the rainbows our children had drawn all over pavements and walls and how this might be pointing us towards something about God. Well, the adults of Whitley Bay are being very creative too!
If you walk down onto the beach beyond the Briar Dene you will see an incredible sight – there’s a whole sea of cairns sitting at the top of the beach. Not only that, you’ll see messages to family members, memorials of celebrations and, sometimes, people sitting among the stones in quiet reflection. What on earth is going on?
Cairns have long been used by humans to mark trails, show borders or indicate graves. There seems to be something in the human psyche which is moved to leave messages for those who come after us. It was no different for earlier civilisations either. In fact, the Old Testament has a number of examples, too.
In the book of Joshua, chapters 3 and 4 tell us of the final stage of Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. God parts the waters of the Jordan (the same as the Red Sea) so the children of Israel can walk on dry ground into their new home. The Lord then asks that a cairn is built where they crossed the river, using 12 stones from the river bed. This cairn will act as a memorial to this event and as a sign of all that God had accomplished for God’s people.
So what about the cairns on Whitley Bay beach? I wonder if there’s an element of memorial in them, too. We want to remember this time of lockdown so that we never again re-create the events which produced this one. Perhaps the cairns are to act as reminder to us to protect the Earth, to be good stewards of God’s creation and to pay attention to the consequences of our actions.
God seems to be working really hard to get our attention at the moment!
Rev'd Clare Connors
Ascension to Pentecost
There will be a short times of prayer online every day on our website between Ascension Day and Pentecost (21st May to 31st May) to mark Thy Kingdom Come – a time when all Christians are invited to pray for a renewed sense of the Holy Spirit and for a deepening of faith. We will also be posting the links on our Facebook Page
The prayer resources for Thy Kingdom Come are available on our website – click on Church at Home and scroll down to Thy Kingdom Come. We invite you to pray with us by following along with a new post each day from midday between Ascension Day and Pentecost.
Pentecost Pub Quiz
There is to be a Pentecostal Pub Quiz via Zoom on Sunday 31st May at 8pm. Visit the Events page on our website and you can RSVP and register for this. https://www.stmarysmonkseaton.org.uk/events
Pentecost Service on Sunday 31st May
For our Pentecost online service we’d like to encourage you all to make a video or audio file saying “Fill us with your Spirit”. This could be of course recorded in English but we’d love it if it was also recorded in another language too! The recordings can be sent to Ben via WhatsApp on 07972 717 783 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For Pentecost perhaps you’d like to display the dove and flame pictures (below) in your window as we did with crosses on Palm Sunday. These could be cut and decorated or left as they are.
Congratulations Margaret Evans
Margaret Evans has been recommended for training as a Reader starting in September and Margaret will be a great asset to our Staff Team here at St Mary’s. Congratulations Margaret from all at St Mary’s.
Our Online Coffee Morning is a success, and we will be keeping it going. It was wonderful to welcome Margaret Pettitt in Windsor to our ‘coffee morning’ and to also see Derek and Marian for the first time - so do join us online between 10:30am and 11:15am on Tuesdays.
Go to ‘Events’ on our website: stmarysmonkseaton.org.uk/events to RSVP and get a link to join via Zoom. You would need to click on RSVP and enter you name and email address and click on ‘submit’. An email is then sent to you with a link to the Coffee Morning. If you haven’t already got Zoom, you can get it for free on your computer, tablet or phone. You could download it now from https://zoom.us.
Restrictions on the use of church buildings have been nationally reviewed and we are now able to carry out maintenance visits etc but public worship is still not to be allowed. Only one or two people per week are permitted to enter at present. We are now able to ring the church bell and this will be done on Thursdays at 8pm.
Because they've had to cease direct contact with service users, our colleagues at ‘Walking With’ have for the time being closed their centre in Wallsend and are unable to accept food or clothing donations
As an alternative way of supporting their refugee and asylum seeker clients, ‘Walking With’ are using financial donations to purchase and donate Tesco vouchers for food and essentials while the lockdown continues. They've spent nearly £2000 to date on vouchers, and will need to purchase more to continue the much needed support for their clients and their families.
Donations will be welcomed, preferably by electronic transfer, or cheques payable to 'Walking With North Tyneside'. If you can gift aid please let them know. They will need your details.
Unity Trust Bank/ Customer: Walking With/ Account: 20160878/ Sort Code: 60-83-01
Walking With in North Tyneside, Hugh Street, Wallsend, NE28 6RL
New Daily Hope Phone Line
“Daily Hope” offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. The line – which is available FREE, 24 hours a day on
0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind. You can select options to listen to Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer updated daily, and a recording of the Church of England weekly national online service. A section called ‘Hymn Line’ offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled ‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection.
There’s a webpage with ideas for volunteering during Covid-19, which will be continually updated with new information. https://www.newcastle.anglican.org/Generosity/Covid-19/volunteering/
Two NEW ways to volunteer are:
Age UK – Call in Time is a free telephone friendship service for people 60 and over. You are matched up with a likeminded person who's keen to make a new friend, and every week they'll give you a call. Not having someone to talk to regularly can be lonely, particularly if you're used to sharing your home and time with others. A friendly, 30-minute chat on the phone every week can make all the difference.
Age UK – Become a Digital Buddy
Gift Aid and Planned Giving
Please contact Rosie Tate if you would like a Gift Aid statement regarding the tax year just ended, or if you have any questions regarding Planned Giving during lockdown. (email@example.com; Tel: 297 0869).
Recognising how impactful the coronavirus and isolation can be to our mental health, The Church of England has provided some mental health resources, including tips for dealing with loneliness, daily reflections on various issues, and links to support providers. You can access the resources here:
We send our best wishes to Gwen and Peter Branton who now have a new baby grandson Noah John. Love and congratulations to all the family from everyone at St Mary’s.
Your Prayers are requested for
Rest in Peace
David Thomas William Irvin
Sebastian (Stan) Cuomo (Anniversary)
Eric Peel (Anniversary)
Don’t forget, you can still add someone to the list by emailing or phoning as usual, but you need to get their permission before adding them to the sick list.
Do let us know if you or others are celebrating any special event or anniversary so that we can put this news into our future email letters. You can do this by leaving a message on the church office answerphone 0191 251 4216 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org