jump to navigation

Ruth Pyke’s article in the August Diary July 24, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
add a comment

Eva Kor, a survivor of Auschwitz, died recently at the age of 85. She and her twin sister had been subjected to terrible medical experiments conducted on them at the hands of the Nazis. Even when she was made ill she clung to life in order to save her twin sister from being killed in the name of further experiments. It is a powerful story.

But more powerful still was her lifelong determination to forgive – to allow herself the inner healing which this brings.

Anti-Semitism has resurfaced in our mainstream news and racial tension is never far away in our contemporary world. We are aware of the current plight of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Eva Kor’s programme of forgiveness and education will never exonerate the evils which men and women can inflict upon each other, but they do show us a way to rebuild society in the wake of such horror. The book of Deuteronomy shared by both Jews and Christians reminds us that God “is not partial and takes no bribe, he executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing.” And if this is God’s way of welcome then it is expected of his people as well. The words follow on, “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10. 17

Barley once played its own small part in welcoming the stranger when The Reverend James Parkes lived in the village, working and campaigning against anti-Semitism, rescuing Jewish refugees and speaking out during the Holocaust. He contributed to the founding of the Council of Christians and Jews and worked for tolerance between those of all faiths and none. Parkes’ work, some of which was pioneered in Barley, formed the foundation for the Parkes Institute, now part of the University of Southampton.

During November an exhibition of the work of James Parkes will be held in Barley Church, courtesy of the Parkes Institute. It will form a focus for our Remembrance Day service with a lecture during the week of the exhibition.

As we look at the world today, whether on the international stage or in our own lives, Eva Kor’s message of the healing we can find through the power of forgiveness, and the willingness to welcome the stranger are powerful reminders of a way forward to build strong and settled communities.

Ruth

Ruth’s sermon on Children and Communion July 23, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in Sermons, Uncategorized.
add a comment

We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

The Christian church began with inclusivity. Quoting from the prophet Joel on the morning of Pentecost, Peter recognised that this extraordinary phenomenon of wind, fire and language was the promised Spirit of God which was meant for everyone- young and old, men and women, slaves and freemen, of every culture and nation.

However, church doctrine has worked itself out, with whatever divisions that have torn it apart in its 2000 year history, it began with inclusivity. All are welcome.

As a benefice we are looking at ways in which this welcome is worked out- through the use of our buildings and the provision that they make for comfort and hospitality; through communication keeping those on the edge included in our news; through invitation to special events.

And this year particularly we are looking at including our children in Communion. Much research has been done into the theology and history of children receiving communion – certainly in the early church whole households were baptised together – the jailer in Acts and also Cornelius’ household. It would seem unlikely that they were excluded from the earliest agape, meals when the early church met to break bread. In some earliest frescoes in the catacombs in Rome there are clear pictures of adults and children gathered around the table sharing in bread and wine. One shows a child reaching out for their share of the food. The first Christians were Jews and children had played a central part in the celebration of Passover and other festivals.

John’s gospel, along with texts from Corinthians and Acts all show how important the breaking of bread and sharing in the Eucharist was, both to bind the church together as well as to incorporate it into Christ’s very body- which is the church.

A family gathered around a meal together both expresses their unity as a family and further strengthens it. The food shared expresses their culture and provides nourishment appropriate for health and growth. As they gather around the table, they learn language, conversation, values and their place in the family.

Indeed, by the 3rd Century Cyprian described infants receiving bread and wine from birth, and Saint Augustine wrote, “They are infants, but they receive His sacraments. They are infants, but they share in His table, in order to have life in themselves. The Apostolic Constitutions of the 4th. century instructed that children should receive communion after the various orders of clergy and before the adults.

Which is where the Eastern Orthodox church remains. Children still receive- in age appropriate ways. From the moment of their baptism wine is administered on a spoon. Their need for Communion and their right to communion is unquestioned.  Their baptism makes them full members of the church.

But as the church divided into East and West the western church began to see baptism, confirmation and communion as separate events. The scarcity and distance of bishops to confirm was a factor along with the Reformation emphasis on understanding and instruction which further divided those who were considered suitable for communion and those who weren’t. The Book of Common Prayer declared that, “ There shall be none admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed or ready and desirous to be confirmed”. This allows anyone wanting to be confirmed to receive before confirmation but it also linked confirmation and communion firmly together- which of course is still important.

By the 19th century confirmation had become the entry point for communion after a period of instruction and understanding and Anglicans accepted this as the norm.

But think back to the Eastern Orthodox and baptism as the beginning of full membership and actually we are the same- baptism admits us to full membership of the church.

Immediately before baptism those present affirm with the infant the faith of the church- it is into the church that we are baptised. Immediately after baptism this prayer is used:

May God, who has received you by baptism

into his Church,

pour upon you the riches of his grace,

that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people

you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit,

and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.

The moment when we share the peace and welcome the newly baptised reminds us of our reading  from Romans which started this sermon, 

We welcome you into the fellowship of faith;

we are children of the same heavenly Father;

we welcome you.

We are all one in Christ Jesus.

We belong to him through faith,

heirs of the promise of the Spirit of peace

And what of the church today in the 21st century. It has always held true to its core beliefs, but it has also changed and adapted as society has changed.

Pentecost was all about change and renewal. It still is. Wind, fire, and language all effect change and enable change- whether we are talking about physics or theology.

The spirit of God living in us enables us to change and renew, to look at the world around us and see families increasingly doing things together, families which are less divided along traditional age and gender roles, places where learning develops through experience.

As a church we have the chance to reflect this year on what it means to be the family of God in this place, what sort of family we are- how we learn, how we encourage others, how we share together. I’m sure you will have many questions – please do ask them either over coffee or at any other time. Write them down or phone me or ask me to visit.

Discuss it with others in your congregations and with your PCC members. There is more to say about the process by which we eventually make the decision whether or not to apply to the Bishop for permission to admit children to communion before confirmation. There is more to be said about the nature of Communion but this is for another occasion.

This year gives us a chance to explore baptism, confirmation and communion. It gives us opportunity to explore what it means to be children of God, heirs of a kingdom where we can find peace and confidence.

Ruth Pyke

Service times in the Benefice July 1, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Sunday 7th July
9.00am   Reed  Parish Communion (said)
10.30am   Barley   Parish Communion
10.30am   Barkway   First Sunday Service

Sunday 14th July
10.30am    Barkway  United Benefice Holy Communion

Sunday 21st July
10.30am  Reed Parish Communion
10.30am Barley   Morning Worship (Patronal)
6.00pm  Barkway BCP Evensong (Patronal)
(Patronal Festivals Mary Magdalene & Margaret of Antioch)

Thursday 25th July
9.00am Reed      Eucharist for St James the Apostle
11.00am Barley   Holy Communion – Margaret House

Sunday 28th July
9.00am Barley   Parish Communion
10.30am Barkway  Parish Communion
10.30am   Reed  Morning Worship

Sunday 4th August
9.00am  Reed  Parish Communion (said)
10.30am Barley Parish Communion
10.30am    Barkway  First Sunday Service

Morning prayer 9.00am: Barkway (Tuesday), Barley (Wednesday), Reed (Thursday)

Our churches are always open during the day and you are welcome to drop in for personal prayer at any time. 

www.barkwaychurch.co.uk     www.barleychurch.co.uk     www.reedchurch.co.uk

Sonia’s article in the July Diary June 27, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
add a comment

The times are out of joint

First, we’ve had the almost-driest spring on record, now the almost-wettest summer. Brexit politics are cleaving countries, communities and even families, with unknown long-term consequences. Our two major political parties are fragmented, and the economy is fragile. High streets are hollowing and our social services struggle. Uncertainty surrounds us. Not catastrophic, imminent doom, but enough to leave many of us unsettled, and that’s before we start stressing over climate change.

Having recently commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, many will have heard the hymn ‘Abide with me’, one line of which goes, ‘Change and decay in all around I see’ followed by ‘O thou who changest not, abide with me.’

God, unchanging, ever constant, loving, who will accompany us through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy. It’s not that bad stuff doesn’t happen to good people. It’s just that in order to cope, we need to have some constants in our lives. Family, relationships, home and occupation, all can offer these, but each is limited and may not be as constant as we hope.

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ Engaging with Jesus by asking for his help is no cop-out. We may experience it through the kindness of others, a lightening of our heavy heart, a more peaceful night’s sleep. He is that constant and ever fixed mark who has promised that if we engage with him, he will never abandon us, even if all around is crumbling.

If you’d like to explore how you might do this I, or our Rector Ruth Pyke (01763 848756) would be happy to chat.

Many blessings

Sonia

(07747 844265)

Safeguarding details June 27, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in Safeguarding Details.
add a comment

Please click on the link below:

Promoting-A-Safer-Church-Poster-A3 save 1

Our United Benefice is proud to be a part of the Diocese of St. Albans in the Church of England, whose Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and leaders are absolutely committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church.

Safeguarding means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture. This means we will promote the welfare of children, young people and adults, work to prevent abuse from occurring, seek to protect those that are at risk of being abused and respond well to those that have been abused. We will take care to identify where a person may present a risk to others, and offer support to them whilst taking steps to mitigate such risks.

The Church of England affirms the ‘Whole Church’ approach to safeguarding. This approach encompasses a commitment to consistent policy and practice across all Church bodies, Church Officers and that everyone associated with the Church, who comes into contact with children, young people and adults, has a role to play.

The Church will take appropriate steps to maintain a safer environment for all and to practice fully and positively Christ’s Ministry towards children, young people and adults; to respond sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.

Although safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone here at St Mary’s; Donna Stratton is our designated Safeguarding Lead and can be contacted about any safeguarding matter on 07932677934. You can also speak to our Rector, The Revd Canon Ruth Pyke, on 01763 848756 or leave an email via ruthpyke56@gmail.com

Two very useful links:

More information on the Church of England’s National Safeguarding can be found here: www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding

More information about Safeguarding in the Diocese of St. Albans can be found here: https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/diocese/safeguarding

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Historic Churches Bike’n Hike June 27, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in Historic Churches Trust Bicycle Ride.
add a comment

Last year’s event was held on 8th September and it raised around £101,000 in a single day.  The star fund raiser in our area was Reed, who raised £1,683.

The idea is that people are sponsored to walk or cycle to visit as many churches as possible during the day. Half of the money raised is retained by the Trust to help fund repairs to churches and the other half comes straight back to the churches in our Benefice (Barkway, Barley, Reed and Buckland). The event takes place nationwide on the second Saturday in September so that in 2019, it will be held on Saturday 14th September between 9.00am and 5.30pm.

For further details, please contact:

Nicholas Tufton Tel: 848888 (Barkway)        Sophia Wrangham Tel: 848699 (Barley)        

Karin Weston Tel: 271912 (Buckland)               Liz Jakeman  Tel: 848398 (Reed)

There is the link to the Trust’s web site: http://www.bedshertshct.org.uk/

The Friends of Barkway Church May 23, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in Friends of Barkway Church.
add a comment

The Friends of Barkway Church is a registered charity whose role is to raise money to pay for repairs to the building comprising Barkway Church and the churchyard. Recently, The Friends funded the rewiring and replacement of the lighting in the Church which has made a huge difference to the ambiance of the building.

Most Barkway residents regard the Church as central to the life of the village and the charity has many supporters, both regular church goers as well as occasional visitors.

The Charity raises funds through holding a bottle stall at the Village Market and through other events such as the popular Moonlight Market held in the Church just before Christmas.

In July 2019, The Friends launched an appeal to raise funds for repairs to be carried out to the church estimated to cost £125,000.  Many people have been very generous and as at 9th August, the fund has raised just over £30,000 with a further £15,500 pledged in addition.  The Friends and the PCC have each pledged up to £25,000 so we have available to include pledges over £95,000.

The work is to be carried out in three phases and it is hoped to start work on the first phase to replace fallen flints to the Tower as well as carry out other repairs to woodwork and move the flagpole this September.

For more details and to become a member of The Friends, please contact:

The Chairman nicholas@ntufton.co.uk

The Secretary  Mirjam Foot  mirjam.foot@btinternet.com

Article in the June Diary by Ruth Pyke May 23, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
add a comment

What do a hairdryer, a windmill, a battery, a candle, a dove, a petrol can, a teddy bear and a glass of water have in common? A question recently for our young people who are preparing for Confirmation later this year! Maybe you are also puzzling what the answer might be?

Fifty days after Easter, the disciples were together in one place when they were re-energised in a way which changed their lives and the lives of many others. The account in the Bible* speaks of something like wind and tongues of fire resting on them and filling the house where they were gathered. From that moment on they were empowered to communicate the story of faith across cultures, and from that the Church grew. This is the story of Pentecost.

The coming of the Holy Spirit has been described like a gentle breeze or a mighty wind, like a gentle dove or a roaring fire, like a trickling stream or a surging tide. It gives strength and power as well as gentle encouragement.

Across our world today many feel disempowered and without a voice. To them the gift of confidence and purpose, strength and encouragements is priceless. The gift of love for each of them, as the people they are, whatever they have done, can be the beginning of the journey to a new self-confidence. There are many charities who help rehabilitate individuals, enabling them to discover a new sense of purpose, a new confidence in themselves. There are many churches who minister to those in desperate need.

Whatever our own religious persuasion, this is important and self-giving work. Christians see the encouraging, strengthening Holy Spirit breathing life into all of this, bringing these gifts to more people. Some of you may be involved in such work.

So what do a windmill, a hairdryer etc have in common? Well, all of them can be used to tell the story of Pentecost, of wind and flame and power to rebuild lives and communities.

Come Holy Spirit and kindle in us the fire of your love.*

* Acts 2 v14

Ruth

 

Sonia’s May Diary article April 24, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
add a comment

A plague on both your Houses (of Parliament)?

There have been increasing media mutterings that the Brexit omnishambles is indicative of our parliamentary democracy being irredeemably broken, and that it should be scrapped for something else. Historically, revolutionary changes of governance have generally come with unintended and unfortunate consequences.

Back in the first century AD, just after Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, which Christians celebrate as Easter, his disciples – who numbered several hundred at that point – adopted a form of communal financial support. Those who had goods and property realised them in order to provide for the entire group. It was based on an honour system, but was open to abuse. One couple, Ananias and Sapphira, sold a field but retained half the proceeds whilst implying that they had handed over the lot. When challenged, they dropped dead.* Justice is not always so swift and satisfying!

Jesus was highly political. He railed against unjust customs and practices which disadvantaged the powerless in his society: women, the poor and elderly parents. He highlighted the hypocrisy of leaders who scrupulously followed the letter of the law but ignored its underlying intentions.

The UK’s system of Law and Governance has been built on the Judeo-Christian principles of treating others as you yourself would wish to be treated, individually and collectively. For example, having an impartial judicial system which is independent of the government, an ability regularly to vote for political representatives, property ownership, a free Press, access to education, healthcare and the basic necessities of life. Although these operate imperfectly, we should perhaps take care before we set about radically remodelling them.

Throughout biblical history people are repeatedly urged to, ‘Act justly, apply mercy and to walk humbly with God’. It’s a good start, both individually and communally.

Many blessings
Sonia (07747 844265)

* Acts of the Apostles 4:32 – 5:11

Brave Trust Schools Worker Job Description April 10, 2019

Posted by nicholastufton in Uncategorized.
add a comment

The BUNTINGFORD, ROYSTON & VILLAGES ECUMENICAL TRUST
SUPPORTING CHRISTIAN TEACHING IN LOCAL SCHOOLS
PATRON: THE RT. REVD. DR. ALAN SMITH, BISHOP OF ST. ALBANS
Schools Worker (part-time). Based in North East Hertfordshire
A Christian with vision, enthusiasm and drive is required to continue the work of the BRAVE Trust, an initiative started in 2007. Building on the well-received and appreciated activities of our previous schools worker, you will be re-establishing opportunities to work with young people in the middle schools in the towns of Buntingford and Royston. The BRAVE Trust is supported by individuals, local churches and grants.
Salary and Hours: Circa £20,000 pro rata ; 18.75 hours per week (flexible hours required).
Further enquiries can be made by contacting The BRAVE Trust Chairman, Mr Richard Genochio, on 01763 287549.
Application packs can be obtained directly from the website: thebravetrust.org