Easter Sunday: News for the parishes of St John, St Mary, St Peter and St Wendreda
 
March Team Ministry
 
 April 12th, 2020
 
 News for the parishes of St John, St Mary, St Peter and St Wendreda
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WELCOME

Easter Sunday ~ April 12th 2020
The Feast of the Resurrection


I wish you all a Happy Easter, quite genuinely. But the reality for all of us is that happy is not the most obvious adjective. Strange, bewildering, fearful even, but with many good signs of human resilience, good neighbourliness and people going the extra mile.

We are being invited to sing at 10am Jesus Christ is Risen today – I shall be because I know it to be true; true not because I believe it, but because of what God has done; true not because of my unending faithfulness to God, but for God’s eternal faithfulness in humanity and all his creation.
Alleluya Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, Alleluya.

Please keep in touch with one another, and I am always glad to hear from you on 01354 279 232 or andrew.marchurch@gmail.com

"Stay in touch, take care, keep safe, continue praying and God bless."

Andrew



As before, please email MindfulMarchMinistry@outlook.com with any suggestions, queries or comments, and feel free to forward this onto anyone who may be interested. I wish you a happy and peace-filled Easter Day! 

Blessings,
Rebecca (Operations Manager)
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 In This Issue...
 
~ Message from Rev'd Andrew
Worship, Reflections and prayers;
 
~ Worship and Prayer Resources
Livestream links, prayer groups and a message from Bishop Dagmar;
 
~ The Good News of Easter
A thought-provoking article by David Harrison;
 
~ Mental Health Reflections
A link to the Church of England's Supporting Good Mental Health guide;
 
~ Kids' Corner
Links to activities, support groups, learning resources and family worship;
 
~ News and Notices
Church related news, announcements and requests
 
~ Fellowship Friends
A faithful contact if you need it...
 
~ Find Us on Facebook
 
~Useful Links/Contacts 
 
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     A Message from Revd. Andrew...
 
I think I have only ever experienced one earthquake, and at the time I did not know what it was, it just caused me to momentarily awake and turn over. It was around the turn of the century when we lived in Redditch and it had its centre in the former coal mining area of Dudley about 20 miles away. It turn out to be strong enough however to loosen the stone crosses on the top of the gables of our church which duly fell off over the next year (you can see the remains of the fallen crosses in our front garden here).

But, strong earthquakes can be some of the most frightening occurrences that our living planet can deliver us. As well as the obvious destruction and danger, everything that you experience as permanent, solid and unchanging is no longer so. In some earthquake liquefaction occurs so solid ground becomes as fluid as treacle. That which gives you security, your bearings, your very foundations is found to be questionable. There may be aftershocks, or this may be a prelude to the big one. And that makes us frightened and insecure, for a long time; shaken to our very physical, mental and spiritual foundations.

The Jordan Valley is a great rift valley, caused by the parting of two of the great tectonic plates that make up the earth’s crust, and sometimes the plates slip against each other as they move. Down in the Jordan valley the earth’s crust is so thin that the heat of the deep earth wells up to the surface. Jerusalem is similarly about 20 miles from this geological feature, so an earthquake, or rather two, one at Jesus death, and one on Easter morn, is quite believable. Physical, mental, spiritual and theological foundations shaken and insecurity and fear abounding.

We have a plague, not an earthquake to contend with. But perhaps we have been shaken to the foundations, we are experiencing some insecurity, some fear. Things that we thought would not change, are. New ways of life have been given to us; isolation, health worries, a disease with no apparent cure, a cessation of meetings, gatherings, and yes, church worship services.

A different kind of earthquake, but an earthquake nevertheless.

Does God cause earthquakes? Does God cause plagues? How do I express love to those from whom I am separated? Who is my neighbour? Will I survive? What about those special to me?

And so many more questions. Firm foundations seem to have crumbled, turned to liquid, or shaken us up.
 
The first earthquake in Matthew, at Jesus’s death, splits the entrance to the temple from top to bottom. It splits open rocks and graves and it persuades the Roman Officer guarding Jesus to say “Truly this was the Son of God.” The women witness it, but they have no reported reaction.

The second earthquake in Matthew rolls back the stone to reveal it is empty and that He is Risen. The guards go into shock and become like death warmed up. The women are there, and they are told not only not to be afraid but that Jesus is not here, and they look and see that that is true, they must go and tell the disciples that he is risen from the dead, and that he is going to Galilee, where they will indeed see him.

This message is as much an earthquake as the ground shaking. It is not what is expected. It challenges. It does not seem likely. Things that were secure are no longer so. Foundations made flimsy. And plagues which spread round the world, with no cure, with pressure on intensive care beds and oxygen, and social distancing, and lock down, economic uncertainty or meltdown, and for how long? What will happen next? When and how will normality return?
So what, if anything (for that is for you to judge), can this Easter earthquake story say to us.

Well, for me it says, and I am not a geologist or a biologist, but a priest;
  • Earthquakes and Plagues are both part of God’s creation; tectonic plates and spewing volcanoes are part of the living planet that gives us minerals for use, and beautiful landscapes to explore and admire; viruses destroy bacteria and give a rich variety of lifeforms a chance, and we are enriched by variety and fecundity. But the resources of the earth can be used for building up or destroying, and a virus in the wrong species destroys, and that we as humanity sometimes have to remember that not all the world is for us and controlled by us.
  • That certainty, firm foundations, have their place and virtue; but can also become complacency or resistance to change, development and opportunity.
  • That death, however tragic or untimely, is not alienation or separation from God, for he embraces it, even in its most brutal form, and that God goes with us to the grave, and that in the grave we are with Him.

Matthew gives us an earthquake to help us gauge the significance of the Easter events; and foundations are shattered, and through that shattering we can find Jesus. As plague shatters our lives, we can wrestle with what it means. But above all, to return to what is said to the women at the tomb, and to invite you to hear these words for yourselves in the here and now;
  • Do not be afraid.
  • He is not in the tomb. He has conquered death as separation from God.
  • Go and tell that He is Risen.
  • Go back to your lives, but they will be different in ways you cannot yet imagine.
  • You will find Jesus when you go to the future, not where you poke around in the past.
  • Looking in the tomb won’t help you find him, but you will see him in the future.

Remember last week we heard in this same Matthew’s gospel, Jesus say at that first earthquake, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’. And today, after that second earthquake when he meets the women, he says, “Greetings! Do not be afraid” and tells of how, when the disciples go into their future and on to a new normality, “there they will see me.”

And so shall we.
                                                                                               God bless, Andrew
 
 
To read the rest of Andrew's message for Easter Sunday as well as the Gospel reading and prayers, click here.

To view the Church of England's Guidance on Spiritual Communion click here.
 
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 Worship Resources... 
There are many opportunities available to follow a form of online worship that suits you, until communal church services can resume...take a look at some of these links to find one for you:

Livestreaming of Team/local church services
The March Team will not currently be livestreaming any of the full Sunday services from its regular rota. (If you would like to view a Sunday service online via a livestream event, please click here to visit the A Church Near You website for parishes within the Diocese that will be providing this opportunity). However, within the Team we have these events currently available:


Easter Sunday Songs of Praise!
With James Trundle at 5.15 pm this afternoon - Do come and celebrate the Resurrection with traditional hymns, readings and prayers. Everyone is welcome. Contact Revd Jane at revjanerees@gmail.com for more information

Morning Prayer
Every Thursday morning at 8.30am. This short 20 minute service has readings and prayers and offers the valuable opportunity to meet together. Join us live via Zoom - everyone is welcome especially if you have not been to Morning Prayer before.Contact Revd Jane for assistance or more information.

Wendreda Worship
Every Sunday morning at 11am for half an hour, using Zoom. Please contact Barbara at barbarataylor129@sky.com or Rosemary at h7dgfuller@googlemail.com for information and help with this.

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Easter Sunday Worship with the Archbishop of Canterbury
You can watch the virtual Easter Sunday service with the Archbishop of Canterbury which will be streamed from 9am this morning. Click here to watch (this will be available anytime after 9am, so don't worry if you can't watch it that early)

Ely Diocese - Sunday Resources
For those of you looking for Sunday resources to have church at home, the Diocese has just published some here.

Ely Cathedral - Worship at Home
The cathedral has a webpage dedicated to resources to enable you to worship from home - click here to access it.


BBC’s Daily Service and Sunday Worship
BBC Radio 4’s upcoming programmes will be using some of the themes from #LiveLent as part of their broadcasts. There is a Sunday Worship each Sunday at 8.10am and a Daily Service at 9.45am. For more information, daily prayers and downloads click here.

Time to Pray app
Time to Pray presents everything you need for Prayer During the Day, with variations according to the day of the week and the season of the Church’s year. As of March 2020, Time to Pray is now completely free to use.

Pray As You Go

This simple website is also available as an App, and offers beautiful thoughts and prayers in audio format. Ideal for those who prefer to listen to spoken prayers and meditations, as opposed to reading them. Click here to visit the website.
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A reflection from the Bishop of Huntington

Click here to watch or listen to the latest in a planned series of reflections from Bishop Dagmar, Bishop of Huntingdon, on this Easter Day, Sunday, the 12th April 2020

 
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The Good News of Easter...
 
~ by David Harrison

Everyone loves a happy ending. In the book of the Revelation, at the end of the Bible, we heard the happy ending, describing Heaven as in a dream. But that’s not a fair description of the book of Revelation, because the images do not spring out of nowhere like a dream. They come from the prophetic books of Hebrew scripture which would have been as familiar to the author’s contemporaries as the cross is to us.

To those who were steeped in the prophetic text of Hebrew scripture, Revelation speaks of the fulfilment of God’s covenantwith his people, the forces of darkness and the enemies of god’s people are overcome by God’s envoy, the Messiah. A new covenant and a new world are established. The images in the book of Revelation speak to God’s people of redemption, resurrection and new life, just as certainly as do the cross and the empty tomb.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband”.

The story in Revelation is not simply a retelling of the Easter story. It reminds us that God promised his people this “Happy Ending”, this “New Creation”, since He made a promise with Moses and Abraham. The Good News of Easter is not only that God sent His son to redeem us as His own. We are also reminded that redemption as part of the plan that God devised for all creation before the creation of the world; it was not just an after thought. Maybe this piece of Good News is optimistic; we might ask ourselves whether this image of living in a world ruled by God is in touch with reality. After all, there is terrorism, natural disaster, and dissatisfaction all around us.
 
The problem with such objections is that we in the West have not faced the sort of tribulations which challenged the author of Revelation, nor have most of us suffered the severe persecutions that are described in the book.

Of course, most adults in any culture have had a hard knock or two. I expect you know of those who struggle with unemployment, family struggles, illness or disability. And so often, it is in times of great difficulty that we have experiences which transform our perspective for the better. Our minds are stripped of unimportant concerns and we become focussed on what really matters. These times give us the opportunity to walk in God’s direction and see our lives through His perspective. 
 
At this time of Easter, resurrection remains the Good News; not just in Christ’s resurrection in the first century, not just our future resurrection into God’s New Creation, but also those little resurrections when our minds become sharply focussed on what is of ultimate worth.

I pray that in our everyday journey through life, our lives will be opened to ever more frequent glimpses of the hope which God holds out to us. 
 
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Mental Health Reflections... 
During these unprecedented and challenging times, we need to take care of our mental health even more than usual. The Church of England has revised its Supporting Good Mental Health booklet in light of the current situation. Below is an extract from this great resource - click on the button below to view; it is well-worth a read.
 
Read in full here
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Kids' Corner... 
 
With many children home from school for the foreseeable future, we have put together a few resources and links that may be useful at this time...we will try to add new ones each week for you to do with your children! 
 
 
 
Easter Activities for Children
 
 
Easter Worship for Families
 
 
 Subscribe to our YouTube channel for family worship videos and resources! 
 
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Links to Children's Activities, Support Groups and Learning Resources
 
 
Anti-bullying support and Internet Safety for children
 
BullyingUK - advice regarding cyberbullying
Kidscape - resources for bullying victims and their families
 
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News and Notices...
 
 
Funeral of Pat Schon
 
Pat Schon’s funeral will be held on Thursday 16th April at 10.30 am at Fenland Crematorium.
Her family invite Church friends to share in the live webcam of the service. Please contact Rev'd Jenny at revdjennywebb@btinternet.com
for more details.
 
Christian Aid Notice
 
Christian Aid has invited us all to join in prayer for all those affected by this new virus, both in Britain and overseas, for all those working on the frontline and for wisdom for our leaders. Click here to view a series of prayers on their website.
 
Can you help...
 
Could you help by sewing scrubs/uniform bags for NHS workers? There are written instructions here and a YouTube video here for this simple but vital task. Please contact Ruth Bryant on 07479 652578 with any questions or offers of help. 
 
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Fellowship Friends...
We are encouraging people to keep in touch with one another, by phone or by the many other electronic means. Not just those who are good friends, but also those who may have previously been meeting regularly at church, in the town or at other meetings.

If you do not have contact details for someone, we will try to assist you with them, just contact us at mindfulmarchministry@outlook.com or call any of the below Fellowship Friends leaders.
 
 
If you or anyone you know feels isolated, lonely or worried and would appreciate just having someone to chat with over the phone or via email, please feel free to contact any of the below Fellowship Friends leaders. Likewise, if you do not have contact details for someone you would like to check up on, email mindfulmarchministry@outlook.com or ask one of our leaders below: 
 
 
Rev'd Andrew ~ 01354 279 232
Rev'd Jane Rees ~ 01354 463 284
Rev'd Jenny Webb ~ 01354 650 855
Anthony Chandler ~ 01354 652 894
Barbara Taylor ~ 01354 659 176
David Harrison ~ 01354 650 130 
Diane Wise ~ 07412 772 661
Eva Willox ~ 01354 659 194
Hannah Taylor ~ 01354 661 712
Judith Rooke ~ 01354 659 502
Karen Pritchard ~ 07738 294 726
Rachel Beeson ~ 07795 436 031 
 
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Find Us On Facebook...
 
Most of our churches and regular groups have a Facebook page where you can keep up to date with things during this time. Click on the below church, to be taken to their page:
 
 St John's    ~   St Peter's    ~    St Wendreda's 
 
 
You can also follow Operations Manager Rebecca Parnell here and Children & Families Worker Karen Pritchard here, to keep up to date with the work currently being undertaken within the Team. 
 
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Changing Market Towns
 
The Changing Market Towns Facebook group is a great source of information, resources, news, prayer and support from many of the market towns within the Diocese, looking at how churches can help make a change for the better. This group is open to anyone so please feel free to take a look around and request to join. 
 
Join here
 
Mindful March Ministry
 
This is a new Facebook group set up to promote positivity, prayer, encouragement and scripture for our Team of churches and the wider community. Click the below link to visit this group - anyone can join!
 
Join here
 
Arts With God
 
This group has been created as a forum for people to express what God is saying in their lives, through the Arts. That's not just drawing or painting, that is every aspect of the Arts: drama, dance, sewing, gardening, music, poetry, songwriting etc
 
Join here
 
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Useful Links/Contacts...
 
Accent Fresh 
(Fruit/veg box deliveries): 01366 386633
 
 
 
FACT Community Transport: 
01354 661234
 
Fenland Council Support:
E: covid19@fenland.gov.uk ~ Tel: 01354 654321
 
Fountain Fresh
(Fruit/Veg box deliveries): E: delivery@fountainfresh.co.uk
 
March Quality Meats
(phone orders delivered Mon/Thur/Fri): 01354 653156
 
Housdens Outside Catering
delivering hot meals): 07753 863809 ~ E: housdenscatering@outlook.com 
 
 
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A very big thank you to all those within our community who are classed as Key Workers, or who are giving their time/resources to volunteer where they are most needed, remaining on the front line during this time - we are greatly indebted to you and hold you all firmly in our prayers.
 
Thank you to all those who have helped contribute material and information for this newsletter - and thank you for reading it! 
 
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