REACHING OUT. .. on behalf of the Benefice Churches of Bradfield St Clare, Bradfield St George with Little Whelnetham, Cockfield, Felsham and Gedding

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1 REACHING OUT... on behalf of the Benefice Churches of Bradfield St Clare, Bradfield St George with Little Whelnetham, Cockfield, Felsham and Gedding Issue 54 May 2017 Dear Friends, We live in strange times. Perhaps people have always said this, but it does seem as though the world is going through a very difficult phase, and uncertainty seems to be the only thing we can be certain of. It also feels to many as though God has abandoned us, because we see death and destruction all around us. There are children dying in poverty and hunger. There are people left homeless in places where natural disaster has struck. There are literally millions of people who have been displaced because of war and violence. Those of us who are Christian must understand and perhaps secretly agree that for quite a lot of the time for many it feels that we are in a world without God. On 25 th May we will be celebrating the Ascension. That day when Jesus disciples had to get used to living in a world without Jesus as they had known him. After the tremendous events of Easter, they had got used to Jesus appearing in unexpected places. Now he was telling them that it was going to be different, they weren t going to see him in the same way any more. They must have felt so disappointed, upset even. And probably deeply afraid. But then, nobody likes change do they? In John s gospel Jesus had already told them that it was better for them if he went away, which of course didn t make any sense to them. How could it possibly be better for them? How could Jesus leaving them help them in persuading others to believe in him?

2 But what they needed to do and what we need to do is to look at it from another perspective. We are good at hanging on to those things that we can see and understand because they make us feel safe. If Jesus was with us now he would not be able to shock and surprise us. He would become part of the furniture and we would miss out on the great truth that he is within and beyond all things, mysteriously holding all things together. So, if it feels as if God isn t in the world, perhaps it s because we don t instantly recognise him in situations, or perhaps he doesn t do what we expect him to do. We are also very good at defining the limit of God what we think he is capable of doing, or what we think he should be doing. What was wonderful about Jesus going away is that he promised that he would fill his friends with his Spirit. He breathed on them, as it says in John s gospel again. And his breath became their breath and becomes our breath. Whatever we may feel about the world and what is going on at the moment, we have been given a relationship with Jesus that doesn t depend on being able to see him and speak with him in a way that his disciples did during their time together. And this relationship means that we are able to trust in God as father in the way that Jesus did, and also to respond to this world of ours that feels God-less. Jesus hasn t gone away. He is at the centre of everything. And we, as friends of Jesus, are called to live in a way that will shine his light into all the dark corners of the world. This is what the Ascension means to us as Christians. Let us celebrate it and the fact that he left us his Spirit to continue his work. With every blessing, Revd Sharon or A big thank you. to everyone who contributed to the Kagera Lent Appeal, either through coming to a Lent Lunch and making a donation, or completing the Kagera Lent Challenge. We have collected over 700 from this benefice which will be donated to the Bishops Appeal. This has been enhanced by Pat Hipwell selling Bradfield St Clare marmalade in aid of the appeal, and by making and selling scented hearts. Everyone who has participated has been very generous! 2

3 May 14 th This month will be a very special as Richard Stainer will be commissioned as a worship elder by Archdeacon David. A worship elder is commissioned to lead worship, morning and evening prayer and services of the word (which includes the family service). We hope that many of you will be able to attend the service and support Richard in his ministry and to welcome him to the ministry team in the benefice. Judy Gifford who is already an elder, will be extending her role to include leading worship too! Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich An update on a few of the training sessions/events that are happening around the diocese in May under the banner of Growing in Depth: Suffolk Theology Forum Co-op Education Centre, Ipswich Thursday 11 th May 7.30pm-9.15pm 3

4 Luther s Reformation 500 years on. Dr John Bradbury, Director of Studies in Systematic Theology and Church History, Westminster College, Cambridge. Non-members entry 5 ( 4 for retired and students) payable at the door. Queries to Elizabeth Moore or Growing Together - Bradfield St George Village Hall, Felsham Rd, Bradfield St George, Bury St Edmunds IP30 0AD Tuesday 16th May 2017, 19:00 Particularly aimed at lay ministers (Readers, LLMs, Lay Elders etc.) but open to all, these meetings aim to provide ongoing support and encouragement on the faith journey and to develop discipleship in a way that can be fed back into the local churches. The intention is to develop these groups to meet bi-monthly. Just turn up at the nearest venue, no need to book! Thy Kingdom Come Thursday 25 May Sunday 4 June Christians everywhere are being called to join this Global Wave of Prayer for people to know Jesus Christ. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are joining with the Presidents of Churches Together in England, the Worldwide Anglican Communion and the World Methodist Council to encourage participation. In this diocese every church and individual is being asked to join in, whether alone or in attending or organising an event. More information can be found at If you would like to see all the training offered by the diocese then visit or ask Revd Sharon for a brochure. Six2Seven A reminder that everyone is welcome to May s Six2seven, which takes place on Sunday 21 st May at Felsham Church, where we will be joined by Cally Boardman. Cally is employed by Suffolk County Council as a Local Area Co-ordinator in villages around Sudbury. She works alongside people to pursue their vision of a good life and be involved in their communities. Cally will speak about her role and the impact that it has made in our local communities. Come and join us for a very informal evening of fellowship (tea and cake provided!) and discussion. From 6pm to 7pm. Revd Sharon 4

5 Coffee Morning & Table Top/Jumble Sale 11am to 3pm Saturday 3 rd June Bradfield St Clare Village Hall In aid of St Clare Church Funds Entry 2 including coffee and biscuit Please donate items to sell! Contact Margaret Newlands on

6 Christian Aid week takes place 15 th -22 nd May. As we have done for many years we shall again be collecting House to House in all 6 Villages in our Benefice, so you should receive a red envelope early in the week which will be collected by our dedicated team of 30 or so volunteers a few days later. I am sure we are all aware of the pitiful plight of many thousands of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan which Christian Aid is helping as well as working in very poor countries to help men and women to provide better lives for themselves and schooling for their children. Please be as generous as you can when your Collector calls. We are always looking for more volunteers to deliver and collect envelopes so if you feel you could do this please contact Georgina Ford on or or Beryl Meed on or Thank you. Can you spare 3 hours a month? Just Traid (The Fair Trade shop and café in St John s Street, Bury) are looking for volunteers to serve in the shop and/or café. Full training is given and it an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Speak to Christine or Georgina if you want to know more. Or contact Irene on

7 You are invited to THE BIG DAY OUT Sunday 18 th June 2017 Cockfield Great Green 11.30am-3.30pm with Special guest THE ROCK CHOIR Lots going on including: Try out some golf swings Children s games Dog Show BBQ & refreshments, or bring your own picnic Score a goal! Face painting Make your own air rocket! Sponsored by the Cockfield Benefice and Cockfield Congregational Church 7

8 Cockfield Benefice Services May 2017 Sunday 7 th May 4 th Sunday of Easter Sunday 14 th May 5 th Sunday of Easter Sunday 21 st May 6 th Sunday of Easter Thursday 25 th May Sunday 28 th May Sunday after the Ascension 9.30am Communion BCP 11am Communion 6pm Evening Prayer 8am Communion 9.30am Benefice Family Service 10am Rogation walk followed by communion service (followed by lunch in church) 6pm Six2seven speaker: Cally Boardman, Local Coordinator 11am Ascension Day Communion 9.30am Morning Prayer BCP 11am Communion 6pm Evening Prayer Gedding Cockfield Bradfield St Clare Cockfield Felsham Bradfield St George Felsham Felsham Gedding Bradfield St Clare Bradfield St George Daily Prayer Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 9am Cockfield 5pm Felsham 5pm Bradfield St Clare 5pm Gedding 5pm Bradfield St George Please note these services may be subject to change for up-to-date service times see the benefice website at 8

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