How much do we need Epiphany! - meaning, light in darkness, new vision, revelation, glorious hope.... There are grand themes in our Bible readings in this season, and we need them. We are invited to lift our eyes, change our perspective and rejoice in the glory and majesty of God's ways.
The main problem may well be that nothing feels very glorious just now. Being isolated and deprived of the joys of meeting and sharing lives, and once again missing the blessings of worshipping together in person, we can easily become discouraged or depressed.
Yesterday I walked in thick mist from my home in Tatworth, on my favourite walk up the hill; and lo! halfway up, the mist dissipated, the sun shone through and the sky was not after all totally blanketed by grey.
We are all under the cloud of the pandemic and we can't escape from it, geographically. But spiritually, we have resources and we can look to Jesus our Light for help and comfort and the strength to persevere.
I expect that, like me, you find particular Bible verses or hymn/song tunes going round in your mind - or pick them up from any of the excellent books or online resources that now enrich our lives. The one that keeps sounding for me is from Isaiah 50 verse 4: ... to know the word that sustains the weary...'
How lovely it would be always to know the words that can sustain and encourage other people when under stress and anxiety. Isaiah the prophet recognised that, ‘ the Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue.. he wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.'
Across the Deanery we can be the people who learn the words to sustain and help the members of our families and communities; we can grow as people of encouragement and blessing. The reassuring part of it is that it is Christ's light that can shine in us; and it is Christ the Word who can instruct us and teach us how to be both good listeners and good speakers. From the grand and glorious themes, down to the mist-covered trials of our small lives, the Light can shine. Simple words of kindness and grace, in person, on the phone and put out on the media can be Light and blessing when the darkness threatens to overwhelm us.
Let the Light shine, simply.
Judith Abbott, Area Dean
We are delighted to announce the appointment of The Reverend Joanna Porter to the post of Rector of the Seven Sowers Benefice. This appointment is subject to enhanced DBS clearance.
Joanna is currently Assistant Curate in the Cannings and Redhorn Benefice in the diocese of Salisbury. A licensing date will be arranged in due course. We hold Joanna and her family, the Cannings and Redhorn Benefice and our parishes in our prayers at this time of transition.
Joanna says to the Benefice: I am delighted to be appointed as your new Rector and am excited to discern with you God's plans for the future. I look forward to joining you with my husband Neill during 2021.
The DMPG (Deanery Mission and Pastoral Group) is meeting by Zoom, and Chapter will continue to meet by Zoom until safe to be together in person.
We have had to postpone the two training courses we were intending to run, so the Lay Worship Assistants' and Pastoral Care courses will now run, we hope, in the New Year.
We will also get on with Triennial Inspections when we can.
We do hope to be able to meet for a ‘proper' Synod in the Spring.
For now, in challenging times, let us continue to love and to serve one another as we can, looking always to God for strength and help.
For some of us, this time will have been deeply sad and lonely, or have held regrets and some guilt at the things we might have done and never got round to. For others, it has been a time even of refreshment and an opportunity to think, reflect and reset priorities. And for most of us, I expect, a mixture of all things. We must all be wondering what the longer-term impact will be on our parish churches - and we must believe that all things work together for good as we trust in Christ Jesus.
One day we will be able to share our experiences, and many words will be written on the subject. For now, I offer one very brief exhortation from the early days of the Church, and the Desert Fathers:
Abba Paul said: Keep close to Jesus.
with my prayers and love, in Christ,
On this website, you will find various pages including:
Prayer, Art & Music, and What Matters, for our ongoing engagement with community and global matters such as modern-day slavery and Green issues.
For now, while our physical space is confined, may our hearts and minds be free to love God and neighbours in all the ways we can, and we continue to pray for all who are suffering or working to relieve the ill effects of Covid-19.
We are a group of six Benefices and two single Parishes in South Somerset; we are part of the Taunton Archdeaconry. As members of the Church of England and in common with all Christians, we are inspired by the love of God and are committed to following the Way of Christ in our lives and our worship.
If you would like to know more about Christian faith, please do be in touch with any of us and we would be delighted to talk to you. We aim to make all of our 36 churches open and accessible, and you will be welcomed at any service on Sundays or weekdays.
We also want to share the love of God and the hope we have been given in our communities.
Our particular Deanery mission is to ask ourselves:
which means; what is important to the people of our parishes? What are the real concerns of daily life? What kind of issues are there for communities or the natural environment in our area?
And then: Who is part of the response to these matters? Which are the organisations involved already, or might become involved, and how do we as Church members join in or initiate a caring and effective response?
What matters a great deal to us is the safety and well being of all members of our communities and as churches we operate careful Safeguarding Policy practices.
We hope that you will be able to use this website to find information, and to join in our vision of deepening and extending the work of the Holy Spirit in the Deanery.
Revd Judith Abbott