Vicar's Notes

29th April 2020.


Dear Friends,


The death of our dear friend John Stroud has saddened the hearts of many in

our church and community.  In our present circumstance we cannot reach out

physically to his family.  Many, I know have phoned or sent a letter and/or

card.  Each of us can reach out spiritually to the family by praying for

them. 


In the absence of services personal prayer comes to greater prominence in

our spiritual lives.  Not only is it the way in which we are united with God

but praying for one another is now the main way in which we can express and

nurture our spiritual unity and our love for one another.  In order to help

us pray for one another we will recommence the production of the prayer

section of the weekly pewsheet and the latest edition of the Prayer Diary which for each day of the

month gives topics across the team and then roads in our parish. Both available here. I commend

the diary to your use.  This diary would normally be used at daily prayers

in church.  Virginia and I use the prayer diary as we pray together each

day.


On Sundays I offer the Eucharist at 9.45am the usual time for the

mid-morning service in church. I ring the church bell as a sign that this is

happening.  One of the ways in which Virginia and I pray for you is by

walking around the church and praying for those who sit in the different

sections of the church.  Last Sunday it was very poignant to pray by the pew

where John Stroud usually sat with Madeline.  We pray at the altar for those

who worship with New Way @ the Memorial Hall.  On Sunday I also placed the

Church Family picture album on the altar.  It remains open on the altar and

I am turning the page as I visit church and pray for those whose photos are

on the open pages.  On the altar it is a perpetual memorial before the Lord

of the members of our community.


It is strange to offer the Eucharist with only Virginia from our community

physically present.  I do not however think of myself as worshipping without

you.  During the time of the first and second temples in Jerusalem on the

holiest day of the year, the day of atonement, the high priest would along

go into the Holiest of Holies, as it where the throne room of God on earth.

Though physically alone he took the people with him.  How so?  Part of his

vestments was a piece of jewellery comprised of twelve precious stones, one

representing each of the tribes of Israel.  This item showed that he carried

the people on his heart as he entered the presence of God.  In a similar

manner as I approach the altar, I see myself as taking you with me on,

indeed, in my heart.  As I come to the altar of God, you come with me in all

my memories of you and prayers for you.  As I join myself with you in my

prayers for you, may I invite you to join yourself to me by praying for me.


To help those who are isolated and especially those who may not be able to

access the internet the Church of England, along with other partners has

launched a phone line called, 'Daily Hope'.  It is a free number  0800 904

9044.  It describes itself as 'a free phone line of hymns, reflections and

prayers'.  Details on the Virtual Church page.


Graham Bibby, our Team Missioner is producing a weekly reflection which is here.


Though many of us who are used to doing things for others are now getting

used to others doing things for us there are still ways in which we can help

practically.  The demands on Food Banks has soared.  Please consider using

the collection facilities provided by the supermarkets.  Or you may drop of

items to the box in the church porch or on the vicarage doorstep when you

are on your daily exercise or as you are returning from shopping.


With my assurance of my prayers

John 

Vicar of Bearsted, Rector of North Downs