Soul Food - 22 January 2020

Dear friends,

St. Peter’s was packed on Sunday for our joint service. Over 180 people meant that we needed three communion stations instead of the usual two. Everything went without a hitch until we reached the end of the service and I noticed that the children, who had left after the collect prayer early in the service for age appropriate activities in the Peter hall hadn’t returned. Still, all’s well that ends well! I spoke about unity in diversity and the fact that God call everyone into a relationship with him. If you’d like to read what I said just click here;

Note: My email got returned last Wednesday, with over 300 rejected emails clogging up my system so apologies for that. Better luck this week. For what its worth I’ll share the link to my sermon that Sunday which was about the Baptism of Christ;

Next Sunday 26th January – Epiphany 3

I am at All Saints and St. Michael’s this morning and Karen is at St. Peter’s.

Isaiah 9: 1-4. The gloom and anguish in verse 1 refers to the nation of Israel (as distinct from Judah) that had been conquered by the Assyrians circa 724BC and prophesies hope – a great light – that will dawn for such oppressed people. The “day of Midian” (verse 4) refers to the battle Gideon fought against a mighty army of the Midianites with just 300 men. God on their side enabled the tiny army to overcome their enemies

1 Corinthians 1: 10-18. People in the church of Corinth have, it has been reported, been driven into factionalism and people are identifying with particular leaders rather that gathering around Christ himself. This temptation to ally oneself with a particular leader, faction or cause that is penultimate to the gospel itself has been ever present from earliest times it seems and is a continual temptation for us all today. Do we align ourselves with evangelicals or traditionalists, feminists or social activists to mention particular examples. Both at congregational and denominational level we need to remember that we gather around Christ first and foremost.

Matthew 4: 12-23. Matthew takes the “great light” from Isaiah and applies it directly to be a prophesy about Jesus fulfilling the prophesy by moving to Capernaum from Nazareth. The content of his preaching is “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near”. Jesus calls Peter and Andrew closely followed by James and John and what is notable is that they did not choose Jesus but Jesus chooses them. The initiative is always taken by God.

Holy Spirit Day

This day has been set as Saturday 1st February from 10am to 4pm in the Peter Hall and church. For those that attended the Alpha course, you will remember that I separated off the instruction on the person and work of the Holy Spirit to a separate occasion. We plan a bring and share lunch.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

During the week following the joint service of Christian unity – Joint prayer sessions are encouraged – joining in with sessions that are scheduled in respective churches. I know we are halfway through but the whole programme is as follows;

Mon 20th – 10.30am – Baptist Chapel

Tues 21st – 9.30am – All Saints, East Budleigh

Wed 22nd – 10.30am – Temple Methodist

Thurs 23rd – 10.30am – Church on the Green

Fri 24th – 11.30am – St. Peter’s

Taize service

This wonderful and atmospheric Taize style service, led by Margaret and Mike Scrivener, and a Partnership initiative is being held at All Saints church East Budleigh on February 2nd February at 6pm. Be there or be square!

Music at St. Peter’s.

A heads up – A new short series of concerts are starting on Fridays in February.

A few details to be finalised before I can confirm all the details but the first one is on the 7th February!

Thought for the day

The first communion service at which I ever deaconed was a Roman catholic service in Cernavoda in Romania. The priest, Father Solomon told me blithely that Anglicans are just “Catholics without the Pope” and despite him speaking virtually no English and me hardly any Romanian, we got on very well. I met him again years later when he was transferred to a parish in Bucharest and I was by then priest of the Church of the resurrection in Bucharest. I have preached in St. Joseph’s Catholic cathedral in Bucharest and preached also at Vespers in an Orthodox church on Easter Sunday. I have been a guest at “Greek catholic (Uniate)” services, German and Hungarian Lutheran services, and Armenian Orthodox services. I was +Rowan William’s personal representative to the Romanian Orthodox church for three years so you might say I have plenty of experience of inter-denominational work. As I think about those years and experiences and compare them to today working with different denominations in Budleigh Salterton one thing stands out amongst all other things. It is personal friendships and a spirit of openness that thaw the relationships between churches. Then as now, having a meal with various leaders does far more to lubricate relations between churches than hours of tortuous theological debates that we will probably never agree about anyway.

It is all about widening our perspectives. Before I am an evangelical, catholic or liberal Anglican I am just an Anglican, but before I am an Anglican, I am a Christian, and before I am a Christian I am a human being. God in Christ transcends all human differences of belief, temperament, ethnicity and class and His message is universally applicable.

The Prayer for today is inspired by Ephesians 4:25 and is from an Ignatian source

Oh Lord, as we work together to build your kingdom, let us be the light that leads the world to you.
God, teach us to be good role models to the people around us, so that when they see you and your love within us, they would want to know you more and more.
God grant us the patience to work together, bring us all together as a family.
Let us work together with understanding and compassion in our hearts. Let us not be rude or arrogant towards one another, as we light the way to your heavenly kingdom.

Love and peace,


St Peter's C of E Primary School

Moor Lane, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6QF

01395 443167

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