This Month

January 2019

Firstly, may I wish you all a happy New Year from all at your local parish church. No doubt many of you have made resolutions as indeed I have. This is the time of year when vicar’s letters often waffle on about resolutions and new beginnings. I have asked a number of trusted friends to serve on what I call ‘waffle watch’, instructed to tell me if I lapse into this sort of tedious twaddle. I am therefore risking their disapproval with mention of resolutions and new starts, but I trust they will understand there is at least a point to it.

Change is unavoidable and actually quite a good thing in many ways although it is often hard for us to accept. The Church of England is facing changes nationally and indeed more locally in the coming years, and I believe that the wind of change is blowing through St Richard’s at this time as we seek to be the kind of church that can be most effective in proclaiming Christ. Our work with young people and families will, under God, continue to see developments and growth this year and we are praying for the right people to step forward and help us lead this. Alongside this we need to decide what other priorities we have to face with things like the Parish Room and sound systems. I am sure that however this works out, it will be end up being different from anything done before. We will all need to be open to strip away the things that ‘have always been done’ and embrace the ‘new’.

Sometimes in life it is good to strip away what we accumulate over the years and declutter our existence. New Year is an obvious time for this. It may be psychological ‘baggage’ or painful memories and resentments which drag us down, or things which cause us to be wary of trying something new and stepping out in faith.

At this time of year, I often remind myself why I spend my days doing this sort of work. I think all Christians would benefit from this. For some people, their faith is too caught up with the activities they ‘do’ in the church and however good they are at doing that role/job sometimes these activities take over and we lose sight of the original purpose of loving and praising God. If that happens, we need to change and refocus.

If we strip away all those accumulations and de-clutter, at the heart of what we do we have Jesus of Nazareth. All the things that can obsess the church, are ultimately unimportant when we remind ourselves that we are His disciples. Our task is to make a difference in the world in His name. We are called to roll our sleeves up and get involved in our community to spread Christ’s message, not just through words, but far more effectively, through deeds. When a group of Christians is serious about this and are truly committed to serving Jesus in this way, things begin to happen, and communities are transformed.

So, as we prepare for all that God has in store for us here in Three Bridges and Northgate in 2019 and beyond and for inevitable changes in our church, and indeed as we all ponder the events taking place around world, I suggest we remember some words from the poem ‘God knows’ by Minnie Louise Haskins.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

With every blessing for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year

December 2018

Advent: expectant waiting for Christmas?

Christmas is a glorious season of the year. It is also a busy time for most of us, and it is very easy to let the hustle and bustle of planning for it obscure our appreciation of Advent.

Advent is a season of expectant waiting; but waiting is not something most of us do easily. Indeed, in our credit-driven society we are urged by many advertisers to ‘buy now – pay later’; we can have it all immediately so why do we need to wait? Waiting is increasingly a strange notion. We have become accustomed to immediacy and swift action.

Given all this, it seems ludicrous that the church should have Advent – four weeks dedicated to waiting. I suppose many people today would argue that Advent is irrelevant to our society; it is outdated and out of touch with the pace of people’s lives. There were times when Advent truly was Advent; when Christmas trees weren’t set up until Christmas Eve, when carols weren’t sung until Christmas Eve and the following days, and not begun in November. When this was the norm, then Advent could be properly Advent and Christmas, Christmas.

The anticipation, which looking forward to Christmas brings, has encouraged us to ‘anticipate’ Christmas in another sense, not as ‘looking forward to’ but of ‘bringing it forward and beginning the celebrations early’. This is certainly true of many of our shops where it seems that we are no sooner back from summer holidays than we are entangled in yards of tinsel, baubles and wrapping paper and ribbon.

But the joy of learning to wait is to re-discover the pleasure of being fully and joyfully present in the now. After a month of waiting, truly waiting, the joy of Christmas Day can gain a new depth and meaning, which might otherwise be lost in the whirl of mince pies and presents.

Viewed like this, Advent is not irrelevant, or a cultural dinosaur, but vital to human well-being. Advent offers us the time to delve into a deeper truer encounter with ourselves, the world and most of all with God. The Advent season offers a space to progress towards Christmas and anticipate the joy of celebrating the light of Christ coming into the world.

Our anticipation of Christmas should be a reflection of the love and selflessness taught by Jesus. Giving, not getting, brings to
full bloom the Christmas spirit. We feel more kindly towards one another. We reach out in love to help those less fortunate. Our hearts are softened. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.

As the Advent season envelops us in all its procession towards Christmas, I pray that like the Wise Men, we may seek a bright, particular star to guide us in our celebration of Jesus’s birth. May we all make the journey to Bethlehem in spirit, taking with us a tender, caring heart as our gift of love to God.

With every good wish for a very blessed and joyful Christmastide. Do please join us for one of our services:

December 16th 2018 4pm – traditional Carol Service followed by mulled wine and mince pies

Christmas Eve 3pm – Crib Service
11.30pm – MidnightCommunion

Christmas Day 10am

– Family Communion’

October 2018

As we move into Autumn we are VERY pleased to announce that our new vicar is to be the Revd Christine Spencer. Christine is currently Assistant Curate at St Mary’s Storrington, and will join us here at St Richard’s from early October, with her official Licensing being on 23rd October – we do hope you will be bale to join for this an more details will follow shortly! Thank you to everyone for your prayers during the interregnum, and please do continue to pray for Christine as she prepares to come here. 
 
Messy Church is now back with many familiar faces joining for family fun, and Little Fishes is back on Mondays for the pre-school children. Please note to due volunteers being on holiday for half term this month’s Messy Church will take place on 27th October, a week later than usual. We hope to see you there! 
 
With Autumn arriving, the new school term starting, and a new Vicar imminent for our Parish we are definitely moving into the next phase of the year. Exciting times ahead for us all, please do join us to see where God will lead us next! 

August 2018

As we move into August we continue to enjoy some beautiful Summer weather and people are out and about enjoying all God has to offer us.
Even on the sunniest and warmest of days we are still here holding our regular services and would love to see you soon. Please note that while we are recruiting for a new permanent clergy member we are holding one main service on Sundays at 10am instead of two services. We hope our 8am service will be re-introduced in due course.
Messy Church is also on a break for the Summer but we can’t wait to come back with new ideas to share in September so watch this space for news on when we will be meeting and what we have in store!
Rev. Francis Pole is kindly covering our Sunday Services following Rev. Sue Murray’s departure to a new Parish earlier this year. As he an old friend of St Richard’s Church we have been enjoying a full and glorious worship with him each week in our usual tradition.
Our Facebook page ‘Three bridges St Richard’s’ is regularly updated and you can contact a member of the Church team through here if you wish to discuss anything, or would like more information about what we do.
God brings change to all our lives at some point, and the life of our Church is no different. There is lots to be thankful for and exciting times ahead – please do join us during this period of growth and change to see what God might have in store for you!
Best Wishes from all the St Richard’s Team

February 2018

Lent begins on 14 February this year. But what actually is Lent? The word itself comes from an old English word, Lengten, which means Spring, the time when the days begin to lengthen. In the 4th century the Christian Church decided that the 40 days before Easter should be spent remembering the time when Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted. Traditionally Christians have spent these 40 days of Lent (Ash Wednesday to Easter is 46 days, but Christians do not fast on Sundays) fasting with sorrow and self-denial. It’s an opportunity to review our life in Christ, to see if we have slipped into bad habits not consistent with faith in Christ. Many people also take it as an opportunity to take up a new spiritual discipline. Maybe joining in a Lent Study Course or reading a spiritual book.

This year at St.Richards we will be following the Diocesan Lent Course for the year of prayer, beginning Tuesday 20 Feb at 7.30pm. Looking at various paintings we will be asking- where is God, what is God saying to us through this art. Please join us.

 

Calendar February

1st Feb. 10am Communion

2nd February PCC

4th Feb, Lisa will some to the 10am service to talk about St. Catherine’s Hospice

11th  February meeting after the 10am service to discuss the coming vacancy

13th Feb. Shrove Tuesday pancake party. 6pm, please let us know if you are coming

14th Feb. Ash Wednesday 7.30pm Communion with imposition of ashes. Lent begins.

17th Feb. 3-5pm Messy Church

20th Feb. Lent Course 7.30pm

24th Feb Coffee Morning at Marion’s

January 2018

A new year, a new you? I wonder if you have made any new year resolutions this year – promises to self for self-improvement. Exercise more (or at all) diet, give up smoking, cut down on alcohol. I wonder how many days/weeks/months you have kept such resolution in the past.

Jesus does not promise the will power to stay slim, cut the cigarettes or keep dancing. But he does say that to all who follow him he will give life in all its abundance. That seems to be worth having, to me.

This year is the Diocesan Year of Prayer. Keep a look out on this and the Diocese of Chichester website for news and events over the 12 months.

 

This month

4th Jan. 10am mid-week Holy Communion

8th Jan Little Fishes re-starts

20th Messy Church 3-5pm

28th Candlemas

2nd Feb. PCC 7.30pm

December 2017

3rd December 10am Christingle (the one with the oranges)

16th Dec. Messy Nativity 3-5pm

17th Dec. 4pm Carol Service

24th Dec. Christmas Ever 3pm Crib Service (specially for the young at heart)

11.30pm First Communion of Christmas

25th Dec. Christmas Day 10am Family Communion

 

Whenever angles appear in the Christmas story they never fail to say “don’t be afraid”. In fact, this happens four times during the events of Jesus’ birth. Someone (not me) once counted the number of times “don’t be afraid” appears in the Bible. It’s 365 times, one for each day of the year.

I think God is trying to tell us something. With him in control we don’t need to be afraid.

Come and join us this Christmas time and find out what else God is telling us.

November 2017

Remember, Remember the 5th of November…

November is a season of looking back and remembering as we give thanks for the lives of family and friends now in heaven at All Souls Tide. We remember the sacrifice of lives in War so that we might live in freedom on Remembrance Day.

And each time we celebrate the Eucharist we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, a life given that we might be reconciled to God.

As the nights draw in and the season of Winter beckons, let us take the opportunity to give thanks for those who have loved us and we see no more, confident that in faith in Christ we will be reconciled one with another one day in eternity.

For although Winter is coming, Spring and resurrection will come again.

Calendar

5th Nov. 3pm Memorial Service as we remember all those who have departed this life, in hope of the resurrection.

11th Nov. 11-1pm. Autumn Fair, an early opportunity for Christmas Presents.

12th Nov. 11am (prompt) Service of Remembrance (said Holy Communion 10am)

13th Nov. 7.30pm A celebration of the new parish in the presence of the Mayor of Crawley. Join us with the Bishop and the Archdeacon of Horsham lead us in this important step on our journey as a parish.

18th Nov                 Messy Church 3-5pm. A fun time of craft, story and song ending with shared tea

And don’t forget – Christingle 3rd December at 11am

 

 

October 2017

Autumn with its change of colours and promise of things to come is upon us. The everchanging cycle of the seasons throughout the year reminds us that nothing remains the same, that good will follow bad, and that bad, while not completely unavoidable, will not stay forever.

As I write the news of the shootings in Las Vegas is just coming through. Countless lives will be changed forever as a result of such evil. We could and will weep over this tragedy, but in Christ there is away forward as we seek to bring love, peace and hope to communities and individuals.

So yes we could stand and wring our hands in despair, but we could instead offer practical help and love to those in situations of such tragedy and grief, not just Las Vegas but in the smaller scale but no less important situations of everyday life – where a helping hand or listening ear is all that is needed.

So, instead of bemoaning the state of the world, can you be the one making a difference in that world? And make the world a better place for all to enjoy. A good world, made by our Creator God with humanity as its stewards.

Thought for the month: “You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb” Psalm 139:13

 

Calendar

10 Oct Deanery Synod at Copthorne.

15th Vison Morning with John Sherlock. Come ready to think about the mission of St.Richards. Holy Communion 9.30am followed by meeting until about 1pm

21st Messy Church 3-5pm

29th Oct 4-6pm our annual Light Party for children and their carers, includes food and party bags!

 

Coming up 5th November 3pm, Memorial service where we remember with thanksgiving those who have died in the last year.

September 2017

8th September marks a new era for St.Richards, it is from that date we will be a parish in our own right for the first time in our history. Serving the neighbourhood of Three Bridges and (most of) Northgate we seek to bring the love of Christ to our friends and neighbours.

As part of this process we will be holding a special Parish meeting on 24th of the month at 11am to elect our first church wardens and pcc. This will be proceeded by our Harvest festival at 10am. Instead of a harvest lunch or supper we will be holding a harvest breakfast! Join us at 9am to share food – and bring an offering of store cupboard goodies which we will donate to a local homeless shelter.

We do not know what the future will bring as a parish, but we trust in God that blessings will come. Please join us.

September Events

16 September Messy church 3-5pm

24 September Harvest breakfast 9am followed by festival service.

24 Sept. Special parish meeting to elect Church Wardens and PCC 11am

Sunday 15th October –morning parish vision meeting with John Shylock.