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Compass is the name of St.Mary's Parish magazine. It is published at the beginning of every month and is distributed throughout the Parish by a band of volunteers.

If you would like to receive a copy of the magazine nearly every month (there is a combined December/ January edition), it is available for an Annual Subscription of £5.00

If you live outside the Parish and would still like to receive a copy, arrangements can be made to post it for an additional charge
For more information about the magazine, please contact either:

Editors                          Robert Pearson
                                     Mary Norris 
                                     Ed Sands    
Distribution Manager    Vacant

Articles from our February 2019 Magazine

Vicar Margaret Caunt writes

Team Times January 2019
It has been some time since my last letter to the whole church at St Mary’s, and right at the start of a New Year, it seems a good place to resume them.
Looking back over the past twelve months we have together faced some challenges and received many blessings.  We have seen some longstanding members come to the end of their earthly journey and have with thankful hearts, commended them to God’s keeping. And we have seen other church family moving on to new and exciting ministries in other places. We, as a church family and community of faith, have blessed them on their way and pray that their ministries and lives will continue to be fruitful and a blessing to those to whom they now minister and serve.
We have also continued to welcome new faces; individuals and families who are a blessing to us and we pray that they will begin to put down roots, develop and grow in their walk of faith. To this end, in a few weeks, we are soon to begin a course for new members and those exploring the Christian faith. We are also hoping to run a day time course for those who have expressed an interest in learning more about and encountering the Holy Spirit!
Our ministry to children and young families continues to develop; new leaders have stepped forward and have been doing a great job, especially on Sunday’s. Our children and leaders worked very hard at preparing a nativity at our Christingle and Crib service on Christmas Eve which everyone really enjoyed and got involved with. This year for the first time, one of the local schools welcomed us into school to make Christingles and then invited us to do a full Christingle service in school. Another school came into church for a full Christingle and Crib service with their parents and staff and together, we all had a really blessed time. With the two schools and our Christingle service on Christmas Eve we raised almost £600 for the work of the Children’s Society. A big well done to all!
Over the Christmas period we have seen hundreds of people coming into church and they have been able to connect with the Good News of Jesus in a variety of ways. The feedback has been good and positive. At our Carols by Candlelight service many people were touched by what they received, and six people asked for a booklet about the Christian faith, which we were glad to give them. At each service and activity through December, we also gave away the gift of a Hope publication to every visitor, using up just over 500 copies!
What is really encouraging is that several families have been back to church since Christmas and are ‘feeling their way’ wondering if they too might find a place to belong. Please do pray for all the connections and contacts we have made recently and are seeking to develop. Pray that the Lord will bless our efforts, cause seeds sown to grow and for our patch to become a very fruitful plot in His mission field.
In November the PCC applied to be a part of the Bishops’ Young Lives Initiative. A team who are interested in developing further our ministry to families and children, was put together, in conjunction with the PCC and myself.  There were just twenty-one places available across the whole Diocese and to our delight our prayers were answered, and our team was accepted. This is an exciting development as we will be working closely with Bishop Paul and his team, in order to work out new ways forward in our ministry of outreach and nurture to families and children.
Just to let everyone know that on Sunday 10th of February Bishop Paul will be coming along to a special service at St Mary’s, to be a part of our Thanksgiving to mark 60 years since the rededication of the Church following the repairs needed, due to mining works. The service starts at 4.00 pm and will be a service of Communion, followed by refreshments and a display of memorabilia in the Church Hall. I am hoping that the earlier time for this service, will make it easier for everyone to attend. All are welcome, and we have already sent out invitations to the local councillors and our member of parliament, so please do put this in your diary. This service will be instead of the Service of Light for this year.
Lent is fast approaching and on Ash Wednesday the 6th of March there will be a service of Communion with the Imposition of Ashes starting at 7.00pm. If you have never experienced this type of service before, then do try to come along as a start to your Lenten journey. This year we are offering a joint Lent Course in Church on Tuesday evenings at 7.00pm beginning on Tuesday the 12th of March. The course will run every week (5 in total) all the way to just before Palm Sunday. We are asking that the normal House Groups cease for this period and that group members come along to this course instead which will also be open to other people within the church fellowship. Lifts will be organised and made available for those who find coming out in the evenings difficult. There will be a variety of people leading the sessions including myself, Rev Sylvia Griffiths and others. We will be working through a course called “Experiencing God’s Love”, written by Bishop Steven Croft. Please pray that everyone will be open to learning something new; be surprised by joy and experience the love of God afresh for themselves as we enjoy fellowship with the Lord and with each other!
I would just like to draw your attention again to the new prayer sheet and email initiative that began on 6th of January. This was started by Chris Baker, after prayer and consultation with myself in response to a dream given to Chris by God. The prayer sheet and emails for those who prefer them, will include prayer requests and the answers to prayers received. All of which should help bless others, build our faith, aid communication and be an encouragement to us all as we endeavour to deepen our prayer lives and fellowship. Please see Chris for more information.
Please also remember that if you have any concerns, worries or issues about our Church and our fellowship together, then please direct them to our church wardens or myself, as we are here to help and to provide you with the best place to voice them and give good council. I would at this point like to thank everyone involved in the numerous activities and ministries that make up the ministry of St Mary’s. There are too many to list here but each one is appreciated and a blessing. Together we are Team St Mary’s and should always be thankful for all that God has done, is doing right now, and is yet to do amongst us.  
Moving on into a New Year can evoke many different emotions in us as, we tread into the unknown wondering what lies ahead for each of us, in a changing and often challenging world.
I would like to offer for your prayer and reflection, a line from the poem by Minnie Haskin called “The Gate of the New Year”, as we set out together, into the yet unknown joys, blessings and challenges of this next year.
“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.’’
Brothers and Sisters put your hand into the Hand of God and trust in Him as this year unfolds as we travel together the path of peace, unity and love that He has called us to.
Yours in Christ Jesus our Lord………….  

Vicar Margaret x

191 Shoe Boxes sent from St Mary’s Church Arnold
                        This year we sent one hundred and ninety one shoeboxes from St Mary’s as well as checked and sent on their way nineteen from Richard Bonington Primary School. This year our boxes went to Belarus. Each box will have been excitedly opened by now and brought great happiness to the delighted recipient. They make not just an immediate difference but in many cases long term and life changing differences.
Natasha. It was my first gift ever. When I held it, there was joy and love in my heart such that I never felt before. I knew there were people out there who cared for me. I was not alone… As my whole class was running around seeing what everyone else got, I just stood in one place in amazement. I couldn’t believe what was going on and what I was seeing in my box… There was a doll, a colouring book, crayons, and hair clips. It took me a minute to let it all sink in. Because of my shoebox gift, I knew that the world wasn’t over yet. There was more to life than what I’d experienced. We were not forgotten. We were still loved.

Message from a partner in Belarus.
The 14 year olds were very happy rejoicing over every gift in the box, thrilled with even a pencil. One teenage boy, when he opened his box began bounding around the room with each item showing it to everyone.
A 7 year old girl opened her box taking out the gifts one at a time and thanking us.  The children had never before received such gifts. All of them are grateful – and so are we! Thank you, Samaritan’s Purse and everyone who shared in sending these wonderful gifts that have blessed many families and our church as well.”

Thank You!
To all of you who knitted, covered shoeboxes, donated money, sent in filled boxes or items for us to use to make up shoeboxes. And to those of you who helped us to check and seal the boxes.
Your time, thoughtfulness, generosity and love will and does make a lasting impression on these very deprived children.
Every single shoebox matters. Thankyou.

As Natasha said   “We knew we were still loved.”
Arnold Food Bank
Arnold Food Bank was founded in December 2012 & is a member of The Trussel Trust which supports a network of over 420 food banks across the UK to provide emergency food to people in crisis. We receive no help from the Government and are self-sufficient in raising funds.
Here are figures we have for our year ended 31/03/18:
We issued 1,705 vouchers serving 2,258 adults and 1,289 children. This is an increase of 33% of people served for 2017. The main crisis types were 48% for benefit changes and delays, whilst a further 27% was for low income. The total figure for food donated was 28,363 Kg or 28.36 Tonnes.
Some reasons for using Food Bank:
·       I thought of shoplifting to feed my children
·       For the past few days I have been begging on the streets
·       Without the food bank I don’t think I would be here today
·       The Food Bank saved our lives
·       We didn’t know where our next meal was coming from
·       And – on a brighter note, The food bank gave me faith that there are people who understand and who you can trust.
Thank you ALL for volunteering and giving your time. Without your help the Food Bank could not run.

Alan Langton
The worse you feel, the more likely you are to believe in God.
At least that is a finding from the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which has found that patients admitted to hospital are more likely to have religious faith than people in the general public.
It seems that more than half of us are happy to say that we have 'no religion', according to the latest BSA survey, which found that 52 per cent of us deny any religious affiliation.   But this figure drops to only 15 per cent once you become a NHS patient.
Data from the Manchester University NHS Trust also shows that while 40 per cent of the population identify as Christian, this figure soars to 66 per cent once people are admitted to hospital.  

Tower update

Progress continues to be made on assessing the cost and extent of work needed on the Tower. We now have had two estimates submitted for the work needed and await a third. The good news is that the work is not as extensive as we first feared, the bad news is that current estimates range from £25 to £35K for that work with the cost of accessing the Tower a major factor.

Our own efforts to raise funds now have reached an excellent total of around £7K but we now need to develop a strategy for generating financial support from the variety of funding bodies supporting such work. Meanwhile, to increase our own contribution, an afternoon event will be held in church on Thursday, October 18th. The speaker Professor Julian Evans, was formerly Professor of Forestry at Imperial College & Chief Research Officer for the Forestry Commission and has written or been a principal editor of some 16 books on forestry and tree-related subjects, including his book 'God’s Trees’ on trees, forests and wood found in the bible.

He was a popular speaker on a recent eventful ‘Round the British Isles’ cruise taken by Ralph and led the meetings and Sunday worship held on the boat.

The intention would be to have his talk followed by afternoon tea. We would hope as many as possible would come to enjoy his presentation.’ See advert flor more details and please put it in your diary!

The Plastic Revolution

The recent Blue Planet II series exposed just how much plastic waste is an issue in our seas. The Prime Minister has called plastic waste ‘one of the great environmental scourges of our
time.’ The best estimates suggest 10 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans, contaminating and killing sea life. How should we view this issue from a Christian perspective?

When God created the universe, He saw ‘everything He had made, and indeed, it was very good.’ (Genesis 1:31). He call us to share in His care of creation: ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the
earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the ground.’ (Genesis 1:28). Our rule over living creatures is not an excuse to exploit them in a selfish way. As those who made in the image of God, we are entrusted to care for them with responsibility and trustworthiness.

Why do the sea creatures being killed by plastic matter? Because of human rebellion against God (see Genesis 3), our relationship with God and His creation was damaged. No longer do we live with living creatures in harmony and interdependence. Yet after the flood, when Noah rescued the animals in the ark they are included in God’s everlasting promise to protect the earth: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that was with you.’ (Genesis 9:9,10). This also points to God’s cosmic plan to restore all creation to Himself.

What is our response to be? Where is God calling us, as His people in this time an place, to make a stand in protecting His creation? Time for a plastic revolution?  

The ‘Other’ Mary
A new film about her has stimulated fresh interest in one of the most elusive characters in the New Testament story, Mary Magdalene. I saw the film recently and personally found it disappointing. How do you make a rather boring film about such a fascinating person? Was she, as widely believed, a prostitute converted by Jesus? Probably not. Did she wash the feet of Jesus and dry them with her hair? Again, probably not. Was she the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (as the film assumes)? Again, not proven. But amidst all the assumptions we actually know a lot about her, clearly recorded in the Gospels.
On her saint’s day (July 23rd) this year) it would be best to concentrate on them, rather than guesswork. She is mentioned by name 14 times in the New Testament - more often than
almost all the other disciples. Jesus ‘delivered’ her from seven demons (in first century terms, an awful mental or moral condition), and she then led a group of women disciples who travelled with Jesus and supported Him out of their own resources (Luke 8:1-3). Most significantly of all, the unanimous testimony of the Gospels is that Mary was with the mother of Jesus at the cross, helped with His burial, and was the first human being to see and speak with the risen Christ (John 20:11-18). At the command of Jesus, she went and told the apostles, but they wouldn’t believe her, because she was a woman. How times change!

As He was dying, Jesus made provision for His mother’s future care. As soon as He was raised from death, He provided the ’other’ Mary in His life with the assurance of His risen humanity – and made her the ‘apostle to the apostles’.
by Canon David Winter

To see the Movie Trailer, please click here. Hopefully we will be showing this at a special showing at our Community Cinema later this year!

There was once an old monastery that had fallen upon hard times. Centuries earlier it had been a thriving monastery where many dedicated monks lived and worked and had great influence, but now only five monks lived there and they were all over 70 years old. This was clearly a dying order. A few miles from the monastery lived an old hermit who many thought was a prophet. One day as the monks agonized over the impending demise of their order, they decided to visit the hermit to see if he might have some advice for them. Perhaps he would be able to see the future and show them what they could do to save the monastery.

The hermit welcomed the five monks to his hut, but when they explained the purpose of their visit he could only commiserate with them. "Yes I understand how it is," said the hermit, "the spirit has gone out of the people, hardly anyone cares much for the old things anymore."

"Is there anything you can tell us," the Abbot enquired of the hermit, "that could help us to save the monastery?"  'No I am sorry," said the hermit. "l don't know how your monastery can be saved, the only thing that I can tell you is that one of you is an Apostle of God."

The monks were both disappointed and confused by the hermit's cryptic statement. They returned to the monastery wondering what the hermit could have meant by the statement "one of you is an Apostle of God". For months after their visit, the monks pondered the significance of the hermit's words.

'One of us is an Apostle of God," they mused. "Did he actually mean, one of us monks here at the monastery? That is impossible. We are all too old, we are all too insignificant. On the other hand, what if it is true and if it is true, then which one of us is it?

'Do you suppose he meant the Abbot? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant the Abbot. He has been our leader for more than a generation. On the other hand he might have meant Brother Thomas. Certainly Brother Thomas is a holy man, a man of wisdom and light. He couldn't have meant Brother Elred. Elred gets crochety at times and is difficult to reason with. n the other hand, he is almost always right. Maybe the hermit did mean Brother Elred. But surely he could not have meant Brother Philip? Brother Philip is so passive, so shy, a real nobody. Still, he is always there when you need him. He is loyal and trustworthy. Yes, he could have meant Philip. Of course, the hermit didn't mean me, he couldn't possibly have meant me. I am just an ordinary person. Yet suppose he did. Suppose I am an Apostle of God. Oh God, not me. I couldn't be that much for you. Or could l?"

As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that one of them might actually be an Apostle of God and on the off, off chance that each monk himself might be the apostle spoken of by the hermit, each monk began to treat himself with extraordinary respect.

Because the monastery was situated in a beautiful forest, many people came there to picnic on its lawn and to walk on its paths and now and then to go into the tiny chapel to meditate. As they did so, without even being conscious of it, they sensed the aura of
extraordinary respect that now began to surround the five old monks and seemed to radiate from them, permeating the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely attractive, even compelling, about it. Hardly knowing why, people began to bring their friends to show them this special place, and their friends brought their friends.

As more and more visitors came, some of the younger men started to talk with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them, then another, then another. Within a few years, the monastery had once again become a thriving order and thanks to the hermit's wisdom a vibrant center of light and spirituality throughout the region.

Page was last altered 31 January 2019

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