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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 March 2019 Magazine

Vicar Margaret Caunt writes
This year March the 6th is Ash Wednesday, when we gather together to mark the beginning of our journey through Lent towards the celebrations of Easter. We see again in scripture of and reflect on that defining journey of Jesus Christ’s. In Him we see the will and plan of God unfolding, the plan formed long ago to reconcile all creation to God. A will and a plan which is all encompassing, a plan not just for humankind but for the whole of creation.
We are all on a journey through life a journey and have our individual stories to contribute.

For me the parish church is a place where all the journeying of so many lives is clearly seen.

The parish church a place of prayer, worship and many journeys. Just this week babies are to be baptised at the start of their journeys while others a long time on the way, are laid to rest. What colours their lives will and have added to the rich tapestry God is weaving in His creation story.

The 10th of February 2019 was a significant day in the life and journey of St Mary’s Church Arnold.  A special service was held to mark 60 years since the re-consecration of the building after major earth works. In 1956 it was discovered by the National Coal Board that there were approximately 600,000 tons of coal situated under the church building, which was a precious commodity in post war austerity Britain.

As a result of consultations, the church was de-consecrated and the congregation relocated to a temporary building. The National Coal Board set about their extensive works which  included, striping the church completely, extracting the coal and placing the church on a raft-type foundation. It was a year before the congregation were settled back into a now re consecrated church.

At the service to mark this event, it was remarkable that we should have ten church members with us who were present at these events and some shared memories of that time. It was good to affirm together, the church’s journey to the present day and to give thanks for the past. It was also a time of acknowledging where we are today and to look forward to the future ministry at St Mary’s. To help with this some newer members of church shared their vision for the next phase of church’s mission, ministry and life together, the next phase of our journey.

It was good for us all to recognise that we are on a constantly changing journey. A journey with ups and downs, joys and struggles. It’s was good to acknowledge again the presence and the plan of God unfolding in St Mary’s journey and His love weaving together all the different strands. One of the names for Jesus Christ is The Alpha and the Omega. Which means the beginning and the end. It is also good to remember and trust that He holds all the tangled mess of strands and journeys in His hands too and He makes sense of them and weaves them in His pals for good.

As St Mary’s moves forward in her journey into the next 60 years and beyond we need to do it as one body, trusting in Jesus and in God’s plan for each of us, for St Mary’s church and for the world. We need also need to hold fast to the Joy in the journey and celebrate that we that we are Easter people. Because after the darkness and suffering of death comes the light and life of Easter Day. We follow a risen King Jesus Christ our Lord and He calls us on!

Vicar Margaret x

5 March - Shrove Tuesday:  Pancake Day

                        Ever wonder why we eat pancakes just before Lent? The tradition dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, when Christians spent Lent in repentance and severe fasting.

So on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the church bell would summon them to confession, where they would be ‘shriven’, or absolved from their sins, which gives us Shrove Tuesday.   At home, they would then eat up their last eggs and fat, and making a pancake was the easiest way to do this. For the next 47 days, they pretty well starved themselves.

Pancakes feature in cookery books as far back as 1439, and today’s pancake races are in remembrance of a panicked woman back in 1445 in Olney, Buckinghamshire. She was making pancakes when she heard the shriving bell calling her to confession.  Afraid she’d be late, she ran to the church in a panic, still in her apron, and still holding the pan.

Flipping pancakes is also centuries old.  A poem from Pasquil’s Palin in 1619 runs: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.”

Some people have noted that the ingredients of pancakes can be used to highlight four significant things about this time of year: eggs stand for creation, flour is the staff of life,  salt keeps things wholesome, and milk stands for purity.  

Shrove Tuesday is always 47 days before Easter Sunday and falls between 3rd February and 9th March.  
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
Women’s ordination – 25 years on

                        Twenty-five years ago this month, women were ordained as priests in the Church of England.  As the BBC commentator on the first service in Bristol Cathedral I was prepared for disruptions from demonstrators, but it proceeded reverently and without a hitch.  The only protest was outside, where a group of approving Roman Catholic women held a banner saying, ‘We’re Next’.

Of course, there are still people who object to women’s ordination on principle.  Some believe the practice frustrates the prospect of church unity, others hold that God has created women and men to hold complementary but different roles - and leadership in the Church is reserved for men.

At the last count, 30% of the 20,000 active clergy were women and 23% of the senior posts were held by women, and that includes 18 bishops.
It would be difficult now to imagine the Church of England without women priests and bishops.  They serve as chaplains in prison, hospital and the Armed Services, and of course as Vicars and Curates in parish churches.

Hannah Madin was ordained 18 months ago when she was 28, and is a Curate in York. She recalls visiting a parishioner whose husband had just died; the widow said, “I wasn’t expecting a female Vicar, but I’m so glad you are”.  Hannah’s husband is also ordained; she says it helps that he understands the random and unique nature of the job, they support each other in prayer, and they never talk shop on their day off!

Sue Restall was one of those ordained in Bristol 25 years ago and is now in active retirement in the Midlands, having been a parish priest and a hospital chaplain.  In her experience, although women and men may have different talents, that is more to do with personality than gender. However, she does recall making a bereavement visit when a widower cried his eyes out, saying he could only have done that in front of a woman.  Sue says her role is no longer controversial – “I am simply a priest who happens to be a woman
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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