Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Newsletter January 2012

All the festivities are over for another year. Some of us will be hoping that the winter
won’t be too long, and that soon the daffodils will peep through giving us a
glimpse of the coming spring. I foundthis poem that I would like to share with you. It’s based on the magi that travelled so far to worship the Christ Child. They are warned in a dream not to return to King Herod, and to go home another way.

After the star, the dim day.
After the gifts, the empty hands.
And now we take our secret way
back to far lands

After the cave, the bleak plain.
After the joy, the weary ride.
But journey we, three new-made men,
side by side.

Came we by old paths by the sands.
Go we by new ones this new day,
homewards to rule our lives and lands
by another way.
Author unknown

January is a time when we remember the old, and look forward
to the new. What will this New Year bring? You may not see me as much during January and February as I am working a placement at Madron and Gulval Parishes as part of my training towards Ordination. It will be interesting to see how life and worship goes on in these places and to take an active part in the services.

In the light of all the celebrations and worship we have shared together this last Christmas, I hope that the Christ Child has inspired us to live ‘another way’, just like the magi. May God be with us as we face all the challenges that 2012 may bring.


Friday, 2 December 2011

December Newsletter

Holding onto the Divinity of Jesus

Now it is truly winter, our season of celebration is about to begin. We have lots of great events to look forward to: ‘Christingle Services’ at Ludgvan & Perranuthnoe, the lighting of many Christmas trees and ‘The Christmas Tree Festival’ at Marazion, many, many Carol Services and Nativity Presentations in churches, school halls and pubs to enjoy, as well as our own preparations, card, food and present-buying to accomplish by December 25th.

In recent years much stress has been placed in theological circles on the ‘humanity’ of Jesus: ‘He was just an ‘ordinary’ baby, born to an unmarried teenage mother, in a cold, out-house stable’. Indeed, the birth of the Christ-child prefigures and sanctifies the coming of all new human life into the world (in whatever circumstances – however ‘poor’ or ‘mean’ or ‘lowly’) and the Nativity Story provides us with a template for our own private ‘nativities’: how many grandparents have not made long journeys bearing gifts to welcome a new child into a family?

However, all our ‘coo-ing’ and ‘aaah-ing’ at Nativity plays and Children’s Services of Light should not lull us into a feeling that we are just welcoming ‘another’ baby into the world: Jesus is not an ‘ordinary’ baby: he is the Divine ‘Son of God’, the ‘True Light’, ‘The Word made Flesh’ as the opening Chapter of St John’s Gospel informs us. John, Chapter One will surprise us once again as it is read out at many Carol Services in the Christmas Season and as it elucidates the sheer scale, grandeur and poetic vision of Who it is we are celebrating coming to us at Christmastime: the Christ-child is the pre-existent ‘Word of God’, who has been with us since the dawn of time, he is our God made human, come amongst us.

The wonder of God trapping himself in human form is enough to behold, but Jesus comes into the world not only with a need to be loved and cuddled and provided with a ‘baby-grow’ (he gets ‘swaddling bands instead!): the Christ-child comes to us with a challenge. As we read the predictions of the prophets Isaiah, Zephaniah and Malachi in the Advent lead-up to Christmas we learn how Jesus comes with ‘the zeal of the Lord of Hosts’ to challenge rulers and to judge the world, ‘to bring down the Mighty from their seat’ (Luke 1:52) and bring in and establish his reign of justice, righteousness and peace: the prophet Isaiah tells us the Messiah is ‘Mighty Counsellor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).

In all our joyful Christmas celebrations let us keep hold of the majesty of the Event we are celebrating: God coming to be made with us in the Christ-child, to bring challenge and Light to ‘the principalities and powers’ of this ‘present darkness’ and this ‘passing age’ (Ephesians 6:12), to establish his rule of justice, mercy and peace forever.

I very much hope to see you over the Christmas period, (and, not forgetting, our celebrations in the Benefice continue in January, with the Celebration of St Hilary Feast on 15 January, Ludgvan Feast on 22 January and Candlemass on 29 January).

May all your own preparations and celebrations go well and may your hearts be made ready this Advent to welcome Jesus, the Divine Son of God.

Revd Nigel Marns

Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay

(Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Newsletter November 2011

What a day we had with Bishop Tim on 4 October. His visit was accompanied with the hottest weather in October for many a year and provided us with the best of all worlds to walk the Pilgrims Way from Ludgvan, where he blessed the magnificent mural in the Murley Hall, then on to Marazion for the wonderful 150th anniversary celebrations and then, after a splendid lunch, some of us walked on to Perranuthnoe for tea and cake and blessing of the Church Rooms.

From there we all moved back to Marazion to the School where we had a great deal of fun in our outdoor worship with the Bishop (who remembers the Superman Grace he taught us?) parents, children and staff in their new outdoor facility. Well done Dom for creating this worship time.

Not to mention….more lovely cake and scones and cream and jam and tea and coffee and ……….I am sure you get the picture!

I unfortunately was unable to do the walk because someone had to carry the Bishop’s jacket! (That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it) but well done those who did do any part of the walk).

During the service in All Saints Marazion the Bishop blessed a newly restored alter frontal, a whole lot of new pew bibles and he also licensed me as Associate Priest in our Benefice.

So what does “Associate Priest” mean? And why wasn’t Lilian made “Associate Priest?” Why was Lilian a perpetual Assistant Curate? I have been asked.

The answer lies in the new – since February of this year – Common Tenure for all clergy in the Church of England.

Under Common Tenure my old 5 year Licence, given at my priesting in 2008, has been revoked and my new Licence has been granted. My new Licence from the Bishop is given because I am now deemed to be fully trained in the ways of the priesthood so no longer a Curate but a fully fledged Priest.

Dom will remain a Curate until he too has completed his training then he will, in all probability, leave us and take on his own Parish where he will be the Associate Priest, or Vicar or Rector or whatever.

Annie will also become a Curate next year and she will then start her next phase of training with Nigel and Dom.

If all of this sounds very “Church of England” then please be assured – it is! I had thought all this through and researched as best I could when I came across the fact that “Associate Priest” isn’t a new title - there have been Associate Priests in the Diocese for many years – long before Common Tenure was thought of but I have no explanation for that – maybe they’re not as Associate as I am!

So your clergy team now consists of our Rector Nigel, House for Duty Priest Noel, together with Reader Lesley, Associate Priest Beth, Assistant Curate Dom and Ordinand Annie along with the indispensable retired priests John, Frank, David and Leslie who do so much to help in the Benefice and without whom the whole thing couldn’t work.

I do hope that clarifies the situation – just a little bit anyway.

Having sorted out what we are called, we now have to put our vision of the future forward – much more important.

Who knows – except God Himself – what the future will bring but some of our plans for the next exciting year in our Benefice for 2012 are:-

the Easter Celebrations – watch this space, the Benefice visit to Westminster Abbey on 17th June, the Ordination of Annie and the Priesting of Dom the following day at the end of June followed in October by Dom and Hannah’s wedding.

We journey on with God and while He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow I am very pleased to say that our God also delights in doing a new thing. I hope and pray that we do too.

All love, from your new and very excited Associate Priest, Beth xx

Friday, 30 September 2011

Newsletter October 2011


A dictionary definition of the word ‘hope’: is a small bay, an inlet; a haven – perhaps a suitable description for parts of our United Benefice here at Mounts Bay.

A further definition is: a desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable; an expectation of something which is thought to be desirable.

This time of year we are all filled with hope, we hope for a good harvest and for not too harsher winter. We hope that the children get back to school ok and we look on during the coming months for those who face uncertainty in their jobs as they hope for clarity and those that face difficulties with finances as they hope for some ease to help them.

As I move around our benefice I too am filled with hope because there is so much happening:

·Today I have left the Murley Hall at Ludgvan, which was filled with people eating bacon butties and buying fruit and veg at the autumn fair.

·There is a real sense of excitement in the air in Marazion as preparations pick up a pace for the Bishop’s visit on the 2nd of October.

·St. Hilary’s heritage centre is thriving with the hope that this will continue and grow

·Perranuthnoe are filled with expectation at the launch of the new churches together youth group ‘Alive’ and

·We approach our home group with hope that we can come closer to our Lord Jesus through his ‘I am Saying’s.

Hope: a desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.

But what do we do when hope dies?

Our hearts and prayers go out to the community and families in Wales as the BBC headlines read ‘Welsh mine tragedy: Hope ends in tears for families’ and the country reflects on what for them must seem like a hopeless situation.

Christians have a sure and certain hope, the hope of resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Another word for ‘hope’ is ‘confidence’. By substituting this word we have: Christians have a sure and certain confidence, the confidence of resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those of you that are attending the home groups will be spending time looking at Jesus’ saying in John, chapter 11: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me, will never die”.

I don’t want to spoil the home group for you, but just to say that this is the saying that we hinge our hope, expectation, and anticipation on, this is an amazing claim to hear from Jesus, both in its context after Lazarus’ death but also today in 2011.

I pray that the families, friends and community of the Welsh miners may find hope and comfort in these words and my brothers and sisters, Jesus’ words of hope and resurrection are for you also.

As we enter this next month in the life of the benefice there is lots to be hopeful for, a lot to be confident in and a lot to look forward to - but can I urge you to take a moment to stop and remember those who have trouble in finding this hope. Pray for them to seek and find the hope of Jesus Christ our Lord.

When the headlines speak of hopelessness and the world seems a dark place, remember that Christ is our light, our hope, our confidence and our courage.

Revd. Dom Jones
Assistant Curate The United Benefice of Mounts Bay (Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Newsletter September 2011

‘May we live simply so others may simply live’.

This telling phrase came to mind as I have noticed that many hardware or furniture shops now offer sections entitled ‘Storage Solutions’ - all sorts of ingenious little boxes and hangers so that we can tidy away all our stuff.

Jesus seemed oddly interested in our storage arrangements too, how we keep and hoard so many possessions that we have to build bigger extensions and barns to house it all (Luke 12:16-30). Jesus instructs us to sit lightly to all we own, otherwise ‘rust and moth decay’ and ‘thieves break in and steal’, as the big stores of our land (the ‘Sony Warehouse’s and ‘Staples Superstores’) recently discovered.

A contrasting picture that has haunted me over recent weeks was the picture of young men lifting a plasma television screen out of a ‘Currys’ shop-front window in Clapham Junction and a woman in Ethiopia carrying all the wood she could manage on her back to a refugee camp to escape from her village and the famine in the Horn of Africa. Both were carrying what they saw as ultimately valuable.

The pictures from the Horn of Africa are once again shocking. Even after so much effort was poured into relieving the situation there, despite all the emergency relief aid given in the 1980s and the long term development aid, the area remains resolutely poor, the need is too vast and huge, and the population dependent upon subsistence farming. Due to the recent drought (which has now lasted for three years) the region has once again plunged into famine.

There is such a disparity between these two pictures, isn’t there? Between the fortunes of our own society obsessed with the collection of the latest consumer durables (sometimes at any cost) and needing ‘Storage Solutions’ and my Ethiopian woman with her pile of wood and the millions who have lost everything: farm, home and village. Perhaps we can bear them in mind as we are coming to the time of Harvest Celebrations, as the season turns, and as there is a nip in the evening air and the nights noticeably drawing in,.
We pray that our own local farmers may have good yields but we also pray for those in our world who have little or nothing, and we pray that we give generously to alleviate their need. ‘To us to whom much is given, much more is expected’, Jesus says (Luke 12:48). A Prayer written by a Parishioner for our recent ‘Sacred Space’ Prayer on the theme of ‘the healing of the nations, captures this for me:

‘For ourselves that each in our own place that we may be people of peace and well-springs of hope.’

This Harvest-time, as we give thanks for all God’s gifts around us, may we too think about our own acquisitive needs and chose to live more simply so that others may simply live.

Revd Nigel Marns
Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay
(Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Monday, 1 August 2011

Newsletter August 2011

Most of you know that I am now about to begin my second year in training with the South West Ministry Course and a number of you have helped me over the last year by filling in questionnaires relating to a local survey, assessing my sermons and leading worship. Thank you for the time you have taken over this and also, for all the encouragement and support.

This week, I was asked to take my first funeral with Beth at my side, and I thought I would share the latter part of my address with you. I think we all need reminding sometimes how awesome, wonderful and BIG the love of our God is.

“As a Christian I believe in heaven. It’s hard for us to imagine, but I believe that heaven is just like coming home, where everything is perfect – just like God always intended our world to be. Jesus tells us that He is the Way and that he will come and take our hand to lead us home – home to the Father God.

God’s love is SO BIG, and that - for us mere humans, is also hard to imagine. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even death. God’s love is like a river that flows on from this world to the next. God’s love is so big that he can hold everyone in it. Even those who may not think they want to be held in it. God’s love is so big that he loves us just as we are, warts and all! And God loves us all far too much to ever, ever let any of us go.”

Love and blessings

Saturday, 25 June 2011

July Newsletter

‘Welcome’ & ‘Hospitality’

‘Welcome’ said the mat on the floor, and the ‘Welcome’ really was a genuine one, as I was greeted with a smile, a handshake and made a warming cup of tea. ‘Welcome’ and ‘Hospitality’ are what the Cornish do well, and, if you are visiting Cornwall for the first time, a lot of preparation has already taken place prior to and in preparation for your visit: house and shop-fronts have been painted and much tidying up and sprucing up has taken place. As well as the readiness and preparation of shops, campsites, pubs, hotels and B & Bs, those traditionally involved in providing ‘hospitality’, many residents in Cornwall will also be preparing to welcome friends and family to their homes in the next two months. And as well as providing a genuine ‘Welcome’ we hope to learn and gain from our visitors, from their own insights and pilgrimage through life.

‘Welcome’ and ‘Hospitality’ are very much Christian virtues. Jesus enjoyed the hospitality at many peoples’ homes: at Mary and Martha’s home (Luke 10:38-42) and at Zacchaeus’ home (Luke 19:5), and Jesus could soon detect whether the ‘welcome’ was genuine, as he did when he visited Simon the Pharisee’s home (Luke 7:36-50). Jesus told his disciples that when they visited a town or village, they were to look for someone to welcome them and stay with them. Jesus said: “When you go into a house say, ‘Peace be with you’. If the people in that house welcome you, let your greeting of ‘Peace’ remain there”. (Matthew 10:11-12).

If you are visiting us, we hope that you will find a genuine ‘Welcome’ in this traditional place of Christian Pilgrimage at all four churches of our Benefice, if you’ve just ‘popped in’ to have a look around or if you’ve come for a Service. We are a lively, prayerful and active Christian community. And there is much for you to join in with in the months of July and August.

At Perranuthnoe on Thursday afternoons Cream Teas are served outside our Church Rooms there, and there will be a Churches Together Sing-a-long on Sunday 31st July at 6pm (with Pasty Supper to follow).

At All Saints, Marazion we are in our 150th Anniversary year, and we are holding two concerts, one in July and with the ‘Richmond Singers’ in August. We are also hoping to hold a Wedding Exhibition 10-12 August.

We celebrate St Hilary Pilgrimage on Wednesday 10 August at 7.30pm with the Archdeacon of Cornwall.

Family Services are at 10am at Ludgvan 17 July & 28 August and at 11.15am at Perranuthnoe 10 July & 28 August. You are warmly invited to our United Benefice Beach Service with Baptisms at Marazion Red River on Sunday 21 August at 4pm.

If you are looking for something more quiet and contemplative, Choral Evensong will take place at 4pm on Sunday 10 July at Ludgvan and Sunday 7 August at Marazion. Sacred Space, our quiet, silence and chant-based Service will take place at Marazion, every day Tuesdays-Saturdays 4-4.30pm in August.

In our Benefice too, ‘Welcome’ and ‘Hospitality’ is very much on our mind, as we are delighted to welcome our new Curate, Revd Dom Jones, who will be made a Deacon at Truro Cathedral on Friday 1st July at 7.30pm and we have a special United Benefice Welcome Service for Dom on Sunday 3rd July at 10am at Ludgvan, with a Welcome Bring & Share Lunch to follow. Dom has written an introductory piece about himself elsewhere in the Magazine, and we really hope and pray that Dom will be happy here with us for the next three-four years of his Curacy, and find our welcome and our hospitality both genuine and heartfelt, and that we may learn from him and his own ‘walk with God’.

So in July and August we put out our ‘Welcome’ mats for all our visitors, and particularly, as we welcome our new Curate Dom here amongst us.

God Bless you throughout this Summertime,

Revd Nigel Marns
Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay
(Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Monday, 30 May 2011

June 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

John Wesley tells us in his journal that his heart was strangely warmed when he attended a meeting of the Moravians. People down through the ages have encountered the presence of God in so many different ways. Pascal,the French philosopher and practicing Roman Catholic, describes a dramatic moment in his prayers when he had a burning bush encounter like Moses. He describes it as Fire, Fire the God of Abraham and Isaac!
Sadly the church has frequently lost this encounter with the divine. In the sacrament we can talk of the real presence but ,in truth, it lacks any spiritual umph because it is merely nice churchy words. We can talk about finance but forget the fire. We can devise endless programs of training and finish as ineffective as when we started. There is a world out there searching for fresh meaning to living and we remain incapable of saying anything that means something to our contemporaries.
On that first day of Pentecost Peter spoke to the crowd with immediate effect. We are told 3000 were baptized. Somehow we need a new Pentecost. The third great festival of the Christian year has become a bit of a Cinderella feast. It is the one thing we all need to rediscover the presence of the living God in our lives and in our churches. Where do we begin?
This Pentecost we could undertake a simple reflection in our prayers to empty ourselves of self promotion, naked ambition, and preoccupation with the secular and expect the encounter with God to be for real. We need to wait as they did to be clothed with power from on high. People about us are searching for fresh meaning in their lives. With this power from on high we can build bridges to them. We can draw them into the reality of God that we have discovered ourselves.
When I was first ordained I read a book about the post War Diocese of Coventry entitled Fire over Coventry. Of course, it was a play on words for a very different fire had brought terror and destruction to that ancient city during devastating air raids. The church with its new cathedral was challenged to renew lives as well as the building. For that the fire of Pentecost had to be discovered afresh in its life and in its members. The same fire needs to be over our churches and our Benefice. We need to encounter the God of the burning bush and to know that when He tells us “I am” has sent us such a reality fills us and surrounds those we seek to help. Renewed in spirit may we be ready to face the world with a fresh understanding of what it means to go into all the world and make disciples.

God bless you this Pentecost
Noel Michell.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

May 2011 Newsletter

Being ‘Easter People

I don’t know which stage of life you feel you in at this present moment?: we talk of people being in the ‘autumn’ of their lives or at the end of their days going to live in ‘Winter Heights Nursing Home’ (or some such name), or whether you feel you are in a wilderness time, struggling with ill-health, the death of a loved one or family worries.

As Christians, whatever we are feeling or whichever stage of life we feel we are in at this present-time, we are called, above all else, to be ‘Easter People’, reflecting the joy of the Risen Lord’s eternal presence with us, and living in the light of Jesus’ glorious Resurrection from the dead: that is why Christianity’s principal Holy Day is on a Sunday, the Son’s Day, the day of Jesus’ Resurrection.

Although we may not feel like it all the time, every Sunday should be an Easter Day, a Celebration, a celebration of Jesus conquering sin and death once and for all time. The early Church were attuned to the seasons and they cannily knew what they were doing when they placed Easter, Our celebration of new life, in the emerging Springtime, amongst all the new verdancy, vitality, new blossom and the warming up of the Earth.

Throughout May and Eastertide this year, we are treated to the some of the most sublime and beautiful stories Sunday by Sunday in our Bible Readings: the stories of the Risen Jesus’ encounter and re-acquaintance with his friends: we will hear Mary in the Easter Garden call Jesus ‘Rabboni’ and Jesus injunction to Mary ‘not to cling to him’; we will go with the disciples on the Road to Emmaus who exclaim that their ‘hearts burned within us as he talked to us on the road’, and whose ‘eyes were opened’ when Jesus broke the bread before them, we shall see Jesus appear to his disciples in the Upper Room, encouraging them to ‘not be afraid’ and persuading Thomas to place ‘his hands in the wounds of his hands and his sides’, we shall smell Jesus cooking fish ‘very early morning’ by the shoreside for his fisherman friends. These Easter moments are mysterious, almost mystical, encounters occurring in the haze of Spring dawn-light. There is much cantankerous talk about there being too many holidays during May, but, as C.S. Lewis would tell us, we can’t live in the winter forever, and after a very, long, cold and hard winter and relentlessly bad news for months and months people need to revel a bit in the Springtime Celebrations of Easter, Weddings, May Day, Whitsun – they are good for us all.
A very big thank you to everyone who joined in our glorious Procession through Marazion on Palm Sunday.

As a ‘Pilgrim People’ as a Benefice we will be on the move again, on Rogation Sunday, travelling from Church to Church blessing fields and crops and enjoying together God’s bountiful Creation. This will take place at the end of the month - I hope you will be able to join in with some or all of it.

As ‘Easter People’ let us enjoy and revel in Our Season of Hope, new Dawn and new Light and may we all enjoy the May-time, the flowers, the blossom and Jesus’ Risen presence with us all.

Happy Eastertide,

Revd Nigel Marns
Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay
(Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Sunday, 3 April 2011

April Newsletter

Earthquake in New Zealand, hundreds dead. Earthquake tsunami and nuclear threat in Japan, thousands dead. Civil war in Libya, huge disruption in Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia the list goes on and on – all this disruption in our world and to add to the doom and gloom the Lectionary readings are coming from Jeremiah – is this the end of the world as we know it?
The news at the moment just isn’t too good – one could be excused for thinking that maybe God has gone on holiday.
But look again.
The Japanese people are astounding the world with their behaviour to each other. Locals are sharing their scant supplies of food, water and bedding with refugees.
Workers at the nuclear plant at Fukushima are battling – at huge risk to their own lives, trying to cool the damaged reactors. One sent an email to his family asking them to continue to live well – “I wont be home for some time” he said.
As I write, Comic Relief has just announced the biggest ever contribution in their 23 year history – and this in a recession ravaged Britain! People have still managed to remember those poorer and more disadvantaged than themselves.
Acts of random kindness in all the stricken areas of our world are happening all the time but of course the media don’t always report them. Bad news sells more newspapers.
We as Christians must remember that we have the Good News – Easter is coming and we remember that Jesus is risen from the dead.
We continue our Lent journey in the Benefice with our Lent course on “Not a Tame Lion” which has started in Perranuthnoe and Ludgvan. It’s a very challenging course and I am sure we will all get a lot out of our study together.
Christianity Explored continues in the Cutty Sark in Marazion and plans are being finalised for our grand Palm Sunday parade. What a day that will be. We are doing a completely new thing and trusting God for a good turnout and a blessed time together as a Benefice.
This is something I hear more and more – that we now feel more like a Benefice and the more we do together the more we get to know and love each other. Sacred Space in Marazion, supported by all our churches continues to give those attending a peaceful and uplifting half hour each day – a really good discipline to take just that half an hour and refresh ourselves in God’s peace. I am sure you will want to join me in thanking Nigel, Penny and all those who make this such a wonderful experience – thank you one and all.
We have started our prayer meetings for “When Dom comes” and look forward to having Dom and Hannah join our community after his Ordination in July.
What a lot to look forward to. No – God has not gone on holiday – He is working in His world through ordinary people - just like you and me. He always has and He always will – may we, during this Lenten period, just give Him the time and space in our lives to lead us into a deeper relationship with Him.
Thought I would close with a bit of humour and a reminder just how great our God is.

A priest is driving to London and gets stopped for speeding near Swindon. The policeman smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?" "Just water," says the priest, fingers crossed. The policeman says, "Then why do I smell wine?" The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"
May God Bless you and yours for this coming Easter Season.
Rev Beth Whyte

Monday, 28 February 2011

March 2011 Newsletter

Feasting and Fasting

‘The Lord Almighty will prepare a banquet for all nations of the world: a banquet of the richest food and the finest wine’ (Isaiah 25:6).

It seems strange to encourage you to ‘Feast’ in this coming Season of Lent, which we usually associate with ‘fasting’, denial and Jesus’ refusal to ‘turn stones to bread’ in the wilderness, despite his hunger (Matthew 4:3-4).

The Medieval Calendar was constantly punctuated by ‘high days and holy days’, days of ‘fasting’ and abstinence as well as days of ‘feasting’ (particularly on a Saints Day or a Sunday). All the rich colour and variety of that Medieval pattern of life and work, of denial and celebration, has been lost to us more than six centuries on: perhaps, the only things that still remain is the tradition of having fish on Fridays (‘fasting’ as Friday is the Day of Our Lord’s death) and the Family Roast on Sunday (‘feasting’ on the Day of Our Lord’s Resurrection). So just donning ‘sackcloth and ashes’ for the forty day Season of Lent and making ourselves miserable is not ‘the kind of fasting God requires’ (Isaiah 58:3-5).

In Lent, we have an opportunity to strip away all that has accrued to us over this past year (a spiritual ‘Springclean’) to concentrate on what truly matters, our relationship with God and to deepen our walk with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. By following Jesus into the wilderness and to watch his temptations, we can better understand our own temptations in life, and so, Lent, as well as being a time of ‘fasting’, can be a time of ‘feasting’ too, as we draw nearer to Christ and his life lived for us.

And there is much for us to ‘feast’ on in our Benefice this Lent. After the United Benefice Ash Wednesday 9 March Service at Perranuthnoe, where those who would like to can receive the Imposition of Ashes, the following day (Thursday 10 March) Lent Sacred Space begins at Marazion and will run throughout Lent most days (except Sundays & Mondays) at 4pm until Maundy Thursday. If you need a time of solace and reflection, please drop into Marazion anyday. We shall be following a lively new translation of St Matthew’s Gospel by Tom Wright for our daily Bible Readings in Sacred Space.

The following Wednesdays (beginning 16 March) at both 11am at Perranuthnoe and 7pm at Ludgvan our Lent Course begins. ‘Not A Tame Lion’ is a Lent course based on the writings, thinking and films of C.S. Lewis: we shall be watching film clips from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ films and the story of C.S.Lewis’ late blossoming love to Joy Gresham) to explore the rich ‘feast’ of Lewis’ writings and imagination to draw us closer to the life of Jesus and his call and meaning and purpose in our lives. We will be considering themes of loss, suffering, God’s absence and Resurrection.

Wednesday 17 March (and subsequent Wednesdays) will see some fine soups
(I remember from last year) at Marazion for the Lent Lunches and there will also be a Lent lunch after the Sunday Service on 13 March at Ludgvan and at Perranuthnoe after the AGM and Celebration Service on 20 March. Many of the proceeds from these more frugal and restrained meals will go to our Benefice Lent Appeal: through the lunches and by saving the money we would otherwise spend on indulgences (chocolate, alcohol etc we give up during Lent) we hope to raise £750.00 to ‘Send a Cow’ to an African village and to do ‘the kind of fasting God requires (Isaiah 58:6).

Lent is this strange mixture of ‘fasting’, but also ‘feasting’ on God too. May we recapture something of the ancient monks’ understanding of both celebration and denial, resistance and joy in our Benefice this Lent. May we have a good ‘Feast’ and a good ‘Fast’ in Lent 2011 and come well-prepared, well-fed , watered and nurtured to celebrate the greatest ‘Feast’ of them all: the Passion, Death & Resurrection of Jesus in Holy Week and on Easter Day.

Revd Nigel Marns
Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay (Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

February 2011 Newsletter

‘Christianity Explored’

As the New Year dawns upon us, and the festivities and joy of Christmas recedes into distant memory, it is good to take up a new challenge, and to do a new thing.

I came upon a new and exciting course, run by a Cornishman and a rugby man, Rico Tice, called ‘Christianity Explored’. The course will run for ten weeks, beginning on Friday 4 February (and Fridays following) at the Cutty Sark Pub in Marazion. The idea of the Course is to meet for mid-morning coffee or tea in the pleasant setting of the Cutty Sark Large Room at 10.45am, watch a lively and modern DVD together that will challenge many peoples’ assumptions or commonly-held views of Christianity, and over the next hour, until 12 noon, to engage with them.

Over the ten weeks, in Marazion, we will explore the questions that cut to the heart of Christianity: who was Jesus? Why did He come? What is involved in following Him? It is an opportunity to ask questions, however simple or difficult they are, and we will do it by looking at the shortest account of Jesus Life, the Gospel of Mark.

It is good to have the opportunity to come together, to discuss with others the nature of our faith, to better grasp what it is in our Christian faith we are following and believing in.

In Ludgvan and Perranuthnoe over the Autumn, and also finishing in February, we have been looking at the Mission of the Early Church and considering our own Mission as a Church Today, through studying ‘The Acts of the Apostles’, and, soon, look out for our Lent Courses there, beginning in March. But it will be good to have a Course, specifically based in Marazion (and we are hoping our friends from Marazion Chapel will join us), but open to everyone in the Benefice, and especially to those wanting an opportunity to explore and go a bit deeper into our faith, and an opportunity to question and engage with the doubts and unanswered questions we have about Christianity and the nature of Jesus in a clear and systematic way.

If you are free on Friday mornings, please come along (and if you can’t make every session come to the ones you can). Go on, do a new thing in 2011.

Happy February Exploring,
Revd Nigel Marns