Welcome

Welcome to the Atlantic Coast Cluster web site 

We are living in strange times, and we are permitted to open our churches for private prayer and worship.
The Churchwardens are working hard to ensure that the churches will be safe places for people to visit.

Currently there are no Sunday Services being held in the cluster, one line services are aviable, via zoom or on the audio page of this site.   

If you wish to obtain the zoom link for Sunday worship please email atlanticcoastcluster@btinternet.com  

if you know of someone who has not got internet access then the daily service can be
accessed by phoning 01872 308750 it is charged as local call,
the service will start after a moments pause, please share this with those you know who may like this.  

I will contine to post things that I have found helpful below as well as the Sunday Reflection

above is a photo the blessing which is in my hall, the celtic blessing,
produced by the wonderful calligraphy artist, Tess Cooling

Useful links

From the Times - Ways to Improve your Mood

A 3 minute meditation 
Singing out loud or joining a virtual choir
A kitchen disco - 35 minutes of dancing
Drawing for 45 minutes
Take a hot bath - May be more beneficial than exercise for people with depression
Gardening - 20 minutes of gardening can reduce stress and boost cognitive function
Deep sleep  - 7 hours at least 3 times a week
A 20 second hug - if you’re lucky enough to live with someone or some creature that can provide it.
One to one phone calls. (Happier people have more meaningful conversations with much less small talk)

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Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Epiphany
(you can listen to this reflection as part of the Service of the Word for the 2nd Sunday of Epiphany can be found on the Audio page of this site) 

Reflection

Last week we had the recalling of the baptism of Jesus, which heralded the start of Jesus’s official ministry.  In that gospel we heard recalled, how the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove, and how he received endorsement from heaven, in the words ‘this is my son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased!’  This week we move on, to the first magnificent sign, according to the Gospel of John, that Jesus performs.

Imagine the scene, an ordinary everyday wedding feast, there is a need for generous hospitality which includes having wine.  It is the social norm.  This is life as it was, nothing grand, the ordinary, the mundane but it was a very special day, a day of excitement and enjoyment, convivial and relaxing and then horror, of horrors!  The wine runs out.  This is not just an  unfortunate occurrence; this will be seen as a significant and negative judgment on the family.  The union will be tarnished, their life will be seen as not being blessed but condemned, the  family’s reputation will be in tatters.  However, Jesus rescues the couple, the family, and the occasion, by turning water into wine.  The ordinary to the exceptional, ruin to blessing, failure to success.  No wine, then good wine, from nothing to something, scarcity to abundance.

In John’s telling of the story, he calls this a sign  not a miracle.  Why?  Well, a miracle was about wow how was that done.  It is about the event itself, about looking at what has happened, the people, the event, the details. It would be about Jesus, the wedding, the water, the wine.  A sign, well that is about pointing somewhere else, saying this is where you are, but you need to go somewhere else to find out about it.  That this act is about God, the wonder and  magnificence of God, about faith in God that can create fantastic transformations.  On one level this is about water that becomes wine but on another it is about the transformation that takes place in the followers of God, who through Christ, are transformed.

John set this story at the start of Jesus’s ministry. This is the sign of new beginnings, right at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, the inaugural event.
This new beginning not just for Jesus but for all the people of God. 
Jesus can take the ordinary and make it special, not only about the water, but about people about the change that happens to and in us Jesus is able to take the normal, everyday and make it into the extraordinary.   John is saying look at this, look at what Jesus can do for the  inert, this basic element, water, so how much more can he, will he do for the people of God?

John’s reference to six water jars, is significant, like so much of John’s retelling, this contains important information.  Six in the Jewish faith stood for being imperfect, or incomplete, unfinished.  Here John is saying, the imperfection of Jewish Law, is made perfect in Jesus.  Jesus, has come to complete the picture, unite, perfect, complete.  He is here to recreate the perfection of the creation. 

John also wants us to know that with Jesus we can have more than we ever would need.  Gifts from God through Christ are abundant, there was not just a little amount of wine, but an  abundance.

All this is wonderful but for me the greatest underlying message is that when life gets difficult, Christ is there to help.  The wine running out was a huge issue not just a catering malfunction.  The family would end up as community outcasts, no one would want to talk to them or do business with them and the  couple and the family would be seen as cursed by God.  This was a catastrophic occurrence for the family not just a social blunder.  So, for me the underlying  message John wants us to hear and understand is that when things are difficult and challenging and we don’t know what to do, we can turn to Jesus he will help, but we need to ask him to and it may be in an unexpected way, so we need to be open to the response.

This is not a story or metaphor for just then, but for now.  Life is challenging and at times when we do now know what to do, or how to move forward.  When things are challenging, turning to Jesus does help and often not in the way we expected or even wanted and that can also be a challenge.

As a cluster of churches, we are continuing with the On the Way journey and I thank all of you  who did complete the survey about church.  We are now beginning to think about what we are being called to be, what transformations are necessary for us, how is God working in the here and now.

At times it can feel that as churches we are continually facing challenging and difficult times, and in many ways we are. The continual upward spiral of costs to keep churches open and functioning are challenging.  The lack of people to undertake necessary tasks and to financially support the work can be unsettling and does create negative thinking, but if we are to truly believe and live the message found at the heart of the gospel, which is all about transformation, we need to accept and embrace these times and work to share the message of Christ with others.  To find ways of being fruitful and sustainable, which is at the heart of On the Way.   

A world centred around Jesus, who told us to put others first, worry about their needs before ours, to learn to seek God’s will rather than doing what we want.  These are the realities living a life of faith in Christ, living a transformed life. 

Those early disciples saw how Jesus could transform things and people and he still does.  It doesn’t mean life will be easy, but it does mean we can aim to be signs for others of the endless wonder of God, when we turn to God, through Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Cubertus by Sue Parkington
Written about her favourite church.   
Photo taken from happier times when the church was open

“Tis closed”, the old man said,

“Locked and cold within”, 

‘Why’s that?’I asked

‘I can’t make sense of thee’.

“Tis the virus; and the Bishops,

So they say, 

They’m scared we might get sick.

 I’m only ninety three”

‘Let’s chat outside a while’ I said,

Though raining heavily. 

“No good”, he said, then added,

“Just come along with me,

‘Tis cosy in the south porch,

And sheltered from the breeze”.

And so we shared our crib there, 

Saffron bun and mug of tea.

Keeping social distancing!

A friend and company.

 

 

Precious Life   (An Acrostic for Easter Time 2020) by Liz Cleves 

Perhaps we are listening, and

Remembering what is dear to us

Each of us recollecting Spring times, and the promise of nature bringing its gifts

Conscious too that the beautiful Earth is suffering from our ‘overload’.

In the morning I listen to the robin and the wren guarding my garden, and

Out early I see the mighty sun lift over the horizon

Unfettered and free in it’s course.

Softly I give thanks for all in my care and all that I receive.

 

Let me give thanks

In every way let me treasure my life and all that is dear to me

Fearing only fear itself and

Enjoying all while I may.