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 1st Sunday of Lent
(you can listen to this reflection as part of the Service of the Word for the 1st Sunday of Lent, found on the Audio page of this site) 

Reflection

                                                            

Our passage this week opens with "In those days," that is, in those days of John's  ministry in which John was proclaiming in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight;"  that is saying the Lord is about to arrive, get ready, drawing on the words of Isaiah, so that the people would know that something  amazing was about to happen, that these words were about to be fulfilled.

John was proclaiming a baptism for the forgiveness of sins instead of making the mandated sacrifices at the temple, this was a new way of doing things, and as such John is seen as a herald of the new thing God was about to do in Christ.  John makes it clear, he was not God’s Messiah,   "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; ... he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” so that people did not think it was him.

The expectation was "in those days" the long-desired, long expected Messiah would save Israel from the Roman oppressor was about to arrive. The one who would reestablish the place of God’s people as a nation free from Roman rule. So, Jesus came from Nazareth! Well, that was not a great start.  I am not sure what the equivalent today is locally or nationally, well but you choose the most unlikely place to offer up a new leader, God’s anointed one and that was the feeling about Nazareth in those days.   Nothing and no one good has ever come from Nazareth! But it is precisely from there and at that time, in those days, from that nowhere Nazareth, came Jesus a nobody and he was baptized by that John in that river Jordan, and it is precisely in that moment, in that place in that way, that the heavens are parted, and the Spirit descends like a dove.

Now, the original text says something more like brooding, or hovering but lets not worry too much, however, it is the same word as whatever hovered, or brooded over the earth during the creation story in Genesis 1 – so must be important.  So we have like a dove or something the Spirit descended and a voice comes from heaven, "You are my Son, my Beloved, with you I am well pleased."

Well pleased, what a great moment, affirmation from heaven, acknowledgement and blessing from God.  Then, Jesus is driven out to the desert, the wilderness.  Jesus, the Son, the beloved, is tested by the devil in the wilderness but is supported by the angels, Gods messengers and all the time he was with the wild beasts.  For 40 days, just like Noah, Elijah, Moses, Jonah.  The number 40 is sometimes called the number of probation or trial.

Mark began his gospel just a few verses back with "the good news of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God," and in the last few  words we have a clear "sound bite" of just what that good news in Jesus is, “the time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and    believe the good news.”

There are 4 important verbs in this good news.  Fulfilled, come, repent, believe.  
The first 2 proclaim deeds that God is doing; the last 2 are about what we should be doing.   The long-awaited promise of God is to beginning to take shape, to be actually realized, completed, perfected, accomplished.    This is God in action but there is a call for the people to respond. 
"Repent" does NOT mean to feel badly or guilty.  It DOES mean to change one's behaviour; to re-align it with new principles, new beliefs, new understandings, new insights, new   objectives, new goals.   "Believe in the good news" Could actually be better put as "Trust in the good news," since the whole point is not, "have an opinion about the good news"   rather that, God through Jesus is calling for a radical, total, unqualified basing of one's life on his good news; a discover-the-meaning-by-living- his good news.

So, 2000 years on, we too are called to repent and believe in the good news of Christ, and I suppose from all that, the questions can be asked as we stand at the beginning of Lent;

Do we act and live our lives based on that call? 

Do we work to establish the kingdom of God here in this place?
And how are we shaping our lives to help build the kingdom?

However, It may be that we feel we are rather in the wilderness at times and these  questions are beyond you, but if we are, know that Christ has been there before, and that by the ministering of his angels and the power of the spirit we to can endure.

Amen

 

 

 

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.