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 Bible Sunday  - 
(you can listen to this reflection as part of the Service of the Word for Bible Sunday found on the Audio page of this site) 

Reflection

Today is the Last Sunday of Trinity but is also the Sunday designated Bible Sunday.  A day when the church gives thanks for the word of God, as revealed in the Bible and for all those who in the past have worked to translate the words of the ancient writings into a language we can hopefully understand.  Which at times can feel like a work in progress, but as we declare the Bible to be the living word of God, then it does mean that over time, our understanding will change, which is another way of saying that we should never be surprised when we hear something new in our Bible readings or come to a new understanding of what we believe God is saying to us. 

According to our New Testament reading ‘All scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, correction, reproofing, and training in righteousness’ and yet this appears to be in direct contrast to this our passage from John.  Jesus is having yet another argument with the faith leaders about what it means to be a person of faith and says that it is not about keeping the law as recorded in the scriptures and as set down in the law, it is about abiding in God, about embodying the love of God in your life that makes you a person of faith. 

So, there before us is the inherent problem, with the Bible, scripture does contradict itself.  Challenging as it is, this is not surprising if we stop and think about it.   Many of texts we use have been translated from a language we still do not totally understand – and this side of the hereafter not likely to. 

Studying the Bible is central to working out our Christian faith and in doing so we should be aware there are different perspectives to view bible study.  The Academic approach asks questions like; what style of writing are we reading, poetry, song, story, autobiography, myth, fantasy.  They are all there in the bible; Is the text true a record or later editorial amendment, short and longer endings of Mark for instance; Does the earliest text look like the later ones, if not why? ; Do we know what the original language meant?   Often, we don’t but make educated guesses and that has changed over 1500 years of translating; also, meanings of words change, heart in Hebrew does not mean the same as heart to us – us emotive, theirs – the place of reason – it does make a difference. All this and the limitations of language translation, for example, in English we don’t have a gender-neutral singular pronoun, like the original text did.  These are only a few of the issues and on top of all this, is the context of the writings, who was it written for and who sponsored it, when was it written, why was it written.

Some of the Old Testament is probably over 5000 years old, and certainly contains stories that where around in ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia circa 10,000 old.  The fact that life then was so very different means some things are just not transferable, no matter how much we want them to be or not as the case may be

Keeping slaves, dashing your enemies’ children against rocks, having more than one wife, women not being allowed into the holy of holies, let alone being leaders.  If fact we can spend much time trading biblical passages to support or repudiate all things, and it has been used to support horrendous crimes against humanity. Apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing, infanticide, slave trading, homophobia, gender and  disability oppression, you name it the bible has been used in some way to justify them.  The truth is we do not live in the age when the Bible was written.  This does not mean academic study is pointless, personally I love it, it has its place, BUT and it is a big but and personally I think much, much more important is what does the word of God mean to us today.  How do we apply that in the light of living in the 21st century and calling 

ourselves Christians? How do we draw on millennia of teaching and history to make Christ relevant today?

For me this is about seeking the Lord in all we do, after all it is about God and not us.  It is about abiding in the love of God. To use words from the Old Testament, that Jesus would have been fully aware of, ‘what does God expect from us? To love justice, do mercy and walk humbly with God’.  Or from Matthew, ‘let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’.  Or from Jesus, ‘Love God, and your neighbours ‘.

The bible should inspire us, to do God’s work, as shown by Christ in meeting the needs of the outcast, the lonely, the sick.  However, the bible should be used with care, to check are we doing as Christ did, are we loving and serving as he did.  Not ostracising those who do not fit our ideals or agree with our points of views but reaching out to them so that others may just glimpse God in what we do, and maybe show them a better way to be.

So, I give thanks to those who have over the years, studied, and translated the bible, so that we are free to read it or not.  Remembering that when we do read it, it should be read with due care and attention, what biblical scholars call the hermeneutic of suspicion, who wrote it and why. 

But my greatest prayer is that it will inspire people to do as Christ did and take up the role of serving others to the glory of God.   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.