St John's News - 31 October 2023

Dear friends,

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them round your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3

If you missed Sunday’s service when Tom Hart spoke on Psalm 127, you can catch up on our YouTube channel

There are 2 services this Sunday - a shorter service of Holy Communion at 9:00am (with no hymns) and the main all age family service at 10:30am. The theme is "What is Church?"

If you are available on Saturday morning at 10:00am, are you able to join a small working party for an hour or so, as we cover the parking area under the tower with a new layer of tree bark.

On Sunday I mentioned a way of giving family and friends "gifts" that help others less fortunate than ourselves. Mercy Ships deploys hospital ships to some of the poorest countries in the world, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need. Their "Gifts of Hope" scheme enables you to purchase a variety of gifts with a greeting card. The card goes to your friend describing the gift, which has gone to help somebody in a developing country. A great idea for Christmas - details are here.

A reminder that Holly Greathead, Lewis Greathead and Jessica Wilson will be Confirmed at Stanton this Thursday, 2 November, at 7:30pm. All are welcome to attend.

The funeral of Annie Thompson, who sadly died following a car accident aged only 35, will take place at St John's on Thursday (2 November) at 2:00pm. Please remember Annie’s family in your prayers at this difficult time.

On Saturday 4 November at 3:00pm, we are holding a special event called A Time To Remember & A Time To Give Thanks at St John's Church, Elmswell. This will take the form of a short service and is held to mark the passing of loved ones and to honour their memory. The service will consist of readings, three hymns, the reading out of the names of those we are remembering, and the lighting of candles. The service will be followed by some refreshments. All those who have faced bereavement are invited to attend.

The weekly church prayer meeting is on Zoom on Saturday at 9:00am for 40 minutes. You are welcome to join us by clicking here or, load Zoom and use Meeting ID: 685 295 1296 and Password: 816262.

Finally, a thought for All Hallows Eve. I found these words from J. John very helpful ...

Let me explain why I don't agree with Halloween:

First, Halloween deceives us about evil. It creates a cartoon vision of evil as trivial, harmless fun that no one could possibly see as a threat. Yet all evil is serious and any messing with supernatural evil particularly so. To fool around with evil is a fool's game.

Second, Halloween distracts us about evil. It presents evil in terms of the obvious and the spectacular; things that proclaim their identity with fangs and claws, cackles and cloaks. Yet evil is at its most seductive when it is silent and subtle. The most dangerous evils are not clumsy figures in skeleton outfits knocking on your door; they are infinitely better disguised. In the real world the most deadly evil doesn’t turn up with nocturnal cries of "Trick or treat!" Instead it tiptoes around unannounced in broad daylight. It is there in the sudden opportunity to lie, gossip, slander or steal. The problem with the road to hell is that it never states its destination. By focusing on the recognisable and the grotesque, Halloween obscures the fact that most evil wears a charming face.

Finally, Halloween denies the defeat of evil. In Halloween, supernatural evil is presented as unchallenged and victorious. Yet as a Christian I believe that that's only half of the story and the darkest half too. The reality is that evil has been defeated at the cross and that one day the crucified King, Jesus Christ, will return and abolish even the memory of it forever. That, not Halloween, is the story that I want to celebrate.

In Christ

Tue 31 Oct 2023