A letter from Sheila Banyard
Are you someone who likes carefully thought-out plans or do you relish situations that are constantly new? Do you thrive on what's familiar or delight in variety? We're probably all a mixture of both, and of course neither is 'better', but some of us may be more attracted to one or the other. Whatever mix we prefer, many people will have experienced that sense of looking forward to returning to whatever we think of as our usual mode of life after a change or interruption. Even after the pleasure of a holiday with its relaxing change of routine, fresh surroundings and opportunity to explore new places or new food, some of us may secretly heave a contented sigh when home is reached. Or in that strangely extended holiday period that now exists from before Christmas until after New Year when it seems difficult to get any usual business done, we hear people say that they'll be glad to get 'back to normal', however lovely the time has been.
The truth is that, as every parent of small children knows, we all need a routine and the security of what's familiar, even though we may enjoy some variety as well. So it's good to know that the Church calendar also recognises this very human need to balance the two. The high days and holy days of the Christian year, such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and saints' days, offer important opportunities for celebration or deep reflection, but no one can live permanently on a diet of spiritual high excitement. We need the everyday nourishment of what is familiar and consistent to help create stability and deep-rootedness in the Christian life. This is where what the Church intentionally calls 'ordinary time' comes into its own and it is where we find ourselves over these summer months.
Between Trinity Sunday and Advent Sunday, so roughly from June to November, the Church's calendar of readings settles into a familiar Sunday by Sunday pattern. It offers an extended space to dig deeper into the life and teaching so Jesus, the stories of the Old Testament and the experiences of the first Christians from the New Testament by reading many of those sections of the Bible that don't appear as part of the great festivals and other special days. It's a time to enjoy a settled mode of rediscovering forgotten treasures or encountering stories and ideas that may be less well known. All of them help to expand an understanding of God's involvement with the world and what the life of Jesus might mean to people. This diet of readings isn't a random one, it's carefully planned and balanced to introduce all sorts of ideas, just as someone might plan a balanced diet for their nutritional needs to help them thrive. Only here the intention is to do with spiritual flourishing, which is one reason why in this 'ordinary time' green is used as the colour of the season, for example in the vestments worn by clergy in church services, to remind us of growth, for where there is growth there's life.
'Ordinary' is often a Cinderella word in an age which frequently prefers the glamour and excitement of what is extraordinary, headline-grabbing or downright outrageous. Perhaps we should value 'ordinary', in whatever walk of life, more than is sometimes the case for it can signify solidity, reliability, lack of ostentation and consistency. I will certainly not be able to recall all of the 'ordinary' times in my life compared with the high points, but I know I'd be adrift and poorer without their stabilising nurture.
Sheila Banyard, Interim Rector
Morning Prayer on Wednesdays July and August
You are warmly invited to join us for Morning Prayer on Wednesdays at 9.15am, a simple service lasting about half an hour. We pray especially for the host parish, as well as for the benefice as a whole. If you would like us to pray for any particular people or situations please let me know and feel free to come along if this would be a helpful time to have a word about anything after the service. Sheila
4th July Ombersley
11th July Hartlebury
18th July Doverdale
25th July none
1st August Elmley Lovett
8th August Elmbridge
15th August Rushock
22nd August Hampton Lovett
29th August none
5th September Ombersley
Would you be interested in something new and different?
A weeknight service for the young and young at heart.
To find out more ring
Richard Jeynes on (01905) 620441 or Valerie Harris on (01905) 620515
Praying the Parish
If you have a particular need or things to be grateful for, please let either of us know:
Rev Canon Dr Sheila Banyard 01905 773134 email@example.com
Jenny Batelen 01905 621294 firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie Randle 01905 620753 email@example.com
or James Homer 01299 851637 firstname.lastname@example.org [lay reader with pastoral responsibility for 7 Parishes]
Areas for July:
Sunday 1st July - Racks Lane, Chapel Lane, Longheadland
Sunday 8th July - Uphampton, Northampton, Lineholt, Malvern View, Abberley View
Sunday 15th July - Doverdale, St Mary's Church, Sytchampton, Sytchampton School
Areas for August:
Sunday 5th August - Lincomb, The Winnalls, Acton, Mount Pleasant
Sunday 12th August - Sandys Road, Wellington Road, The Hamptons
Sunday 19th August - Oakfield Road, Woodhall Lane/Close