Newsletter 8th October
I am not tone deaf. I mean this in the strictest sense of the phrase. If you play two notes to someone who is tone deaf, they cannot tell which is the higher and which the lower. I can do this. However, if you play me a note and ask me to sing it back to you, this I can’t do; nor can I tell you whether my failed attempt is higher or lower than it should be. Moreover, if you tell me my attempt is too low or too high, my second attempt will not be any better. In a similar way, I could not sing in tune the first line of Happy Birthday to you or The National Anthem for all the money in the world. Therefore, imagine my trepidation on arriving at my first ever service at Cliffdale Care Home, armed with hymn sheets containing two great hymns to discover that there was no possibility of any accompaniment. At the start of our short service, I launched into Amazing Grace and with the help of a couple of the residents managed a passable rendition. Towards the end of the service, emboldened by my earlier success, we began to sing The Lord’s my Shepherd. It was only towards the end of verse 2 that I realized I was singing it to the same tune (it scans perfectly – who knew?) Whether anyone noticed or cared, I cannot tell you, but I could have done without this reminder of my musical inadequacies.
It was with even greater trepidation that later that day, presiding over my first Tea Service (wonderful to see so many people there) that I made another attempt at Amazing Grace, this time with a competent singer providing the first note. The sound was beautiful, so much so that by the end I was joining in fairly reliably and whole heartedly. I am a much better singer when singing in the company of others. This, surely, is a picture of the church. We may come, not feeling on top of the world or full of faith. We may not have many gifts or talents to share, but when we come together, we all become much better versions of ourselves. It may be true that you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, but we will be much better Christians for being in Christian fellowship. And surely there is nothing that blesses God more than the sight and sound of His people singing in harmony.
We are launching Muddy Church at St George’s this Tuesday at 3.30. The plan is to meet in church and then walk a mile or so along the old railway track. The walk will include some readings and prayers and upon our return to church we will conclude with a song and some refreshments. The service is especially targeted at families, but all who can walk a mile slowly are welcome.
Anyone who kindly sponsored the walkers on Sept18th should bring their sponsorship to the church of their choice at their earliest convenience and by no later than October 17th. Monies can be placed in an envelope and clearly marked sponsored walk. If you have not sponsored the walkers, but would like to do so retrospectively, your gift would be gratefully received. The sponsorship will be shared between the church of your choice and Shropshire Historic Churches Trust.
Those churches that have already hosted Harvest Festivals have been magnificently decorated. The churches are all open during daylight hours, so do take the opportunity to visit one or two of them and see the glories of God’s creation and the wonders of human ingenuity for yourself. Thanks to all involved. As a family, we will be supporting the charity Water Aid. Each church will take a collection at the harvest service and we will then make a combined donation to this important charity that provides clean water to the developing world. We are also pleased to receive donations for Foodbank.
Two remaining Harvest services are as follows:
Hope Oct 17th at 9 a.m.
Minsterley Oct 17th at 10.30
Greg would like to review our practice in relation to baptisms across the family so that we can be consistent and welcoming to all the families who approach us. We will need to look at questions around administration, legalities, preparation, and aftercare. Being part of a working group does not mean that you will be obliged to join a baptism team. Rather, it would be good to do some collaborative thinking together. If interested, please contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07902 794653
Beat the Chasers
Thanks to all those who watched Beat the Chasers either live or recorded. Two things to say. Yes, I do know that I live in Pontesbury not Pontesford, but the question where do you live wasn’t for money, so I didn’t feel the need to get it right. And yes, I did mention All Saints Shelve by name but they edited it out.
There is a service of healing at Hanwood at 4.30 on Sunday October 17th. A warm welcome has been extended by Graham Phillips to the Pontesbury and Stiperstones benefices.
A reminder that if you miss church on a Sunday morning, a sermon and some notices are posted on our respective websites early the following week. Thanks to Alistair Bates for continuing to process this. Apologies that no audio was posted this week. Greg forgot to take his phone!