St Philips News for the Parish
6 March 2021
There will be no service in church until further notice – this is because we are all being urged to STAY AT HOME.
BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK Job 23:10-11
10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
Answers to last week’s crossword
- Planet. 4. Rugged. 7. True. 8. Augustus. 9. Attitude. 13. Bed. 16. Participation. 17. War. 19. Hillside. 24. Baldhead. 25. Bede. 26. Census. 27. Arisen.
- Path. 2. Adulterer. 3. Tract. 4. Rigid. 5. Gust. 6. Exude. 10. Irish. 11. Uriel. 12. Esau’s. 13. Blindness. 14. Deny. 15. Spew. 18. Awake. 20. Ideas. 21. Lydia. 22. Odes. 23. Lean.
Prayers are requested for the following:
Rod’s younger brother Tom.
Rod’s son Steven.
For Ann Westerman’s brother Bob (in the USA), who has liver cancer.
For Ann and Charlie Westerman – seeking a new church home – that God will guide them to the right place to use their gifts.
Pray for Mignons daughter Andrea suffering with breast cancer.
Wendy’s husband Julian
Chris Foxton’s (Sunday evening congregation) nephew Russell and his wife Rosio.
Barry’s (Sunday evening congregation) brother-in-law Roger and wife Kathleen.
Kathy (Mike’s sister in Leeds) who is awaiting tests for her ongoing health problem.
Give thanks that Val’s aunt Helen is free from cancer
Dave and Amy Barker (Walsgrave Baptist ministers)
Malcolm (Vicar at St Mary’s, Walsgrave) and Frances Tyler (retired).
Brian Nash (Vicar at St Chad’s, Wood End)
George Bennett (Priest at St Patrick’s RC, Potters Green)
Please pray for:
Mike, Marjorie, Mignon, Zena, Ruth, Felicity, Addis and the Oromo people, Beryl, Bill and Celia, Ken.
All our local businesses, that they may survive through this difficult time. Give thanks for all who work in them and their families.
Pray for all the front-line workers who are enabling our lives to progress in these difficult times.
Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole.
Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.
DEFINITIONS FROM CHURCH LIFE
AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.
PEWSHEET: Your receipt for attending Mattins.
HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key two octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.
RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Sunday morning worship, often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.
JONAH: The original ‘Jaws’ story
PEW: A medieval torture device still found in some churches.
PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of a formal Sung Eucharist, consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.
SIDESMEN: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew
AVERAGE AGE OF CHURCHGOERS
The average age of a pre-Covid churchgoer in 2020 was 50, whereas the average of a person living in England as a whole was 41. So, churchgoers are almost 10 years above the average in age. It doesn’t vary hugely by gender – in 2020 male churchgoers were 48 on average and female 51.
In Scotland in 2020 folk were slightly older – the average male churchgoer was 53 and women were 55. These are against a population average of 42, so Scottish churchgoers have a larger gap. We don’t have the same information about Welsh churchgoers or those in N Ireland, though their average population ages in 2020 were, respectively, 42 and 40 (making the overall UK rate 41).
The graph shows that Scottish churchgoers have consistently been older than English churchgoers over the last 40 years. Almost certainly this is partly because England has seen huge numbers of immigrants, asylum seekers, workers, students coming to the country since the 1980s, a number of whom come from Christian countries and presumably would join a local church.
FIVE THINGS I’D LIKE TO SEE IN 2021
I keep hearing people say that 2020 was a ‘year like no other.’ Friends have been writing a special journal recording the year, so they can pass it on to their grandchildren. Others just want to leave 2020 behind and look to a happier new year.
Both reactions are completely understandable. But I’ve been looking ahead to 2021 and thinking about the five top things I’d like to see in the year ahead. I wonder if you’ll agree with them or not? Maybe you could put together your own list.
Let’s make sure the vaccines are distributed fairly and speedily. Those who need the vaccine most urgently should receive it first, with a fair system for ensuring everyone else can be vaccinated quickly and efficiently. We need to ensure that everyone receives the vaccine wherever they live in the world – from the poorest to the richest. Especially, in those parts of the world where there is war, and people are living as refugees.
Let’s learn the lessons of the pandemic – not just going back to how life was, as quickly as possible. Many of us learnt to appreciate our family so very much more – especially when we could not be with them for months on end. We learnt lessons about how important our neighbours and local businesses are, how precious our NHS, medical researchers, care providers and other frontline workers are. Let’s not forget them.
Let’s value nature. Those of us with gardens, or with parks or fields nearby, have been massively blessed. I’ve learnt to pay attention to birdsong, to the changing colours of the trees, and how unexpected plants have taken root in our garden. Pets have played a major part in helping us endure the lockdowns, especially for people who live alone. May we all learn to value the natural world on our doorsteps in the year ahead and beyond.
Let’s bless technology. Without the use of the internet, meeting people ‘online’ or keeping in touch via email, Facetime or other technologies, 2020 would have been a whole lot tougher. Churches across the country moved their Sunday services online, and soon adapted to a different way of worshipping – not the same, but still helping us to worship together and see familiar faces. Let’s continue to give thanks for the science that made that contact possible in 2020.
Let’s value our church family. Imperfect we may be, like any family. But the months without being physically able to worship with them, share communion with them, sing alongside them have been hard. I value so much how many churches have risen to the pandemic challenge and sought to serve their communities in all kinds of ways. May we take all this experience into 2021 and build upon it.
Whatever 2021 holds for you and all those that you love, I pray that you may know the love of God in your life, and be able to pass it on to others.
ALL IN THE MONTH OF MARCH
1600 years ago, on 25th March 421, that the city of Venice was officially founded when its first church was dedicated at noon.
300 years ago, on 24th March 1721, that Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated six of his concertos to Christian Ludwig Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. They are now commonly known as the Brandenburg Concertos.
200 years ago, on 19th March 1821, that Sir Richard Burton, British explorer, writer and translator, was born. He was noted for his translations of The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra.
150 years ago, on 27th March 1871, that the first international rugby union football match was held in Edinburgh. Scotland beat England 1 – 0.
Also 150 years ago, on 29th March 1871, that the Royal Albert Hall in London was officially opened by Queen Victoria.
80 years ago, on 28th March 1941, that Virginia Woolf committed suicide, aged 59. Author of To The Lighthouse, Mrs Dalloway, Orlando, and A Room of One’s Own, among others, she was one of the leading modernist writers of the 20th century.
75 years ago, on 5th March 1946, that Winston Churchill gave his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Missouri. He used the term to describe the separation between Soviet and Western countries.
Also 75 years ago, on 25th March 1946, that London’s Heathrow Airport was opened, as London Airport. It was renamed Heathrow in 1966.
65 years ago, on 23rd March 1956, that Pakistan became the world’s first Islamic Republic.
60 years ago, on 6th March 1961, that George Formby, the ‘ukulele king’ died. A British comedian, singer and actor, he was best known for his comic songs, including ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’.
Also 60 years ago, on 8th March 1961, that Sir Thomas Beecham, British conductor and impresario died. He founded several major orchestras and transformed the operatic and orchestral scene in Britain.
50 years ago, on 8th March 1971, that the ‘Fight of the Century’ took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Two undefeated heavyweight boxers fought each other for the world title, with Joe Frazier defeating Muhammed Ali.
40 years ago, on 1st March 1981, that IRA member Bobby Sands began a hunger strike at Maze Prison, Northern Ireland. He was elected as an MP to the British parliament on 10th April, and died on 5th May.
Also 40 years ago, on 29th March 1981, that the first London Marathon was held.
30 years ago, on 3rd March 1991, that American construction worker Rodney King was beaten by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department following a car chase. The beating was captured on amateur video. When the four officers were later acquitted in April 1992, it triggered the Los Angeles riots in which 53 people died and around $1billion worth of damage was caused.
Also 30 years ago, on 14th March 1991, that the convictions of the Birmingham Six were quashed by Britain’s Court of Appeal and they were released from prison after 16 years. They had been convicted of carrying out pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974.
Also 30 years ago, on 21st March 1991, that the British Government announced that the controversial poll tax (officially called the community charge), which had sparked riots, was to be scrapped and replaced by a new property tax (council tax) from April 1993.
25 years ago, on 13th March 1996, that the Dunblane Massacre took place in Scotland. A gunman killed 16 children and a teacher at a primary school and wounded several others before taking his own life.
Also 25 years ago, on 20th March 1996, that the British Government reported that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans was linked to BSE (mad cow disease) and could be transmitted to humans who ate infected beef. On 25th March the European Union banned the export of British beef (until 2006).
20 years ago, on 8th March 2001, that British racing driver Donald Campbell’s speedboat Bluebird was recovered from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria. (It had crashed and sank during a record attempt in January 1967 in which he was killed.)
15 years ago, on 1st March 2006, that the Senedd, the National Assembly for Wales’s debating chamber, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Cardiff.
10 years ago, on 11th March 2011, that the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of Japan took place. It shifted Japan’s main island, Honshu, 2.4 metres to the east. 15,897 people were killed, 2,533 went missing, and nearly a quarter of a million were made homeless. Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant went into meltdown, leading to the second-largest nuclear accident in history.
Also 10 years ago, on 15th March 2011, the Syrian Civil War began. It still continues today.
HOW SUNDAY BECAME A CHRISTIAN DAY OF REST
It was 1700 years ago, on 7th March 321, that the Roman Emperor Constantine 1 (Constantine the Great), who had converted to Christianity, decreed that Sunday should be a day of rest throughout the Empire.
This was a change from normal Roman Empire practice, which was to regard Sunday as just another work-day – something the UK seems to be reverting to. But Constantine’s civil decree made Sunday a day of rest from labour. It said: “All judges and city people and craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable day of the sun.”
This was not intended to replace the Jewish Sabbath, which starts at sunset on Friday and continues to sunset on Saturday. Such Jewish observance was regarded by most Christians as being bound to the old law instead of the Spirit, and so was resisted. Christians backed the Sunday rest because it was the day on which Jesus had risen from the dead and the Holy Spirit had come – despite possible doubts about the phrase “day of the sun”.
Christians meeting for worship on Sunday in fact dates back to the Acts of the Apostles, and it is mentioned historically about 115AD. Actual practice varies across the world and through the years.
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