Sermon Themes: Taking up Michael’s suggestion, in February we are having a series of four sermons on John 17, which is sometimes called Jesus High Priestly Prayer. I’ve decided that for a month the preaching should be specific rather than general. The context of this passage is in part that this is the night Jesus is to be arrested; it’s His last opportunity to be with the Twelve, one of whom is His betrayer and a thief. It’s an intimate and deep prayer to His Father as He comes to the climax of His Father’s will for Him, the salvation of the world through death and resurrection. The intention is to look at only one or two words in the prayer each Sunday.
- week one is ‘Jesus’,
- week two ‘He looked up to heaven’,
- week three ‘Father’,
- week four ‘the time has come’.
It will be a challenge to be specific rather than general and require more work and understanding for the preachers. So more prayer please, that Richard, Mike, Pauline and myself have time for preparation, enlightenment from the Spirit and relevance to the hearers.
Holy Trinity Sunday 10.00am Prayer Meeting: Margaret and Tom, Maureen and Brian, Pat, Chris and Penny faithfully meet to pray for half an hour more often than not before HT’s Sunday Services. I believe that this is to be a sacred time for them, a time laid aside to intercede. Particular prayer is for the Lord’s presence to be manifest amongst us as we meet often with familiar liturgy and structure – written and unwritten. Please pray too that when God’s people meet we may know and experience the truth of, “The Lord is here.” “His Spirit is with us.” See Matthew 18 verse 20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
The quarterly Church Meeting: seems to be going well and fulfilling its purpose of providing opportunity for us to discuss particular issues of church life and to pray about them.
A reminder about the AGM’s: St. Mary’s is on Tuesday 4th April at 2.00pm in the church. Holy Trinity’s is on Sunday 2nd April, kind of during the 10.45am All Age Worship and certainly following on after! Legally there are two meetings which are called the Annual Vestry Meeting and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. For ease we often say AGM! These are legal meetings to be held by the State Church, aka the C of E.
The Annual Vestry Meeting: is for the meeting of parishioners so anyone resident in a Parish or on the electoral roll may attend and vote. Church Wardens, and deputies if any, are elected at this meeting so it’s possible that people who never attend church can elect the Wardens. It has happened particularly if, for example, a church is proposing a reordering and some strongly disagree. The meeting must be held by 30th April latest and is commonly held immediately prior to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. It is the last remnant of the old vestry meeting.
Typically, the meeting’s structure is as follows:
- Opening statement by the chair, usually the parish priest
- Minutes of the previous annual vestry meeting
- Nominations for the churchwardens have to have been handed to the minister before the meeting, in writing: he has the right to reject one of the nominees if he feels that person would be a difficulty
- Vote – is only required if there are more applicants than posts available
- Meeting closes
As the agenda is so short, meetings typically last less than ten minutes.
Attendees and voters
The following people may vote:
- People whose names are on the church electoral roll (whether or not they are resident in the church parish).
- People who are resident in the parish and who are also on the register of local government electors. Note, this means any resident of the parish and who is registered to vote – of any faith or none.
The Annual Parochial Church Meeting: includes Elections to the PCC and Deanery Synod, the presentation and acceptance of the previous year’s accounts, Reports from organisations and the Vicar or Rector’s Report, discussion, Any Other Business and setting the date of both the following year’s Annual Meetings.
Creating Cultures of Welcome, Expectation, Evangelism, Fun and Generosity!: Our esteemed Treasurer (for both churches) has been on a course about giving which had a speaker from Liverpool Diocese called Steve Pearce. Many years ago the Liverpool Diocese pioneered something called ‘Giving in Grace’ which I think is from 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9.
A strong theme in the conference I gather from David was generosity in giving so I’ve added this as a fifth to the original four Creating Cultures of Welcome, Expectation, Evangelism and Fun. Over many, many years we have responded to God’s grace at Holy Trinity and generally the giving has been very good indeed. According to David’s statistics the best givers at HT are over 70! More on giving stats when sometime after Easter we look at giving again. St Mary’s giving is improving though not yet at the level of Holy Trinity, though the congregation are very warm and friendly. St. Mary’s PCC have recently received a £12,000 legacy which they are very thankful for. In response to HT’s generosity to St. Mary’s over the years they have given Holy Trinity £2,000. Amazing, thank you.
Easter Witness: To walk or not to walk and if so to what purpose? At Holy Trinity PCC we were reminded that Easter is coming soon and we need to pray and think through our witness. A Walk of Witness is more often than not a thing of the past. They are good for Christians personally as they help focus on the cross, but have little or no impact on those who see us. The few around are tourists rather than visitors, and our villages don’t have many people in them until after twelve noon. The outdoor service again is basically for the believer with hardly any others attending. Anyway please let me have any suggestions as to how to witness over Easter, particularly on Good Friday 14th April.
Prayer: Please continue to pray for Joan Fynn, Hilary Philip’s mum content in Presentation Sisters, James Michelli (aka the Major) who hasn’t been out of bed for a month or so and is very weak, and Richard Ash at home recovering from a stroke.
New Wine Women Splendour: takes place on Saturday 18th March, 10am at the Harrogate International Centre
- Empowering women to display his splendour, as Isaiah 61 says:
- “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.”
There are sign up sheets in the churches so put the date in your diary, invite some friends and come along! Tickets are £20 if bought before midnight on 28 February, and £25 after that date.
Please contact Val if you are interested in attending this day in Harrogate.
I’ve decided that these sermons will be more expository than general.
A definition is: Expository preaching is a form of preaching that details the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture. It explains what the Bible means by what it says.
Exegesis is technical and grammatical exposition, a careful drawing out of the exact meaning of a passage in its original context.