Welcome

Welcome to the Atlantic Coast Cluster web site 

We are living in strange times, but the great news is we are now permitted to open our churches for private prayer and worship.
The Churchwardens are working hard to ensure that the churches will be safe places for people to visit.

Details of current services can be found on the Home page


              

We are opening up slowly to allow us to review how things are going and make adjustments as neccessary

The worship will be Holy Communion at present and there is no singing permitted and social distancing must be maintained and the wearing of masks is compulsory 

We will continue to offer recorded services as we know many still will be unable or unwilling to attend worship. 

If you would like to listen to our services please go to the audio page in the media section
orders of service for the services are also avaiable there.

if you know of someone who has not got internet access then the daily service can be
accessed by phoning 01872308750 it is charged as local call,
the service will start after a moments pause, please share this with those you know who may like this.  

I will contine to post things that I have found helpful below as well as the Sunday Reflection

above is a photo the blessing which is in my hall, the celtic blessing,
produced by the wonderful calligraphy artist, Tess Cooling

Useful links

From the Times - Ways to Improve your Mood

A 3 minute meditation 
Singing out loud or joining a virtual choir
A kitchen disco - 35 minutes of dancing
Drawing for 45 minutes
Take a hot bath - May be more beneficial than exercise for people with depression
Gardening - 20 minutes of gardening can reduce stress and boost cognitive function
Deep sleep  - 7 hours at least 3 times a week
A 20 second hug - if you’re lucky enough to live with someone or some creature that can provide it.
One to one phone calls. (Happier people have more meaningful conversations with much less small talk)

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Reflection for the 19th  Sunday after Trinity
(you can listen to this reflection as part of the Service of the Word for the 19th Sunday after Trinity, found on the Audio page of this site) 

Reflection

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's as the King James translation of the bible puts it.

Well after a series of conversations and parables which left the religious leaders of the people wrong-footed, and in their view, unjustly maligned, the inevitable happens – those holding religious power begin to plot against Jesus.

None of us mind being the heroes of stories some people even eagerly promote themselves as such,  via social media these days, but no one likes being the villain, of the story, the dire warning and especially when you totally believe you have God on your side!

So, here in our story today, strange alliances are formed.  A real case of the enemy of my energy is my friend, between the Pharisees and Herodians.  The first were ardent supporters of Jewish Law, and the religious structure of the time.  Who were in essence against anything that was not supported by Torah, which would include the rule and authority of the Romans.  The second ardent, supporters of the Romans, keen to keep being seen to support and uphold their authority and so continue Herod’s rule as puppet king, of the Romans.

So, they make for strange bedfellows, but both view Jesus with fear, that he could undermine their authority and privileges.  So they devised a test for Jesus. 

Should Jewish people pay taxes to the Romans or not? It was a loaded question.  If he said that they should, then it would be putting the Emperor above God, and that would prove Jesus was not a true Jew, and he and his followers would have been discredited, but if he said they shouldn’t he could be arrested, tried and killed for in sighting sedition and insurrection.

As far as the Pharisees and Herodians were concerned it was a win, win situation, it was a loaded question and they could not envisage Jesus getting out of it.  They from their human perspective could not see an answer.

The Jewish authorities had an uneasy relationship with the Romans but, as the established religion were allowed to continue their religious practices provided they did not stir up unrest.

In looking to discredit Jesus, they also had to distance themselves from him, as they had to be seen to be accepting the rule of Rome or risk losing the religious freedoms they had.  By “discovering” Jesus’s revolutionary tendencies and handing him over to the Romans, they would be shown to be loyal subjects and their religious rights would continue to be protected.

It may seem wrong to us but this collusion between state and faith still happens in countries where churches collude with oppressive governments to maintain religious “freedom”, for themselves.

Jesus is undeterred, un phased.  He sees through the hypocrisy of the questions and, being as they put it a ‘honest man, unafraid of anyone regardless of rank’, he tells them so.  He then picks up the coin and points out that this belongs to the Roman rulers.   They, the Jews, have become part of the Roman economy and so can reasonably be expected to contribute to it through taxation through supporting the ‘system’.  This is not a Godly matter at all.  In all his humanity, the wisdom of God, shines through.

Living in society places obligations on people, on us but they, we must not confuse those obligations, to the state with our obligations to God.

What does it mean?  Well we clearly have responsibility to the state, to support society to work for the common good.  It does not mean blindly accepting what those in power do, but it does mean upholding the law and traditions in which we are ourselves are part of and standing up when we see things that are clearly wrong.   Luckily for us we live in a democratic society, so it is easier, we have free speech unlike so many across the globe.

It is also about being true to God, to fulfil His will, His call on us his disciples.  So, what is that, well in simple terms it is to live the good news of life.  To follow Christ our Lord.

To love the Lord, with heart, mind and soul and to love and serve those around us. Those we meet in our daily lives, those God sends to us, serve with compassion, and love and without judgement.   We are called to help transform our communities, our societies, our world. 

We are not separate from the world, we are part of it, and part of the transforming love of God through Christ.  If we don’t pay up in this world, we may or may not be held to task by the state.  Many people think they can get away with not obeying the law and are willing to take a chance on getting caught and some do get away with it, but if we don’t render to God what is God’s then when the final balance is reckoned, we will not get away with it it is unavoidable, and inevitable, at our end we will be judged then we will only have ourselves to blame if we are found in deficit , we have been given the opportunity the choice is ours, but the reckoning is God’s.     Amen

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During these times, if you need prayer or want to talk to a  member of clergy, please contact us, by calling 01872 572654 or emailing atlanticcoastcluster@btinternet.com
We will continue to hold all our congregations in our prayers.

 

St Cubertus by Sue Parkington
Written about her favourite church.   
Photo taken from happier times when the church was open

“Tis closed”, the old man said,

“Locked and cold within”, 

‘Why’s that?’I asked

‘I can’t make sense of thee’.

“Tis the virus; and the Bishops,

So they say, 

They’m scared we might get sick.

 I’m only ninety three”

‘Let’s chat outside a while’ I said,

Though raining heavily. 

“No good”, he said, then added,

“Just come along with me,

‘Tis cosy in the south porch,

And sheltered from the breeze”.

And so we shared our crib there, 

Saffron bun and mug of tea.

Keeping social distancing!

A friend and company.

 

 

Precious Life   (An Acrostic for Easter Time 2020) by Liz Cleves 

Perhaps we are listening, and

Remembering what is dear to us

Each of us recollecting Spring times, and the promise of nature bringing its gifts

Conscious too that the beautiful Earth is suffering from our ‘overload’.

In the morning I listen to the robin and the wren guarding my garden, and

Out early I see the mighty sun lift over the horizon

Unfettered and free in it’s course.

Softly I give thanks for all in my care and all that I receive.

 

Let me give thanks

In every way let me treasure my life and all that is dear to me

Fearing only fear itself and

Enjoying all while I may.