WELCOME TO THE RIVERSMEET BENEFICE

 

Riversmeet Benefice

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Services are now following the usual pattern in our churches. The readings for each Sunday are now listed with a link.



Here is the link for Sunday, 19th September's Benefice Holy Communion service at Gt Barford:  https://youtu.be/hxy8pUDPme4


September


Sunday, 5th September (Trinity 14)

Blunham - 11am Morning Prayer

Gt Barford - 9.30am Holy Communion

Roxton - 11am Holy Communion

Tempsford - no service

   Isaiah 35:4-7a

James 2:1-10 [11-13] 14-17

Mark 7:24-37


Sunday,12th September (Trinity 15)

Blunham - 9.30am Holy Communion

Gt Barford - 11am Morning Prayer (please note change of time)

Roxton - 11am Family Service

Tempsford - 11am Holy Communion

    Isaiah 50:4-9a

James 3:1-12

Mark 8:27-38


Sunday, 19th September (Trinity 16)

Blunham - 11am Café Church

Gt Barford -11am Holy Communion

Roxton - 9.30am Holy Communion

Tempsford - no service

Jeremiah 11:18-20

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

Mark 9:30-37


Sunday, 26th September (Trinity 17/Harvest) 

 Blunham - 11am Harvest Holy Communion, followed by lunch

Gt Barford - 11am Rejoicing Together (please note change of time)

Roxton - 11am Morning Prayer

Tempsford - 6pm Harvest Praise

Joel 2:21-27

1 Timothy 2:1-7

 Matthew 6:25-33


If you know of anyone who does not have access to the internet, please tell them about this free phone line:

The national church Daily Hope phone line

This free national phone line was launched on Sunday, 26th  April and is aimed particularly at the over 75s who do not have access to the internet.  The line is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044.  This is a simple way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed. Callers will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop of Canterbury before choosing from a range of options, including ‘Prayer During the Day’, ‘Night Prayer’ and a recording of the Church of England’s weekly national online service. A section called Hymn Line will also offer a small selection of hymns, updated daily. 

 

Please contact Revd Graham Buckle regarding baptisms, weddings and funerals. His email address is: dovecote10@btinternet.com.

  

Here is this week's message from Revd Graham:


Just when we thought summer had passed us by, we get a few hot days - almost as compensation for the summer we have missed. In the hot sunshine we have experienced over the last couple of days I was wandering in the garden and noticed the large number of butterflies that were working away on the buddleia bush. Every spike of flowers seemed to be adorned with a butterfly gaining whatever it could from the individual flowers. Butterflies are so beautiful, such a wonderful design, and coloured in the most stunning way. There doesn’t seem to have been as many around this year compared to other years, but it was lovely to see them now in such numbers in the garden.


So often we take for granted the beauty that is around us, and we don’t realise how close to nature we are. I have very fond memories of the garden in Cardington where I grew up, the lovely borders that Dad planted with annuals such as African marigolds, nemesia, alyssum and lobelia. All of these attracted the butterflies, and other insects, that captured the imagination. I suspect that’s why I like taking photographs of these creatures of God.


I may have mentioned before that I am a great fan of the story of The Lion King, and I love the song composed by Elton John; The Circle of Life. It is so true how it all comes together to happen at the right time, and we are indeed part of that circle of life. We too are a part of this wonderful creation, and we have our place in the bigger picture. I hope that we keep our place, don’t try to take a larger share of the circle, and indeed that we care for the rest of the circle, each in its place. Let us appreciate all of God’s creation that is around us and be ready to pass it on to the next generation, so that their imagination can be captured too!


May God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham

 

Now that we have emerged from lockdown, even though we are still in the midst of the pandemic, families are starting to look to the future, and I am seeing a rise in the number of Baptisms, many of which are re-scheduled from the last few months. It is of course a time of family celebration, and as such people want to celebrate; often with a party. In a service of Baptism we pour water on the child’s head to signify a symbolic washing, and it is also a welcoming into the family of God. In the service I always liken it to the first step of a journey that we hope will have God as a guide and companion throughout the life of the one being baptised. It is not always a child that is baptised; recently we baptised mother and child as both began their journey in faith.


We are not making as many journeys as we were because now not as many are travelling to their place of work, but working from home - and we are certainly not taking as many holidays abroad either. But we are still journeying through life, and that journey has been a bit rocky of late, with many distractions and obstacles slowing us down. We still have to make steps even though some may be sideways and not forward.


I hope that in the weeks that lie ahead of us we will be able to take more steps forward, with many more things opening up so that we can visit places and relax with confidence. We now have our churches fully open, and we are planning a few events leading up to Christmas and the New Year. I hope that we can truly celebrate Christmas this year in a world without restrictions and a new found freedom, and that we can gradually find a new “normal”.


Look out for the publicity about our up and coming church events.


May God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham



Maybe it’s just me, but I think our thoughts have slightly shifted away from the COVID pandemic over recent days. Perhaps the events that are going on in Afghanistan are a diversion from the virus, or maybe the plight of the Haitian people has drawn our attention away. Whatever it may be, there seems to be a number of events that appear to have taken more of a priority in the news over the figures of infections and deaths due to COVID. In some ways it is a good thing, but perhaps in other ways we are less focused on keeping safe and protecting others from infection.


We have seen a lot of people helping others in their midst during the last few months, but our minds should also turn to the wider picture of what is happening in the world. We are very fortunate in the circumstances in which we live. We have an elected government, we have a welfare system, medical help free at the point of delivery, and many other things that enable us to live a reasonably comfortable life. They may not be perfect, but at least we have a lot more than many other countries of the world.


Many times, particularly in the Old Testament, we read of the care of the “widow and the orphan”, but that is opened up even more with the arrival of Jesus. He showed us how to live a life that cares for all, particularly those in need. He brought to the world an all-encompassing love that excludes no-one and includes everyone. As we live our lives, I hope that we too can draw into our thoughts and prayers, not only those immediately around us, but the wider picture of a world in need.


May God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham


One of my duties as Rural Dean of the Biggleswade Deanery is to assist with the church inspections. There are nineteen parishes in our deanery, and although this year not all of the individual churches are being inspected, it is a privilege to chat to the churchwardens and to get feedback on how things are going for the individual churches, especially as we move forward out of the pandemic regulations. It is also a pleasure to see the beautiful buildings themselves, as each one has its own character.


I know we sometimes complain about the upkeep of the buildings and the resources and money it takes to keep them in a usable condition, but can you imagine our landscape without them? Years ago they were more central to the village, the tower clock being the way that most people governed their day. The church was at the centre of village transactions, or judgements made between landowners and tenants; and of course the majority of villagers came to worship.


I love to refer back to the building of the temple as told in the Old Testament, with all its precise details laid out so that no mistakes could be made as to its specification. Our church buildings that we worship in today are all individual, and were built according to the wealth of the village, the contributions made by the Lord of the Manor, and nearly always reflected his status in society. With the additions often made by the Victorians, our churches have limited use, but more and more we are becoming aware that we need to modernise and re-order to make them usable by all members of society. Primarily we use them for worship, and we would love to see more and more of our residents come and experience church.


May God bless you and keep you safe!




There is an old adage that says things come in threes! As I write this we’ve had two things happen, so it will be interesting to see if a third thing does go wrong! First the lawnmower broke, (now waiting for the spare part to arrive); and yesterday we woke to drips of water coming through the ceiling in the downstairs hallway. So now we have the plumber fitting a new hot water tank in the airing cupboard!


Some of the old sayings appear to be true, like cows sitting in the field means it’s going to rain; I’m sure you can think of many more. Just recently on Facebook there have been a number of local pictures of rainbows in the skies around our parishes. They are wonderful to see with their beautiful colours and perfect arcs in the sky. We read in the book of Genesis that God sent the rainbow as a promise that never again would the earth be devastated by a flood. We have in more recent years seen severe flooding in many parts of the world - not least in our own country - but nothing to compare to the complete devastation when Noah sought shelter with his family and the world’s species.


Throughout the Bible, God made many promises, both to his people then and to us all as humankind. The most significant of which was the promise of sending his son into the world to save us from all the wrong ways we follow in life which go against the example he has set us through his son, Jesus Christ. Perhaps the old adage of things coming in threes is true, when you consider God as Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The difference being, unlike the mishaps I mentioned at the beginning, that the Trinity is all for our benefit as we trust in God; to help us live our lives in accordance with his will for us.


May God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham


Over the periods of lockdown, in their various stages, I have watched a number of television programmes that used to be on our TV sets many years ago. Perhaps you too have enjoyed the nostalgia that has been provided by the TV companies? From TV detectives to situation comedies, and anything in between. It has been good to see them again, and remember what it was like in those days from the past, where I was and what I was doing when they were programmes I was watching for the first time. It’s good to have some nostalgia occasionally, but it would be backward looking if we wallowed in the past all the time! If we were always thinking how nice it would be to return to the good old days, there would be no progress; which some seem to think would be better! Do you recall the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis? Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt!


Whether we are keen on progress or not, we must continue to keep looking forward, as the majority have done during the pandemic, hoping for the day when we are as free as we can be from the virus that continues to plague our lives.


Hope for the future is an essential part of living, for without hope we become stale and weighed down by the troubles of this life. Over recent days I have been pleased to see on Facebook the progress of sunflowers growing in Tempsford, and the opening out of those wonderfully bright yellow flowers, radiating from that deep dark centre. To me it’s a symbol of hope from dark to light and bright! May the light of Jesus Christ shine in your life, giving you hope for the future!



God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham



Are you watching the Olympics? It’s wonderful to see that they are going ahead, despite the cloud of COVID 19 overhanging the proceedings. It is amazing how sport can bring people together, people who share the same passion for their sport, and the drive and ambition to be the best and to have a medal hanging around their necks in recognition of their achievements. There are so many different disciplines on show at the Olympics, something for everyone for the sport minded! It was of course postponed from last year, but now it has gone ahead one year later. Over the three weeks or so during which it takes place, we hear so many different stories of how people have fought the system, sacrificed so much, just to allow themselves to have the best possible chance to do the best that they can; and who knows? That performance may bring them a medal of gold, silver or bronze.


In several places in the New Testament, the idea of running the race of life occurs and we are encouraged to do our best in order to finish the race of life. The Olympians strive to win theirs by putting in hours of training and keeping themselves fit both mentally and physically. The same applies to us if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ. How do we get ourselves fit to run the race of life? First of all we have to follow the rules of the race, by following what Jesus teaches through his earthly ministry. Second, we can keep ourselves fit by daily study of God’s word to us through the Bible, the instruction book! Third our fitness can be enhanced by talking to our trainer every day through the medium of prayer. Some sports people are able to have the trainer in their corner; we can have God with us every day if we allow him to direct our lives. If we do all these things we can be the best that we can be, and put in a good performance in the race of life. We may not get a medal, but we have the promise of eternal life!


God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham


Last week I managed to drop my keys in church. That was simple, but it didn’t end there. Bit of a comedy situation really, because the keys hit my shoe, which diverted them under a radiator, dropping down behind the edge of the floor, and then ending up on the dirt floor beneath the floorboards – out of reach of course! After an hour or so, by removing the radiator cover, using a magnet, and various tools they were retrieved. Not to mention getting dirty trousers from kneeling on the floor and feeling rather silly, I was able to get back into the Rectory!


When I began to think about this week’s message, that little episode reminded me of the parable of the woman’s lost coin. She had saved ten silver coins, which equates to a lot of money in today’s terms, and she appears to have lost one - we do not know how or why - nevertheless there was one missing. They were obviously very precious to her, and so she sets about finding it. Turns the house upside down, using a light to look into all the dark corners and when she finds that one lost coin she celebrates with her friends and neighbours – party time!!


As we have moved from what is being called “Freedom Day”, there are a lot of people celebrating and trying to make up for lost time. I am referring specifically to those who have missed seeing friends and family over the past months as we and other countries have been restricted by COVID 19. For some they won’t be able to do that catching up, as many have passed away, and we are moving into a period where there will be some memorial services that will enable people to say farewell to loved ones in a proper way.


God celebrates every time that someone finds the love of Jesus in their lives, which is the meaning of the parable in Luke’s Gospel which I mentioned earlier. I hope you discover that love, and then God can have a party!


God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham


What do you call a snail without a shell? Homeless! We can all snigger at such a quip, but I think most would call slugs ugly! (See below!) I spotted this one whilst on a walk at Grafham water recently. He, or she, is not very beautiful according to our standards, but as we hear in 1 Samuel 16 verse 7, “Looks aren’t everything…God judges people differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” We do judge people by their appearance, however hard we try not to. We easily look down on people because they don’t dress as we do, or they do things in a different way as to how we would do them


As we have heard, God doesn’t judge us in the way that we would, he looks at what comes from the heart, our inner being. This passage is about the anointing of David the shepherd boy as King, and leads us into the story of him facing Goliath across the valley. We know that David prevails, even though he was different in build and stature to the mighty Goliath. If David versus Goliath was a contest today we would immediately misjudge the situation, but David had God on his side and his weakness became his strength.


It’s what flows from the heart that is important to God; we can change our outward appearance, but we cannot change what is inside, God knows our every thought and action. We can put on a show which suggests everything is fine, but what our heart says can be very different.


Our calling as disciples of Jesus is to love and care for each other without prejudice. That is never easy, but it is what Jesus taught during his earthly ministry as he dealt with everyone he encountered in the same way. I hope we have the courage to do the same.


God bless you and keep you safe!


Revd Graham