Services are now following the usual pattern in our churches. The readings for each Sunday are now listed.
Sunday, 6th June (Trinity 1)
Blunham - 11am Morning Prayer
Gt Barford - 9.30am Holy Communion
Roxton - 11am Holy Communion
Tempsford - no service
Sunday, 13th June (Trinity 2)
Blunham - 9.30am Holy Communion
Gt Barford - 9.30am Morning Prayer
Roxton - 11am Family Service
Tempsford - 11am Holy Communion
Sunday, 20th June (Trinity 3)
Blunham - 11am Café Church
Gt Barford -11am Holy Communion
Roxton - 9.30am Holy Communion
Tempsford - no service
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Sunday, 27th June (St Peter's Patronal Festival)
Tempsford - 10.30am Benefice Holy Communion
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is this week's message from Revd Graham:
One of my other hobbies is trains! I have a model railway at the Rectory, and I like going to museums and taking photos of them as well! Last Saturday the Flying Scotsman locomotive steamed up the mainline and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a photograph at one of the Tempsford level crossings. Have you heard the story of the vicar who, on a Sunday morning, in the middle of the service, would run down to the level crossing to see the one and only train service on a Sunday go through the village? The churchwardens got a bit fed up with this, so plucked up the courage to ask him why he did this. His reply was that it was the only thing that happened in the village that he didn’t have to push!
That story might make you smile, but it is a good reminder that one person cannot do it all! We are well aware of the importance of teams, and how different people bring different attributes to the team. You only have to think back to the people that Jesus chose for his disciples. Tax collectors, fishermen - and all had different gifts to bring to the team! All had different characteristics too; I’m sure there were some who were more reserved than others. Some spoke out more than others, as we hear them mentioned more often in the Gospels. And then we come to impetuous Peter, who was a “speak first, think about it afterwards” sort of person.
This weekend at Tempsford we celebrate Peter as our patron; i.e. the church is dedicated to him. Peter figures significantly in the Gospels; he is the one who jumps into the water to greet Jesus and then realises he might drown. He is the one who cuts off the servant’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane when they arrest Jesus. Peter is the one whom Jesus commissions to build up the church. We all know a “Peter”, but equally we all know people who have other attributes. All people are welcome into the church, and all different types of people are needed to build up the church. Whatever characteristics you may have you are welcome to join us and be part of the team!
God bless you and keep you safe!
We are well and truly into the summer of sport! England’s football team have won a match in the Euros, the cricket team have lost to New Zealand, with India yet to come and the Queen’s tennis tournament has started with a winning performance from Andy Murray, with Wimbledon All England Tennis Championships on the horizon!
Over the next few weeks we will live through some highs, and some low points. We will experience the euphoria of winning, and the disappointment of losing. It’s the very nature of sport, that you cannot win all the time, but we have to make the most of the high points to see us through the low points.
In a way sport reflects life as we live it; there are high points and low points. We have over the past few months lived a life of highs and lows through the pandemic. The latest change in the government roadmap to the lifting of all the restrictions has left a lot of people disappointed. Some have had their future plans left in turmoil, and in some cases with the loss of hard earned money. Some businesses are having to cope with another month without income or at least a reduced income. It has been a very difficult few months for many people on many different levels.
When I reflect on what has happened over the last few months, firstly I give thanks for the endeavours of so many people that have kept people fed and watered. Secondly I thank God for the skill of all of our medical professions. Then there are the volunteers of more recent days that have administered the vaccine that has protected so many people, and of course continues to do so.
I give thanks to God for the continued success of the all the regulations, that are keeping us safe, and that in the very near future we will have a new found freedom with COVID under control.
God bless you and keep you safe!
You’ve probably realised by now that I enjoy taking photographs. I don’t proclaim to be any good at it, but I enjoy taking a camera with me wherever I go! A photograph only captures a moment in time, it gives us a picture of that very moment that the shutter clicks, not one second before or one second after. The advent of film in the nineteenth century enabled periods of time to be captured, but only in the place that is in the film; it has its limitations.
The Bible gives us moments in time, as the stories have been written down, mostly not at the time, but some many years later as people recalled them and decided that they needed to be recorded for future generations. That is how we now have the Bible in its current form, and are able to read the history of Israel, and of course the Gospels of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Although there were no photographs in Jesus’ time, we have a picture painted of the things that Jesus did along with his followers, the disciples. These are valuable records of what Jesus did, they are moments in time, but the story doesn’t end there.
Jesus lives on because of the resurrection, and invites us to place ourselves into his hands to guide us and lead us through life, living the life that he showed us. That takes trust, and it is not easy to put ourselves into a position where someone else has control. God guides with love and gentleness, with understanding and forgiveness. He gives us the power to make decisions for ourselves, but shows us the way to live our lives. I encourage you to trust him for today and tomorrow and the years that are to come.
God bless you and keep you safe!
Have you ever visited Stevington windmill? It is a local landmark that dominates the skyline from many different directions. It was built in the eighteenth century, and was a working mill up until 1939. It was restored as part of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Windmills were commonplace once upon a time, but very few are left, especially working windmills. Of course they were reliant on the wind to enable them to work. Nowadays we are seeing a different sort of “windmill” appearing on our skylines, but they equally rely on the power of the wind; but now they generate electricity rather than grind corn or pump water.
In the church’s year we have recently celebrated Pentecost; it used to coincide with the bank holiday, but these days it invariably doesn’t! At Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the first disciples. We are painted a picture of a rushing wind and tongues of fire affecting the disciples as they waited patiently in a locked room, frightened by what the authorities might do and instructed by Jesus to wait for the Helper; the Helper that would assist them to be messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Whatever you believe happened to the disciples on that day, one thing is certain, that the disciples were changed from ordinary followers of Jesus to men of a bold persuasion and confident in the message they brought to people everywhere. The changes empowered them to speak openly and forthrightly about Jesus. The fear of what the authorities might do and uncertainty of how people would react had completely gone, and now they stood before the crowd and proclaimed the message.
It takes a lot of courage to do that, to stand before a crowd and speak, but it also takes confidence in the subject about which you speak. I hope that we have the courage to speak of our faith with others, without fear but with great confidence.
God bless you and keep you safe!
I am very aware that the Indian variant of Coronavirus is the cause of some concern in the Bedford Borough, and rightly so. Just as we think we are beginning to defeat the virus and are moving out of lockdown, we are hit by the rising numbers of this strain that spreads at a more rapid rate than the previous variants. Wherever we think we are at this moment in time with the easing of restrictions, we are still advised to be cautious in the things we can or cannot do. It requires a little bit of thought and risk assessment on our own behalf that will help us all remain safe and free of the virus. All the usual guidance will help as we distance ourselves, use sanitizer, and wear masks to keep the virus at bay.
In my Morning Prayer services this week I have begun to read the story of Job in the Old Testament. Job was put under enormous pressure by the devil to denounce his faith and curse God for the hardships and suffering he was enduring. The whole scenario is played out with Job’s friends, and ultimately Job’s conversations with God end with Job having his health and riches restored two-fold. The point is that people of God still have to endure the sufferings as others do, but it becomes bearable with the presence of God supporting and guiding.
None of us expected to be still working our way through the pandemic, but we are. I urge you to pray earnestly, not only for those who are directly affected through coronavirus, but for all those who play a major part in the vaccination programme, those involved with testing, and those giving guidance and interpreting data. Many areas of work have come together and are still working together in order to beat the virus; all of them need our prayers and support. And we all should play our part in keeping each other safe from infection.
God bless you and keep you safe!
Recently, on one of my days off, I travelled to Lincoln by train. In some ways it was a lovely journey as the railway station platforms and the train carriages were very empty. Despite still having to wear masks for safety, there was a certain amount of freedom, with passengers not being packed into the carriages. It was also good to be travelling through the countryside with no rain covering the windows, and passing through my old parishes in Lincolnshire as well as visiting a wonderful city with its castle and cathedral, and its streets of old houses and alleyways.
Upon visiting the cathedral, it reminded me of coming here on many occasions as a priest serving in the diocese. It also reminded me of one of the great bishops of the diocese, Hugh of Lincoln, as he became known. He was actually born in the Burgundy region of France, and was offered the See of Lincoln, and so became Bishop in 1186, until he died in 1200. Lincoln was the largest diocese in the country in those days, and stretched right down the east coast of England. Nonetheless, his reputation of caring for the poor and protecting the vulnerable was well known across the land. He was a loyal subject to his monarch, supported the laws that showed care for the poor, but opposed the laws that were unjust towards the King’s subjects. He was always compassionate towards the people who were in his care.
I think we can learn a lot from Hugh’s attitude. He stood up for the vulnerable as we should; he cared for the poor as we should. He stood beside the oppressed and supported them in their situation. We don’t have to look very far to find people who fit these categories around us in our communities. As we emerge from lockdown over the coming months, we mustn’t forget that these people are still with us and need our care and support.
God bless you!
As I write this message I am about to chair the last of our Annual Meetings, the final one being at St Peter’s Tempsford. At this time of the year there are lots of organisations that have their annual meetings, spelling out the results of the previous year and looking forward to what might happen in the current year. This is regular business practice, to keep people informed of what has happened and the plans for continuing aims and objectives through the year. The church is not a business as we would define it, but we do have financial accounts and we are, for openness, responsible to the people we serve in our parishes. We all want to know where the money is spent, and whether it has been put to use for the purposes for which it was intended, as people give for the upkeep of the church building and the furtherance of God’s kingdom.
Apart from the financial side of the church, I wonder what you class as progress or success. We cannot say profits are up and the sales forecast is this or that, and the market is now buoyant, so we should see some increased sales! So what can we say? The market is out there for us to reach into our communities with the Good News of Easter. Jesus himself likened it to the harvest: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few…” Indeed the harvest is plentiful, but we have few workers! Many people are searching for fulfilment in life, and in Jesus Christ we find the answer. That is what we celebrate in this season of Easter: the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The love that through power that has overcome the power of sin.
One of the things we do at our annual meetings is to elect representatives to be part of our parochial church councils. We are always looking for new members to serve in this way, as well as encouraging those who want to just be members of the congregation. I hope that you would want to come and join us, not only in worship, but in serving the communities in which we are placed.
There will be no weekly messages for the next two weeks as I am taking some leave. I hope to have my next message in three weeks.
God bless you!
I noticed on Facebook the other day that someone in the locality was looking for a place where they could take a child pond dipping. The picture flashed into my mind of pond dipping while at school in Cardington. Just along from the school was a pond where we could safely catch newts and other creatures, draw them and then put the back in their natural habitat. It was great fun, as I remember, as well as being educational.
The lessons were all about discovering and learning about nature, and understanding how important it is to preserve such places where the circle of life can continue. Good memories of childhood, but important lessons as well. When I think back to the days of growing up in Cardington, it brings back lots of memories of other good times spent in and around the village.
I wonder what memories you have of your childhood? Good or not so good, happy or perhaps not. A lot of things that we learn in those early years, impact on us in later life, and form our opinions and directions for the rest of our lives. Many children in those days were brought up with a Christian foundation, either through their home life, at school or both. Some of those have returned to church after many years, as they remember the lessons learned, and the morals that have been the basis of what they have achieved in life
Maybe this is the time for you, as you think back to those early years, to rediscover the faith that shaped your lives all those years ago. Perhaps these days in the pandemic have made you think about life with all of its ups and downs, and you would like to discover what having a faith could mean for you. If you are wondering about either of those then I would be happy to talk you. You can contact me, either through Facebook or any of the ways listed outside our church, or look for my contact details in the Riversmeet Recorder. I look forward to hearing from you!
God bless you!
I was sad to hear of the death of HRH Philip Duke of Edinburgh last Friday. We especially think of the Royal family at this time of grief and sadness. Also, as a nation we mourn the loss of a respected and world-renowned figure, who has supported our Queen over many years. We have been so used to seeing him at many events and functions, nearly always one step behind, knowing that his duty was to support the Queen in her duties to the nation.
Everyone values the support of those around them; I know that the duties I perform would be so difficult, and some impossible, without the support of the Churchwardens, PCC members and the general congregation, as well as other people within the communities of our parishes. As we approach our Annual Parochial Church Meetings over the coming weeks, I am truly grateful for those who come and support our churches in their endeavours to spread the message of Easter.
We have seen this week the further relaxation of the guidance in respect of Coronavirus restrictions, and it has been good to see shops and other amenities opening again. A lot of them have been closed for twelve months, or longer in some instances. It has been good that we have been able to support some of our local companies as they have struggled to stay in business; something which I hope we will continue to do long after the Pandemic has receded.
I hope too that we will also to continue to support one another as we have over the last months. Sometimes it is the little things that matter, not always the big gestures. A knock at the door to check if someone is OK, the fetching of a little shopping or a prescription from the surgery. Just that thought that someone is thinking about them, and has taken the time to care. A little love and caring goes a long way, and it was out of love that Jesus sacrificed himself for us, and rose from the dead to overcome the power of sin. I hope that you take the opportunity to show a little love, knowing that those who receive it will be all the more grateful.
God bless you!
I can hear the sound of mowers in the churchyard! I know some have mown their grass and lawns before now, but to hear the sound from the churchyard post-Easter means that warmer weather is on the way and spring has advanced - even if it is only six degrees outside! Soon the air will ring to the sound of mowers everywhere, and those beautiful striped lawns will be appearing everywhere you look. Some will curse the smell of the new-mown grass because of their allergies, while others will enjoy breathing in the aroma of the freshly cut grass.
It’s strange how Easter seems to move time on in one leap, along with the clocks going forward an hour and lighter evenings becoming the order of the day. For the next few weeks the church is in the season of Easter, as we read the stories about the post resurrection appearances of Jesus. Our readings this week take us to the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples in the Upper Room. The first time Thomas is not with them, and he refuses to believe Jesus has risen, until he sees for himself the marks of the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet. The second time he is with the disciples, and then he believes when he has seen the scars that bear witness to his crucifixion.
Sometimes we require physical proof to believe in something, to see the results of an action. As Christian disciples we are a people of faith, we believe because we trust in the life of Jesus Christ. We believe he came as the promised Messiah, as Saviour of the world. We know the effects on our lives as we put our trust in him, and live the way he wants us to live. As we celebrate Easter, the euphoria of his resurrection fills our lives with joy and hope, and urges us on to live his life. I hope that we all can feel the effects of his risen life as we live day to day.
God bless you this Easter!
There is nothing particularly exciting about this week’s picture, it is just a tunnel under an old railway that allows you to follow a footpath. As I was thinking what to write, two thoughts came to mind. First is that this week we have seen the slight easing of the lockdown rules. People can mix with another household outside, and we have a little bit more freedom to travel, although we are asked to stay close to home. It is a small step in the right direction, as we hopefully move to a more normal way of life. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it leads to a brighter future.
Secondly, this weekend in particular, we commemorate and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the Christian high point of the year. Some people are confused when they hear that comment, but it is the point on which the Christian faith is based. Without the belief in a risen Lord Jesus, our faith would mean nothing. We believe that Jesus died and rose again for every one of us, so that our relationship with the God who is our Creator can be restored, after all the wrong things in our lives are forgiven. The picture reminded me of the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance where Jesus’ body was placed after being taken down from the cross. The removal of the stone uncovers the light, and just as when we look down through the tunnel, we see the brightness that can bring hope to our lives.
I hope that you have the opportunity this Easter Time to celebrate the risen Lord Jesus who can bring light to your life, and who can ease away the burden of the things that weigh you down as you travel life’s road.
We would love to see you in any of our churches this Sunday; there is a service in every parish.
God bless you this Easter!