A thankyou from Sheila...
Thank you for the flowers, very generous cheque and all the lovely cards and good wishes which you have sent to me and Graham. Although we were only with you for a very short time, we've really enjoyed getting to know you all and sharing ministry with you.
With every good wish for the future and wishing you a peaceful and blessed Christmas.
Yours in Christ,
ALPHA IS HERE
Mrs Sue Le Riche on 01258 861830 or Mr Steven Vestbirk on 01258 860910. Got any questions about life?
The Okeford Benefice, comprising Child Okeford, Hammoon, Manston, Okeford Fitzpaine and Shillingstone villages, will be holding ten weekly Alpha group sessions exploring the meaning of life. Starting on Tuesday 13th January 2015 in Okeford Fizpaine Primary School from 7pm, Alpha is open to everyone who has questions about the Christian faith, for people who go to church, have been or have never been to church. All group meetings start with a shared meal. There is no charge to do Alpha and everyone is free to attend any one or more of the ten weekly sessions. Anyone who is interested, would like to know more or would like help with transport, please contact Sue or Steven. However, the local Shillingstone link is Judith Crompton – 01258 861409 - if anyone wants to offer help, attend Alpha or know more informally.
As you will know, due to family relocation the Revd Sheila Thomas, our Associate Priest, will be leaving the Okeford Benefice at the end of this month. We send her and Graham our love, prayers and best wishes. With no obvious foreseeable prospect of any 'replacement' for Sheila, this development effectively reduces the ministry team to myself and Mrs Sue LeRiche, Licensed Lay Minister. There is a declining number of retired clergy/ministers available to us and I need to be able to call on them for cover if either Sue or myself is on leave or unwell.
I have now met with the Churchwardens of the benefice and together we have devised a new pattern of services for the benefice to commence next month. It is very much a joint effort and, while rather different from the existing pattern, is in my view both balanced and more sustainable. I commend it to you and encourage you to see its strengths in the current circumstances we are facing. Please also check the parish magazines for variations and extra services, eg during Christmastide.
The new pattern is shown on sevices page. It uses new set times for services and, for the larger churches,
Salisbury Diocese Appeal
Fighting continues in parts of South Sudan. Almost a million people are displaced with over 3 million at risk of hunger. Our fellow Anglicans in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan are responding directly on the ground, and Salisbury Diocese has launched an appeal for money to help the church's development agency, SUDRA, which has the expertise, experience and networks to make sure assistance gets quickly to these who need it most. As well as providing relief, the South Sudanese Church is providing courageous moral leadership at great peril, speaking out against political and ethnic factionalism and revenge. Information about the appeal can be found at http://www.salisbury.anglican.org/
We welcome Sarah Clatworthy-Blake as Manager of the Shillingstone Church Centre. She will deal with Bookings and enquiries and can be contacted on 01258 863861. Sarah is currently Caretaker of the Portman Hall and will be working closely with the two venues in the future. We wish her every success.
Being a Christian
It is a fundamental duty and a joy of being a Christian to share one another's burdens in prayer, and come in the Spirit of Christ before God our Father, as we plead for the Church, the World, the Community and the Suffering.
It has been suggested that we start a Book Club in the New Year in the Church Centre. We are holding a 'get-together' coffee in the Shillingstone Church Centre on Monday 12th January at 11am. Please let Maureen Strong know on 01258 861927 if you are interested, but cannot make that date, Otherwise we look forward to seeing you!