Well – what week of weather we have seen this week, some soaring temperatures and spectacular thunder storms. I am not sure I have seen lightening quite like we have seen this week. One night we stood watching at the window as the sky was magnificent blue with constant sheet and fork lightening. Hopefully as the temperatures reduce a little, these will pass and the weather will be a little calmer.
During the week, although we continue to have some local and regional outbreaks of Coronavirus, overall fortunately the new cases are reducing and we are starting to move towards a new normal. We have seen further reductions in national restrictions this week which continues to give us positive signs of hope. Unfortunately the virus has not gone away and we all need to maintain our vigilance to ensure we stay safe and reduce the risks to others. As always please pray for all those who remain ill with Coronavirus around the World. Sadly many areas are facing increasing rates of infection with some having little access to effective healthcare. Your prayers and support will help them know the worldwide Church is praying with them.
A small number of people from Church will be meeting this week to complete our Church Risk Assessment for Coronavirus, so that once approved we can hopefully start to hold services from early September. Please continue to hold the team and our planning in your thoughts and prayers.
If you get chance this Sunday, you may wish to tune in to Songs of Praise at lunchtime on BBC 1 at 1.15pm. It is recorded at Trentham Gardens and will focus on faith in the local area.
This week our chosen Gospel Reading is from Matthew 15 v 21-28 and reminds us of the importance of Faith. It is a challenging and perhaps uncomfortable passage where Jesus encounters a Canaanite woman. It challenges our assumptions as perhaps Jesus was initially less polite than we imagine, some would suggest he ignored the woman and spoke over her. The passage suggests that the disciples failed to show compassion, perhaps they were tired and weary and had been asked for help from many people. Some may perhaps think the woman a little rude, asking for help from a stranger. Jesus was nearing the end of his public ministry and had withdrawn to a non Jewish quiet area full of Gentiles. The disciples may well have been out of their comfort zone in this bandit country where they perhaps felt they had little in common with the locals. But even in this strange place Jesus is recognised and approached by a woman pleading for help for her daughter. The request comes not from a Jew but a Gentile and not from a man but a woman. At that time it would have been very out of the ordinary for a Gentile woman to talk to a non Gentile man, particularly without being spoken to first.
All the social rules are being broken and Jesus, the disciples and woman would be outside of their comfort zones. But surprisingly Jesus fails to answer the woman initially. At this, the disciples suggest the woman is sent away, perhaps seeing her as annoying. The disciples themselves wanted nothing to do with this stranger. Jesus replies with a challenging response saying that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This reply may have further confused the disciples, but Jesus does not send the woman away, in fact he draws her into conversation.
The woman approaches and kneels before him pleading for help “Lord help me” Jesus seems to offer a cruel reply “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs”
Quickly the woman replies “Yes Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table” Jesus provided a welcome response “Woman, great is your faith ! Let it be done for you as you wish” Jesus recognises the faith of the woman, and completely heals her daughter immediately. The woman desperate for help for her daughter, and against all the social norms and odds believed and hoped in Jesus. Her faith was amazing, even in such difficult and dangerous circumstances.
The passage reminds us that Jesus reaches out to the woman in her location and in her culture. He accepts her as she is, he recognises her deep faith and shows her compassion and grace.
In this passage, Jesus and the disciples learn from the woman from another custom and culture and embrace the difference and diversity.
Jesus did not expect the woman to convert or follow him, rather he learns from her. Perhaps the woman challenged their assumptions and beliefs but through this encounter they all grew in faith.
In this story the differences of all involved are exposed, yet they grow in faith together. Perhaps the story reminds us to stay focused in faith even if we don’t get answers immediately, or if times get tough. It is also true that like Jesus we can learn from others, regardless of their faith, culture or beliefs. Church then does not become a closed group, but one this is open and welcoming to all, and willing to learn from others on a journey of faith. The important reminder is that as we live out our lives with its trials and tests, our faith grows. A faith that never gives up !
Please do continue if you are able to pray at 6pm each evening and join with others from our Church so that we can unite in the power of prayer.
Please pray for those on our prayer list.
Barry, Linda and family.
Ashley, Debbie and family.
Frank & Barbara
Ken & Pat
Alan & Heather
Linda and family
Carol, Dave & Logan
If you would like to join the Sunday Morning Service by Zoom at 11.00am
Join Zoom Meeting – just click on the link (from 10.45am) and you’ll be placed in a waiting area until the host lets you in. This is a safeguarding measure.
or just click here.
Meeting ID: 477 542 2768
Dial by your location
0203 481 5240
0203 901 7895
0131 460 1196
0203 051 2874
0203 481 5237
If you are dialling into the services instead of joining them via Zoom online – please use one of the phone numbers shown above and enter the same Meeting ID and Password as above.
You are also very welcome to join a telephone act of worship each Sunday at 10am by calling the number below and using the codes as shown.
Dial: 0333 0110 946
When asked enter the
Room number: 47927697 #
When asked enter the
Guest PIN: 1145 #
You can find reflections and biblical stories on our Circuit YouTube channel including new material added weekly from Rev Linda, Rev Jeff and others at
or just click here.
Please continue to stay safe and know that you are surrounded by the love and prayers of your Church family.
With every blessing