Ely Diocesan Prayers April 30th

Castle Camps All Saints

Vicar: Graham Ridgwell

LLM: Graeme Walker

Give thanks for the dedication of the people who clean and look after our Church. Pray for the work of The Friends of All Saints from the whole village.

Castle Camps Church of England Primary School

New Busa (Nigeria) – The Rt Revd Israel Amoo

Bp of London’s Sermon at Royal Wedding

WK "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day this is. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many people are fearful for the future of today’s world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each other.

The spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. People can dream of such a thing but that hope should not be fulfilled without a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely the power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

"Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon."

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive. We need mutual forgiveness in order to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads on to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can receive and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today will do everything in their power to support and uphold you in your new life. I pray that God will bless you in the way of life you have chosen. That way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

LICC – A Very Special Fairytale

Good commentary on The Wedding here from Jason Gardner:  LICC – A Very Special Fairytale.

They’ve got this royal wedding all wrong. I know because I’ve seen plenty of documentaries on prince and princess nuptials. First of all, the prince has either to scale an impossibly tall tower, brave a cursed forest or combat some leathery flying lizard. Then, and only then, does he get to wake the princess up with a magical kiss, a mythical flower or an enchanted superstore loyalty card.

But then read on.

 

 

 

 

Lyell Lectures

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These are is worth a trip over to The Other Place if you can make them. They Lyells are a prestigious series of lectures on Bibliography/Palaeography, and fittingly take the New Testament MSS as their theme in this KJV400 year.

Ely Diocese to pilot Phase 3 of the Good Childhood Conversation

The Children’s Society are intending to embark upon Phase 3 of the Good Childhood Conversation, and have asked Ely Diocese to  be one of two to pilot this for them.

65% of those who have attended a GCC  so far feel that it has changed their perspective on childhood. As phase two developed the conversations evolved to become

  • more multi-cultural
  • include male only conversations
  • have more discussion less presentation
  • involve school children and young people

Some Conversations took place a second time as conversation developed thinking, and a seasonal trend has emerged as certain periods make conversations difficult to arrange. EG summer holidays and lead up to Christmas.

Findings continue to emphasise that excessive individualism spoils childhood.

For Ely Diocese the Good Childhood Conversations are a valued part of the church’s mission strategy and as a means to work in partnership with its community.

We now aim to recruit and train volunteer facilitators – recruit with diocesan effort and CS to train through series of training sessions / mentoring system.

An ideal facilitator is someone who has:

  • A sense of ownership of the Children’s Society’s findings.
  • Is enthusiastic in their support of children /YP
  • Has appropriate training / facilitation expertise
  • Is confident
  • Will stay with the conversation principles and manage a conversation appropriately
  • Can tailor a conversation to the context
  • Can work with the diocese and Children’s Society as a team member

If this sounds like you, I’m sure Julia Chamberlain in our Education Department at the Diocesan Offices will love to hear from you!

Open the Book in Ely Diocese

clip_image002Open the Book is a lively and interactive means of telling Bible stories as part of collective worship in primary schools. The free programme of themed and dramatised Bible stories is delivered by volunteer church members, and many of the teams consist of Christians from different churches within their community.

The storytellers use drama, mime, props and simple costumes and often include children or staff too.

As part of our focus this year on the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible we wanted to gather existing teams to create a network of support for existing teams and for those attending the training event we held in March. We were very encouraged by the discovery that we already had six Open the Book teams within the diocese, these are based in St Philip’s Cambridge; the Bluntisham Group; The Ramseys; the Shingay Group; through the Crown’s Trust working in West Norfolk Schools and in Meldreth Manor – a Scope Centre for adults with learning difficulties in the South of the diocese.

Everyone was hugely encouraged by the training event, particularly as over 70 attended, including our existing teams – who were on hand to offer their advice and support. Church leaders and church members from an additional nine parishes or team ministries expressed a keen interest in creating their own teams and becoming more closely involved in the life of their local schools through Open the Book.

Both Dr Shirley Hall and I are working closely with Open the Book to ensure future training and support for the diocese in order to encourage and equip parishes in their ministry and mission among schools.

Julia Chamberlin