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Joe's Blog

 

Advent photo UNSPLASHAdvent Reflection 1 

 

The suggested passage to read this week is taken from Isaiah 9:  2, 6, 7:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
 

Read the above verses through and write down a word or phrase that speaks to you or gains your attention (share this with each other if you are doing this study in a group).
 
Now slowly read it through a second time and share any questions, comments or phrases that stand out.
 
Read it a third time (perhaps in another version of the Bible) and focus on a verse or idea. Then ask the following questions:

1, How does this apply to our world today?

2. What is God saying to me about the way I live or my view of the world and its problems?

3. How can I/we be light to those walking in darkness? 

Pray that God will help you to do what you’re being prompted to do for others.

An Alternative the the above study is the free online Advent course  called the 'Sleepers Awake' Advent series:

         https://homegroups.org.uk/series/sleepers-wake-advent-series/

This is a four-part series is about Christian spirituality for Advent in the context of the climate and environmental crises. It is based around the first verse of the hymn ‘Sleepers Wake’ using the four lines to give a framework for each week of Advent. The course has been put together by Nicholas Holtam who has recently retired as Bishop of Salisbury and the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment in 2021.  The four weeks of study are:1: The Writing on the Wall; 2: Finding our Place; 3: Being Human; 4: What can I Bring Him?

You have to sign up to access the free course which is ideal if you want to explore environmental issues. However, we’ve decided to try putting together our own reflections on Advent. The Sleeper’s Awake course, though ideal for exploring the Environmental Crisis, did not really connect with the Scriptures we’d prefer to focus on during Advent (so we’re going to pick it up in the New Year). 
I look forward to seeing some of you on the Quiet Day on Sat 3rd December.

Happy Advent,
 
Joe 
 

Acorn picAcorn Prayers 


 I'm reminded as I see acorns falling to the ground that giant oaks begin as these tiny acorns. I sense God is saying this is what is needed to see growth across our Churches. They are like our prayers which we scatter and plant. Prayer is often hard work. Even for Christ, prayer involved a struggle in the garden. For Jacob, prayer meant wrestling with God during the dark night of the soul. In the process Jacob’s hip was put out of joint, and he was given the name ‘Israel’ which means ‘he wrestles’.
 
If you want to turn acorns into oaks, they must face a cold season. You can artificially reproduce this by placing acorns in a plastic container with damp soil, not dripping wet, in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 days. You can also plant them outside and let winter take care of this process. But you need to protect them from animals who make think you’re giving them a tasty meal for them.
 
We can invent new schemes, plans and be busy with restructuring groups of Churches or buildings. But what we need the most is to pray. We are invited to pray at all times and for every occasion. Why not join us at our fortnightly prayer meeting which meets at St Mary’s on a Wednesday evening and next meets on Wed 26th October at 7pm. I’m sure this could be held at other Churches in the Cluster if they request. There is also a Cluster Quiet day on Saturday 3rd December at the Retreat Centre in Rilla Mill. This is a time for us to pray and seek God together.
 
Please keep planting acorn prayers and watch his kingdom grow in us and in the lives of those in our communities who have yet to find faith.

Blessing,
 
Joe (Rector)
 

‘Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing Always’

 Rainbow

I travelled to Epiphany House today for a training day and the driving conditions on the A30 were atrocious. Up in the moors the clouds so were dark and ominous that it felt like the middle of the night and not 9am in the morning. I came up a steep hill before Bodmin and, to the left of me, the sun had managed to shine a ray through a small break in the clouds. To the right of me was the brightest and most luminous rainbow I’d ever seen in my whole life. In its backdrop there was the darkest of clouds which made this the most perfect rainbow you could ever witness. And more bizarre was the fact that one end was immediately touching the central crash barrier ahead of my car, whilst the other end was touching the centre of the carriageway behind me.  As I came over the hill it seemed that I was driving under the centre of the rainbow.  The Psalmist tells us that:

                     The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ (Ps 19:1).

Rainbows are symbols of God’s Covenant made to Noah that he would not destroy them ever again with a global flood. My spirits were lifted as I felt the Holy Spirit say that the brightest of God’s covenant love shines against the darkest of stormy skies. We see this at Calvary as the death of the Son of God reveals his astonishing, breath- taking love to the world.  This is the big story and, as Bishop Tim used to keep saying, ‘we have to keep the main thing, the main thing, always’.  I’ve been learning about the role and responsibility of the PCC (Parochial Church Council) and its members who act as trustees of a Charity. We were asked the question: What is the PCC for? The key is in the first word ‘Parochial’ which means ‘for the strangers’. The main thing we exist for is not ourselves, but for others, who don’t come to Church. We have responsibilities which concern the future Mission of the Church to the strangers in our wider parishes.
 
The PCC Members’ Essential Guide says the answer to that question ‘What is the PCC for?’  is expressed most concisely in the Declaration of Assent which says:

The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion,
The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.

The Main thing is that we profess and proclaim God’s love as seen in Scriptures to each generation. It is not about holding onto our favourite things at the expense of reaching those outside the doors. If we simply hold on to forms of faith and worship, we are not truly being Anglican.  It’s time to see the rainbow of God’s brilliant love for the WHOLE parish and seek to declare it together. Let’s keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing Always.
 
Blessings,
 
Joe
 

Queen Elizabeth II

Sad News 

 

We’ve just heard the sad news that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has passed away. The Bedrock of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth’s faith is given in the title of a book:
 

The Servant Queen and the King She Serves

 
In her first Christmas Broadcast in 1952, she asked the people of the Commonwealth and Empire to pray for her as she prepared to dedicate herself to their service.  At 90, she looked back and gave thanks for those prayers and the faithfulness of God. She has been our longest reigning Monarch who has brought the country together through many turbulent times. Now there is to be a time of national grief with flags at half mast and bells tolled across the land.
 
It’s at times like these we are called follow her example and trust in Christ, who was the cornerstone of her faith even in the face of wars, pandemics, and global crisis.
Six months Before her coronation she asked the people of the United Kingdom & Commonwealth to:

Pray that God may give me the wisdom and strength to carry out
the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully
serve Him and you, all the days of my life.

 
This is model prayer for us all to pray for our new King who is to ascend the throne, for our nation and for ourselves. Queen Elizabeth II’s faith speaks to us beyond the grave. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that a person’s faith still speaks to us even after they have died. So, let’s pray for her family and those who miss her the most and let’s ask God to turn our hearts towards Him at this sad time.
 
Blessings and Prayers,
 
Joe

75E63FF7-DD1E-4ABF-B4C2-903883Are We Better at Talking than Listening 

If you do not follow the news in the US you may not have heard of Alex Jones, who was recently found liable in the Sandy Hook hoax conspiracy, where he suggested that a shooting in a school in Connecticut did not happen and it was played out by actors who were trying to force tighter control on gun laws. Jones has been fined $50 million by the court because of the damage caused to the families as a result of his claims.
I don’t know about you by I find the bombardment we get of information claiming to be facts/ truths exhausting. And, I wonder if you feel that same? Are you struggling to find the truth in a post truth world? Are you hearing rumblings within your communities that seem scary but are they actually born in fact? I read on One Callington this week about a series of incidents perpetrated by one person and one of the comments suggested that Callington is becoming a very scary place. I’m not saying that this person doesn’t genuinely believe what they wrote and may be fearful. I know that this one person was scary for sure and the reality is that we no longer have a police presence in the area who we can report these things to in person. But does that make the whole of Callington a scary place?
This is where discernment comes in. The bible has quite a bit to say about sifting facts, thoughts and truths.
Proverbs 18:17 ‘The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.’
This is why gossip is so damaging to our communities and in our church families. I was listening to Pete Greig giving a talk at Creation Fest recently and he spoke about there being one person with a truth over there, another with a truth over here and him trying to discern where the real truth was. That is what we are all doing, all the time. Trying to figure out where the truth is.
How then can we best discern the truth?
• Firstly, we know that Jesus is the truth and the way he behaved is our yardstick for everything.
• Secondly we should be seeing everyone we meet through His eyes because they are the same
eyes that see beauty in us with all our own foibles and faults.
• Thirdly it is about character; what do you know of the character of the person/people being
talked about? If you don’t know anything about them should you be forming a judgement at all?
• Finally, are we much better at talking than we are at listening? It is only by truly listening to one
another in love and grace that we can find ways of rubbing alongside each other without too much friction.
The story of Babel illustrates beautifully that when we all clamour to speak and be heard that we stop looking to God and trusting in Him. Only when we truly begin to listen and discern will we love each other as Jesus loves us 

         The Great Adventure 

                                                    Great Adventure Pic

I was talking to some friends recently, who got stuck in awful queues of traffic, with their children. When I asked how they coped, I was told the kids didn’t mind because they saw is as part of the adventure that was their holiday together.

At Creation Fest, Nikki and I got to hear Pete Greig who founded the 24-7 prayer movement. This is an:  
‘international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice; a non-stop prayer meeting that has continued for every minute of this century so far, in over half the countries on earth.'  [See link below]

Pete spoke about how God calls us on a ‘Great Adventure’. He spoke about the character Bilbo Baggins from J.R. Tolkien’s book ‘The Hobbit’. Bilbo lived in the Shire, and was dead set against anything that interrupted his routine. He certainly didn’t want to go on adventures, as they were:
     ‘nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! That ‘make you late for dinner!’

Thankfully, this changed, and Bilbo found his friends and went on his Great Adventure. The ‘Great Adventure’ affected a radical change in his character and his outlook on the world for the better.

On the Way may well feel like a ‘nasty disturbing uncomfortable thing’! Everything is changing and as someone said to me recently, it is being done to us (even though we have voted for the plan in the Deanery), this makes for some discomfort as everything shifts beneath us.  However, the task God has given us to share is too great to ignore. It is the greatest adventure of all, and it will enrich our lives and character if we say yes to follow him wherever he leads. There will be troubles, dangers, and disappointments but there will also be victories, joys, and treasures beyond anything that we can possibility envisage.

God has called us to open the blinds and let the light in and then to open the windows and doors and take that light out into the darkness. The Church as a whole, has a twofold calling to live out the Great Adventure and to help others outside of our churches to join in.

Let’s pray that we, as friends, go on a Great Adventure together.

Blessings,
 
Joe
 

 

For more info on the 24-7 Prayer Movement, click this link:   
 https://www.24-7prayer.com 

     

Use Both Lanes

Use Both Lanes

If you were to ask me to describe the past year I would have to say in many ways it’s been like trying to travel along the M5 on a busy Bank Holiday. It’s at times been a pleasant journey. We’ve made progress and we’ve had time out to enjoy a motorway cafe experience (Though I personally prefer getting off the motorway for a cuppa). At other times we’ve faced congestion and the odd breakdown forcing traffic from three lanes into one. This always results in tail backs and some cars will overheat and need to be towed away.


The road sign that’s been speaking to me has been the one we met on Tamar bridge returning home which tells drivers to ‘ use both lanes’. This helps all vehicles to move along side by side to get across to Cornwall at a steady 30mph.
 
I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians 10 recently, especially where it tells us to be concerned for the good of others and not just ourselves. Paul, who wrote these instructions, is talking about the need for the Christians to live out their faith in such a way that maximises the growth of the kingdom through the work of the Church. He says don’t simply live to please ourselves as existing Churchgoers. This would be like the Church occupying only one lane. Paul’s letter to the early Christians calls them to use both lanes. Our lead comes from his words in 1 Cor 10:33
 

I, too try to please everyone in everything I do, I don’t just do what is
best for me, I do what is best for others so that ‘many’ may be saved.

 
That’s the key: the goal of the church is the cure of souls for the WHOLE parish. The Church doesn’t just cater for those on the inside lane, she also has to consider the many who are outsiders.  We exist to show and tell the world about the love of God as seen in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. He has given us the words of eternal life, the hope of the nations.
 
The Covid pandemic has reminded us that we are a Church without walls. Occupying the second lane drives us outside of our walls and inward activities. I believe that On the Way shifts the inward focus to an outward one(without forgetting the inward or wanting to dishonour it) we have to have both, this is every Priest’s calling and central to our faith. It is a faith that must be communicated in both acts of love and words that bring life (the ‘euangelion’ = the Good news). And of course, we need to refocus upon God’s love for the planet.
 
As a Cluster of Churches we celebrate the strength of our diversity. We should also reflect upon that which unites us. We all agree that Church matters, and it is not a trivial thing. The majority of us agree on the truth of the Creeds. We all believe in the importance of worship, and this is something to value. We agree in the kingdom of God; that it will come upon the earth as it is in heaven. We all understand that faith, though private for some and something to be shared by others, is something that has important implications for our lives. Though we may not be United on the language of discipleship we do acknowledge that following Christ does impact upon our life and our calling. We are all a part of the Church of God and we are stronger together.
 
This is in many ways the reason behind On the Way. We know we cannot continue in one lane and somehow we have to find ways of working together to secure both lanes are used. For one church this will mean having common worship services and fresh expressions services to reach the outsider. For another it may be having more traditional forms of services but also looking to reach the isolated in their community or find out where there are pockets of poverty and address them.
 
Personally, I have to adopt a new pattern of working on a Sunday so that I can ensure I occupy both lanes. I have to work in a way that is both fruitful and sustainable and will ensure I stay healthy. On the Way is moving forwards and so, in order to take the lead in having a pattern of services that I can implement to fit into this I am looking to divide my time across the Cluster in a new way beginning in September.  It will not please everyone, but can we agree to try this? For me this pattern will look like this:
 
Firstly I will be leading a Cluster-wide 9.15am Communion (rotating around the various churches). This will enable us to come together to focus on sacramental ministry that is typical of each of our church styles. This in turn will facilitate occasional Communion by Extension services. Then, at 11am I will be looking to put some time and energy into driving in the other lane which focuses on reaching the lost. Whilst I know that change can be challenging and make us uncomfortable, but change can also give us a great sense of growth and achievement.  I am reminded that my calling is to the whole Parish and to the top two priorities of our Diocese which are to be:

A Church that conspicuously celebrates children and young people at its heart,
because Jesus placed a child in the centre as a model for us all

 
A Church that unashamedly embraces an innovative pioneering culture,
because Jesus is ‘the pioneer and perfecter of our faith’ who in his incarnation, cross
and resurrection crossed every boundary

Let’s be committed to these and ask in all we do as Christians and Churches are we using both lanes?
 
With love
 
Joe

Getting Out to Sea 

68F78651-AFF4-43F5-8D4C-1DFAF3There are many changes going in our churches at the moment. We are just about to vote on whether to accept the On the Way plan at Deanery Synod.

Also, we are saying goodbye to Amy Wheeler who has resigned as Families Leader in the Cluster. We are sorry to see her go and ask that you pray for her and her family as they start on ventures new.

Whilst praying the other evening about the changes happening in our churches I was given the picture of Tinside Beach in Plymouth where I often sea swim with a friend. It is a wonderful place to experience swimming in the sea. It feels very safe and there is a supportive and friendly community of people who are right there alongside you as you go. However, when the tide is out getting out into that water to swim can be quite a challenge. The shoreline is covered with large and small rocks and pebbles that are covered with slippy green moss that you need to traverse, and further out you have to grapple with the seaweed which wraps itself around your legs. The challenge is real but the joy of getting to the deeper water with the sun on your head makes it so worth while. I felt that God was saying that in order for us to go forwards into our communities we have to face some slippery rocks and seaweed that wants to tangle up around our legs.

One of the verses that has travelled with me for my whole Christian life is Matthew 14:22-33. In this passage Jesus’ disciples were in a boat without Jesus and as they look out they see what they think is a ghost walking on the water. They realise it’s Jesus when he allays their fear by announcing that it is Him. I love Peter’s reaction to this incredible event. He gets so excited he tells Jesus he want’s to get out of the boat and walk on the water to Him. Imagine that! Even more extraordinary is that Jesus agrees and Peter gets out and begins to walk on the water towards Jesus. Then his doubt and his fear of his surroundings get the better of him and Peter ends up sinking into the water coughing and spluttering. Jesus has to reach in and pull him out.

I feel that it is time for us to come together as churches individually, and as a Cluster to pray and believe in miracles. For us to face the challenges ahead and not be afraid of the wind and the waves. With this in mind, we are running a prayer session Wednesdays fortnightly beginning next week, 6th July at St Mary’s in Callington, 7-8pm, with the particular focus of vision for the future. All are welcome as this is a Cluster wide meeting. It would be wonderful to come together in prayer and Joe and I look forward to seeing you there. With Love

Nikki Lannon (Mrs Vicar!)

Direction of Travel

 Direction

It’s been nearly a year long journey with On The Way and now we have a plan which is to be voted upon on 30th June by representatives of our 32 or so Churches across the Deanery. The Plan is a direction of travel that we hope will set our course and help us move forwards together; so that we are fruitful and sustainable. I believe it is a good plan and I commend it to our five Churches. However, please note that each Church and their Deanery reps are free to vote with their own conscience, and they should be allowed to do so.
 
One thing is for certain, we cannot stay as we are. If we just continue to do what we normally do for our long-standing members, the Church will continue to disconnect from our communities and spiral into further decline. But. if we chose to split our energies between serving our long-standing members and looking outwards to connect with, serve and reach the missing generations in new ways, then there is hope.
 
One thing we don’t want to be doing once the direction of travel is decided, is to have a tug of war.  If we put our energies into trying to resist change at every turn, then we will exhaust ourselves. This reminds me of a picture someone had of the local church as car that had broken down at the roadside and 20 people were trying to push it up an incline to a garage or repair. Sadly, there was no real movement because 7 others were at the front of the car pushing in the exact opposite direction. Let’s agree, once this Plan is decided upon, one way or the other, to set our direction of travel to move forwards together. We cannot simply do what we did 50, 100 or 400 years ago, we also need to do a new thing. Let’s not simply pull in a direction that demands we have a Church which only satisfies our own worship style. Let’s be pioneering in having a clear focus on all ages and backgrounds; not just our own demographic. Then we will move forwards to become a church that resembles an active life-boat station rather than a club just for its current members.
 
Christians are followers of Jesus. The gospel reading this Sunday is from Luke 9, where Jesus sets his course of travel to Jerusalem, even though it upsets those around him. On the journey, he calls several people to ‘follow him’.  One delays and fails to see the urgency of this call. Another is told there is no promise of luxury on this road. There are few certainties and probably lots of change involved. So above all, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
 
Blessings,
 
Joe (Rector)
 

Steering Wheel
Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?

It was Corrie Ten Boom who asked the question

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?”

 
This question is loaded with meaning about the importance of prayer. Prayer is something we are urged to do continually as Paul says: 

"Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit." 1 Thes. 5:17–19.

 
We can pray any time of the day or night, whether we’re walking, kneeling, or washing the dishes. It is not something we lock away in the boot and only fetch out when we have a puncture. Prayer is communing with God and seeking him at every turn of our lives. It’s asking for him to direct us, go with us, protect, and provide for us, often in very specific ways. We should never be so busy that we have no time to pray. The busier we are the more important it is that we do pray. This was the emphasis of Bill Hybel’s wonderful little book on prayer which was expressed in the title: Too busy not to pray

Oswald Chambers clearly believed prayer was the steering wheel of our lives:

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be ourfirst line of defence. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, 
but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all."

 
The prophet Joel tells us that God sent an army of locusts to devour the crops of his people when they went away from him. But he calls them to return to him with all their hearts. If they do this, he will take pity on them and bless them with grain, new wine, and olive oil (Joel 2: 19). He promises to repay them for the years that the locusts have eaten. Then follows that great promise, which began at Pentecost, that he would pour out his Spirit and rescue any who call on the name of the Lord. We only need to call out, pray and he will feed us, give us new wine, and anoint us afresh with the Holy Spirit.
 
Before beginning a service remember to pray. Before starting a PCC meeting build in a time of prayer. Join a house group or fellowship group and pray for one another. Remember to pray with any who need it during or after a service in our buildings. Let prayer become part of the air that we breathe. Let it shape the direction of our agendas and saturate the unfolding of our plans and those of our Deanery. Pray for the people of the wider parish and ask God to give you his heart for them; because he wants them to know his love and power in their lives. He wants them to ask and receive the Holy Spirit. Let’s purposely decide to make prayer the steering wheel rather than treat it as a spare tyre.
 
Blessings,

Joe

 

 
Glenys
Hello and welcome to our church. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello

 

Where and When

We are one church in five locations which offer a wide variety of styles of service from vibrant family friendly services to something more contemplative.  We have services starting at 8am, 9.15am,  10am, 11am and 11.15am across the Cluster of five churches.  You can find details of the services and what to expect here.  The calendar not only gives you the place and time but also a description of what you can expect from the service.

What you can be sure of is a warm welcome at whichever church you decide to visit.  Refreshments will be on offer either before or after the service.

images: Services

What about my kids?


Children's groups at St Mary’s Callington on Sundays are temporarily suspended due to unforeseen circumstances.  However, there will always be an activity for children to do, a place for them in all 11am services at and the Tower Room is available for play and fun throughout.  

Children

Getting Connected

 

Life Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week, some afternoons and some evenings. We can put you in touch with a small group leader who will be more than happy to invite you along to their group.

Get on a Team!

Serving on a team is a greatly way of getting to know people better.  If you want to get involved in the life of the church and to help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. 

Other Ministries

We also run the following ministries:

  • Men's Ministries
  • Women's Ministries
Get in touch with us to plan your visit
If you would like to come and visit the church beforehand you are more than welcome! Get in touch and we can arrange a time that suits you.
 
Name:
Telephone:
Email Address:
Comments / Questions or anything you would like to say?

Next, we will contact you by email to say hello and help arrange anything necessary for your visit.
 

Leadership 

6C66FEB3-E530-4A76-9807-3B403B   4EEFC772-C1D9-4FB2-BD0C-13D970
Rector    Ordinand
Rev Joe Lannon   Lennie Starrs
 
We hope that whoever you are, you will feel at home at our church.

Best Wishes

Joe and Nikki