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Joe's Blog

 

A Walk in the Wilderness 

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We recently pondered the account in Matthew’s gospel of the testing or temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4).  But it’s worth noting that there’s a distinction between testing and temptation. God allows us to be tested, and tests faith to prove how genuine it is. The accuser (or the ‘Satan’) tempts us to lure us away from serving God or giving up our faith. Jesus clearly defeats these attempts and shows that a new beginning for the human race has is now possible - as John puts is:
 

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the
beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)

 
During Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, we discover what the main thing is for him:

  • The first temptation reveals, where Jesus is concerned, that the Father comes first, even above food. God is the one who nourishes us. Everything we need to live, originates with the word of God. God speaks and we are fed. He feeds us both physically and spiritually. The real hunger of the human spirit, can only be truly met by God.
  • The second temptation highlights the need to trust God in his timing to provide protection and watch over us when we fall. We do not need to force him to prove this to us (we should not put God to the test). The people of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and they unfortunately, did put God to the test with their complaints, grumbling and lack of trust. Jesus refuses to be forced to prove himself (or to prove his special standing in the eyes of His Father) in an artificial way, i.e. by throwing himself off the temple. He instead chooses the way of the cross to reveal he truly is God’s beloved Son 
  • The third temptation highlights how Jesus is totally focussed upon serving his Father. He elevates this above his human need. He refuses to compromise, in order to gain power. If Jesus had sided with the devil and accepted control of all the kingdoms of the world it would have been futile. The human race would still have needed to be rescued. This was only possible through his suffering and dying on a cross.

The people of Israel failed in these three ways during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. And if we’re honest, we are found wanting in these ways too (I know I am). Jesus calls us to follow him by putting the Father first, trusting him and refusing to compromise when it comes worshipping God.  
 
We cannot be his follower unless we too refuse the short cuts to power and success, and decide instead to take up our cross and follow him. Jesus is God and he is fully human. He totally succeeded in defeating the accuser for us. Now, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome temptation. We are offered the power to change our behaviour, our allegiances and live out the love we have been given. Yes we fail, we fall and God lifts us up each and every day. But we know God deeply loves us. We discover that true freedom and greatness only comes as we live for our wonderful heavenly Father. Jesus therefore sets the benchmark for the human race. He has, over millennia, enabled countless generations to worship God in Spirit and in Truth and not be held captive to falsehood.
 
Blessings,
 
Joe (Rector)
 

 

Lent pic 2023]
What are you giving up? 

Several years ago, I gave up coffee and  chocolate for Lent  and was completely miserable as my body was continually hankering after sugar and caffeine.  Some people give up bad habits and others, like my wife once decided to give up worrying. That’s certainly something worth giving up. The question is, are there things we give up and abstain from that don’t actually help us get closer to God?
 
I was struck by what God says to us through Jeremiah (I’m back there again) about  what the people of God gave up- he puts it like this:

Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,’ declares the Lord.
‘My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.  (Jeremiah 2: 12-13)


There was heightened level of religious activity during his time of writing, and yet the reality was that the people had given up on their God!  They decided that they didn’t need the one who was the source of living water, life and spiritual refreshment. Instead, they looked elsewhere and ended up digging their own wells to meet their deepest needs. The only problem was that these wells (though not literally wells)  were leaky and broken and unable to give them life.  Their allegiance and focus was no longer upon their God. Now, sadly, they looked elsewhere for guidance, security and meaning.
 
It’s easy to get so caught up in our own pursuits that we forget to honour God.  This was the case for the Israelites, whom  Isaiah talks about, just over a century earlier, who gave up food, but it brought out the worst in them. Their fasting upset God because they forgot to do what really mattered. They exploited those who worked for them,  they quarrelled and came to blows with each other and forgot to clothe and feed the poor (Isaiah 58). Rather than give up food to get close to God, Isaiah is saying God wants them to give up the their awful behaviour and start loving, forgiving and caring for one another.
 
So rather than give something up this Lent, why not pursue that which honours God? Perhaps perform a daily Act of Random Kindness (ARK)?  Or reach out and mend a broken relationship? Or give some time to a Charitable cause? Or fast from drinking out at coffee shops and give the money saved to the current DEC earthquake appeal?
 
Whatever you do, don’t give up on God and caring for the captives, the lost, the downtrodden. They need us to tell and show them the love of God that we have found in Jesus.
 
Blessings,
 
Joe (Rector)
 

                       Peas and Barley
Barley and peas growing togeth

Last week I had the privilege of sitting in on the Pioneer Parishes course on offer to all Churches across Truro and other parts of the country.
 
We were shown a picture of two crops growing in a field: Barley and peas. The peas used the stalks of the barley to support their growth and they in turn, strengthened the barley stalks. Furthermore, the peas produced essential nitrates which were fixed into the soil so that the Barley could grow properly which meant there was no need to add fertilizer to the soil. This symbiotic relationship was then compared to the Church and its Pioneers.  One of the top priorities for the Diocese of Truro is to aim at becoming:
 

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;

 
We now have a Pioneer Families worker, Katie, working for us to help us embrace new and innovative ways of reaching the families, children and youth of our parishes. Already Katie is doing this in various ways and her efforts, alongside those who also have a pioneering heart, will enrich our Churches and helps us grow and flourish.
 
One lady, who lives on the Isle of Wight, spoke of her dissatisfaction to simply go on all the rotas she was on after we came out of Isolation. She really wanted to connect with the whole Parish in a new way and so they got together a team to tidy up the churchyard and create Community spaces. She’s also installed some Community artwork (a beautiful tree of life made by the whole community from fused glass). She’s only been doing this a year and already the people of her Parish are engaging and talking about faith. She used the abilities she had to pioneer and God is using it to grow the Church. If you are interested in learning more, why not get in touch and consider joining the course and then asking God to show you how to be Christ-like in crossing the boundaries that separate us from our communities.
 
Joe  
 

New Year Unsplash 

This is the time we typically look back and reflect over the past year and hope that we can look forwards to better days. It has been an awful year for most of us. But pretty awful for the people of Ukraine who are still under siege. It has not been easy for many in the UK who are really struggling to pay bills. Our political landscape has been equally awful and of course, we must not forget the death of our dear Queen. 
 
We are, as Christians, called to always give thanks for all things in Pauls letter to the Ephesian church. This is not a ‘grin and bear’ it type of fortitude but a heartfelt sense of gratitude for what God has done for us. This is a supernatural power, transforming us from having a paranoid, hopeless view of the world to one which is filled with hope. The clue to what this transforming power is, is given earlier in Ephesians where Paul says:
‘wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’ (Ephesians 5: 14). 
 
Paul has been asking them to consider their relationships and how they live together in community. There were clearly problems with sexual conduct and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. This was causing issues and rivalry and infighting. Unfortunately, this picture is not only typical of much of what happens during the Christmas period in our towns and villages, it is also seen in the Church. We are supposed to be the new humanity, a community founded upon love and respect for one another; because we are made in the image of God and all precious to him. The whole Law can be summed up in ‘love God with your all and love your neighbour as yourself’. Anything which departs from this is effectively living in darkness, brokenness, and results in dysfunctional family and community. January is of course a time when many look back at the brokenness caused by excess, and selfish desire. Only Jesus Christ, the light of the world, can transform the human condition and the heart of this problem.

There was a time when I knew I was asleep. I lived, partied, worked and looked alive but I knew I was spiritually asleep. We can try to fill the void by self-medicating and get off our faces but Paul says don’t do this, it’s not really going to solve anything instead:

‘be filled with the Spirit’ and ‘always give thanks to the Father for everything’ (Ephesians 5: 18, 20).
 
Jesus comes first as baby to bring light to our morally dark world, and the bankrupt religious system of his people. He lives and dies so we can have resurrection life in all its fulness. He is raised from the dead and tells his followers to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. This marks the new age and now the Spirit is working across the World and bringing life and transformation in people lives. Christians, above all, need to be constantly filled with the Spirit. If we say we love God but hate others then we are, as the Apostle John says, liars. Being filled with the Spirit is the key to addressing this hypocrisy in our lives.
 
I have to admit I really struggle to love some people when I am the least filled with the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes and refreshes me, I sense the very presence of God, who is utter love, and he turns my heart from stone cold to warm. I could not live in good relationship with others unless I am filled.  I believe this goes for all relationships. This New Year reflect on this:
 
Do my relationships reflect my love of God or do they reveal a disparity?
Do I need to be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
 
Of course, this is a rhetorical question demanding the answer yes. We cannot love unless we are filled. We cannot be the Church and the new humanity God wants us to be unless we are revived, renewed and full of the wonderful Holy Spirit. This is my prayer for myself and you all for 2023.
 
Happy Spirit-filled New Year.
 
Joe (Rector)
 

Objects of God’s love

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This is the final of the Advent and Christmas Reflections. It’s soon going to be Christmas. During the fourth week in Advent, we consider Mary’s predicament and how God had to intervene to convince Joseph to come round to getting on board with His plan. The account of Matthew 1: 18 - 25 is below.
 
Read the passages through and write down a word or phrase that speaks to you or gains your attention (share these with each other if you are studying in a group).
 
Now slowly read theses verses 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.
 
Matthew 1: 18 - 25
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: his mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet:                  
                                       The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will
                                             call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
 
Discuss the following Questions:
How do you think Mary felt about Joseph breaking off the engagement to be married? 
2. Notice how God speaks to Joseph by invading his dream and speaking to him via an Angel. Consider the Angel’s approach and use of Scripture. How does God speak to us?
 
3. Jesus will save people from their sins. How would you explain the meaning of this to someone who doesn’t go to Church?
 
I am always astounded by the way God works at Christmas. This shows His incredible heart and love for you, me and everyone on this planet. On Christmas day we focus on Jesus who was born for us, to ‘Save’ us. We are all the objects of His inexpressible love. We are all in need of His rescue.  That’s something worth really thinking and singing about. God has such a huge heart for us, he sends Jesus his Son who shares His divine nature. Jesus, though fully God, is born fully human and placed in an animal trough in a forgotten village stable. God dwells with us to rescue us because of love. This is the heart of God, which is the Mission of the Church. We too are sent to live among the people of this world with their struggles and point them to Jesus, the Saviour of the whole earth.
 
Every blessing in Christ this Christmas and peace to you and yours.
 
Joe
 

Advent Reflection 3 

Road the way

During the third week in Advent we reflect on John the Baptist  who comes to prepare the way. He is a voice crying out in the wilderness calling the people to prepare for the coming Messiah. Jesus said that John was more than a prophet, that he was the Elijah to come. John certainly didn’t mince his words in calling others to do the right thing.
 
Read the passage below and write down a word or phrase that speaks to you or gains your attention. If you are studying with others in a group then share what surfaces with each other.
 
Luke 3: 7 - 18
7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” 15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them
 
Now slowly read this passage again and share any questions, comments or phrases that stand out.
 
Then read it a third time (perhaps in another version of the Bible) and focus on a verse or idea. Ask:

  • How had the people wrongly put their trust in their heritage? What should they do instead?
  • How is what John says Good News?
  • How do our lives produce good fruit?
  • How is Jesus more powerful than John and what does that mean for us today? 

This Christmas think about how you can act on John’s teaching. Perhaps you could give away food or clothes to those in need? Or, if you’ve done something wrong, consider how you can put it right.

Happy Advent,

Joe (Rector)
 

Advent Reflection 2 

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A good number of Anglicans, love lighting candles during Advent. We know that the Advent Candles in the Advent wreath have symbolic significance:

  • Advent 1: The Patriarchs (e.g. Abraham & Sarah)
  • Advent 2 The Prophets
  • Advent 3 John the Baptist
  • Advent 4 The Virgin Mary
  • Christmas Day: Christ

This week I’d like us to reflect(either as individuals or as a group) on the following two prophets:

                Isaiah 11: 1 - 11
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,  the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord –
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the
rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt  and faithfulness the sash round his waist.
 
                     Micah 5: 2
‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me  one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.’
 
Read these passages through and write down a word or phrase that speaks to you or gains your attention and share these with each other (if you’re Studying as part of a group).
 
Now slowly read them 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. Ask:

  • How are God’s values different from ours? (e.g. way he chooses, who he represents?)
  • What is God saying to me about my values and choices?
  • God works where there appears no hope (A stump). How can we trust him to work in the brokenness and hopelessness around us?


As you pray, ask God to bring new growth in these situations. Picture the stump with a new shoot growing from it and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about your circumstances. 

Happy Advent,
 
Joe (Rector)
 

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
 

 
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