Kingsteignton & Teigngrace

The Electronic Link - Parish Magazine


The Electronic Link

Parish Magazine 

for 

St Michael’s Kingsteignton 

St Peter & St Paul’s Teigngrace


St Michael's

St Michael's Kingsteignton








St Peter & St Paul's Teigngrace

St Peter & St Paul's Teigngrace







January 2021


Epiphany


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Welcome



There is something unusual about St Michael’s Church.  No, it isn’t the people who go there, or the Vicar!  It isn’t that it is an old building, nor that it’s churchyard is full and so closed to new burials except for ashes.  It isn’t that the grass sometimes grows very long before Teignbridge District Council, who are legally responsible for the maintenance of the churchyard, come around and cut it.  It isn’t, either, that the roof doesn’t leak and the heating works.

 

What is it, then, that is unusual about St Michael’s Church?  Any ideas?

 

Well, the unusual thing about St Michael’s Church is that in a normal year we have a large number of Christenings, in which children are baptised and so become members of the Universal Church, which is the Body of Christ in the world.

 

St Michael’s isn’t unique in this.  There are quite a few churches that also have a large number of baptisms but, in general, there are probably more that don’t than that do.

 

In the case of St Michael’s, it may be because the average age of the population of Kingsteignton is fairly young as compared to elsewhere, so there are more couples starting a family.  Data from the UK Office for National Statistics, however, doesn’t seem to show this to be so.  Maybe it’s because there is a strong sense of identity amongst people who live in Kingsteignton and a long history of children being christened at St Michael’s, which families wish to continue for their own children.

 

Research conducted for the Church of England across the country, suggests that one of the main reasons given by parents for asking for baptism for their children, is the belief it will ward-off evil and protect them.

 

In practice it is likely that there are probably many different reasons why St Michael’s has so many baptisms; but what is baptism all about and why am I reflecting about this in this January edition of The Electronic Link?

 

To answer the second question first, if we look at the Calendar of the Church of Baptism of ChristEngland for January, what we find is that, on 10th January, we observe the Feast of the Baptism of Christ.  In the Gospel Reading that day we hear of how St John the Baptist was a rather strange man living in the desert telling people they needed to change their lives.  When they came to him and said they wanted to do this, he poured water over them, he baptised them, using water from the River Jordan.

 

What we also hear in that Reading is that Jesus went to John along with the crowds of other people.  What was different about the baptism of Jesus, though, was that, as he came out of the River Jordan, 

 

“he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1: 10-11).

 

It is the start of the ministry of Jesus and of his pilgrimage through Judea, leading to his death on the cross at Calvary.  This baptism, though, is not something that Jesus then leaves behind, a starting point for him but not for others.  No, Jesus takes over the baptism of St John the Baptist and makes it his own.  Later, after the Resurrection, he tells his disciples that they should go and 

 

“make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28: 19-20).

 

For Jesus and for his followers, both 2000 years ago and today, baptism, then, is an essential part of the Christian journey.  The Baptism of John was for repentance, that of Jesus is the means through which we become one with Jesus and through that means are brought in to communion with “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’, in other words with God.

 

So, to answer the first of the questions above, baptism is all about becoming part of the Body of Jesus, that is, the Church, and through that means it is the start of a life-long sharing in the life of God.  It is the gateway to peace and the entrance to eternity, for as Jesus himself says, eternal life is to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17: 3).

 

In the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, then, we remember the Baptism of Jesus and how this was the beginning of his public ministry.  It was a beginning that, as St Mark tells us, was to start with a period of time where Jesus went away on his own into the desert; a time of struggle and searching.  In order to undertake the task set for him, Jesus needed to be grounded completely in his Father and to resist the temptations of the Devil.  It was with the Devil that he struggled in those days of withdrawal and it was with the Devil that he fought through-out the rest of his ministry, finally to triumph on the Cross.

 

In the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, what we also do, is to remember the baptism that each of us has undergone, if we are members of the Church.  In recalling the struggles and ministry of Jesus, which followed on from his baptism, so we are encouraged to face-up to our own struggles as we try to follow Jesus.

 

As we enter January, then, with the great Feast of Christmas over, our attention begins to turn towards Easter.  The Feast of the Baptism of Christ reminds us that we share some very basic things with Jesus.  Water was poured over him and over us.  He struggled with the temptations of the world and the devil, and so do we.  At Easter, Jesus triumphed in those struggles; eventually, so will we. 

 

 

Fr Mark


(Picture Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bautismo_de_Cristo_por_Navarrete_el_Mudo.jpg; Photo – ‘The Baptism of Christ’ by Juan Fernandez Navarrete, Museo del Prado, Spain; Public Domain, Copyright Free)


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Prayer Intentions for January

 

 

1st

The Naming & Circumcision of Jesus

Catechumens

2nd

Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzus, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389

Theologians

3rd

The Epiphany (transferred from 6th)

Our Parishes

4th

Weekday in Epiphany

Parish Clergy

5th

Weekday of Epiphany

The Eucharist

6th

Weekday in Epiphany

Courage

7th

Weekday in Epiphany

The Gospel

8th

Weekday in Epiphany

NHS

9th

Weekday in Epiphany

Baptism

10th

The Baptism of Christ

Our Parishes

11th

Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915

Courage

12th

Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167

Prayerful Understanding

13th

Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367

Compassion

14th

Weekday in Epiphany

The Sick

15th

Weekday in Epiphany

Forgiveness

16th

Weekday in Epiphany

HMRC

17th

2nd Sunday of Epiphany

Our Parishes

18th

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins

Church Unity

19th

Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095

Administrators

20th

Richard Rolle of Hampole, Spiritual Writer, 1349

Solitaries

21st

Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304

Church Unity

22nd

Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon, 1stMartyr of Spain, 304

Spain

23rd

Weekday in Epiphany

MIND

24th

3rd Sunday of Epiphany

Our Parishes

25th

The Conversion of Paul      

Atheists

26th

Timothy & Titus, Companions of Paul

Teachers

27th

Weekday in Epiphany

Farmers

28th

Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Philosopher, Teacher, 1274

Wisdom

29th

Weekday of Epiphany

Story Tellers

30th

Charles, King & Martyr, 1649

All in authority

31st

The Presentatiuon of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas)

Our Parishes

 


 Pray without Ceasing




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Contributions to The Electronic Link

 

The editor of The Electronic Link would welcome articles for inclusion in the new magazine but reserves the right to alter, amend or not publish any that are submitted.  The deadline for submission of articles will be 20th day of the month preceding that for which the next edition is dated.  For example, articles for the October edition would need to be submitted by 20th September.  All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format and included as an attachment to an email sent to either of these two addresses:

 

kingsteigntonchurch@btinternet.com

teigngracechurch@btinternet.com

 

Please write in the Subject heading of the email:

 

‘Article for The Electronic Link’

 

Please include in the name of the attached file an indication of it’s content.  For example, for a report on swift boxes in St Michael’s Church Tower, something like ‘Swift Boxes Report’.  This makes it easier for the editor to manage any articles that are submitted.



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A Reflection by Bishop Nick


The Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend Nick McKinnel, shares a New Year reflection to mark the start of 2021. At a time when there is still so much anxiety and uncertainty around coronavirus, it is a reminder that we still have good reason to be hopeful:

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)

 

What a great text for a new year.  Paul’s heart-felt desire for the church in Rome is that they would be a people of hope.  He has already written of the way that hope is rooted in the Bible’s teaching, that “through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (15:4).

Now he adds that God is himself the God of hope, who looks to the future and has so much in store for those who trust in him.

 

To follow Christ is to be “a prisoner of hope”, and as a Church we are called to be people of hope, able to look forward confident in the loving purposes of God.

 

In the words of William Barclay, “The Christian hope is not simply a trembling, hesitant hope that perhaps the promises of God may be true.  It is the confident expectation that they cannot be anything else but true.”

 

The Shawshank Redemption is many people’s favourite film and in the midst of his long prison sentence it is hope that enables the film’s hero, Andy Dufresne, to survive.

Hope for him is like a piece of music that remains in your heart, that enables you to know “that there are things in this world not carved out of grey stone.  That there’s a small place inside each of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope.”

 

Back to Romans chapter 15, and my hope is that our churches across the Diocese may grow more and more into the Christian communities that the apostle Paul describes, marked by endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures (v4), by a spirit of unity which glorifies God (vv 5-6), by accepting one another (v7) and by that joy and peace which enables us to overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (v13).

 

It is a great vision for a new year.



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Bible Bites




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Story


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A Saint from the Calendar for January  

St Thomas Aquinas

 

St Thomas AquinasOn 28th January, The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church celebrate the Feast Day of St Thomas Aquinas.

 

He was probably born in 1225 in the castle of Roccasecca, in the town of Aquino, in what is now the Lazio region of Italy.  His family was wealthy and powerful and when he was 5 years old, Thomas was sent to the Benedictine monastery of Monte Casino, where his uncle was the Abbot.  After conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, and Pope Gregory IX affected the monastery in 1239, Thomas was moved by his parents to the newly established University in Naples.

 

Five years later Thomas decided to join the Dominican Order, much to the disgust of his mum and dad.  As he was travelling from Naples to Rome, on his way to the Dominican Abbey in Paris, he was kidnapped by some of his brothers and held captive for almost a year in the family castles.  Eventually his mother accepted that Thomas would not be dissuaded, and she arranged for him to escape.

 

After joining the Dominicans, Thomas was sent to study at the University of Paris, from where he went on to become one of the greatest philosophical theologians in the history of the Church. He spent most of the rest of his life teaching and writing on theological and philosophical subjects.

 

Thomas was a man of great spiritual insight and understanding.  It is said that towards the end of his life he was seen levitating whilst praying before an icon of the crucified Christ.  It is said, also, that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him as well at one time, giving him the reassuring news that he would never become a bishop!

 

In December 1273, whilst celebrating Mass, Thomas experienced a long period of spiritual ecstasy.  From that time on he wrote nothing more, saying to his personal assistant that all he had written in his life about God and the sacraments, ‘seems like straw to me’. 

 

After this experience, Thomas took to his bed and never really recovered.  He died on 7thMarch 1274.  Within three years, the Bishop of Paris had condemned as heretical, a number of the teachings of Thomas, which damaged Thomas’ reputation for some time.  However, in July 1323, he was canonized by Pope John XXII.

 

After his canonisation, the remains of St Thomas were buried in The Church of the Jacobins, in Toulouse, the city where St Dominic had established his first community in 1214.  This building is now a museum but retains the Reliquary of St Thomas, where his bones are deposited.

 

St Thomas wrote many books but those for which he is most famous are Disputed Questions on Truth (1256-59), the very large Summa Contra Gentiles (1259-1265) and the unfinished Summa Theologica (1265-74).  These are all quite densely written so, if you want to read a more accessible introduction to his thought, something like Thomas Aquinas by G K Chesterton, might be a good starting point.


(Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Aquinas_in_Stained_Glass.jpg; Photo by Eddy Van 3000; Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic License)


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A Picture for Reflection


Adoration


In the time of King Herod,

after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,

wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,

‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?’ (Matthew 2: 1-2)





(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Obilman_Adoration_of_the_Magi.jpg– Photo: ‘Obliman Adoration of the Magi.jpg’; Photo by www.osjoseph.org – Public Domain Copyright Free).