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the Revd Marian Toyne: marian.toyne63@gmail.com
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This Weeks Message from Janine Shackleton
29th January 2023, 4th Sunday of Epiphany


There are a wide range of theological opinions within the church, this article reflects the views of the author


'How full is our jar and jug?'

Reflecting on today’s reading I cannot but admire the stoicism of the widow. Going about her day and even stopping to serve Elijah as he requested a drink of water. It is only when he asked for bread that she finally dropped her guard and (or so it felt) matter-of-factly she informed him that she and her son would be left to die after their last meal of bread; as her jar and jug would then be empty.

I’ve never faced such a finality. I’ve had hardships and not know where our next family meal was going to come from, or how I would pay the bills; but I never felt that this was the end in the way the widow did.

How many times in your lifetime have you experienced anything similar? Have you known utter despair, have you felt like the end was near and there was nothing you could do about it? It doesn’t need to be anything that big. It could be making a decision when you feel trapped in a corner. Watching someone you love destroy their life and you are helpless to prevent it happening.

How strong a faith to agree to using up her last precious ingredients; to offer to God all that she had.

But God provided then as he does today. In our difficult worldly times and in particular the cost of living crisis, God is there in the humility of those who care for others. In the volunteers who man food banks, clothing banks, warm spaces. In each person who is called to do a random act of kindness. In those with plenty that donate to good causes. In the answering of prayer with our Brothers and Sisters around the world. God is ever present.

Whatever and whenever we feel we face finality we must look up. Yield your life to God, let Him keep your flour jar and oil jug full. Share this saving grace with others that they may too reap the rewards. God tells us time and time again that he will provide. We must in prayer give our thanks and in humility ask for what we need; for ourselves and for others.

May our jar and jug be forever filled with God’s grace and forgiveness that we may forever turn to Him, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


A Prayer for this Week

Generous Lord,
in word and eucharist we have proclaimed the mystery of your love:
help us so to live out our days
that we may be signs of your wonders in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Amen

The Church of England, ministering to the people of Brookenby, Claxby, Croxby, Kirmond le Mire, Normanby le Wold,
North Willingham, Stainton le Vale, Tealby, Thoresway and Walesby in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Our churches

Our Group's Mission, Beliefs and Prayer

Our mission and vision

The Walesby Group, set into the north western edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, consists of 10 parishes, 10 worshipping communities and 11 church buildings. With a population of around 2100 we are a benefice of very small communities, living in the vast open spaces of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As worshipping communities we aim to grow ourselves in our faith and discipleship, support and engage with our local communities and bring new people to Christ.

We are blessed with beautiful buildings and faithful commitment from our congregations. As the group continues to integrate together, we are being enabled to offer a variety of worship and outreach styles. Lay ministry and leadership is key to all we offer, and encouraged as we endeavour to open the Kingdom and its values to all.

What we believe

The Christian faith is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We also believe his death achieved something very special: the opportunity to reconnect with the God that we might believe in but might sometimes feel remote from.

We believe that Jesus was not just a human being but, in some way that we cannot fully understand, God as well. We believe in God the Father, the creator of the entire universe, and the Holy Spirit, who is the way we can experience Jesus today. Not three gods but one, who together are described as the ‘Trinity’ – a description not so much of philosophy but of the relationship at the heart of God.

In the most famous Christian prayer we pray ‘Our Father…’ This creator God wants a relationship with us, for us to be his children and to give us, as Jesus says, ‘life in all its fulness’ (John 10.10).

A Prayer for our Work in the Walesby Group of Parishes


God of Mission
Who alone brings growth to your Church
Empower us with your Holy Spirit:
Giving vision to our planning
Wisdom to our actions
And power to our witness
So that our church may grow:
In spiritual and prayerful commitment to you
In numbers
And through loving service to our local communities
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen