Weekly Email – Easter 5
As with the Good Shepherd in last Sunday’s Gospel I don’t find the image of Jesus as a vine instantly accessible. Just as I (and possibly you) don’t spend much time shepherding sheep or watching shepherds, I also don’t tend a vineyard and have never done so. But I suppose most of us have, or have experience of, a garden. So even I, who can just about tell a rose bush from an oak tree, can understand the concept.
But Jesus is not talking conceptually: this was not a beautiful image like the illustration of it on our oldest frontal. Shepherding sheep and growing grapes were essential work for his audience, providing necessaries of life – food, wool, wine. This was not a ‘hobby’ or the provision of a pretty space in which to relax, like modern gardening. Wine was (and is) a sign of the richness of God’s creation, something to be shared in festivity, deliberately intoxicating. Jesus used wine in so many parables and pictures (and indeed in the institution of the Blessed Sacrament) that we cannot fail to see how important it was to him and his contemporaries. It was also safer to drink than most water. And, to the ancient eye, it was the outcome of a small predictable miracle: the transformation of something bland to something rich.
So, first, the vine was at the heart of life for Jesus’ listeners; the care of the vine and the vineyard was a socially significant skill.
Second, as is often remarked, Jesus wrote no books; he left no buildings or monuments. He did something far less ostentatious, but, as things turned out, much more significant: he built a new type of community which is still reproducing and regenerating. This vine is an illustration (not a theory) of community, and of the type of community that the church is to be: ‘fruitful’.
Being fruitful is not the same as being successful, a familiar trap for the Church into which we repeatedly fall. Jesus didn’t ask us to be successful, but to be fruitful. Success is about strength, control and respectability; it brings rewards and even fame. Fruitfulness can involve weakness and vulnerability; it always comes from change (as with the vine), or even apparent death (as with the seed in the ground); it often goes unrecognised and unrewarded. It is often mysterious and counter-intuitive. And like the making of wine it is a small predictable miracle, if only we will be faithful and wait.
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for Easter 5 is at the top of this email.
And click here for the YouTube live stream.
From the Churchwardens:
The Collation and Induction of our new vicar, Fr Peter Anthony, will take place at 7.00pm on Thursday 20 May 2021 after Evening Prayer and before Benediction. In view of the current regulations to protect us from coronavirus the number of people able to attend in person will be severely limited due to social distancing requirements. There will, of course, be no reception or gathering afterwards either. The service will be live streamed. If you would like to be considered for an allocated seat please fill in a paper return slip, available in church, to one of the Churchwardens or the Verger by Ascension Day. Alternatively, you may write to or email the Parish Office indicating you would wish to attend, should sufficient space remain available. In accordance with the duties laid down for churchwardens we will make the final allocations when all requests have been received.
The flowers for Sunday have been given by Charlotte Black, in memory of her late parents Donald and Priscilla Black, on their wedding anniversary.
If you would like to make a donation for flowers, please contact Shawn on 07988 287 663 or firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to Chris Self.
This month’s Parish Paper will be slightly delayed due to delivery problems. It should be with us by the end of the week.
Tomorrow week our monthly Walsingham Devotion, in the form of the Rosary with intercessions, will be offered at 1130 before the noon Mass.
Prisoners and captives
Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh Maira Shabhaz
Rohingya Christians in Pakistan and Karen Christians in Burma
David Fettke, Vallery Tchukov, Sara Vice, Katherine Lee, Lorna Smith, Beth Klausing, Hilary Porter, Bruce Ross-Smith, Benjamin Woolf, James Shrimpton, Tony Rodger, Rachel Pereira, Fr Michael Gudgeon, Chris and Carole Radley, Fr Harry Hodgetts, Rosemary Orr, Andrew Rodger, Martin Berka, Barbara Schiefer, Sybil Priestnall, John Mather, Joan Anna SLG, Phil Gibbs, Poppy Harris, Sheila Wood, Jennifer Spreckley, Sue Yesnick, Beverley Ward, Elizabeth Lyon, Rosina Sargon Eskrya, Fr Charles Cloughen, Malcolm Brown, Sonia Noy.
Those known to us recently departed
Ken Nicola, Bob Birbeck, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Thomas Sculz OHC Pr, Tom and Jean Boddey, Ashur Sargon Eskrya, Michael Bordeaux, Pr, Benita Bray, Betty Dove, Diane Roberts, Sheila Whittle Pr
Anniversaries of death
2nd – John Beard, Trevor Stevens Pr
3rd – Mary Forsyth, Dolly Powell
4th – Cecil Meyer, Phyllis Matthews, Catherine Towers, Douglas Brough, Margaret Spencer
5th – Alfred Adams, Paul Curno
6th – Kathleen Wolfenden, Melinda Powell, John Norman, Jack Symes
7th – Odo Flunt, Norman Sandwith, William Faithfull, Phyllis MacKenow, Dorothy Faithfull
8th – Florence Hope, Richard Masheder Pr, Fred Bramma, Charles Cunnington
Supporting All Saints
Parish Giving Scheme
You can set up a regular donation to All Saints here.
We use the Parish Giving Scheme, which allows contributions to be anonymous and deals with Gift Aid, saving our office a lot of time. You can read about how the scheme works here.
Donations for general church purposes
To give by BACS please use the following details, advising the Administrator to collect Gift Aid:
PCC All Saints (Charity no. 1132895)
Sort Code 60-09-15
Parish Legacy Policy
We are always delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support us with a donation. Our PCC Legacy Policy encourages people to leave bequests specifically to one of our two related charities to be used for purposes of lasting value (rather than day to day costs):
All Saints Choir & Music Trust (Charity # 802994)
or The All Saints Foundation (Charity # 273390).