I can hardly believe that we are going to the polls again on the 8th of this month.
It seems hardly any time at all since the last general election, followed quickly by the poll on
Britain’s membership of the EU. Is there such thing as voter fatigue?

Whatever the result of the election, it promises to leave our country more divided, less
unified, with less of a sense of having a common vision and common values.

One of the defining marks of the early Church was how it managed to bridge the divisions in
Roman society; how people who should have been enemies saw each other as brothers and
sisters in Christ. Slaves and masters were members of the Church on equal grounds.
Men and women were seen as being of equal standing and, unusually in that environment,
women as well as men exercised leadership in the churches.

Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer
slave or free, there is no longer male and female; all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Who we are in God’s sight is more fundamental that the things that divide us. Those who are
different to us - sometimes very different, are still our sisters and brothers.

As Christians we are praying about how we will use our vote. It is also important that we
pray for the politicians who are standing and for the parties and their supporters;
particularly for those that we disagree with. I matters that we pray for and work to bring
reconciliation after the vote.

It is easy, all too easy for us to regard those we disagree with as simply wrong.
The early Church showed that difference does not necessarily mean division. Jesus is bigger
than our divisions and His love reaches across boundaries and barriers. In an increasingly
divided world it is important that the Church shows a unity that embraces those who are
different, those we disagree with and declares them to be the brother or sister that
Jesus loves and died for.

May God bless you,

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Prayer for the month
Thought for the month
Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words...,  A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2

Religions in general, and Christianity in particular, are often accused of escapism; of
concentrating on heaven with its blessings while ignoring life for people in the here and now
on earth. While this may be true of some expressions of Christianity, it is certainly not true of
Jesus nor of the prayer that He gave to His disciples.

We don't pray for escape, we pray
‘Thy kingdom come’. In the New Testament the
Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven is not a place or a realm; it is the rule of God, the
kingship of God.

To pray this prayer is to pray that God’s will be effective here on earth. This is at the heart of
Jesus’ life and ministry. By the mercy and forgiveness that He showed to the lost and the
broken, by the healing of bodies and minds, by the joy and the peace that He brought to the
lives of the people that he met, Jesus brought God’s kingly rule to touch our world. He made
life around Him more like heaven; more like the world that God created it to be.

As followers of Jesus we pray “Thy kingdom Come’ and we live as we pray. Through our
words and by the lives that we live we try to make the world around us more as God
intended it to be. We try to show the welcome that Jesus gave to every person that He met;
we point those who are in distress to the mercy and forgiveness that is promised by Jesus. We
minister to the sick, the bereaved and the suffering, praying for healing and wholeness. In
our worship we witness to Jesus, the king of God’s kingdom.

Our prayer is that inspired by Jesus and filled with His Spirit, Christians will live kingdom
lives until Jesus returns. And as more people turn to Jesus and become His Spirit-filled
disciples, so the kingdom of God grows, one soul, one life at a time.

Christianity is not a form of escapism. It is about our living today for Jesus in such a way that
the lives of others and the world around us is touched by heaven.

Being a kingdom Church and kingdom people begins with ourselves as we ask, “What in
my life; what in the life of our Church is not what God made it to be?” If we take the risk of
asking God that question, He will show us how we can be more like the people and the
Church He calls us to be. We pray as we live, as people of the kingdom of God.

Next month we look at the most costly part of Jesus’ prayer, and consider the cost of
following Jesus.

God bless,

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  • Parish Magazine the June 2017 issue is now available On-Line see:
  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and Thought for the Month have been
    updated for June 2017 - see below
  • Bishop's Letter - Presidential address to Synod - 18 March 2017 Sheffield
  • Listen again to recently recorded Sunday Sermons -  Listen Again
  • Have a look at some interesting and thought provoking videos - Viral Videos
  • The  Diary and Rotas  page now has on-line features and will always be 'up-to-date'
  • Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices page for service times and the latest news.
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There are lots of weddings being celebrated at St Mary’s in June. It is a real privilege for us to
be able to welcome couples and their guests into St Mary’s and to share with them the joy of
their wedding day. Please pray for the couples to be married over the coming months.

Apart from the weddings there are two very important events this June, one at the beginning
of the month and the other towards the end.

Sunday the 4th of June we celebrate Pentecost. Weather permitting we will hold the
10am service outdoors. We will be welcoming Rainbows, Brownies and Guides with their
leaders and their families and with the ‘May Queens’ to our Pentecost service.

Pentecost celebrates the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples fifty days after
Easter. The Spirit of God, promised by Jesus, fell on the disciples and remained with them,
guiding them in their life and witness.

I often describe the Holy Spirit as ‘God in the present tense’; He is God as we experience Him
now, and, as the people of Jerusalem discovered on that first Pentecost, He is for all people -
young and old, male and female; all races and social groups. It is the presence of the Holy
Spirit that makes Church into the Body of Christ and turns us into Jesus’ disciples.

Thursday the 22nd of June at 11am our new bishop, Pete Wilcox, will be consecrated
by Archbishop John Sentamu in York Minster.

Bishop-elect Pete moves from Liverpool where he is the Dean of the Cathedral. He is a very
gifted preacher and teacher and in his writings concentrates on the Old Testament. As Dean
of Liverpool he has led the Cathedral in growth and mission.

We are truly blessed that he will be our leader in prayer and outreach as we seek to be the
Church for this diocese and all of its people. Please pray for him especially on the 22nd.

God Bless