John chapters 13 to 17 are Jesus farewell and prayer for His disciples. Not just the disciples in
the first century, but ‘those who will come to believe … through their word’ - and that
includes you and me!

These words of Jesus on the night of his arrest have been important for me as I have been
preparing myself to respond to Jesus’ call to come to Ecclesfield as Vicar of this beautiful and
ancient Church.

In particular it is Jesus’ call to ‘abide’ in Him, repeated many times in chapter 15 of John’s
Gospel, that has struck me. To abide is to dwell, to remain. The English word ‘abode’ is
related. The place where we abide, our abode, is our home. It is the place where we usually
live. We go out from our abode to do our work, to visit friends, to engage with the world
each day, but our abode, our home is where we go from and where we return to.

Jesus calls us - He challenges us - to make Him our abode, our dwelling place, our home. It is
the call and the challenge to engage with life and with the world from the bedrock of Christ
and of who we are in Him.

This matters, not just for us, not just for the church, but for the world in which we live, for
our neighbours and our nation. The world seems in the past month or so to have gone crazy.
We have seen a young MP brutally killed on the streets of a West Yorkshire town, revellers
in Nice mowed down, killings in Germany and, just today, an elderly Roman Catholic priest
murdered as he celebrated communion in a church in Normandy. Many, many people are
engaging with the world from a place of hatred and intolerance; they deal with the stranger
as an enemy and with those who are different as people who deserve contempt and hatred.

But Jesus calls us to be salt in a world that is going rotten and light in a world in love with the
darkness. Jesus calls us to speak the words that he would speak and to do the things that He
would do. This is what it means for us to be the Body of Christ; this is what it means to be the
Church. It means speaking words of reconciliation; it means being a community where
forgiveness is practised and not just spoken about; it means a welcome to all - friend and
stranger.

Jesus has called and chosen us, in this time and in this place to be His Body, to be His
Church; His representatives in our homes and places of work, in our neighbourhoods.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit,
because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5).

God bless,

Tim
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We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus,
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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 prayer for the month for August is an ancient British prayer known as St Patrick’s
Breastplate. I usually pray this every morning as I am out walking the dogs before breakfast.
It sets my mind in the right place for the day and it reminds me that my life is in God’s
hands. It is a prayer of trust in God who is not just a mighty creator, He is also a loving
Father.
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  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and Thought for the Month have been updated for
    August - see below
  • Read Bishop Steven's letter for August - Bishop's Letter.
  • Parish Magazine the August issue is now available On-Line.
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These really are my first words, as I write it is Tuesday afternoon (26th July) and I am not yet
the vicar of Ecclesfield. I am looking forward to the service on Thursday; but I am looking
forward much more to Sunday and beginning to get to know the Church family at St Mary’
s as we worship together and begin to discern Jesus’ call as His Body at this time and in this
place.

The second thing that I want to say is, ‘Thank-you.’ Thank you for the warm welcome that
we have already received as we have moved in and begun to unpack and begin to make the
vicarage our home.

Thank you also to those who have carried the weight of leading the church in its worship,
mission and life during the long vacancy:
Jeni, Stephanie and Pat and the local clergy who have lead worship, preached, baptised,
married and buried. Thanks also to the Wardens and those who have supported them over
the long months without a vicar.

Thanks also to those who have faithfully prayed for St Mary’s. One of the things that you
will often hear me say is that this is Jesus’ church and it is His mission. Which means that the
key to everything that we do, worship and outreach, fellowship and serving our neighbours,
is prayer.

Prayer reminds us that we can do nothing apart from Jesus, it reminds us also that with
Jesus, there is nothing that we cannot do (See John 15:1-11).

God bless you over these weeks of summer, and thank you!

Tim.
John chapters 13 to 17
I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation;
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Amen