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Photo - Paul SnellOne Direction

So - where are we going? In or out or something in between? It seems that all things may be possible as we view the constant media coverage of the Brexit negotiations and parliamentary votes. The views amongst those reading this email, will be as diverse as our elected MPs who seem unable to find one direction. What saddens me most, however, is the polarisation of opinion that has resulted from the whole Brexit process. It has created such strong emotions that these have spilled over into relationships and the daily life of ordinary people. That can't be good.

As Christians from all kinds of traditions, we have a calling to bring unity and create situations of peace and reconciliation. That is what the gospel message is about - ultimately peace and reconciliation with God through Jesus - but also peace and reconciliation between people. When Paul talked about relationships between Jews and Gentiles in the Ephesian church, he put it this way: "Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death." (Ephesians 2:16 - NLT - my emphasis) That surely must apply to all kinds of divides, including those in today's world.

The Easter story reminds us that this reconciliation was bought, not only at a huge cost, but also with great determination. Unlike our national situation, Jesus knew in which direction he was heading. In Luke 9:51, Jesus heads towards a Samaritan village and we are told, "As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." (NLT) That determination was revealed in the ongoing story and even when he faltered in the Garden of Gethsemane, struggling with the burden of what he was about to go through, still he put aside his own fears and preferences and was at one with the will of his Father - "Yet I want your will, not mine." (Luke 22:42 NLT)

All that we face as the church in the coming days will be a challenge. But at this special time of Lent and at this pivotal time in our nation's history, we have a crucial part to play in bringing reconciliation between people. We can only do that as One Church - witnessing to the love of One God with One Direction in our hearts. But it will require determination, resolve and commitment to walk in the same direction as Jesus. As we look at how emotions have been raised in many places over Brexit, it is likely that we might be key as Christians, united in a common love of God, to be peacemakers in our society. The Revd. John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church has said, ‘The Church’s contribution at a moment which feels quite fragile must surely include a readiness to listen, to take people seriously whether they agree with us or not, and to build relationships of trust and respect that transcend both national background and political opinion.’ Is that something you are ready for? Putting aside personal preferences and individualism for the sake of unity and peace, my prayer is that we will work as one to serve our Lord and our society. 

May you know God's peace as you witness to His love in your walks of witness, united worship and working together through this Lent and on into Easter. And remember, Sunday's coming!

Every blessing
Paul

What's been happening

2 new appointments at CTE 

Churches Together in England is delighted to announce two new appointments to its staff team, taking up posts at the beginning of June before Captain Jim Currin CA retires in July 2019.
 
Rev’d. Dr. Ben Aldous will be a full-time member of the team, with responsibility for Evangelism and Mission. Ben has been in Anglican ministry in Durban (2010–2013) and, most recently, Cape Town in South Africa (2013–2018) and has recently completed a doctorate at The University of Stellenbosch exploring an ethnographical study of Fresh Expressions in The Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Ben loves running, especially half marathons. He is a musician and plays electric bass and keyboards and is a fan of neo soul, jazz and funk. He is particularly interested in the wines of South Africa and has considerable experience in wine tasting!
Ben will be based in the West Country, where he grew up and worked as a youth minister (2001–2003), before missional work in Cambodia from 2004–2009 and is married to Sharon with four children.
  
Lucy Olofinjana has been appointed to a half-time post as Communications and Media Officer for Churches Together in England. She comes with experience in this area working for the Evangelical Alliance (2012–2019) leading a range of mission, unity and research projects to resource churches across the UK, including the evangelism website www.greatcommission.co.uk. She also previously worked for the Salvation Army in London and attended SOAS University. Most recently, Lucy has been on maternity leave and loves being a mum to ten-month old Iyanu. She is passionate about building multicultural communities and sharing stories from across the rich diversity of the Church. She also loves singing, baking and trips to the cinema. Lucy will be based in South East London where she lives with her husband Israel, minister of Woolwich Central Baptist.


New Zealand attacks

After the recent mass shooting in New Zealand, Revd Dr Paul Goodliff, General Secretary of Churches Together in England wrote:

We are shocked by the outrageous attack upon the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand, and stand with people of faith everywhere who offer prayers for those most deeply affected. Terror and violence have no place in the peaceable Kingdom of God for which we work and pray, and we join countless people around the world in condemning these attacks, and praying for recovery for the wounded and comfort for the bereaved.

Coming up...

Walks of Witness

There are many Good Friday United Walks of Witness happening on 19th April. Here are a few.
Torquay - Starting from outside Torquay Town Hall at 12 noon. We will walk down through the town and conclude with a short service at the seafront at about 12.30pm.
Newton Abbot - Starting from ASDA Car Park at 10 am
Processing via St. Leonard’s Tower, Courtenay Street and Queen Street. To be followed at 10.45 am by Worship at The Avenue Church, with Hot Cross Buns to follow
Cullompton - Starting from Tesco car park at 10am, via Cullompton Baptist Church and using dramatised readings. Joint service at St Andrews at 10.45am.
Barnstaple - Churches Together in Barnstaple are gathering at 11.30 in 3 locations around town (St Paul's Church Sticklepath, Grosvenor Church, and St Mary's Church, Pilton) for a walk of witness that will come together in the High Street near to the Pannier Market for a time of silent prayer and witness around the cross in our community at 12-12.15. Individual churches are organising various prayer walks in local areas, times of reflection, film showings, family activity days and more. Details can be found on individual church websites.
Exeter - Passion for Exeter - Starting at Exeter Cathedral at 10am on Good Friday, people from across Exeter gather to hear about the events of the first Good Friday, and prayerfully recall Christ's suffering on the cross, with some songs to give thanks. We then walk over to Princesshay for some music, two short stories about the evidence for Christianity and about the value of Christian faith for everyday life. We'll then return to cathedral green for a short art installation and a blessing. Christians, non-Christians, and people who don't even know are all welcome to come along, listen, and join in with as much or as little as you like. Expect a mix of moving reflection, challenging facts, traditional music, and modern flare.

Similar walks will be taking place in Brixham, Paignton and elsewhere. 

Events around the county

Iona Community SW England Gathering

Singing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land
Exploring the place of music and community during troubled times
 
Led by Craig Gardiner the day and will include music, worship in the Iona Community style, a bring-and-share lunch, a bookstall, information, discussion, and Iona Community news from the South West and beyond.
Saturday 13th April 2019, 11.00am till 4.00pm
arrivals from 10.30am
at South Street Baptist Church, Exeter, EX1 1EB.
Everyone is welcome. There is no charge, but contributions are invited towards the cost: suggestion £7. Please bring something to share for lunch.
 
Revd Dr Craig Gardiner is a musician, a theologian, a Baptist minister and a Member of the Iona Community. He teaches at the South Wales Baptist College and Cardiff University.
 
To book or to find out more please contact David Osborne at  drosborne2@btinternet.com or phone 01963 351275.

Toddle-on 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

After the success of last year, Toddle-on is making a second appearance in June 2019.
Toddle- on is a one day event for anyone from church involved in Toddler Groups, baby groups, parenting groups, creche, Sunday schools, music makers, Bears and prayers or any other group working among families with under 5s.

Mary Hawes, National Adviser, will be joining us and a plethora of inspiring workshops to attend
  • Toddler tunes
  • Making the most of the outdoors
  • Helping families with additional needs feel welcome
  • Praying with little ones
  • Encouraging faith at home
Lunch is included in the price of your ticket and will allow you time to share your own ideas, successes and struggles in working among families where you live.  (£15 for the day when booked before 1st June)
VENUE: St Paul's Church, Saint Paul's Square, Tiverton. EX16 5HU
Attend Event

In brief...

Devon County Show

Devon Churches@County Show


Devon County Show
Westpoint Exeter
Thursday May 16th, Friday May 17th & Saturday May 18th
 
Could you help with the supply of homemade cake??
Could you, or your Church make a financial donation??
Could you help with the preparations or the packing up??
We would be so grateful for your help
 
Please call Kathy Govett on
01395 446321
E Mail: kathys49post@gmail.com
 
This is a wonderful opportunity for Christian Outreach into the Community.
County Show flowers
Each week, throughout the year, thousands of volunteers arrange flowers to beautify their Churches, and celebrate weddings!.  We would like to champion the work of all these flower arrangers and have a fun display of pedestal arrangements in the entrance to the Craft and Garden Marquee at Devon County Show 2019. The display should be on a pedestal, with approx. maximum height and width of 100cm
 
The public will be able to vote for their favourite display with a token and prize cards will be issued. There is no entry fee, but please  contact Lisa Moore,  Features Co-Ordinator, Devon County Show, Westpoint, Clyst St Mary, Exeter  EX5 1DJ with your name, address and church, and two pre-Show passes will be sent to each organisation. You will need to provide your own pedestal, flowers, foliage and Oasis. Displays will need to be in place by 8pm on Wednesday 15th May.  For further information contact Deborah at custancebaker@gmail.com. Full details are here.
URC offices on the move
URC South Western Synod Offices are moving on the 15th April.
The new address will be: Taunton URC, 18 Paul Street, Taunton, Somerset. TA1 3PF 
All phone numbers and email addresses are unchanged.
Oberammergau and The Holy Land 2020
You are invited to join Paul & Linda Snell on a trip of a lifetime from 2-11 September 2020 as we fly to Munich and travel to Oberammergau for the world renowned Passion Play, and then on to the Holy Land for a 7 day tour of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Galilee. See the play of the book and then visit the setting! Optional extra 3 days in Jerusalem. More details from Paul Snell - County Ecumenical Officer - or at www.thesnells.org.uk 
Living Lent
Christians are being called to make significant lifestyle changes this Lent. The call to climate action has got louder and during Lent 2019, Christians are being invited to respond by making significant lifestyle changes.
 
During Lent, which started on Wednesday 6 March, the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) – on behalf of the United Reformed Church (URC), Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church – is hosting Living Lent: Creating a climate of change.
 
Research shows that the window of time to affect change is getting smaller, yet people are still unsure of the practical steps they can take to help.
 
The Living Lent campaign invites you to take up one or more of six challenges. Could you - Go meat free? - Take up alternative forms of transport? - Commit to an hour ‘electricity free’ every day? - Give up single use plastics? - Commit to buying goods produced within 30 miles of where you live? - Commit to buying nothing new? You are being invited to choose something that will stretch you – and then become part of an online community, who are also making these commitments. 
Plymouth RC Cathedral Childrens' service
Special Easter Service for children at Plymouth Cathedral
Saturday 20th April at 12.00 noon
Starting with Easter Egg Hunt - crafts afterwards - Easter Raffle - Refreshments available - all welcome

Rural Mission Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate the life of the rural church and the real difference rural Christians can and do make in their communities.

This year we are thinking about what it means to live out our faith in everyday life and we’ve chosen three Bible passages which we think help us to reflect on three key facets of doing that:

  • The story of Jesus inviting Peter and Andrew, James and John to follow him and become ‘fishers of people’ (Mark 1:16-20) reminds us that every one of us is called by Jesus.
  • When we read about the early church, gathering in people’s homes and in the temple, (Acts 2:42-47), we’re challenged to think about how we might deepen our discipleship.
  • Reflecting on the tale Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), we discover a surprising example of the power of everyday faith.

As you celebrate Rural Mission Sunday 2019 our prayer is that you will experience God’s presence as you explore how you and your church community can Live The Life together.

While Rural Mission Sunday itself takes place on 14 July, you can use this material at any time and in the way that’s most appropriate to your church and community.

CLICK HERE: Register now to receive all the free resources you need to get involved!
Everyone who registers for Rural Mission Sunday before 1 June will receive a free copy of Country Way magazine.

Fossil Free Churches

This Lent, could you ask your local church make a divestment commitment and join the Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches?
Operation Noah is organising a joint divestment announcement for local churches on Easter Tuesday (23 April) and is inviting churches of all denominations to join. Making a divestment commitment involves agreeing to divest (disinvest) any fossil fuel investments within five years or, if your church only has a bank account, this would be a pledge not to invest in fossil fuels in the future.
This is a powerful action that your church can take to build support for divestment in your wider Church denomination, ensuring that investments are shifted out of the problem and into the solution. Even if your church doesn’t currently hold any investments in fossil fuels, it can make an important statement in support of divestment by pledging not to do so in the future.
As a first step, you could speak with your church minister or treasurer, and ask if the issue could be discussed at your next Church council/PCC meeting. You could bring a copy of the Easter Declaration with you (see text below) and ask if your local church would be willing to sign.
More information about how to join the Easter Declaration can be found on Operation Noah's Bright Now website: www.brightnow.org.uk/news/join-the-easter-declaration-for-fossil-free-churches/
If your church would be interested in joining the announcement on Easter Tuesday, please get in touch with James Buchanan by Tuesday 16 April by emailingjames.buchanan@operationnoah.org or call 07801 570653.
Vacancies

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Voluntary Multi-faith Chaplain


Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is looking to appoint a Voluntary Multi-faith Chaplain within the Devon area.
Closing Date: 09:00 Tuesday, 16 April 2019

We are seeking a multi-faith Chaplain to provide welfare support and pastoral care to all Service employees, their families and retired members during times of need and/or when requested. This is whether the employee has a faith or not, and will be dealt with in a confidential, non-directive manner.

The role involves visiting the fire stations closest to the Chaplain's home and/or work base to enable a productive relationship to form. It is envisaged that this would be on alternate week basis and may involve evening working.

Home and hospital visits may be required, as is the need to provide prayer and/or other faith resources as requested.

Fuller details are here
For an informal discussion about the voluntary post, please contact Kim McNeil, Welfare Officer (Tuesday to Thursday only) on 01392 872241

We are passionate about seeing children come to realise that they are children of God and can change the world around them by living in His light. We believe that to reach out to families and let them discover how faith in Jesus Christ can transform them is the most enormous privilege and mission. We are looking for a person who has a similar passion for reaching and nurturing Children with the gospel, someone who is able to oversee and implement ideas to connect Children and families with the Christian faith. Someone who can oversee and support an enthusiastic group of volunteers and engage with people of all ages. For more info and to request an application form email leadership@hopebaptist.co.uk


JOB OPPORTUNITY 

Project Support Development Worker

Transforming Plymouth Together are seeking to recruit a new Project Support Development Worker, who will assist and support the current board of Trustees and Development worker in enabling the Churches and wider community to deliver against our key themes; to offer some communication and administration support to the organisation.

Hours:                       Part time (24 hours per week, over 3 or 4 days)
Location:                  Plymouth (Office base at St Mark’s Church Ford Plymouth)
Further details here

I hope you have found something useful. I will be in touch again in May.
Every blessing
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Paul Snell - County Ecumenical Officer - Devon
d6b6e5a4-cf74-4a7c-ae7b-8f0703238fae.jpg
ceo@ctdevon.org.uk - Mob. 07305 807735
http://www.ctdevon.org.uk/
9 Townlands, Willand, Cullompton. EX15 2RR
I work 16 hours/week on a flexible basis
Copyright © 2019 Churches Together in Devon, All rights reserved.


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