Category Archives: Events

Intercessions 21 May

Dear Father we come here today with love and gratitude to reflect upon the joys and sorrows of this past week. We thank you for all the benefits we enjoy and for the many advantages of living in this country in this day and age. Today as we celebrate the feast of Ascension Day we thank you for the inspiration and comfort that Holy Trinity church has given over many years. We remember those who have worshipped in this church – all those who have been baptised, confirmed, married and buried here. We remember too the priests who have ministered at Holy Trinity and we thank you for the love and devotion of our incumbent priest, Wendy.

Lord in your mercy

Loving Father, as we celebrate Rogationtide this week, you promise to supply all our needs out of your abundant store. Prosper the labours of those who enable us to enjoy the resources of nature, whether by farming, fishing or industrial work, that we may render thanks and praise to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. We ask your blessing on the sowing of the seed and the labours of those who work on the land that the earth may yield its full harvest and the needs of all men may be supplied.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for the Church of God throughout the world – for unity in faith, in witness and in service, for bishops and other ministers and those whom they serve, for all Christians, for those who are mocked and persecuted for their faith, that God will confirm his Church in faith, increase it in love and preserve it in peace.

Lord in your mercy

Most merciful God, we ask your blessing on all those getting married in the Benefice this year May their marriage be for them a source of great and loving good. Spare them long to each other and keep them faithful, tender and true so that they may live together in peace and happiness and may your blessing be upon them in their home and in all the work of their hands.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for all young people growing up in our schools and universities especially for those taking important examinations the results of which will affect their future lives. Lord, for the vision of youth, its love of justice, strength of purpose and honesty of mind, we bring our thanks and praise. Make plain your living word to the rising generation that they may grow up in the love of Christ, to love and honour your name and to render service to others.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for the sick in mind and body and spirit. Hear our prayers on behalf of those who are bearing the burden of sickness or pain. Bless the work being done by our doctors, nurses and all those who have the care of the sick. Dear Lord we pray for all those who are handicapped – give them courage to accept the things they cannot change and to face life with brave and trustful hearts knowing that in their affliction and frustration they are not along but are surrounded by your love.

Lord in your mercy

We thank you Lord God for the grace you gave to those who lived according to your will and are now at rest. We pray that their good example may encourage and guide us all the days of our life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord in your mercy

by Ann Bellamy

 

Christian Aid Lunch

12 noon, Sunday 21st May, at the Rectory in Hever

After the Rogation walk at 10.15 from Markbeech we will depart to the Rectory in Hever for a ploughman’s lunch to support Christian Aid. Lunch costs only £5 per person.

Join in and help us raise valuable funds for deprived families! Christian Aid are changing lives for 60 years!

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ROGATION WALK and CHRISTIAN AID LUNCH

21st May

This year the Rogation walk will take place in Markbeech. Join in and enjoy a good 1h walk to beat the boundaries, enjoy our beautiful local scenery, and possibly see some lambs at Falconhurst.
We are going to start the walk at approx. 10:15 after the 9:15 service at Holy Trinity Markbeech, so come booted up and take a flask of tea or coffee with you for a stop on the way.
The walk will end back in the Holy Trinity Markbeech courtyard from where we will depart to the Rectory in Hever for a ploughman’s lunch to support Christian Aid. Lunch costs £5 per person.

 

Sermon preached by bishop Tom Frame

Bishop Tom Frame from Australia made a visit to the Benefice on 22/23 April with his wife Helen. There were many friends old and new in Markbeech church to hear his sermon which is copied below. We thank him for allowing us to reproduce it.

 

“It is a blessing for Helen and I to be back in the only place outside Australia we have ever called home. This church, this village, this Benefice – all left a mark on our entire family for which we are still grateful. This morning I am especially conscious of friends, particularly the absent and the departed, especially Canon Derek Blows, the Reverend John Lee and Emily Turner. We have felt keenly all the deaths of those we befriended during our time in the Benefice (October 1996-August 1997) and were reminded in the case of Emily that much in life is unexpected.

 

As I reflect on the previous two decades, on what has changed and on what has remained unchanged, I am conscious of the three abiding elements in the Christian journey: the gift of faith, the call of discipleship and the challenge of obedience. These three things remain integral to Christian living or one is not living as a Christian at all. And these three things are commended in today’s Gospel reading from John chapter 20, verses 19-31. To appreciate the significance of this portion of Scripture we must ask two questions. First, why is it included in the text? Conversely, would it make any difference if it were not included? Second, given that John can’t resist the allure of symbolism, is there a symbolic meaning embedded in the whole passage that we need to discern?

 

The Gospel reading is well known to many. Jesus appears to his disciples. It is a text that has attracted some controversy in relation to Jesus’ remarks about the transmission of authority to forgive and retain sins … but there are some important statements of fact that we should not overlook. The context is straightforward. Ten of the remaining eleven disciples (Judas has committed suicide) are together in one room. Thomas is absent. There is no indication of the reason for his absence or of his present location. Perhaps he is hiding – alone; perhaps he is feeling let down and prefers solitude; perhaps he is contemplating returning to his former home. We do not know.

 

But when Thomas is reunited with the eleven disciples a week later, he hears their testimony that Jesus has risen from the dead. Notably, he refuses to believe. He demands evidence. In this instance, he wants physical evidence. Jesus again appears to his disciples and speaks directly to Thomas whose demand for evidence is evidently satisfied. Thomas then pronounces: “My Lord and my God”. But he receives no personal credit for this declaration of faith. In fact, he is chided by Jesus. He is advised that some will come after him whose faith will allow them to believe without the benefit of the kind of experience he has enjoyed. These people are more blessed than he. The encounter ends with what we might read as harsh words from Jesus.

 

So we need to ask: what specific work is this text doing in John’s Gospel? Why is this encounter included? What purpose does it serve? It seems to convey five important insights. First, John wants to say that people believe at different times and in different ways. Second, John observes that we respond to different kinds of evidence and require different standards of proof. Third, John explains that God is not indifferent to the way our minds allow us to accept truths. Fourth, John reminds us that we need eyes to see and ears to hear but also spirits willing to accept our heart’s judgements. And fifth, John insists that there comes a time for conclusion, for decision and for action. Analysis can never be allowed to morph into paralysis.

 

Without this text, these critical points about believing may not have come to our notice. We might have thought the disciples believed everything and all at once; that they required no evidence and that faith involved no persuasion. We might, therefore, have been misled into thinking the disciples were all alike or that one single encounter with the Risen Christ relieved them of doubt for all time. Rather, the resurrection reality dawned on them over time, through a series of encounters and experiences, before it was an internalised reality that shaped their entire outlook.

 

And what of my second question: where is the symbolism? It starts with the person to whom this second resurrection appearance was designed to affect – Thomas. The disciple Thomas appears at several key points in the Fourth Gospel. We encounter him in John chapter 11 when the disciples tried to dissuade Jesus from returning to Jerusalem (where his life was previously threatened) because his friend Lazarus had died. The disciples urge Jesus against the journey fearing their own safety. Thomas announces: “Let us go with him to Jerusalem and we will all die with him”. This can be ‘read’ as weak resignation or as a bold commitment. In my judgement, he is resolute, defiant and determined. He is the one who urges courage among the disciples.

 

And we encounter him again in John 14. Jesus foreshadows his ‘departure’ to his Father’s house, a place of many rooms. Thomas asks him for an explanation of what these apparently cryptic statements might mean: “we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Is Thomas concerned that he can’t fulfil his calling to follow out of ignorance more than a deficit of courage? It is not clear from the text but we can conjecture. After the first resurrection appearance at which he was absent, Thomas is still resolute, defiant and determined: he will not believe. He won’t be swayed by others; he insists on making up his own mind. He appears to be the solitary one, separate from the group who never thinks that truth resides in the mind of the majority.

 

Then the evidence is presented powerfully and in a manner that addresses his needs. Jesus appears and invites him to touch his wounds and examine his injuries. This is the same Jesus; this is his master – now raised and responsive. Thomas believes and is chided for his disbelief before John adds by way of reflection: “these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that, by believing, you may have life in his name”. Belief prompted action.”

 

23rd April – 9:15am at Markbeech and the visit of Bishop Tom Frame

Many of us may remember around 20 years ago, a young Australian priest and his family from Binda came to live in Markbeech for some 10 months, while studying at the University of Kent. Tom Frame with Helen, his wife and daughters, Megan and Kelly had quite an impact on us as they immersed themselves in our parish life.
Once they returned home to Australia, Tom’s career developed. He went on to become Principal of St Mark’s Theological College training new priests, and in due course was appointed Bishop to the Australian Defence forces. Always something of an academic, today alongside farming interests, Tom is the Director of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society at the University of New South Wales.
There will always be a welcome here for Tom and Helen, and we are delighted that they have found time to spend a weekend here on 22nd and 23rd April. To celebrate their stay, there will be just one service on 23rd April at Markbeech at 9:15am, and Tom will preach at that service.
Do come along to what will be a very special service – and join us afterwards in the village hall for coffee and cakes and a chance to meet and/or catch up with Tom and Helen.

Easter Day Services

Easter – a time of excitement, promise and hope. Everywhere you turn there are signs of Spring, of new creation – new birth and new beginnings. The Easter egg symbolises new life, but also it is a reminder of the sealed tomb from where Jesus rose to a new life – a resurrected and transformed life. There are so many Easter traditions and games associated with eggs – egg hunts, egg rolling, egg colouring (with dyes and paints), and a new one for me – egg ‘jarping’, where contestants tap each other’s egg until one breaks. A good hit was called a ‘dunch’ – then the eggs were eaten – heaven for chocoholics!

 

Games like this can help us to recall that our Christian faith hinges on the reality of the Resurrection. Faith isn’t about facts and historical accuracy, it is about trust even when the evidence doesn’t seem to stack up. So, as we say on Easter morning “Christ is Risen. Alleluia!” it is a reminder that though the tomb in which Jesus was laid was laid was forbidding, cold and dark, this is not the end of the story – it is the beginning of a new story – a story of transformation, and it reminds us that nothing, not even death itself is out of the reach of God’s love and compassion and transformation.

 

Here is a very brief extract from a poem by J Crum ‘Love is come again’, a prayer reflecting on this transformation, something that is still necessary in the world of today:

When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain,

Thy touch may call us back to life again.

 

Throughout the Easter season there is so much happening on our Parishes (details in the centre pages), and I look forward to welcoming you whenever you can join us – even 6am on Easter morning is quite an experience! We greet the first light and go on to enjoy breakfast together.

 

I wish you a very happy and blessed Easter.

 

Priest in Charge

Wendy

 

Maundy Thursday

The service on Maundy Thursday at 6pm in Markbeech will be a wonderful choral service that celebrates the institution of Holy communion, and as it ends as the altar is stripped of its decorations, we are prepared for the darkness as Good Friday approaches.

Do come along and be inspired by beautiful singing as your preparations for Easter come towards their climax.