Serving the people of Taunton town centre and beyond through our tradition of catholic sacramental worship.
Ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic
Information and reflections for worship at home
"We too have a constant friend and companion in the risen Christ on whom we can rely as we journey on through these weeks and months of uncertainty."
so we are alone, but together
St John's cannot hold any services or events during the current restrictions, to protect everyone and comply with Government guidelines. However, the Rev Jane Eastell will be offering regular prayers for our community and reflections for each Sunday, based on the Gospel reading, through these difficult times.
" As the challenge of the coronavirus grips the world, and
as the Government asks every individual and every organisation to rethink its life, we are now asking the Church of England in all its parishes, chaplaincies and ministries to serve all people
in a new way."
Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury and John, Archbishop of York
"This is a time for us as the Church to focus on our calling as the body of Christ to seek in prayerful and practical ways what it truly means to love our neighbour"
"At this time, we look to God, whose love is more than we
can ever ask for or imagine. May you be sustained and renewed by Him daily throughout this difficult time"
Peter, Bishop of Bath + Wells and Ruth, Bishop of Taunton
Bishop Peter is asking for prayers to be said during the outbreak of the new Coronavirus, for those affected by it in any way. He said: “This is a time of great anxiety for many. We hope and pray that people’s fears won’t be realised. In prayer, we give our anxieties and our hopes to God, as we think of those affected by the virus and those treating them.”
Lord God, carer of all people, creator, sustainer and healer;
We pray for all who have contracted Covid-19. Be with them and their loved ones and bring healing to their bodies.
We pray for all medical staff and emergency services as they look after the physical health, worries and concerns of their patients, especially the vulnerable and particularly those who have reduced contact with the outside world. Let us be good neighbours, looking out and after each other.
We remember the work of scientists, discovering and testing vaccines for this disease, and we pray for all of us, caught up in our everyday lives with the effects of these outbreaks.
Bless your world Lord, and help us to be blessings to one another, in Jesus name. Amen
A Reflection for Pentecost Sunday
Today’s gospel gives an account of the Holy Spirit being given to the disciples. ‘He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”’ Breath and breathing on people is significant today in the midst of Covid-19. In fact, it is highly discouraged and in some public places we are encouraged to wear facemasks. Again, Covid-19 leads to a great difficulty in breathing: people really struggle to breathe and general disempowerment. This has a huge and immediate impact on peoples’ lives.
Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on us. This also has a profound and immediate impact on peoples’ lives, because the breath of the Holy Spirit is a breath of power and empowerment. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of life that leads us from fear to courage, from turmoil to peace. The Holy Spirit is a spirit that enables us to inhabit a space of stillness within the hurts and misunderstandings in our lives and across the world. The courage of the Holy Spirit complements our inabilities. A profound fact about this Holy Spirit is that it is given, freely given. We do not have to try to receive this gift. In fact, the Holy Spirit says ‘let go’. We do not have to look for solutions or make personal efforts to receive the spirit; simply open ourselves to receive the gift. It can also be helpful to remember that the ‘spirit comes to help us in our weakness’. Who does not feel weak at times? The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and the spirit of truth who leads us into all truth.
We certainly need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in these difficult days as lockdown eases; how are we to live? When will we be able to worship in church? How is the Holy Spirit leading us? We do not need to strive to find the way forward, but simply rest in the ocean of prayer and stillness we are all part of and listen to the Holy Spirit who is constantly and gently, always gently, leading us at every step.
Some of you are aware that I am fond of the poetry of Jessica Powers – a poet who was a Carmelite sister and who lived in the United States and who has died now. I close with her poem and you might like to spend some time sitting with it and letting the words minister to you. There may be a phrase that resonates with you. Allow that to happen so that you may ‘catch the stirrings of the Spirit’.
TO LIVE WITH THE SPIRIT
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind’s will.
The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.
Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.
JOHN 20: 19-23.
Rev Jane Eastell
The congregation of this church works together and with others to:
We also subscribe to the aims of Inclusive Church
Christ, when he was lifted up did not say
"I draw some people to myself"
"I draw all, all, ALL"
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
During 2019, through our concert season, we have supported:
- Love Musgrove (Local Hospital)
- The Music Therapy Charity
- Taunton Festival of the Arts
- St. Margaret's Hospice
- Happy Landings Animal Rehabilitation Centre
- Compass Disability Services
- Reminiscence Learning Dementia Charity
and we continue to support:
- Christian Aid
- Taunton Foodbank
St John the Evangelist Church
serves Taunton in a Benefice with St Mary Magdalene
The Rev Tobie Osmond is the Vicar of the Benefice
of St Mary Magdalene, Taunton and St John the Evangelist, Taunton.
Rev Jane Eastell is Associate Vicar with responsibility for St John's
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Website updated on 28th May 2020
St. John the Evangelist Church, Park Street, Taunton, TA1 4DG