Serving the people of Taunton town centre and beyond through our tradition of catholic sacramental worship.

 

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Ministry during the Coronavirus pandemic

Information and reflections for worship at home
so we are alone, but together

 
" 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

 

St John's will not be holding any services or events during the current restrictions, to protect everyone and comply Government guidelines. However, the Rev Jane Eastell will be offering regular prayers for our community, in these difficult times.

 

"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

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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

 

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APCM

Due to the closure of the church during the current pandemic, the APCM intended for early May, is now postponed until a date to be set, but before the end of October. The current Churchwardens, PCC members and Deanery Synod representatives, will remain in post for this period.

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Reflections for the Journey
 

A reflection for Palm Sunday

I have been reminded in recent days of Julian of Norwich, the female English theologian and mystic who lived in the mid-14th and early 15th centuries, when the black death was ravaging Europe and Britain. During this time, she wrote her valued and timeless ‘Revelations of Divine Love’, which still bring comfort to people today. These revelations are based on the Passion of our Lord, which we see unfolded for us again this coming week. Julian was at pains to say that her revelations were to declare God’s love – love, she wrote, was our Lord’s meaning.

 

Crisis moments such as the black death and today’s pandemic always bring change – some good, some not so good, but the black death did eventually change society irrevocably by improving peasants’ conditions. Today we are wondering what changes for us might be afoot. Many are wondering if life can go back to what it was before - many are hoping it won’t- already carbon emissions, for example, have decreased enormously.

 

 Julian is particularly noted for saying ‘All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well’; words that she actually attributed to being God’s words to her. They are words that bring comfort in times of uncertainty; sustain through sorrows & losses; give courage when we are afraid; offer hope and strength to take our next step and remind us that there is a way forward when we feel powerless and fearful.

 

Julian’s words offer reassurance in our present world of fear and uncertainty, but they are not words of an easy kind of ‘everything will be fine’ certainty. For many, life isn’t fine and it won’t be. Life can suddenly shift into being hard; very hard. During the black death, whole families and villages were wiped out – a sudden catastrophic shift. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it an irrevocable shift - going to pubs, meeting friends are suddenly no more, streets that were once thronged with people now lie empty. Sudden shifts. 

 

Palm Sunday’s joyful entrance into Jerusalem is an entrance that suddenly shifts: once the joyful, expectant procession is done, palms carried, joyful hymns sung, we come to a shift. We see Jesus experiencing the shift himself; after the shouts of joy and welcome, he finds himself abandoned by God in Gethsemane and on the cross; all he has lived for suddenly coming to a sad end, an end of failure.

 

But…… let us not forget Julian’s words, for, over and within all these shifting scenes and the apparent failure of Holy Week, there is Love. All these landscapes of Holy Week are held in the heart of God: the joys, the sufferings and the abandonment of the Son are part of the life of God. If Js is the representative Human Being, if his death embraces all human suffering & all human dying, then somehow, all the tragedies, abandonments, desertions sufferings & death of humans are taken into the life of heaven that they may be redeemed and, of course, where the most profound shift occurs. 

 

So let us hold fast to Julian’s words for ourselves and the world as we enter into this Holy Week - for ‘All shall be well’ and ‘love was our Lord’s meaning’ is as true today as it was in Julian’s day.

Have a very blessed week.

 

 

A reflection for Maundy Thursday

We cannot actually look upon the stripping of the altar in church tonight, but we are living this stripping in a unique way during the Triduum this year in that we are stripped of our usual practices and devotions. Surely that is a sharing in of the stripping of Christ, so let us enter this Triduum with that in mind.

 

A question as we enter into these three days of betrayal and death and resurrection: what is it that you want God to do for you? Now Julian of Norwich does not say much about Maundy Thursday, in medieval practice, it was Jesus on the cross that was the focus for devotion. But she does have a profound theology of Christ’s servanthood and writes of Jesus wanting to care for us and look after our most basic needs.

 

‘He wants us to know that he takes heed not only of things which are noble and great. But also, of those which are little and small, of humble men and simple, of this man and that man.’ Christ is always at work in everything, coming down to ‘the lowest part of our need.’ ‘[Christ] was the servant before he ever came to earth. He stood beside the Father, ready to serve.’…’The master is the Father, God. The servant is the Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the love that is equally present in them both.’

 

These are important words for us and for all suffering from Covid-19 on this night; and so, what is it that you want God to do for you? Michael Ramsey, that great archbishop of Canterbury taught that the most important story in the Gospel is the story of the foot-washing which forms a large portion of tonight’s gospel. Now we probably, if we are honest, do not always give it that significance. He also said that we are so often busy, so often trying to serve God or be in control of what we think about God, that we will not allow ourselves to let God serve us first. 

 

Yet how can we truly show the servant nature of God unless we allow God to show us the servant nature of God first? If we are open enough to allow our feet to be washed metaphorically, or indeed in reality; if we are open enough to let Jesus serve us, open enough to to receive Christ’s very life, open enough to receive an experience of God’s grace, if we allow ourselves to be open, we will never forget that we are treasured, forgiven, loved children of God, who, having drunk deeply from God’s fountain of love and compassion, will be able to become ourselves a fountain of God’s love  and servanthood  to others. I do believe our world is revealing Christ’s servanthood today – not just in nurses, doctors and the key workers, but in neighbours and friends; there is a servanthood among people; Christ is among us.

 

But, let us tonight of all nights, allow God to wash us – in whatever way we seek – it is never just for ourselves, but is a deep intercession for our troubled world.

 

However, tonight is also a dark night; there is the darkness and blackness, of Gethsemane. Jesus knows bleakness and terror – as do so many Covid-19 victims. ‘Father, if it be possible, take this cup from me’, he cries. There are millions of people in their Gethsemane at present, there is a global Gethsemane; a global dark night. Many feel abandoned, alone, but …Christ is in this place, and this place of the world is held in Christ.  As we stay here with Christ in this garden of suffering, we are staying in prayer for the terrified, the suffering and the world.

 

God be with you.

Rev Jane

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Stations of the Cross

During Passiontide, Holy Week and Easter you may like to look at the St Alban´s Church website in Birmingham, which is known to some of us at St John´s. There is a video journey through the Stations. 

www.saintalban.co.uk

Go to Service Videos on the Homepage and scroll down until you get to
Stations of the Cross, dated 21st March.

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The readings for Sundays, Holy Week and Easter

 
Sunday 5th April – Palm Sunday 
Isaiah 50 v 4 – 9a; Philippians 2 v 5 – 11; Matthew 27 v 11 – 54
 
Thursday 9th April - Maundy Thursday
Exodus 12 v1 - 14; 1Corinthians 11 v23 - 26; John 13 v1 - 17, 31b - 35
 
Friday 10th April - Good Friday
Isaiah 52 v13. 53 v12; Hebrews 10 v16 - 25; Psalm 22; John 18 v1-19, 42
 
Saturday 11th April - Easter Eve
Genesis 1 v1 - 2, 4a; Exodus 14 v10 - 14. 15 v20 - 21; Isaiah 55 v1 - 11 ;
Ezekiel 36 v24 - 28 ;
Romans 6 v3 - 11; Matthew 28 v1 - 10
 
Sunday 12th April - Easter Day
Acts 10 v34 - 43; Colossians 3 v1 - 4; John 20 v1 - 18
 
Sunday 19th April - Easter 2
Acts 2 v14a, 22 - 32; 1Peter 1 v3 - 9; John 20 v19 - 31 
 
Sunday 26th April - Easter 3
Acts 2 v14a, v36 - 41; 1Peter 1 v17 - 23; Luke 24 v13 - 35

 

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The congregation of this church works together and with others to:

  • Provide and promote Christian sacramental worship

  • Develop and share a place in which to find peace, meaning, and identity

  • Serve and care for individuals, the community, and the world, as followers of Christ

    We also subscribe to the aims of   Inclusive Church

                    Christ, when he was lifted up did not say

                    "I draw some people to myself"

                    He said

                    "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

See the Contacts page of this website

 

SAFEGUARDING
For any issues concerning Safeguarding, please contact the

Safeguarding Officer

Paul Lewis

07929 068 015

 

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Website updated on 3rd April 2020

       St. John the Evangelist Church, Park Street, Taunton, TA1 4DG