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Sunday 12th February 2017
6.00 pm
St James’ Church, Shaftesbury

This week Pilgrim finds that his hike through the uplands has ended badly. He has slipped, fallen from the narrow track and broken his leg. His friend went for help, and now we see the mountain rescue team toiling towards him, while a helicopter has also been scrambled.

This week our theme is “Search and Rescue”. The Emergency Services regard Easter as the start of the Silly Season, when the Great British Public seems to spend its time falling off things, getting washed out to sea, or cut off by the tide - all because they have underestimated the behaviour of Nature.

In life we do not only face physical risks, but also mental ones – maybe brought on by stress, overwork or force of circumstance; there are people here too, who are trained to cope with such traumas, and still others who risk their own lives to help us – all part of our Search and Rescue team! Thank God for them!

It is comforting to know that such people are there to help us when we need them most. They put us in mind of that greatest Search & Rescue Shepherd of them all! So do come to the service, and enjoy fellowship with us afterwards.

On February 7th, we are starting something new. Children and their parents and carers are invited to Drones Farm, Twyford, for an informal session of craft, drama and Bible stories. It will be most suitable for children up to the age of seven, but older siblings are welcome. For more information, contact Gillian Cross (01747 811263 gillian@gilliancross.co.uk) or Kelly Oakley (01747 812663).

Our links with our Church schools are a treasured part of our life as churches in this Team and school governors play an essential role in supporting their work. Volunteering as a school governor is a way of making a positive difference to the lives of local children, but not everyone realises what a rewarding opportunity it can be. Here in the Shaftesbury Team Ministry we are greatly blessed by the links we have with our local schools. We see those links in action in our churches when children and young people from the schools visit our lessons, hold concerts or contribute to our worship, and when we gather for 'Messy Church' in Motcombe School. Those links are also visible in the life of the schools when our clergy lead worship, and through all that is done by the many members of our churches who are volunteers helping with clubs, reading, or as governors.

At the moment we have a number of governance opportunities for volunteers in the schools that make up the Southern Academy Trust. Our Rector, Revd Helen Dawes, is responsible for appointing the Foundation (‘church’) governors for these schools, and also the Foundation Directors of the Trust Board itself. Foundation Governors and Directors share in the general work of the Governing Body or Board, but also have a special responsibility for the Christian ethos of the school or trust.

There is one vacancy for a Foundation Governor in each of Shaftesbury School (Secondary), Shaftesbury C of E VC Primary School, and Motcombe C of E VA Primary School. From Easter, there will also be a vacancy for a Foundation Director on the Board of the Southern Academy Trust. Each appointment is for two years, renewable. The work of the school governing bodies is largely focused on teaching and learning within that school, whereas the work of the Trust Board is more focused on the strategic direction of the Trust as a whole.

You don’t need to have worked in education to take on one of these posts, you just need to be interested in education and willing to learn. What is most important is that you want to use your skills to support our schools in the work they do with children and families. You also need to be willing to give up time for meetings, to read papers in advance, to attend training from time to time as necessary, and to become involved with the life of the school. Because these roles involve actively supporting the schools and the Trust to develop and maintain their Christian ethos you will need to be a communicant member of a church that belongs to the national ecumenical organisation, CTBI. For the Director role it would be an advantage to have experience in one or more of education, finance or working at board level.

If you would like to have a chat about what one or other of these roles might involve and how the skills you can bring could make a difference to children and young people in our area, please get in touch with the Revd Helen Dawes (helen@stmin.org.uk). If you’d like to know more, but aren’t a church member, Revd Helen can also put you in touch with the people who appoint non-Foundation governors and directors.

“Pilgrim Service”
Sunday 8th January 2017 6.00 pm
St James’ Church, Shaftesbury

This week Pilgrim finds himself overlooking a valley, which looks magically as though it’s filled with a sea of fog, with just the tops of a few tall trees, and the crest of a hill in the far background; His road slowly descends into this white wall of wool. Cars speed past then brake sharply, disappearing with a flash of brake lights into nothingness.

The Theme for the week is “Fogbound”. Whilst in the fog all must proceed with care – almost just by touch and feel, because the eyes can play tricks, and sounds could come from anywhere.

It is comforting to know that, somewhere above, the sun is shining and will burn this all away and the day will become bright and clear.

Do come and enjoy the service with us.

Thursday 22nd December
7:00pm

A traditional service of  Lessons and Carols with Choir anthems.
Come sing your favourite carols all set in atmospheric candlelight.
Join us, and start your Christmas celebrations right.

There will be a retiring collection for the work of Open House Shaftesbury - a local Christian organisation working with some of the effects of poverty in our community

“Pilgrim Service”
Sunday 11th December 2016 6.00 pm
St James’ Church, Shaftesbury

During the wild, winter weather Pilgrim’s path brings him to a bridge over a river, now carrying trees and flotsam in its path rushing in a torrent rapidly downstream.

He sees with dismay that the centre part of the bridge has been washed away as the middle supports have disappeared. Wondering what to do now, his gaze is caught by a flash of light from the far bank. Glancing up, he sees the sun reflected off the blade of an axe carried by a sturdy lumber-jack walking along the path out of the forest towards him.

As luck would have it a lone pine is leaning dangerously over the track, and maybe this man could fell it and somehow fashion the trunk into a makeshift bridge?

This week our theme is "Mending bridges" and reminds us that to rebuild bridges in our relationships with others both takes a willingness on our own part to acknowledge our share of the damage, and also grace on God's part, which helps all involved to re-build the bridge for us.

“Pilgrim Service”
Sunday 13th November 2016
6.00 pm
St James’ Church, Shaftesbury

1611-Pilgrim-service

Having been able to discern a way up the cliff, Pilgrim now finds that the going is distinctly easier – and indeed nearer to civilisation - because he comes upon a metalled road. In what looks to be the middle of nowhere, he even finds a weatherworn bus stop and his spirits soar with the idea of taking the weight off his feet.

But the time-table is indistinct, either weather or vandals – who knows? He settles down to wait, not knowing when - or even if - a bus will ever come.

This week our theme is “Missed the bus”. Very often, when our plans for the future turn to dust and ashes, we have to stop and rethink all our options in the light of the recent past. Even when there appears to be no obvious direction, we find that we have just to keep on keeping on, to live each day in faith until – in an unexpected way – God’s bus takes us by a different route towards a better outcome, but we may not realise this until after it’s all happened !

What a fabulous evening! On Monday 7th November, 13 boy Choristers, 5 men, 1 lady, 2 chaperones, the Organ Scholar and David Halls, Director of Music, descended on Motcombe in two mini-buses. At 5.30pm they were rehearsing in church. At 6.30pm they were eating their supper, half of them at the Vicarage with Rev Pam and Dennis, the other half at Greg and Angie’s house. Sausages and mash followed by pudding went down a treat.  At 7.15pm they were robing in the school hall, and at 7.30pm they entered the church, which was absolutely full. Then they started to sing. Wow! Their powerful, beautiful, sonorous toned filled the air, and we were all transported heavenwards! The organ solos had to be changed because of the problems with the Pedal Organ. We had hoped that repair work would be finished in time for the concert, but it didn’t happen. Hopefully, before long, the work will be done, and the organ restored to its former glory. David Halls himself made the Appeal in aid of the Organ Repair Fund, and through the generosity of so many people, over £1,000 was raised. Thank you, everybody who responded so generously. Thank you, everyone who worked so tirelessly to make this concert such a huge success. Your efforts are very much appreciated. We look forward to other exciting things happening before long. Watch this space!

GREG UNDERWOOD