The Churches' Weekend Away Talks March 2019
Life in the Vine- Speaker: Simon Holland
Click on the following links to hear Simon's talks
The Churches' Weekend Away reports
Around 100 of us travelled to Lee Abbey in north Devon for the Church Weekend Away. We joined friends from Chudleigh Parish Church, Chudleigh Baptist Church and Chudleigh Knighton and Trusham Churches for a refreshing weekend together.
Simon Holland, the Warden of Lee Abbey, gave talks based on the Gospel of John Chapter 15. In this chapter Jesus said ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’ John 15 v5 (ESV)
Simon used the analogy that as Christians we can be ‘grafted’ onto the vine. The term ‘grafting’ is an agricultural term that means that a new cutting can be grown from existing vine root structure. In this way, however and wherever we worship and serve we are the branches with Jesus at the centre of our faith. Jesus invites us to ‘abide’ in Him and He in us. Simon unpacked this metaphor a little more for us. Abiding simply means that we live our life with God. Our sense of identity, sustenance and significance is based in our relationship with Him. Through His grace we are accepted and from this inner fulfilment we are equipped to serve others and take joy into the world.
This contrasts with the reverse situation where our identity is based on our achievements or perhaps what we perceive others think of us. We end up working backwards and when our plans don’t work out this leaves us feeling frustrated. We were invited, therefore, to consider the question ‘What sustains us in life?’.
Finally we were encouraged to become ‘fruitful’ not by trying with our own strength but through our life and relationship with God. Sometimes this might lead us to places that we might not have expected!
No write-up would be complete without mention of the food which was home-cooked, plentiful and served by the fantastic team of volunteers who work tirelessly to deliver a fantastic retreat for guests. It was a humbling experience to be so well looked after by the team at Lee Abbey, and one which we are very thankful for.
Tim, Emily, George & Alice Farrell
I had never been to Lee Abbey before and was not entirely sure what the experience would be like. The journey there was somewhat wet and misty but the welcome was warm – as was the hot chocolate! The weekend was blessed with rather a lot of weather (!) and we could hear the wind howling around the building and watch the horizontal rain through the windows while we were tucked up warm inside. The building was impressive and I realised that wherever you looked there was something beautiful, whether it was a stained glass window, a vase, a carved fire surround or a view through the window: it was lovely.
The weekend gave us an opportunity to spend time together and to get to know one another better. Instead of dashing off after a quick ‘hello’ we could have a chat over a coffee, catch up with an old friend or make a new one. Mealtimes also gave us opportunities to share fellowship as well as good food. We had some fun quizzes, stimulating discussion topics and various activities on Saturday afternoon led by the Community team from the Abbey. But more than anything the weekend gave us a chance to step out of our busy lives and spend some time in the Father’s presence, to seek His will or to just be.
Simon Holland, the Warden at Lee Abbey, was a gifted speaker, using poetry, humour and eloquence to share the message of how we are grafted into the Vine (Jesus) and that if we are in Him then we will bear good fruit. I was reminded that I didn’t choose God but he chose me. It’s all about Love.
I came away from the weekend feeling refreshed and excited about what God has planned for our community here in Chudleigh, not to be inward looking but to look out with a vision of sharing God’s love with those around us.
Chudleigh Parish Church’s 2018 Summer Project
The Summer Project this year will support 2 causes:
The Farming Community Network is one of the chosen charities for this year’s Summer Project.
FCN was founded in 1995 at a time of great pressure on farmers, and continues to be needed to the present time. In 2001 the 'Green Welly Fund' was Devon's initiative to help fund FCN during the Foot and Mouth epidemic. Today FCN uncritically supports farmers with a wide range of problems and situations – including debt, stress, bereavement, health issues and more. Help from volunteer professionals can also be sought (eg. with accountancy).
FCN runs a chaplaincy at Exeter Cattle Market each Friday, where professional health checks can also be arranged at intervals. Confidentiality is crucial, and clients are only ever referred to by a coded number. Names are only known by the regional co-ordinator, their visiting volunteer and those directly helping them with their permission.
We hope that Chudleigh can give generously over the summer, as it costs £1500 per day nationally to run FCN – £330 is to run the Helpline. To find out more, visit their website.
2) Mercy Ships. see - https://www.mercyships.org.uk/
‘Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the forgotten poor, following the 2000-year-old model of Jesus’
Mercy Ships is an international charity founded in 1978. Its headline activity is life-changing surgical operations delivered on board the hospital ship Africa Mercy, moored close to population centres in Sub-Saharan Africa, most recently Cameroon (August 2017 to June 2018). Treatment is delivered without cost, and without regard to religion, race or gender. Operations on cleft lip and palate, cataract removal, straightening of crossed eyes, and orthopaedic and facial reconstruction are among the most common procedures. In addition, Mercy Ships has treated more than 163,000 dental patients.
Whilst present in any port, and even before the ship’s arrival, land-based Mercy Ships volunteers see prospective patients and set-up infrastructures in primary health care, education and agriculture that it is intended should continue after the ship has moved on to another country. Community development projects focusing on water and sanitation are promoted and supported.
The charity counts those who have benefited from its activities over the years at more than 2.6 million, and that it has trained 40,800 local professionals in anaesthesiology, midwifery, sterilization, orthopaedic and reconstructive surgery, and leadership.
Your generous support will be welcomed. Ways of raising funds include the weekly cash collection in church, which will go to the Project from 22nd July to 26th August; a tithe (10%) of envelope giving over the same period; personal donations (always welcome – please Gift Aid if you can)
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We Love Chudleigh
We Love Chudleigh takes place over two days during the Easter holiday.
After lunch we began our outreach by offering to pay for people’s car parking
and handing out free chocolates in the High Street. People were very positive in
response, if a little surprised, but it was good to be able to talk to them
about what we were doing.They were impressed by our We love Chudleigh T-shirts.
On Thursday morning after breakfast we set off to the Church to prepare for the free coffee morning. People were appreciative of our baking and there was a good turnout. After tidying up and having lunch, we started to plan our service for Sunday evening. This was an opportunity to share with the congregation all that we had been doing, and to thank them for their support.