Category Archives: Church

Reflections from the Rectory – May’19

Signs of spring are everywhere. As a newcomer to England, I am particularly enjoying the snowdrops and daffodils sprouting in our gardens and along the roadside.

In the Church, the period of Lent began on the 6th March. It is a time of preparing ourselves for the celebration of Easter. In the early church, new Christians were baptized at Easter, and were given special teaching and preparation for a six week period beforehand. This is the origin of the tradition of keeping Lent.

Many of us remember being told to “give up” something for Lent, such as sugar in our tea. This is fine, but Lent could be more positively seen as a time to “take on” something of value, such as caring for a neighbor in times of illness or distress.

During Lent, many of us will be sharing a soup lunch on Saturdays at the Mundford Bowls Club and/or on Wednesdays at the Foulden Village Hall. This is a time for fellowship and sharing, and all are welcome.

Easter is a great celebration of life in Christ. Many special services are planned in the villages over this time, and all are welcome to participate.

The rejuvenation of nature around us after the winter reflects new life and hope for the future.

May I wish all of you a joyful Easter.

Rev Linda Lubbe

Where love is there God is


Associate priest in the Mundford, Hilborough and Oxborough groups of churches. Rev. Zoe Ferguson is currently on long term sick leave.

Reflections from the Rectory – Apr’19

Signs of spring are everywhere. As a newcomer to England, I am particularly enjoying the snowdrops and daffodils sprouting in our gardens and along the roadside.

In the Church, the period of Lent began on the 6th March. It is a time of preparing ourselves for the celebration of Easter. In the early church, new Christians were baptized at Easter, and were given special teaching and preparation for a six week period beforehand. This is the origin of the tradition of keeping Lent.

Many of us remember being told to “give up” something for Lent, such as sugar in our tea. This is fine, but Lent could be more positively seen as a time to “take on” something of value, such as caring for a neighbor in times of illness or distress.

During Lent, many of us will be sharing a soup lunch on Saturdays at the Mundford Bowls Club and/or on Wednesdays at the Foulden Village Hall. This is a time for fellowship and sharing, and all are welcome.

Easter is a great celebration of life in Christ. Many special services are planned in the villages over this time, and all are welcome to participate.

The rejuvenation of nature around us after the winter reflects new life and hope for the future.

May I wish all of you a joyful Easter.

Rev. Linda Lubbe

Where love is there God is


Associate priest in the Mundford, Hilborough and Oxborough groups of churches. Rev. Zoe Ferguson is currently on long term sick leave.

Reflections from Mundford Rectory – Feb’19

Dear Friends,

I wanted to say an enormous thank you to everyone in our community who supported us through the event of our Church Gift Day for St Leonard’s Church in Mundford. Your generous contribution to the work of the church in serving the community in this place is invaluable and helps us to keep a ministerial presence and the love of God through His people alive in the village of Mundford and surrounding villages, enabling a continuing worshipping presence, the joy of bringing people together in marriage, baptizing new Christians and supporting the dying and bereaved.

Many of you will know that sadly I have been unwell since last July. I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to so many people who have and continue to keep me in their thoughts and prayers, and have supported my family and myself in very practical ways as well.

It has truly been a very difficult time but I am slowly making progress in my illness with the love, support and encouragement of so many people, and hope very much to be serving my communities again as your parish priest in the coming months ahead.  You have all remained very close to me in my heart and I feel truly blessed to be a part of the wonderful community of Mundford along with the various villages that I am called to serve. Please do continue to pray for me and for my family, and I look forward to being active again in ministry alongside you all and sharing in the abundant love of God at the very heart of His people.

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Where love is there God is

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups)
Currently on long term sick leave.

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Jul-Aug’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Wow, how quick the year seems to be flying by and how wonderful to be bathed in glorious sunshine of late!

In the church we are now in the long season known as Trinity, but with this brings blessings of hearing about the life, miracles and healings of Jesus and a time to reflect on what it means to be His Disciple (the word disciple literally meaning ‘learner’). I have also begun the wonderful wedding season where we have the privilege of bringing 2 people completely in love into a life-long commitment and witness to this. However, this season still sees much sadness in the community’s that I serve with an ongoing time of funeral ministry, reflecting again the power of love. These extremes of life events in ministry perhaps indicate the risk that we take in loving others, but the gift that is experienced also as the lives of others touch ours so deeply.

In the world, we hear of sadness across the world continuing to carry on and for many of us we are immersed in the World Cup and painfully watching England play through each match….Come on England…. You can do it!!!

Our young people have completed their SAT’s and GCSE and A -Level exams, and for some an extended summer holiday with various proms to look forward to, and everyday life rumbles on as a lot of us look forward to a time of summer holidays to spend time with our families and friends, it is so important that we take time to spend with our loved ones, for none of us knows what tomorrow holds, and the greatest gift we can receive on earth is the gift of time and the gift of one another.

Which leads me to the greatest commandments that Jesus gave us ‘To love God and to love one’s neighbor as ourselves’

During the summer months which has already seen us move through the longest day of the year, remember to take time, for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the gift that is each and every day, and have a wonderful and blessed summer, a time for renewal and refreshment.

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879990 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Jun’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Much of my work as a parish priest involves the many joys shared with others in their lives, weddings, baptisms preparing for and leading worship and working with many young people through our schools and Stepping Stones All Age Worship, along with spending time with people in the parishes I am blessed to serve.

However, there are those sad times in parish ministry, when we walk with others through a journey of bereavement when a loved one has died. This is an enormously privileged area of ministry to care for those who feel broken in their lives due to bereavement or loneliness, or both and it reminded me of how even in the most broken times in our lives, God is there with us and uses that brokenness to often bring about fruitfulness in faith, even when faith has never been experienced before or not been an active part of our lives for a long time, and so I wanted to share with you, something that has helped me through difficult times in my own life, and I hope this may be helpful for you too, or to those who you know who may be feeling a little broken just now…. It is called

The Chosen Vessel

“The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose? Take me, cried the gold one, I’m shiny and bright, I’m of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best! The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall; I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine And I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You. Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass. Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view. Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear, My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide. The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood. You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said, But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread! Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay. Empty and broken it helplessly lay. No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose, To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use. Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine. I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might. Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. There’s work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879990 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory May’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Since I last wrote to you the weather was really quite different. Today my reflections come from a sun filled garden where we can rejoice that spring has truly sprung – hoorrah!!

Just 40 days following the celebration of Easter day, we move rapidly through the Easter Season, into the Season of Pentecost. That truly amazing day when the disciples who had been instructed to remain in Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of Jesus, were to wait together to receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, with tongues of flames, and every language spoken and understood, along with the greatest sermon ever delivered from the fisherman and rock of the church, Peter. Pentecost was literally the birth of the Christian church and we rejoice in this. The week following Pentecost comes the celebration of the Trinity, remembering God as Father Son and Holy Spirit when every preacher in the land fears that they may preach some heresy!!!!

But I always think that these 2 seasons back to back offer us a time of renewal and hope and a reminder of Gods eternal grace with us now. Today I would like to leave you with a prayer for Pentecost, and pray for you too that it breathes new life into all of our lives….

Spirit of God, flickering over our heads, illuminating our faces, inspiring our thoughts, give us now we pray, words of joy and praise.

Spirit of God, filling our hearts with hope, steadying our nerves with peace, comforting our lives with love, give us now we pray, words of joy and praise.

Spirit of God, come to us now – surging through the darkness of our lives, sweeping over our weariness – so that, in this time of Pentecost, the sparkling light of faith, the rushing wind of hope, and the joyful sound of praise, may echo around the world, may echo in the church, and find their response in us.

Spirit of God, give us now we pray, words of joy and praise. Amen.

May this coming season of Pentecost give you the joy of light and love.

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879990 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Apr’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Well it has been a bit of a chilly wee time hasn’t it…. What with the visit and major disruption from the Beast from the East where for some of our young people, they had never seen snow quite like it…and I think the last time I saw icicle’s quite so large was indeed when I myself was a child!

When the Beast from the East struck I was staying in Harrogate North Yorkshire for the week on a Leadership Conference. It was all terribly exciting when we got stuck due to the A17 being closed and had to stay another night before travelling home. Although for some, there were scenes of tragedy and destruction as we were gripped by freezing temperatures, and as I sit and write today there is more snow forecast over the weekend….

This weekend too also sees us rapidly going through the season of Lent where we will soon be reflecting on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt at the beginning of Holy week, journeying through the incredible journey and sadness of Good Friday into Easter Day itself, where we will rejoice in the hope and salvation of the Risen Jesus, lived afresh in our lives through His Resurrection.

When this reflection reaches you, you may well be delving into an Easter egg, and so I wanted to leave these words with you from the great Easter hymn for you to ponder in your heart as you enjoy the gift of chocolate remembering the truth, gift and power of Easter ”Thine be the Glory” written by Edmond Louis Budry….

May the Risen Jesus be with you all this Easter-tide and all those whom you love, and may the soon to be warmth of the sun be your blessing.

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Mar’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

A very cold but sunny day today as I sit and write, all wrapped up with about 20 layers….but there are signs of warmer weather to come, with a few crocuses in the Rectory garden beginning to appear, and when the wind is not ‘quite’ so cold…. You can just feel the warmth of the sun – just!

In the world around us the busyness of younger children at primary school will soon be preparing for their SATS and currently our local teens sitting GCSE Mock exams, with the real ones to come oh too soon, Christmas it seems long forgotten, summer holidays booked for some, and plans for the future being made. For me, I have had the pleasure of meeting with many wedding couples who are preparing for their weddings in the coming year, what a wonderful reminder of the power of God’s love in the lives of His people.

Another powerful reminder is that we are currently in the season of Lent, starting on Shrove Tuesday, a night with my teens where I actually managed to ‘flip’ a pancake without it ending up on the floor or ceiling, into the following day of Ash Wednesday, officially the start of Lent.

Sometimes it can feel very frustrating that Easter eggs are already filling the shelves of the supermarkets, perhaps forgetting that there is a Holy season preceding this time, however, it is also a constant reminder that we are sharing in a time together of working towards a time of renewal and new hope, a time of remembering how great God is, seen in the life of His Son Jesus.

The season of Lent itself can often be seen as ‘giving something up’, a more penitential time of being, but I rather like the thought of taking on something new, so for me this year, it’s Pilates and Prayer. Praying through exercise, and it is very grounding and rejuvenating, for the body mind and soul.

Jesus himself was a great example of prayer in action, not only do we have the gift of being able to pray The Lord’s Prayer that He gave to His disciples, but prayer itself is a wonderful opportunity of sharing the concerns we have, but also in listening to the voice of God within ourselves. I think it is truly wonderful that Jesus continues to listen and intercede in our prayers, it brings a deep sense of comfort when times are really tough, along with those times when we want to give great thanks.

In this time of Lent, I am trying to pray more and give thanks to God for the many daily blessings He gives…. Today I would like to share the privilege of prayer with you “Lord, it fills me with wonder that you have given me the privilege of drawing alongside you in the awesome work of prayer. Forgive me that I take so little advantage of this privilege. May I drink in the truth for myself that day by day I come to you to intercede for the needs of the world, needs of my friends, and neighbours. Continue to teach me to pray until I have mastered the art of effective prayer, until I have learned to pray as you pray. Amen”.

 

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Jan’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

A very Happy New Year to you all! Any New Year’s resolutions made??

As I sit and write to you we are very much in the heart of winter. It certainly feels like January out there, and we are very much huddled up in multiple layers as we wait in the coming months for the first signs of spring to appear, and an enormous thank you goes to those who donated to our parish gift day in Mundford, we have raised in excess of £1,000, thank you so much to your gift to your parish church!

In the church calendar we have celebrated the Christmas Season, receiving afresh the Good News of Jesus coming among us and had the joy of many people celebrating His birth in many of our church communities, with record breaking numbers of people of all ages at our Christingle service in Mundford on Christmas Eve. It was such a joy to share in this special service, along with some wonderful Nativity plays performed by the children of Gooderstone and Mundford schools.

Following on from the Christmas season comes the season of Epiphany, which literally means ‘enlightenment’.

During the season of Epiphany we explore God revealing Himself to us in new ways, what was once hidden is now revealed, and many of the readings we hear in this season reflect this, as we lead on into a new season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and eventually leading to Easter.

When we are very busy in our lives it is very easy to blot out a lot of what surrounds us, because we are immersed in so many of the demands of what life has to hold, and perhaps miss the signs and changes that are happening all around us in our villages and the wider world.

On New Year’s Day this year I decided to take a walk in the heart of the forest. It never fails to amaze me how beautiful the area in which we live truly is, or the diversity of the countryside surrounding us, and I made a decision that as part of my new year’s resolution was to take more time out to just be immersed in the gift that God has given around us.

However, I am also aware that there are areas of the world that are not so beautiful due to the greed and destruction of humanity, or natural disasters that occur across the world and sometimes we question how God speaks into this, along with the things that happen where we are left utterly speechless with endless questions that appear to have no logical answer.

It is these times when perhaps the ‘big’ questions of life are asked, and where God’s revealing to us is at its most powerful.

The gift of God Himself, who came as a vulnerable babe into the world, who experienced what it was to be truly human. God who in Jesus was nailed to the cross to take on all of the hurt, rejection, and pain of the world, and in love would reveal the most powerful emotion of all – forgiveness.

As we discover God’s revealing to us this year, in new ways, the greatest Epiphany of all is that the promise of Christmas and indeed Easter is that we are never truly alone, and that forgiveness is the route to all freedom. Even in the most desperate times there is an opportunity of hope, because the One who was born at Christmas-time, is the same One who leads us into a new way of living, a new way of looking at the world around us, and a new way of hearing the needs of the world, and a new way of learning how to forgive.

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Dec’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

My reflection this month is very much a focus on who we are as your parish church in the communities to which we live and serve, at a time of year when many people will visit parish churches and cathedrals in the coming weeks for Advent, Carol and Christmas services, along with attending Baptism’s, Weddings and sadly Funerals.

When a Church of England Priest is installed into their new post and parishes, they are given a pastoral charge known as Cure of Souls. This put simply means that I have through my work in the parishes to which I care for, a duty of spiritual care and responsibility for every person of each parish, whether they have an active faith in God or not. Which also means that anyone who lives, as an example, in the parish of Mundford, has the right to be baptized, married or buried in the local church in the parish in which they live, and to receive spiritual care. Which means I look after, along with the people I journey in faith with, around 5000 people across the villages I serve.

Much of my ministry is in general oversight of care in each parish, which includes visiting, Sunday worship, working with our 2 schools in Mundford and Gooderstone, our pre-school, conducting services, including weddings, baptisms and funerals, burials and blessings, caring for those who are near to death, the bereaved and administration. I also attend and chair lots of meetings along with working within local Trusts and Charity’s supporting local people, and visit people in hospital and wherever I am needed. I am a Padre and Chaplain to the Desert Rats Memorial Association and Stanta MOD base, with also a duty of care to my family, doing the normal things that mums have to do with 2 teenage children. I work 6 days out of 7, and sometimes beyond that, with an average working day of 12-13 hours, pretty non-stop, that is why days off are so important, to rest and be with my family and friends.

Along with all of the pastoral ministry offered, we also manage 12 church buildings, and churchyards, community spaces, that belong to their local community. But these are very costly. For instance, to run just the parish church of Mundford alone costs £511 a week, and that is without the cost of repairs and ministry, and our small and dedicated team of fundraisers work really hard to help meet this cost. So it’s tough on small worshipping communities.

This year St Leonard’s Parish Church are holding an Annual Gift Day on Saturday 2nd December, asking our local community to support us as we seek to support the local community. I know it’s a tough time of year with Christmas just around the corner, but in order to keep these historic community buildings in current use, and open for the needs of each local community, we need the help and support of the local community to do this. We thank you wholeheartedly in advance for your love and financial support as we seek to care for each community to the best of our ability. Donations can be brought to the church on 2nd December or popped through the door of the Rectory, thank you.

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)