This Newsletter is prepared by the Local Ecumenical Partnership. All are most welcome to attend ANY service, social function, gathering or to bring your concerns to:
Anglican: Revd Dr. Robert Opala: email@example.com Tel: 01642 701245
Roman Catholic: Father Bill Charlton firstname.lastname@example.org 01642 710239
Methodist: Rev Andrew Robinson email@example.com 01642 710358
‘The Holy Trinity and the Ordinary Season’ by Robert Opala
One of the best-known Russian scholars, Vladimir Lossky, said that the greatest source of misunderstanding between Christians in the West and the East is their different approaches to the mystery of the Holy Trinity. I believe we have a good reason to learn something from this theologian who taught Christians in the West how to meet God in ordinary life. He used to say, “the Lord dwells in ordinary things”. Although this season after the Trinity Sunday is called the Ordinary Times, our life today is far from ordinary due to COVID-19.
What can we learn then from Professor Lossky? The trinitarian God, says the Russian theologian, has only one meaning. Our God is Love. In the West, people reflect on the mystery of the Holy Trinity looking first on the nature of God and then they go with their reflection to the three Persons of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But in the East, the reflection goes in the opposite direction – starting with the nature of the Three Persons who explain the nature of God. These two approaches have a massive consequence in people’s life and spirituality. The Eastern Christians believe that the Holy Trinity is not simply a speculative theory as we often think in the West. They say that the Holy Trinity does not need to be analysed by the reasoning mind. It is rather a living presence of God, which we may experience in our ordinary life. It is a living God before whom we stand every day. We meet God in every life situation and it is God who creates us, who saves us and who loves us. In the time of Bolshevik regime in Russia and the whole Soviet Empire where all churches were closed, Christians did not struggle to find God in ordinary life and Christian faith survived over 70 years of terrible terror in this Godless state. Today, when our churches are closed due to the pandemic crisis, people in the West struggle to find God outside the church buildings. We forget that God dwells in every act of love and kindness, forgiveness, and generosity.
Our understanding of the Trinity can only be achieved in the personal encounter with God of love when we love others and when we experience of other peoples’ love. The “doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not just a piece of high theology reserved for theologians. No! This doctrine is something that has a living and practical importance for every person believing in Christ. So, it this time when many of our churches are still closed, we should always remember that the heart of our loving trinitarian God is always open for us. And this God is also willing to open our hearts to be loving hearts as he says to us “do not worry, I will remain with you for ever”.
Charity, Community and Ecumenical Events
Once again a big vote of thanks from all of us to all NHS and all other essential workers. Thanks too to all volunteers working to help and support them and us, all yours efforts are recognised and greatly appreciated.
HR Isolation Support and Response Group
The Isolation Group phone line is currently manned Monday to Friday between 10 am and 2 pm, (messages can be left outside of these hours and will be responded to as quickly as possible) and at the weekend messages are picked up at 2pm.
You can also Email anytime: HRisolationgroup@gmail.com .Please give your contact information and someone will get back to you.
Things to do
Many of us are suffering from ‘cabin fever’ in these days of confinement. Why not brighten up your days – try looking at these on line:
There are many talented local artists around – have a look at www.levenart.org
Want a good laugh – try ‘Oddsocks Theatre Company’ www.oddsocks.co.uk
Moves Towards the Re-Opening of Churches and Other Places of Worship
The Government have said that they will allow the re-opening of Churches and other places of worship for individual prayer from the 15th of June 2020. Unfortunately, a bit like opening schools, it’s not just a matter of unlocking the doors and letting folks in. Churches will still need to ensure social distancing and a COVID-19 risk assessment is required for every building and site open to the public. The risk assessment covers things like: designating points of entry and exit; sanitising stations, cleaning; removal of books, literature, cushions and kneelers; marking of seating areas and exclusion zones etc. etc.. The list of conditions is not endless but it seems like it on first reading! As you can imagine the prospect of sorting this out and doing it is daunting, especially for an elderly and strictly amateur congregation! Having said that and at the time of writing (18th June), there are now 4 churches open for personal prayer (limited opening times) in the Anglican Benefice. These are at Swainby, Carlton, Faceby and Crathorne.
Please remember that we do not need to be in a Church to pray. We can pray in our churchyards, we can pray in open spaces, we can pray at home. As Robert reminded us in his lead article: Russia the Christian faith survived for over 70 years in a Godless state of closed Churches!
The Leadership team at Hutton Rudby Methodist church (alongside others within our circuit) expects to be able to be open the chapel for private prayer from w/c 4th July; times and dates will be available soon.
Stop Press! The Government has just announced that Churches may reopen from the 4th July for public services. I’m sure that we all welcome the further relaxations in the lockdown measures, such public worship may recommence in our church buildings where it can happen safely and within the guidelines which we expect to be published in the coming days. Stay tuned, stay safe, stay alert!
Virtual Services and Prayer
Many opportunities for ‘virtual services and prayer’ continue.
The Methodist Church would like to draw your attention to:
- Zoom prayer time alternate Wednesdays at 10am
- Zoom coffee mornings on a Saturday 11.30am – 12.30am
- Sunday services on the YouTube channel of Leven Online at 10.30am (which can be viewed anytime after that).
For the Zoom meetings people will need to email firstname.lastname@example.org for log on details.
The Anglican Church would like to draw your attention to a whole range of services, prayers and reflections – On You Tube, please search for ‘Whorlton Benefice’ where you will find a library of services and events.
A Benefice Holy Communion takes place via Zoom on the second Sunday of each month. Log in is from 9.45am and the service starts at 10.00am.
Cafe Church takes place via Zoom on the remaining Sundays, log in from 9.45am for chat and a shortened Morning Prayer which is from 10.00-10.40am.
Please email email@example.com for log in details.
See also levenonlineradio : go to the ‘religious matters’ playlist on the You Tube channel of ‘levenonlineradio.com’ for more details and further opportunities.
The production of this News Sheet is coordinated by Bob and Diana Baker 01642 700672 or firstname.lastname@example.org If you wish to submit information for inclusion please contact them by the 15th of the month preceding the issue required (e.g. 15th March for the April Issue).