Thursday, 22 May 2014

Prayer for Saturday 31st May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Jackie Lynam

Collect for The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth
“Mighty God,
by whose grace Elizabeth rejoiced with Mary
and greeted her as the mother of the Lord:
look with favour on your lowly servants
that, with Mary, we may magnify your holy name
and rejoice to acclaim her Son our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.”
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Friday 30th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for David Lynam

Yesterday was the International day of United Nations Peacekeepers. We pray for the work of the UN. That its 192 member states can work together to foster peace and security and respect for the rights and freedoms of every citizen of our world. We pray for the innocent civilians in countries where there is conflict, war and bloodshed today and for the safety of UN peacekeepers when they try to protect people in hostile situations. We continue to hold in our prayers the people of Syria and the Ukraine. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Thursday 29th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Francesca Lunney

Collect for Ascension Day
“Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ
to have ascended into the heavens,
so we in heart and mind may also ascend
and with him continually dwell;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.”
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Wednesday 28th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Norman Luckett

We thank you Lord for the words in our Bible and the privilege to have our own copies and read them whenever we wish. May we be ever mindful of this precious gift and diligent in making the time to regularly read and reflect on their message and its relevance for our daily lives. We pray for the work of the Bible Society which exists because millions lack the Bible in a language they can understand, in a form they can use or at a price they can afford. For their endeavours working in partnership with 140 other national bible societies to supply translations for the 4,4000 languages that still wait for even one book of the bible, for bible formats for the deaf and blind and for their endeavour to help people to understand the bible’s value for them and their communities.  

“Wonder-speaking God, you created all there is by the power of your word and renew us daily by your life-giving Spirit. We give thanks for the Scriptures that give us the wisdom leading to salvation through Jesus Christ and that teach, train and correct us. We pray for all involved in the translation, distribution and production of the Bible worldwide, and for all who help people understand and live by it. Lord, so shape your people by your word that we will bring life and hope to all around us through Jesus, your  living Word. We ask this for your glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.” (The Bible Society) Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Tuesday 27th May

Today from our church family we pray for Jean Llewellyn

“Loving God, I offer you today,
my thoughts, words and actions.
Help me to heed the promptings of your Spirit,
to recognize your Son in those I encounter,
and to be a witness for your kingdom.
Help me to share your healing touch,
your words of encouragement,

your smile of friendship,
your helping hand”.    (from Five Rhythms of grace-The Community of St Chad) Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Monday 26th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Dorothy Langham

Compassionate Father, as we enjoy our Holiday Monday, we pray for all those in our world who will suffer today because they do not have adequate food, water and medicine and especially for those suffering from hunger and drought. We also pray for those who have no home or have squalid living conditions and lack sanitation, free education and an environment free of fear. Help us to support the charities and aid agencies who are working to improve lives.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Sunday 25th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Emma Knott

Collect for 6th Sunday of Easter
“God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Heavenly Father, as we come together to worship today we pray for Simon and Phill and Penny and Margaret and for all those serving you in different  aspects of our church life. We pray for the other churches in our cluster -St Matthews, St Paul’s, St Luke’s, and St John ’s. Lord give health and strength to all the clergy. We pray for their families and for their 
congregations, especially for St Matthew’s as they look again for a new Rector. Whatever the future holds for all our churches keep us strong in our faith and a support to each other.

“Jesus, Light of the World,
When I am afraid and unsure,
comfort me with the light of your presence,
when loneliness chills me,
warm me with the light of your love,
when the road ahead seems dark,
Guide me with the light of your way,
When I don’t understand and my thoughts are unclear,
Fill me with the light of your wisdom,
When I seem like a candle consumed,
Replenish me with the light of your life,
Then, so filled with your light, use me,
So that I, with you may be
Light for the World!”   (Father Wally Hyclak)
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Saturday 24th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Jackie King

Our weekly prayers for Walsall focus today on education. As they begin their half term holiday holiday, we pray for the schoolchildren, school teachers and governors within our parish and throughout our town. We also think about all the students in Walsall who are working hard finishing coursework and revising for GCSEs and A levels and other examinations. Help them Lord to find the concentration and determination they need, with so many distractions around them, and keep them free from doubt and anxiety during the examinations in the next month. We pray that their parents will give them the encouragement and support they need. We pray also for the teachers who are involved in the marking of coursework and writing of reports at this busy time. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Friday 23rd May

Today from our church family we pray for Martin King

Today many people will begin a break from work and school for the Bank Holiday weekend and Half Term week. We pray for the safety of all those who are travelling by road, sea or air this week. Thank you Lord for the time to relax, spend time with our friends and families, enjoy our gardens or go out. We pray for those for whom holidays or outings are not possible due to the limitations of finance, age or ill health and that they may still find opportunities to enjoy aspects of your world. We thank you Lord for the sunshine, flowers and birdsong and the many good things in our lives that, because they are free, we take for granted. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Prayer for Thursday 22nd May

Today from our church family we pray for Susan Keys-Statham

Tonight is the first meeting of our newly elected Church Council.  Loving Lord, we give thanks for those who have volunteered to serve St Martins in this way. We pray for them all: those who have been re-elected and those new since the Annual Meeting. May the discussion and decisions they make on our behalf be guided by your will, and inspire them with vision for the future of our church. If sometimes they find it hard to agree, support them with your love as they strive to resolve issues. 

“Grant us, this day, O God, clear sight to see the way we ought to take, and courage and perseverance to follow it to the end. Give us humility to ask what is your will for us, and give us trust and obedience to say, your will be done: through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (William Barclay)    
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

European Elections

Embedded image permalink

This great little cartoon by Dave Walker is a reminder why it's really important we vote in the European Elections on Thursday 22nd May, and to make sure that our vote counts.  

Prayer for Wednesday 21st May

Today from our church family we pray for Mark Kenyon.

Today we pray for our Parent and Toddler group at St Martin’s. We give thanks for all those who give their time to lead activities, help in the kitchen and talk to the parents and grandparents who come. We give thanks for ministry of the group to the families of our parish, serving an important need in our community. In particular we thank you for the families who have been encouraged to come to Messy Church and other activities as a direct result of conversations at Parent and Toddler, and ask that you will help us all to continue to support newcomers, helping them to feel welcome and valued in our church community.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Prayer for Tuesday 20th May

Today from our church family we pray for Louise Kenyon.

We continue to pray for our friends at St Matthew’s as they wait for a new rector to be appointed. Bless and guide Liz Chamberlain, the wardens and leadership team as they work to maintain the mission of your church on the hill during this time of waiting and uncertainty. Bless Liz as she considers her own future, seeking a new parish for the next stage in her ministry. Help the people of St Matthew’s to trust in you as they wait, and not to worry about what the future holds, but to remember your words: ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’ (Jer. 29:11)
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Prayer for Monday 19th May

Today from our church family we pray for Yvonne Kent.

We pray for our local care homes, their residents and staff. Comfort and support all those who are lonely, confused or frightened, and those who no longer know who they or their loved ones are. We pray for the families of dementia sufferers, who have to mourn the loss of the person they loved while still coping with the complex needs of the sufferer. We pray for respite and community care teams, and for those responsible for making assessing patients’ care needs, that individuals and their families may get the help they need when they need it, and not be left in difficulties and danger. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Life On The Frontline

On Wednesday Stephen Sutton, the 19 year old fundraiser from Burntwood died from bowel cancer.  Although his life has been cut short at a tragically young age, his courage and selflessness in the face of such a horrible disease has inspired and moved people across the world. 

When Stephen discovered he had terminal cancer at the age of 15 he made the decision that rather than being angry at the situation he faced, he should instead do something positive about it.  He said “The fact that life sometimes doesn’t seem fair fuels my motivation to make the world a better place.  Bad things happen, but it’s how you react to these things that define who you really are.” 

In January 2013 he started a blog which included a “bucket list” of 46 things he wanted to do before he died, which led to him skydiving and playing the drums in front of 90,000 people before the Champions League final at Wembley last May. But top of his list was his ambition to raise £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  But he quickly surpassed this total when his appeal went viral on the internet, the figure raised by Stephen is now nearing £4 million. 

Stephen in his short life was determined to make a difference and leave the world a better place.  Stephen himself said “I don’t see the point in measuring life in terms of time anymore, I would rather measure it in terms of what I actually achieve. I’d rather measure it in terms of making a difference.”

I find these incredibly moving, and challenging words.  None of us know how long we have on this earth, but whatever time we do have, we are called to make a difference, to leave this world a bit better than when we entered it. 

The Gospel of Jesus is about life and transformation.  It is about the transformation and life we experience when we encounter Jesus, and also how Jesus calls us to partner him in working to transform the world in which we live. 

As Christian’s we are called to BE different.  When we become Christian’s we have a new identity in Christ.  Paul says ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ (2 Cor 5:17)

We are called to LIVE differently.   The love of God transforms our hearts, so that we no longer are we to live for ourselves, but we are to live for God and for others.  To love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbours as ourselves. 

We are called to MAKE a difference.  Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world…” (Matt 5.13,14).  

The presence of salt and light has an immediate effect on the surroundings.  Salt causes a transformation in the substance it is added to. Light makes things visible which were previously hidden.  Jesus calls every follower of His to make a difference in the world.  

Rick Warren, a church pastor from America said “the church is the hope of the world.” 
There are 2.1 billion Christians worldwide, almost one third of the world’s population. Imagine the impact we could have on the world if we were all committed to making a difference in the place where we live, work and worship, not by being church goers, because that’s not what Jesus wants, but by being disciples.  In other words, people who are committed to living the life of Christ, not just for a couple of hours on a Sunday, but every moment of every day, in the places God has put us, on our frontlines.

We all have a frontline, this is the place where you spend the majority of your time outside of church, the place where you come into contact with non-Christians.  Your frontline might be the workplace, school, home, or in the neighbourhood.  Think for a moment about where your frontline is.  How many people do you come into contact with on that frontline, every day, every week, every month? 

St Martin’s may not be a large church, but every week as members of the church we are coming into contact with hundreds, if not thousands of people at the school gate, at work, through the clubs and organisations we belong to.  What would happen if each one of us started to see our frontlines as the mission field where God has placed us?  What would happen if we actively started to explore how God wants us to make a difference for his Kingdom on our Frontlines?  What would happen if we started to see the people we meet on the Frontlines, as the people God wants us to love and to serve? 

To help us think about what this might look, we are going now to listen to Anne’s story. 

In our two Bible readings, Jesus uses the word GO twice.  ‘GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:1) and  ‘I chose you and appointed you so that you might GO and bear fruit’ (John 15:16).  Jesus sends his disciples out into the world to serve him, in the office, at the school gate, in the bowls club, at the U3A, amongst friends and families, wherever we may find ourselves.  The question we need to ask ourselves is where is my frontline, who are the people on that frontline, and how does God want to use me, how can I be salt and light in that place, how can I be an agent of God’s love and transformation? 

Over the next couple of months we are going to be reflecting how we can make a difference on our frontlines.  How we can model Godly character, how we can minister grace and love, how we can mould the culture around us, and be a mouthpiece for truth and justice, and how we can be a messenger of the Gospel.  So as we begin this journey together, let’s commit ourselves to serving God amongst the people he has placed us, so that we can transform this world with God’s love.

Give me eyes to see these people through your eyes
Jesus, Carpenter King,
Give me eyes to see this work through your eyes
Spirit of truth and grace,
Give me faith to know that you will turn
This whispered prayer,
This labour offered,
This day lived for you into fruit for your glory.

Prayer for Sunday 18th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Derek Kelsey.

Collect for the 5th Sunday of Easter:
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your   continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.

Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to worship you today, at Holy Communion and at Messy Church. We pray for all those involved in leading our service and in teaching our children. We thank you for the gifts and generosity of all who help in children’s work at St Martin’s. Bless and guide our children as they learn more about you. Help them to come to know you and love you for themselves, and help us to support them and their families as they grow. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Stephen's Story - O2 Talk

Stephen Sutton passed away on Wednesday 14th May 2014 after battling cancer.  He was a truly remarkable young man, who showed immense courage and selflessness in the face of so much suffering.  This is the talk Stephen gave in the 02 Arena on 24th January 2014 for the St James's Place Foundation. Do take the time to listen to Stephen's wise and inspiring words.

If you are moved by what you hear, why not consider making a donation to the Teenage Cancer Trust via Stephen's Just Giving page.

Immigration and Britain

The European Parliament and Local Council Elections are taking place on Thursday 22nd May at a polling station near you!  The big issue that has been dominating the run up to the European Elections is immigration.  As my wife is Polish, along with many of my friends, I take a keen interest in the debate surrounding immigration. 

Immigration is nothing new, people have been coming to Britain for thousands of years, starting with the Celts, Picts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Normans, Vikings, to more recent immigration from the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and Central and Eastern Europe.  All of us are descended one way or another from migrants, for example my own family came over to England from Scandinavia in the 700s. 

It is the changing pace of immigration and the impact it has on services such as health and education which is driving the current debate.  But whilst immigration is portrayed in a rather negative light by some, it is important to recognise the positive impact it has on our country.

Each wave of immigration has added to the cultural richness and diversity of Britain, including our town of Walsall.  Immigration also benefits the country in other ways, for example 26% of NHS doctors are born overseas, and the British Medical Association said that without immigrants “many NHS services would struggle to provide effective care.” 

There are also financial benefits associated with immigration; the Financial Times reported that between 1995-2011 EU immigrants contributed £8.8 billion more to the British economy than they gained.  A study by University College London also found that migrants from Central and Eastern Europe are 60% less likely to claim benefits than a British born person, and The Economic Journal reports that immigration has no significant effect on employment. 

The Bible has a lot to say on this issue too; in Leviticus 19:33-34 God commands Don’t mistreat any foreigners who live in your land. Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”  Jesus reiterated this command when he said love your neighbour as yourself.”

It is important that we are able to have a mature balanced debate which recognises the positive impact immigration has on our country, and to celebrate Britain’s long and proud history of welcoming people to our shores.  

Pilgrimage to Santiago De Compestela

Liz, Roger and I have just returned from our journey along the Pilgrim route to Santiago De Compestela in the north-west of Spain. In the 9th century the remains of St. James the Apostle were ‘discovered’ in this farthest fringe of the continent and soon became an important place for Christian pilgrimage. The route which pilgrims from all over Europe took became known as the Camino de Santiago or the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago. Today, after Jerusalem and Rome it is the third most visited pilgrimage site.

We travelled part of this route taking in Burgos, Leon and some smaller towns before reaching Santiago and were privileged to be able to have a Communion service for our group in side chapels in Burgos, Leon and Santiago Cathedrals. The pilgrims we met, whether walking or travelling by coach like us, had come from all over the world and we even met a lady who was walking who had been born in Walsall. The number and nationalities of pilgrims reminded us all that wherever people come from we all share the same faith and desire to make this special journey.

A highlight was the Pilgrims Mass which takes place in Santiago Cathedral and although it was in Spanish with only a few English sections we were able to participate. There was something rather special about exchanging the Peace and receiving Communion with other pilgrims of all nationalities.

Although we took a physical journey we are all on a journey, which may be bumpy at times and the way not always clear, in which we endeavour to reflect and share Christ’s love for us with one another.

I would like to conclude with a verse from a hymn which we sang at our own service in Santiago Cathedral:

We are pilgrims on a journey
And companions on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
God bless


Saturday 17th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Marilyn Kelsey.
Our prayers for Walsall this week focus on our local newspapers and media. We pray for all those involved in reporting the life of our town, whether in print, on-line or on the radio. We ask that you will inspire journalists with a passion for seeking out the truth, and publishing responsibly. Help us to pay attention to the needs of our community, using what we read and hear as the basis for prayer, and a greater commitment to get involved and play our part in our local society. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer for Friday 16 May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Harriet Jones.

As Christian Aid Week draws to a close, we pray for everyone involved in collecting envelopes this weekend. We give thanks for the generosity of everyone who has given time and money this week and throughout the year to help those in great need. May the money we raise be distributed fairly and invested wisely, empowering communities across the globe to improve their own conditions, bringing security and prosperity, and enabling them to live full and fruitful lives.

“Lord Jesus, for journeys home; for determined steps to peace; for hope overcoming fear; for kindness against violence; for goodness and mercy. Even through the horrors of war; for the breaking of bread and for prayers; for sharing what we have; for all these things; give us glad and generous hearts. Amen.” (Christian Aid resources) Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Prayer for Thursday 15th May

Today from our church family we pray for Helen Jones.

Our Christian Aid Week prayers today are for Colombia. In recent years, around five million Colombians have been forced to flee their homes because of war. Christian Aid’s partner, The Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace (CIJP), has played a crucial role in setting up humanitarian zones within Colombia, demarcated areas providing safe refuge to those living in areas of conflict. As well as providing shelter, basic healthcare and education, CIJP provides psychological support to victims of armed conflict, legal support so that victims can get justice, and workshops to educate people about their rights. We pray for all victims of violent conflict, for all who have been wounded physically or traumatized psychologically. We ask that they may find safety and care for as long as it takes for the scars to heal. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What is Messy Church?

Messy Church began when an Anglican Church in Portsmouth were concerned that they had few children and families coming to church,  so Messy Church was born and is now widely known.

At St. Martin’s Messy Church meets once monthly on a Sunday afternoon and once monthly on a Sunday morning, when they are able to join us on Church for Communion.

The aim of Messy Church is to give families the opportunity to meet together, to worship together to have fun together and to learn about God together, through craft, food, activities, games, quizzes drama, songs and stories.  Each session, both morning and afternoon, has a ’theme’,  with a Christian message, which all activities are based on. The children and parents  are often encouraged to take part in acting the story.   In the afternoon  session in January the ‘theme’ was  ‘The Bible’,  resulting  in the board in the Church Hall.  On this occasion we had many games about the  books in the Bible. Each session since then we have heard about Bible Heroes, including  Daniel, Noah, and Jesus and it will be David and Goliath next week.
Martin and Jackie King are responsible for the morning Messy Church and we are used to seeing the children coming into church with what they have made and sometimes hearing what they have done.

Apart from the teams that organise each Messy Church we have many people who come along to help and we would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this way for their support and help. 

If you would like to know more please speak to Martin, Sue Davidson or myself,  Kath Pymm

Prayer for Wednesday 14th May

Today from our church family we pray for Ted Jones.
Collect for St Matthias:
Almighty God, who in the place of the traitor Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: preserve your Church from false apostles and, by the ministry of faithful pastors and teachers, keep us steadfast in your truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers for Christian Aid Week today focus on Iraq. After years of turmoil and destruction, communities throughout Iraq are starting to rebuild their homes and their lives. Christian Aid partner Rehabilitation, Education and Community’s Health (REACH), is working alongside villagers to develop sustainable farming and commercial enterprises, building reservoirs and greenhouses so that villagers can enjoy year-round access to water and grow fresh fruit and vegetables. REACH also helps villagers lobby regional government for improved services and infrastructure, such as tarmac roads and electricity. We pray for all communities that are rebuilding after terrible disasters, and ask for your protection for the future, that peace will come and that their homes may never again be destroyed by war. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Prayer for Tuesday 13th May

Today from our church family we pray for Margaret Jones.

As part of Christian Aid Week, we pray today for the people of South Sudan. Since last December, 700,000 people have been forced to flee their homes amid escalating violence, with over 10,000 people estimated to have been killed. Christian Aid is among the agencies working to supply food and medical supplies to refugees, but the onset of the rainy season has made the situation increasingly difficult, making  large parts of the country inaccessible to aid convoys. We pray for the people of South Sudan, who have suffered so much in civil war both before and since independence. We pray for the work of organizations such as Christian Aid partner Hope Agency for Relief and Development (HARD), which provides refugees with materials to build new homes and start their lives again. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Prayer for Monday 12th May 2014

Today from our church family we pray for Rebecca Humphries.

The Archdeacon’s Visitation to the Walsall Deanery is taking place at St Martin’s tonight. As part of the service we will be swearing in our new Church Wardens. We pray for our wardens David and Julie, and for our deputy wardens David, Jackie, Mike and Peter. Help us all to support them in their work for our church over the coming year. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Prayer for Sunday 11th May

Today from our church family we pray for June Hughes.

Collect for the 4th Sunday of Easter:
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life: raise us, who trust in him, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today is the start of Christian Aid Week. We pray for all those who are involved in fundraising events and services this week, as we seek to build a better world. We pray for everyone who takes envelopes for distributing around our parish. The envelope campaign raises an average of twelve million pounds each year to support Christian Aid’s work among the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world; work which depends on thousands of volunteers taking the time to deliver and collect envelopes. If each of us takes one street, the work will soon be done.

Only many hands will move the rock (Sudanese proverb).

Come friends let us worship together: only many hands will move the rock. Come friends let us work together: only many hands will move the rock. Come friends let us walk together: only many hands will move the rock. Come for Christ calls us: only many hands will move the rock. Our world is weighed down with oppression. Our sisters and brothers bear a heavy yoke. The way is blocked from fullness of life. Come for Christ calls us: only many hands will move the rock.” (Christian Aid resources) Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Prayer for Saturday 10th May

Today, from our church family, we pray for Rita Hooper

In our Saturday prayer for Walsall, we focus today on the many churches and religious groups who do so much to support the poor and vulnerable in our town.  We thank you, Lord, for the support the churches provide to the Glebe Centre where Hi’s ‘N Lows is now situated.  Many churches provide food, clothing and support to those who use the centre.  Many people from St. Martin’s have been, and continue to be, amazingly generous.  Thank you, Lord, for the Big Feed which is church financed and the food banks which the churches have set up.  The Sikh temple provides a free lunch every Tuesday at the Glebe and on Wednesday another Asian group provides free food.  There are so many faith groups working together to help those less well off than themselves.  Thank you, Generous Lord, for each and every person who thinks of others first.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer for Friday 9th May

Today, from our church family, we pray for Paula Homer.

Next week sees the start of Christian Aid Week.  We pray for all who will take out and collect the Christian Aid envelopes for the street collection.  May the bright red Christian Aid logo, on the carrier bags the collectors use, shine out as a symbol of our Christian faith as we go around our local community.  The envelopes which flutter through the letter boxes show our friends and neighbours that we care about the poor and underprivileged in our world.  Loving Lord, may this week of events raise sufficient money to enable Christian Aid to do its valuable work amongst the poorest people in the world.
Prayer for Christian Aid week:
“Lord Jesus,
for journeys home;
for determined steps to peace;
for hope overcoming fear;
for kindness against violence;
for goodness and mercy.
Even through the horrors of war;
for the breaking of bread and for prayers;
for sharing what we have; for all these things,
give us glad and generous hearts.  Amen.”
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Prayer For Church Growth

Prayer for Church growth, produced by the 'Leading Your Church Into Growth' team:

God of Mission
Who alone brings growth to your Church,
Send your Holy Spirit to give
Vision to our planning,
Wisdom to our actions,
And power to our witness.
Help our church to grow in numbers,
In spiritual commitment to you,
And in service to our local community,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for Thursday 8th May

Today, from our church family, we pray for David Holmes.

Today Simon is attending a training event in Stafford entitled, “Leading Your Church into Growth”.  Loving Lord, we pray for Simon as he takes part in this training day.  We pray that it is an informative and helpful day and that it will   inspire him with lots of ideas that we can use here at St. Martin’s.

Continuing his busy schedule, Simon will be chairing the Standing Committee, which meets together tonight to discuss some important issues about the future of St. Martin’s.  We thank you, Lord, for all who serve on this committee.  Their combined wisdom has helped to move the Building for the Future agenda forward and inspired us to look ahead to exciting new ideas.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Prayer for Wednesday 7th May

Today, from our church family, we pray for Sue Holmes.

The “Worship Matters” course is beginning today when one will be able to explore the many ways one can worship and discover how to engage in worship more deeply.

At the Lent Lunch Talks at St. Paul’s church last month, Dr. Esther Waterhouse spoke on the topic, “Is All Life Worth Saving?”.  Dr. Waterhouse is the consultant in charge of palliative care at the Manor Hospital.  After her very interesting talk about the challenging nature of her work, she asked if we would all pray for her and her team.  Dear Lord, we do not know what difficult situations Esther and her team face daily, nor the emotional cost of dealing with end of life issues.  We ask you to bless all the palliative care team with love, patience, wisdom, courage, tenderness and understanding.  Be with them when they are exhausted and emotional drained, we pray.  Please give them your peace and tranquillity so that they can cope with all that challenges them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer for Tuesday 6th May

Today, from our church family, we pray for Bob Hingley.

During our Annual Church Meeting last month, we elected several people to new roles in our church organisation and we thank you, Lord, for all those who have willingly offered their time and talent in the service of our church.  We pray for Julie Bradshaw and David Sharpe, our wardens; Jackie Watt, Mike Robinson, David Gregory and Peter Wheble, our deputy wardens; Lilian Turner, our Electoral Roll Officer; Martin King, our Stewardship Secretary; Diane Sainsbury, David Gregory and Mike Robinson, our Deanery Synod   Representatives; Lesley Bates, our Child Protection Officer.  We pray for those who serve on the PCC, those who perform the duty of sidespersons and those who serve on the Ministry Team.  Later in the year there will be a calling out process to fill the vacant posts on the Ministry Team and we pray that there will be people willing to accept these positions.  There are many others in our Church family who contribute so much.  Help us all to work together to grow your church here at St. Martin’s. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer for Monday 5th May 2014

Today, from our church family, we pray for Shirley Healey.

On this Spring Bank Holiday morning we pray for all those who are looking  forward to sharing some special time with friends and family.  In our busy lives it is important to make time to spend together enjoying simple pleasures like a walk in the sunshine, playing games together, sharing food.  Loving Lord, we ask you to bless our families and friends as we share special times together.  May we be aware of those who might be lonely and make an effort to include them in our activities.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer for Sunday 4th May

Today, from our church family, we pray for Kath Hayward.

Collect for the Third Sunday of Easter
Almighty Father,
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

This morning Messy Church is meeting in the main hall to provide a happy and exciting time for the children who come and their parents.  We pray for all involved in delivering this service and ask for your blessing, Lord, on all the children who come to St. Martin’s today.  Our communion service will be taking place in church and we pray for all involved in preparing and leading this service.  During the service, Carole and David Gregory will be speaking about the work of RETRAK, which was our featured charity last month.  It is so useful to learn about a charity first hand, so we look forward to hearing from Carole and David and thank you, Lord, for all they do to support RETRAK.Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Jesus: The Only Way, Truth & Life (John 14:1-14)

In the Alpha Course, Nicky Gumble tells the story of a soldier during the Civil War in America, who was granted special permission to seek a hearing with the president.  Because of a personal family tragedy he wanted to request excemption from military service. 

But when he arrived at the Whitehouse he was refused entry and was sent away.  And so he ended up sitting in a nearby park.  A young boy happened to be passing by and noticed that this soldier was unhappy, and so this young boy started to talk to him, and the soldier found himself pouring out his heart to this young boy.  At the end of it the young boy said ‘come with me’.  They went back to the Whitehouse, this time to the back entrance, and they walked through the back entrance into the Whitehouse itself.  No one challenged them or stopped them, and they walked past of the high ranking military officials right up to the presidential office, and without knocking the boy walked straight into the presidents office.

Abraham Lincoln was there talking to his Secretary of State, and when he saw the boy he broke off the conversation and said, ‘Todd what can I do for you?’  And the young boy said, ‘Dad this soldier needs to talk to you.’ 

The soldier gained access to the Father through the son. 

This is the message of our Gospel reading today.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  It is only through Jesus that we can come to God the Father.  He is the doorway by which we must enter into the Father’s presence. 

Last week Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph that Britain is now a post Christian society.  We now live in an era where widespread Christian worship is over.  Britain is a secular, multicultural, multi faith society and this has led to an increase in the idea that all religions are equally valid paths to God, termed religious pluralism.  So it doesn’t matter what path you follow, all roads lead to God.

But Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel, show that this is not true. The only way to the God the Father is through Jesus.  Jesus didn’t say, “I am one of the ways, or a part of the truth, or a life”, but I am THE way, THE truth, THE life.  As the Way he is our path to the Father, as the Truth, he is the reality of all God’s promises.  As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and for all eternity.  There is no other way to God the Father than through Jesus. 

Jesus goes on to say that he is the full revelation of God.  ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’  Jesus is God in human form.  He, and he alone, reveals God to us.  Jesus is the visible, tangible image of the invisible God.  He is the complete revelation of what God is like.  Jesus explained to Philip, who wanted to see the Father, that to know Jesus is to know God.  The search for God, for truth and reality, ends in Christ. 

Because we live in a multicultural multifaith society, there may be people who say isn’t it too narrow and too exclusive to claim that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus. But Jesus is wide enough for the whole world to enter into the presence of the Father, if the world chooses to accept it.  

There is one thing in particular that is very different about the Christian faith when compared to every other religion. The Christian faith says that we can't make ourselves good enough for God no matter what we do or say. No religious act, no religious words, no amount of religious piety will ever be enough to get us in to heaven. We will all fall very short of the standard that God requires - perfection, just like him.

Other faiths teach that if you do the right things or say the right things then you will be able to earn God's favour and blessing. But Christianity teaches that it is not about what you or I say or do, but about what you and I believe Jesus said and did. It is only faith in Jesus' actions that can help us find God's forgiveness.  It is because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, it is because of the victory he won for us on the cross, that we can gain access to the Father.       

Prayer for Saturday 3rd May

Today, from our church family, we pray for Josephine Hawkes.

In our Saturday prayers for Walsall, we pray today for all involved in law enforcement.  We pray for our police officers and community support officers. We pray for safety for them as work to protect the population from all harm and dangers.  Give their families peace of mind when their loved ones are working in challenging and perilous situations.  We pray for our magistrates, solicitors and barristers who ensure that the processes of the law are fair and without favour or corruption.  We pray for our prison officers and probation officers that they perform their duties to the best of their abilities.  Lord, we ask for your blessing on all those who work for justice and rehabilitation in our society. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer for Friday 2nd May 2014

Today, from our church family, we pray for Diana Hately.

As the weather grows warmer and the nights lighter, we see an increase in the numbers of young people who come into Walsall town centre on Friday and Saturday nights to meet up with friends in the local pubs and clubs.  This provides an increased opportunity for the Street Ministry teams and the Street Pastors to engage in conversations and interact with the young people they meet.  Loving God, as they seek to be a Christian presence out in our town, please give them the right words to say to those they meet and the wisdom to deal safely with all the situations they encounter. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Prayer for Thursday 1 May

Today, from our church family, we pray for John Hately.

Our charity for the month of May is ‘Upper GI Blues’. This charity was founded in 2005 to support those suffering from gastro-intestinal cancers. First launched at Sandwell hospital, the charity aims to support those suffering from and recovering from gastro-intestinal cancer and to assist their families and loved ones at this difficult time. Another aim of the charity is to raise awareness of this cancer and its symptoms. We pray, Compassionate Lord, that the money donated by St. Martin’s will help in their effort to raise the profile of this disease and to finance the support they give to sufferers and their families. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.