Weekly Email w/b 13th February 2023
What’s your story?
Recently, being confined to the house with COVID, I picked up a book I had been given at Christmas. I could claim it was a theology book – aren’t we supposed to be reading these?! – but it is a theology book like no other I know of. It was written by a well-respected modern theologian, Dr Paula Gooder, and tells a story about Phoebe, mentioned in Romans 16: 1 – 2, who, the author suggests, may well have taken Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome.
It is an experiment in historical imagination, an attempt to imagine what it felt like to be Phoebe. Why was she in Rome, when we know she was a deacon in Cenchreae (near Corinth)? Whom did she meet in Rome, and what were the stories of how they became part of the vibrant Church there?
Phoebe’s story, and those of her friends, become wholly engaging, as do the spiritual journeys they each take, as the gospel’s invitation and challenge transforms and motivates them. And, curiously, as I read, I felt my own story develop alongside too. What was it that drew me to the Gospel? What difference has Jesus made to my life? What does it mean to be part of a Christian community?
Valerie Pitt (Associate Minister)
This Sunday we’re meeting as usual across the four congregations at Trinity, as well as continuing to serve our neighbouring parish of Belle Vue. Neville Willerton will be speaking at the 9am, CTK and 11am gatherings, whilst Charles Ruxton will be leading and speaking at Belle Vue. We’re continuing our series on Isaiah, this week coming to Isaiah 54:1-10.
In the evening we’ll be on the final week of “Made for Relationship” as Fi and Phil conclude the series together. See below for more details.
Meanwhile it looks like there will be a road closure in Meole Brace this Sunday, with Station Road being closed off just before the junction of Vicarage Road. So that means those coming from the Nuffield / Meole Brace Secondary School end will not be able to get to Church Road. Please follow the diversions which take people up Longden Road, down Roman Road, and back into Meole Village at the other end.
This Lent we’re taking a fresh look at the struggles and mistakes that every day brings. We’ll be thinking about some of the frustrations and failings that every day brings, and rather than pretending that we can always avoid them, we’ll seek to learn from them and grow closer to God through them.
We begin with an Ash Wednesday service at 6.30pm on Wednesday 22nd February. We’ll be offering our usual opportunity to pray and worship, as well as the chance to receive the imposition of ashes as a sign of our need for grace each and every day.
Then there are a variety of different ways of joining in the Lent journey:
- many have already picked up the booklet of forty daily reflections. This is also available online or via your smartbox!
- there’s also a booklet for children and families which we’ve made available
- we’ll be featuring this at our Six o’clock live gathering on Facebook, Mondays to Fridays 6pm to 6.20pm
- There’s also the accompanying book “Failure” which takes these big themes further. We sold 25 copies last Sunday, and hope to have more available this weekend. Or you can pick up a copy from Illuminate Bookshop in town.
We’ll then be having one extra gathering each week, taking one of these themes a bit further. The website will be updated early next week with details of each of these.
You may have seen last week’s decision by General Synod to enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing. These next days will give greater time and space to unpack something of what this means, how to keep in step with the Spirit – and with each other – when there are some significant disagreements and potential splits in the life of the Church of England. Please do pray for all of us involved in these at a local, diocesan and national level.
Here at Trinity we continue to build up a suite of resources online, including recording of recent talks by Fi on “Identity” and by Phil on ‘sex and sexuality.’ This Sunday (19th February) we’re also hosting an informal Q&A session around these themes, so after our 6.30pm service we’ll continue the conversation, listen to each other, and reflect together.
There’s something really important about finding ways of saying “count me in” to God and to the life of the Church. We’d love to help people to do that. On Easter Day (9th April) we’re offering a chance for adults / young people to be baptised or to renew their baptism vows. Then on Sunday 18th June Bishop Michael, the Bishop of Lichfield, will be with us with the possibility of people being confirmed.
We’ve recently updated our marketing leaflet etc at the Trinity Centre. It’s a reminder of our invitation to ‘inspirational meetings, beautiful celebrations and exceptional value’ in all that we do.
We have frozen the fee for a child’s party for the third year running, and reckon that our prices remain very competitive. And the good news is that as a church member you not only receive 10% discount on a child’s party booking (making this excellent value for money!), but also you would receive 10% on any booking you make including those you make for your workplace or leisure group.
The Trinity Centre is a wonderful venue for a retreat, staff meeting or training event so why not suggest us to your colleagues for your next gathering, and make full use of your church member discount? We also have enhanced IT capacity in the upstairs rooms (perfect for IT training), and great spaces for consultations on an ad-hoc basis (perfect if you are booking rooms in response to appointments).
More details? Call Helen Hinton on 01743 242660, or email to chat about your event. We would love to welcome you!
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