The benefice comprises four adjacent parishes: Farleigh, The Candovers with Bradley, Northington and Wield. The parish of Farleigh has four churches; Cliddesden, Dummer, Ellisfield and Farleigh Wallop. The parish of The Candovers with Bradley has three churches; Preston Candover, Brown Candover and Bradley.
The parishes together form the benefice of Farleigh, Candover and Wield which is served by two full time Priests: the Rector, David Chattell who takes primary responsibility for the Parishes of The Candovers with Bradley, Northington and Wield and the Assistant Rector, Stephen Mourant who has primary responsibility for the Parish of Farleigh.
Parish Prayer/Bible Reading Diary
The December 28th - February 14th edition is now available. We include prayers for our communities, those in need, and some of our regular church events across the benefice.
I know many were pleased to see the end of last year as the chapter of 2020 closed but of course nothing really changes just because the earth has completed another orbit around the sun! Our hope is that COVID-19 will be controlled through the new vaccine as the vaccination program is rolled out over the next months and that we can enjoy unrestricted lives again.
As we marked 2020’s end, reflecting on the extraordinary year our nation and indeed our world has had, we may have wondered how things can recover in the future? Perhaps we pondered the passing of time as lockdown changed our lives and philosophised on the bigger questions of life about purpose and meaning as we faced futility and frustrations? We measure out our lives allotting time to our work obligations in years for income’s sake, in days when planning a holiday and seconds if we are heating food in a microwave.
The digital world in phones and computers runs on clocks which divide the second into billionths and in each billionth of a second something happens in a computer’s microprocessor. But however we measure time it still passes and we have less of it and with the passing of time regrets often come following on.
As Rob Parsons of Care for the Family (great website) asks this question, “If the two thieves of joy are a hankering after a perfect past and a yearning for a change of some kind in the future, what have they stolen from us?
He answers, they steal our only opportunity to find fulfilment, happiness and peace – they steal today.”
Someone said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present.”
One of the prayers that we sometimes use in a funeral service says,
“You are tender towards your children and your mercy is over all your works.
Heal the memories of hurt and failure.
Give us the wisdom and grace to use aright the time that is left to us on earth,
to turn to Christ and follow in his steps in the way that leads to everlasting life.”
Let’s not live with regret but live with the one who gives eternal life. Only days ago we sang carols of One called the Light of the World so that those who ‘sit in darkness’, of any kind, might receive illuminating, focus giving light. So, what might we see in this light?
We see the glory of God in Jesus Christ, love, compassion, justice and mercy, we see that in God there is the greatest clarity about life and that despite the past, in God, there is hope for our future.
But with the announcement of Jesus as light, came an observation that people deliberately rejected the light as “their deeds were evil”. Perhaps we sympathise with that as who wants every thought, word and deed exposed? But God shines his light for health reasons! Jesus came to make it possible for change within the human heart, there is power in prayer in his name that God answers and things change! Perhaps you saw this amazing article on the BBC news site, “Burnley's Pastor Mick - from dangerous drug dealer to lifesaver”
Mick, about to shoot a man, saw a blinding light that stopped him in his tracks, the rest is history as it was the beginning of God’s work in his life for change, healing and freedom from many things.
We, hopefully, may not be violent like that, but still have the power to harm others with our actions and words….
Here is a little prayer you may like to use; Dear God, I would like 2021 to be different and better, less regrets and more hope. Please shine your light in my heart, and with your light and power remove darkness and may the light of Christ lead me this year. Amen.