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Matthew 11. 25-30

Some time ago, Colin Cowdrey, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, died. He was known and loved all around the world, and at his memorial service, tribute to him was made by the great and the famous. But perhaps one of the most moving parts of the service was when one of his sons stepped forward to speak. The words he used came from the deep love which they shared, and he was able to talk about his father in a way which wouldn’t have been possible for anyone else.

The stories which Jesus told about God are like this. There were things about God which only Jesus knew, and he must have realised that all of the other people he met, including the priests of his time, didn’t know God in this deep and personal way.
Perhaps the closest we can get to understanding this is the awareness which we sometimes have of being united in love to someone else. Perhaps we’ve been blessed by knowing what it means to love someone so much that we can say we’re at one with them, whether they be a partner, a child or a friend. And yet this closeness is only a pale shadow of the way in which love unites Jesus, the Son and God, the Father.

Jesus spoke very clearly about the depth of his relationship to God, but in contrast we are often reluctant to do this.
Have you, for instance, ever felt frightened to talk about your experience of God, perhaps at a Bible study group?
Have you ever been in the presence of people who seemed to know so much about scripture and theology that you’ve been overawed by it all?

Take heart! It was just the same at the time of Jesus. The religious teachers whom he would have known probably spent the largest part of each day studying the Jewish Scriptures. It was believed that those who lived like this would, through their wisdom, come to know God better than anyone else.
But most ordinary men and women barely had time to earn their daily bread. Can you imagine asking someone who probably spent 12 hours each day just trying to get by, to think and talk about a fine point of scripture?

We can easily see how ordinary folk reached the conclusion that really knowing God was reserved for the special few.

But Jesus sliced through all of this. “No”, he said, “You just need to be like a little child”. Jesus came to know and love God not by studying books about him, but by living in his presence. By listening for his voice; by watching and imitating him, and by learning through experience that he could trust God never to let him down. He also discovered that, as they followed his teaching, ordinary people were beginning to know God more and more.

And so, Jesus came to see that he was himself acting as a window on to the living God. Through his teaching, through his words and through his actions people were coming to see who God “The Father” really was.

So, when we look at the teaching of Jesus we can see that his knowledge of the God whom he called” Father” was shown through a relationship which we can understand, if only faintly, by looking at our own human relationships of love. But we know, because the Son of God was so uniquely related to God, that we can only describe him as being one with the Father. And yet Jesus also teaches that God is to be known by us in this same way. How can this be? How can we become one with the Father in this unique way?

Well, let’s look at some of the things which Jesus taught.
He said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.”

“Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us.”

“Apart from me you can do nothing.”

And he said:

“I am the bread of life; whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”

Well, there can be no doubt that Jesus expects us to be a part of the unique relationship which exists between him and God. He’s also very clear as to how this can happen.

It happens when we are “in Christ”.

Inasmuch as we are “in Christ” then we know God in the same way as Jesus knows him. And so he’s given us both Word and Sacrament to form and nourish us in himself.

Perhaps sometimes we worry unduly as to whether we really are in Christ; but that’s probably a very good sign that we are. We don’t expect babies to turn into fully grown adults overnight, do we? But they’re in the human race no matter what developmental stage they’re at, and although youngsters might sometimes long for adult life, in the main they don’t doubt that they’ll get there.
And so it is with Christian growth. As we journey on towards full Christian maturity, the Holy Spirit will continually seek to form us more and more in Christ in order that through this belonging to Christ we can love and be loved by Our Heavenly Father. A love which is trusting and tender and childlike .A love which knows, without using words, that our Father would do nothing that was not for our very best.

Charles Wesley summed all of this up in the words of his hymn “Love Divine.”
Let me finish by reading two verses of that hymn to you:

“Finish, then, thy new creation, pure and spotless let us be; Let us see thy great salvation, perfectly restored in thee. Changed from glory into glory, till in Heaven we take our place. Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.”

Corpus Christi

John 6: 51-58.

We all want to be healthy, and we worry when we’re sick. So, we protect our bodies when we do things which we know might injure us; And we try to avoid cuts at all costs. If you’re like most people, you suffer when your body receives a cut.

We find it hard to think of injuring ourselves on purpose for any reason, and the sight of blood for many people is something which makes them look away.
So it’s almost impossible to think about giving our flesh for someone to eat; and it’s easy for us to imagine the reaction from those who heard the words of Jesus about eating his body.

Jesus said in the gospel passage we heard just now, that he was the “living bread that came down from heaven”. He told us that this bread is “his flesh which he would give for the life of the world” and that “whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood would have eternal life and would be raised up on the last day.”

Try to imagine the effect that such words would have had on a Jewish crowd. For them, just as for us, even thinking about eating the flesh of another person was repulsive. It was, and still is, against the Jewish Law to eat animal flesh from which the blood hasn’t been properly drained. The Jews would have found these words of Jesus absolutely horrific.

And there’s more! Jesus goes on to say that he shares God’s life in a special way and wants to bring other people into this relationship with God through sharing his own life, his own flesh and blood, with them.

To the Jews, this would have been blasphemy.

So then, how can we take these difficult words? What do they mean for our relationship with Jesus?

Well, first of all we need to realise that even modern religious practice makes use of ancient ideas.
It’s a fact that every life lives off another living thing. Many pagan religions recognised this, and would often hold sacred meals in which they thought they were sharing in the life of their god . They believed that by eating meat sacrificed to their god, they would share in their god‘s life.

And Christianity uses this kind of language as a way of understanding how believers take divine life into themselves. The beginning of St.John’s gospel tells us that at the incarnation the “Word was made flesh”.
This is the same as saying that the flesh of Christ contains God’s life for us all.

It’s easy to understand that food and life go together. Unless we eat we die. Food, symbolised by bread, which will of course eventually rot, keeps us in physical life, which as we know, ends in death. This was the bread, or manna, which Moses gave to Israel in the desert.

Living bread for the Christian Community, which is the new Israel, keeps us in a lasting life that triumphs over death. If we want lasting life we must eat this bread of life.

God the Father, gives Jesus, the bread from heaven. The work of Jesus is to give lasting life to believers. This is the work which God has given him. And our work is to believe this. Eating and drinking can be understood as taking the very life of Jesus into the centre of our hearts.
We need to saturate our hearts and our minds and our souls with Jesus, the very life of God. We need to be so filled with him that his very self becomes a part of us.

We know now that the gospel passage which we’ve just heard may be taken as a reference to Holy Communion. Bread can’t be shared until it’s broken. Wine can’t be drunk until it’s poured out. We take the bread and drink from the cup with the knowledge that it was shared with us out of love; as God’s sacrifice for us

The heavenly food is made available through the breaking and bleeding and death of Jesus. This sharing of himself is made mysteriously present in the Eucharist, and Jesus explains that through the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood, we will be raised up with him on the last day. It’s his promise to live through us as we receive him.

In the Eucharist Jesus invites us to the fullness of life that only the Son of God can give. This beginning will lead, through death to a life more glorious than anything we can imagine. Can we pass up such a love as this? Can we honestly turn away from the one who gave himself for us?

Think on these things when you come forward in a few moments, and give thanks to God for the body of Christ that keeps you in eternal life. Remember these words of Jesus:

“ My flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink.” Amen.

A Note on Gift Aid

At the end of December 2016, weekly Gift Aid envelopes were discontinued in our three parishes of Axminster, Lyme Regis and Seaton.  Our parishes now take advantage of the Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme or ‘GASDS’ which allows us to claim back tax (within certain parameters) from cash put anonymously into the plate at Mass.

Understandably there was initial concern at the change, but the administrative burden on our parish volunteers is now very much lighter as there is now no need to record an individual’s donation each week.

Bank Standing Orders:

There are advantages to our parishes for individuals to donate by ‘Gift Aid’ by Bank Standing Order (BSO).  With the GASDS plate arrangement, there is an annual ceiling figure per parish above which tax cannot be claimed, so Parish Gift-Aid Organizers (and our Treasurer) would be happy to discuss Gift Aid with anyone who would like to become a donor in their own right. Our Gift-Aid contacts are:

Axminster – Peter Porteous
Lyme Regis – Mike Hamerton
Seaton – Tom and Julie Dunnon

Our Treasurer – Monica Watts-Hunt

Please see one of the above if you would like to become a Gift Aid donor through Bank Standing Order.

There is a new envelope for One-Off Gift Aid Donations

These envelopes will be held by the Parish Gift Aid parish contacts for the strict purpose of collecting ‘one-off’ donations from donors who are not registered in the parishes for Gift Aid. The occasions when these envelopes might be used are by visitors to the parish or for donations during special services such as a wedding. The envelopes are accountable to HMRC so our Parish contacts are briefed to give them out and collect them back for counting .

If you have any query concerning Gift Aid, please contact your church contact as above after Mass or call the Axminster presbytery office (number on the website).

Trinity Sunday

Have you ever met someone who’s in love with themselves? Someone who thinks they’re the best thing since sliced bread? Someone who thinks that the world just couldn’t do without them? I have, and I expect you’ve met people like that, too. They’re not really very pleasant because they love themselves so much that they never have time for anyone else. They can’t give love away, because they don’t have any left over. All very sad really, because they don’t actually know the meaning of love at all.

But I expect you’ve also met other people who really love someone else very much. Maybe you do. Perhaps your husband or wife, or a special friend. And in this case, if your love is one hundred per cent you’ll always put them first.
One of the things about love like this, about real love, is that it just can’t exist unless it’s shared with someone else. And when you’re very close to another person like this you often know what they’re thinking before they actually say anything. Two people in love really do, as the song says, “become one”.

When two people are in love, one of them never takes first place over the other. Real lovers are equals because love never tries to control or to take charge. Love always accepts the other person for what he or she is, and is always looking for ways to grow. A good example of this is a man and woman who give themselves to each other in love. And if a child is born out of this love, it’s almost as if the baby is the love, in person, which the two people have for each other.
We could say that the two people who’ve become one in their love, share that oneness with the new independent life which comes from, but is at the same time, a part of it.

I don’t know whether you’ve ever seen that old Michael Cain film “Alfie”; but the theme tune goes: “What’s it all about, Alfie?”.
And that’s quite a good question for all of us to ask ourselves. What’s it all about? Why are we here? Do we just live for a few years and then die? What’s the point of it all? The big question is “Why is there something instead of nothing?”
An atheist would say that the whole universe is really meaningless and there’s no point at all to our existence.
But most people don’t believe this. Most people believe that God created the universe, and then, the next big question is; “Why would God do that?”
Well, we know from our own experience that real love is just about the strongest force there is. And because God is responsible for all that is, then he must be totally soaked in love.

But, just a minute; we said just now that real love can’t exist in one person by themselves, and so in a way which is really beyond our understanding we have to say that this one God is somehow a family of love in himself. Christians summarise all of this by speaking of the love of God as being shared between God as Father and God as Son, and they go on to say that the love which the Father and the Son have for each other finds expression through the Holy Spirit. A third person in this community of love which we call God.

This one God is always trying to grow his love and to draw everything into the relationship which is the heart of his being. That’s why through the Holy Spirit He created the Universe. That’s why , through the Holy Spirit, the Son of God took human flesh and came into our world as Jesus of Nazareth.
If you read your Bible you’ll realise that Jesus knew he was one with God the Father; united in love which let him share the very mind of God. He knew that God wanted to bring everything that He’d created into a sharing of His life of love. Everything , including all of us here this morning. That’s the Good News, the Gospel, which Jesus taught.

We are all the product of God’s love. We are all very precious to Him. He loves us all equally and doesn’t have any favourites.
God became man in Jesus, so that in Jesus we could become joined to God. That’s the meaning of the love of God.
A love which is so big that He gives Himself away to us in Jesus so that our lives might become one with His. So that we might actually share in His divinity. So that through the Holy Spirit we might share in the love which the Father and the Son have for each other.

So that we might share in the love of the Holy Trinity whose special day we are remembering at this Mass.   Amen.

Pentecost

Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, and we rejoice at that great outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the first followers of Jesus. An event which is often referred to as the Church’s birthday.

But for reasons which will soon become obvious, I’m going to begin by taking you back to the Feast of the Ascension; a Feast which we celebrated just a week ago.

Now, one of the most important things about the Ascension is that it teaches us something new about heaven. It teaches us that because Jesus took it there, our human nature is always in the presence of God

 And today, as a result of Pentecost, as a result of the coming of the Holy Spirit in this new way, God’s life is also made permanently present through human life. So you see, Ascension and Pentecost actually go together. They link the human with the divine; in both directions, so to speak.

This means that being religious, or knowing Jesus, can have nothing to do with an escape from all of the messes and muddles which are such a large part of being human. Some people may think they know Jesus because they come to church, have warm feelings and act in a very religious way. But if they also live their life by behaving badly to other people, then I’m afraid their behaviour shows them to be sadly mistaken, because one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus present  to us through other men and women.

It was the departure of Jesus that made possible the coming of the Holy Spirit; and  what the Holy Spirit makes present is done on an entirely human level.  The Holy Spirit, the Spirit that was in Christ, constantly makes Jesus present to each of us and continues Christ’s work through us.

Think about this for a moment; we’re agents of the Holy Spirit. He channels the words and actions of Jesus, through us; but they originate in Jesus.

 So the real work of Christian witness is the task of the Holy Spirit. In a very real sense when a Christian person is moved to Christian action, this is the Holy Spirit at work. Christ walks into hospitals, homes and prisons today, wearing your skin and talking with your voice.  Everything that Christ did for his disciples the Holy Spirit will do for us.

Just as Christ taught, corrected and encouraged his disciples, so the Holy Spirit teaches, strengthens and corrects us.

 We know the Holy Spirit, we know Jesus, as a result of the way in which he changes our lives. The Holy Spirit becomes joined to us in a very real way, so that through us Christ continues his work.

Now, much of what we hear about the Holy Spirit has to do with dramatic things. Signs and wonders. Tongues of fire and ecstatic experiences, and I don’t want to suggest that these aren’t important.

You may or you may not be blessed in this way. This may be one way in which the Holy Spirit shows Himself in your life. But please don’t worry if this isn’t your experience, because it’s more important to be able to recognise the Holy Spirit who brings Christ, by the effects that take place in your life.

Do you remember Jesus said something very similar about the Holy Spirit in a conversation which he had with Nicodemus?  He made the point that we learned things about the wind by looking at the results of a storm. He was also making the point that we should recognise the activity of the Spirit by the results of his work.

And the way in which the Spirit works is by using all of those ordinary things which are available to us. Our powers of reasoning, for example, which include the ability which we’ve been given to listen and to learn.

He’ll  also use  other Christian men and women by giving them gifts of teaching and preaching and advice. Some people are used by the Spirit as channels  through which He’ll draw us closer to Him through music or art or loving concern. But again and again his communications with us are through other human beings.

I’ve laboured this point because it’s very common for us to want to think that religious experiences are all about getting away from the ordinary things of every -day life, and soaring into the heavenly realms to be close to the Lord and away from all the dreary common stuff.

The tragedy is that this is actually a mistake, because it’s quite easy to be religious without necessarily being a Christian.

 Think for a  moment. God’s most amazing revelation of Himself was through the humanity of Jesus. Wouldn’t it therefore be quite likely that He’d use the Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, within the ordinary bits of His creation. Bits like me and you?

And so, don’t worry if you don’t speak in tongues , or if when people ask you whether you’ve  been born again, you feel that you don’t really understand them.

 The thing to worry about is when any warm feelings  you might have about knowing Jesus become a substitute for his work. Work which will always bring you closer to the common and messy things of everyday life. The sick, the suffering, the poor and those on the margins. Worry when the most important thing about your Christian life is the way in which you worship rather than the way in which you treat other people.

God will keep His promises made through Jesus about the presence and the work of The Holy Spirit. My prayer is that our eyes and our ears may be opened to His presence and work all around us and through us; for that is where he is and what he does.

Ascension Day

All of you will have heard of Albert Einstein. And what I’m about to remind you of comes directly from his famous theory of special relativity.

Imagine two identical twins. One of them sets off on a space journey and returns after two years of space travel at almost the speed of light. He’ll be exactly two years older. But his twin who stayed behind on earth will have aged by thirty years. Weird but true. We think of time as existing in chunks, but that’s only the way we perceive it. A physicist will speak of the space-time continuum. Time slows down if you’re travelling fast. And before you tell me that we can’t travel that fast, let me remind you that the Heidron collider can accelerate sub atomic particles to almost the speed of light. And whilst we’re talking about sub atomic particles, did you know that something as small as an electron can disappear from one place and reappear in another without going through the space which separates the two places? This is a fact, and much of our modern science is built on so called “quantum weirdness”

We live in a really strange universe, and indeed, some scientists have suggested that our universe is just one of an infinite number of parallel universes.

The power behind all of this must be way beyond our ability to understand ; and it’s this power which we call God.

So all this talk about rising from the dead and ascending into heaven isn’t perhaps as weird as it might seem, once you set those gospel reports alongside the weird stuff which science now takes as routine.

But why would God bring Jesus through death and then move him from this world into what is commonly called “heaven”? And where is heaven? Did Jesus take off like a space ship and zoom away until he got there? I don’t think so.

Let me remind you what, as Christians, we believe; it makes a lot of sense especially of the mess which we all seem to be in.

Love is the most powerful force there is. We know this from our own experience. So whatever else God is he’s a God of love. He created us as an expression of his love because love always expands. He created us in His own image in order to reflect His love back to him and onto everything in creation; and we’ve failed. All of us.

But God never gives up. He’s shown us in the resurrection of Jesus that he’s quite capable of creating a new person from the old one. The same stuff but also different. That’s what all those stories about the resurrection of Jesus are trying to tell us. And this new creation will never die.

Where did Jesus go as a result of the Ascension? Well, the universe which we live in is pretty strange and God’s heaven is linked to it. It’s very close, just beyond our perception, but it’s there all right and the Ascension tells us that God’s dimension of reality is open to human beings. Jesus has taken our humanity there. One day heaven and earth will be joined together. There will be no more death, decay , suffering or tears. We shall all rise from death and our hope is that God’s mercy will let us enjoy the beauty of heaven forever. 

Some theologians have taught that in the Ascension Christ moves from a human place to a divine place without ceasing to be human.  Just as he didn’t cease to be divine when he moved the other way to his human place, through the incarnation.  

And so, a novelty has been introduced into heaven.  And that novelty is our human nature. This whole movement places our humanity in the presence of God.  It’s a glorification not only of Christ, but of all human nature.  Christianity teaches that human life draws its dignity not from any particular rights which we think are due to us, but from the fact that because of the Ascension of Jesus , being human was from then on permanently involved in the presence of God. 

It has been said that because of the Ascension we can think of the human race as like a person standing in water up to the neck, safely living because the head is above the surface. This is a good thought; Christ the Head, giving  life to those who remain below.  Christ is now raised above the heavens, but he still experiences on earth, whatever sufferings we, his members feel. 

Christ, while in heaven, is also with us .  And we, while on earth  are also with him.  He is with us in his God head and his power and his love.  He didn’t leave heaven when he came down to us from God; and he didn’t leave us when he ascended to heaven again. 

“Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

May God bless us all to that end.

Amen

Biography – Fr. Anthony

Fr Anthony attended Grammar School in Bristol before reading for a BSc in Chemistry at Leeds University. He remained at Leeds for a post-graduate year in order to study chemical engineering and fuel science, and was subsequently appointed as a process engineer within the Gas Industry.

Town gas production stopped after the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea, and after a year or so in customer service work Fr Anthony returned to University in order to qualify as a teacher. He taught chemistry and mathematics at a College of Further Education and did some occasional teaching in a local prison. A full time appointment as an Education Officer in a Young Offender Institution was followed by a secondment to Birmingham University to read for a Master’s degree in the Psychology of Education. Work with boys whose learning difficulties were associated with emotional and behavioural problems followed, and it was whilst he was Deputy Head at a special boarding school that Fr Anthony asked that his vocation to ordained ministry be tested. He gained a Theology degree from Exeter University and was subsequently ordained as an Anglican deacon and then priest. He served his Anglican title at St Gregory’s church in Seaton as assistant curate to Revd Tim Schofield before being appointed as an assistant chaplain at Wonford Hospital.

The last six years of his Anglican Ministry were spent as a Team Vicar in the Rectorial Benefice of Aberavon (Port Talbot), before returning to live in Seaton.

The decision to leave the Church of England was made shortly afterwards, and both Fr Anthony and Susan, his wife, were received into the Church of Rome at the same time. Three years of part time formation at Allen Hall Seminary followed, during which time Msgr Mark O’Toole was Rector. Fr Anthony was ordained deacon by Bishop Mark on 2 March 2014 and priest on 21 June in the same year. He was incardinated into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and shortly afterwards began to work as a part time assistant Catholic Chaplain at HMP Exeter.

In August of 2016 he was asked if he would help as a permanent supply priest at Axminster, Seaton and Lyme Regis following the sad death of Fr Michael Koppel, and in March of this year, with the agreement of his Ordinary, Msgr Keith Newton, Bishop Mark appointed Fr Anthony as parish priest.

Fr Anthony has two grown up sons and two small grandsons who are the delight of his life. He believes there should be a seamless join between liturgical and pastoral work and to that end he puts great emphasis on sharing in the joys and the sorrows of those amongst whom he has been placed.

In-Council 7 Oct 2017

Notes of the Parish in Council meeting held at 10.30 am on Saturday 7th October 2017 at St Mary’s School, Axminster

Present: Father Anthony, Sister Margaret McElroy, Philip Mostyn (Chair/Lyme), Jenny Gale (Secretary/Axminster), Michelle Sullivan (Axminster/Catechesis), Monica Watts-Hunt (Administration), Peter Porteous (Communication), Theresa Dicker (Evangelisation).

Parishioners: David Gale, Jeny Butler, Pippa Brough, Dermot Lyons, Mervyn Aggett, Pat Aggett, Tony Norman, Vicky Norman, Mary Hart, Diana Mostyn, Jo Enright, Matthew Tompkins.

Apologies: Jane Godfrey.

1. Welcome: Philip opened the meeting, welcomed everyone, and explained that this annual opportunity should be focussed mainly on the future.

2. Opening Prayer and Introduction: Father Anthony started the meeting with a prayer

3. The Past Year:

Overview:

Philip briefly reviewed how a year ago we were under temporary parish administration, under the leadership of Canon Paul, whose lasting legacy has been the evangelisation programme that Theresa is now successfully coordinating. In April we had Fr Anthony’s Induction, marking the turn of a tide for us, and the end of our uncertainty. In August Tony Thurgood retired from the Council after many years, and Fr Anthony appointed Theresa.

The School:

Father Anthony explained that John Shannon is the new Head teacher for 2 terms. He is Catholic, with the proven ability to lead and, despite a broken leg, his presence and confidence are showing. Father Anthony is working with him and the non-Catholic teachers to implement the Diocesan RE scheme. There are also plans for school and class Masses to be held in Church. There is a new complement of governors and very positive developments since last year.

Communication:

Peter reported on the magazine and website. There was discussion about the circulation of the magazine. 300 copies are currently produced (100 for each Church) funded by the adverts. More may be needed for distribution to school parents, and they should also be handed out at the end of our masses, rather than left in boxes at the back of churches. Copies are left in surgery waiting rooms and it was suggested that some should be left in tourist information centres. There is no room for more ads, but a larger print run and wider distribution might attract higher advert charges, and a falling unit cost. Praise was given for the excellent website, which is updated weekly, and Father and Claire control the bulletin. Action: Peter to update on the magazine distribution at the next meeting.

Administration:

Monica reported that the parish accounts are displayed in the churches. Financially we are stable but not growing, kept afloat by investments. In summer we benefit from visitors, especially Seaton and Lyme. On the building side there is always maintenance which is particularly expensive at Lyme as it is a listed building. Following a full survey at Lyme, re-pointing and other work is necessary which could cost £300,000 including scaffolding. The Diocese will help and some grants may be available. A digital locking system is about to be put at the car park entrance to Lyme. In the Seaton church it is hoped to return the tabernacle to behind the altar. In Axminster there is still decoration and lighting work to be done in the church.

4. The Future:

Evangelisation:

Theresa described how, after fruitful meetings of sharing their faith and an emphasis on listening to others, the next stage is to explore and share personal opportunities for helping people come closer to God. There will be meetings on the first Tuesday of each month in the Lyme old school room, to which all are welcome, hopefully with a second facilitator to support Theresa (volunteer required).

Axminster Memorial and Organ Concert:

Jenny Gale announced that the memorial plaque to Father Michael is now in place on the organ and the Concert is arranged for Friday 13th October. Posters have been displayed in the churches, school and other places.

Christmas Mass times and places:

Fr Anthony explained that this year is complicated by the Fourth Sunday in Advent falling on Christmas Eve. Masses will be as follows: Sat 23rd Mass at Seaton at 5.30pm. Sun 24th Masses at Axminster at 9am and Lyme at 11am. These are 4th Sunday of Advent masses, and are followed by the Christmas Vigil Mass at Axminster at 7.30pm (preceded by Carols at 7pm) and Christmas Mass during the Night at Lyme at 11pm (no carols before). Christmas Day Masses will be at Seaton at 9am and at Lyme at 11am. Action: Claire please publish this in the bulletin soon as advanced information.

Easter Triduum attendance and music:

There were disappointing attendances at the Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. The Three Parish Easter Vigil will be held at Axminster with a combined choir and Richard playing the organ. Each parish will continue host the other services as usual. Action: Philip to organise the Easter Vigil music and combined choir.
Bidding Prayers. It is felt that there is some general uncertainty from some readers about phrasing, and a wish to pray for local and world issues that the printed book cannot include. Matt Tomkins coordinates Lyme readers and will be clarifying duties to them. His offer to compose topical prayers was accepted, and he agreed to copy emails to Seaton and Axminster Reader coordinators. Action: Monica and Michelle please explain to Seaton and Axminster Reader coordinators respectively, and pass email addresses to Matt Tompkins through Philip.

Use of the Axminster Presbytery:

Fr Anthony suggested that the ground floor should henceforth be available for parish activities, administration and meetings, etc. The first floor rooms should, in the long term be converted to a two bedroom apartment for a future priest. In the short term they would be partitioned off and locked for occasional use only. Other uses for the ground floor were suggested, including for a mother and tots group, and perhaps wider Christian activities. Children’s liturgy and parish meetings could use it from now.

Other Parishioners’ matters:

Interviews will be taking place during the next two weeks for an additional secretary to work with Claire which will enable her concentrate more on finances. Music and Latin during Mass were discussed and it is evident that people have different views. Philip explained some of the current Church direction on music.

5. Conclusion.

Father Anthony closed the meeting with the ‘Our Father’.

The meeting closed at 12.35.