By Martin Gibson

Here is the link to join the Sunday and Wednesday services of Holy Communion (10:00am):

ttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/4847949535?pwd=K0ZTK2h6QjRHTk8rbWZBdlh6cDQ2QT09

Meeting id: 484 794 9535 Passcode: 700999

The ALPHA course is held on Monday evenings, starting at 8.30pm. The link immediately above here is the one to use for anyone wishing to join.

The PCC met yesterday. Among matters discussed were the Church Tower restoration and activities during Lent. The cost of the repairs to the tower have risen by around £12,000 since last year. The PCC agreed to continue funding the shortfall, as a loan. Contracts between St Mary’s and the contractors, Centreline, should be signed next week.

Regarding Lent (which is Wednesday 17th February to Saturday 3rd April) Sue Farr showed a booklet of prayer and meditation, called LIVE LENT, the cost of which has been covered by a generous donation from a parishioner. It is available from Sue Farr – just ring.

The PCC also agreed to support the local charity 125. This Bristol based charity helps women suffering from drug and domestic abuse as well as primarily helping sex workers, many of whom are abused in different ways.

The PCC decided to work towards re-opening St Mary’s on Wednesday 10th March. This will depend very much on Government advice at that time. If, however, we can re-open, the policy of a Wednesday and Sunday Holy Communion as before will be followed.

Janet McBride was officially co-opted onto the PCC.

There are plans afoot to revamp the website. The proposal is that when anyone searches for St Mary’s or St Helen’s etc, a new page will instantly pop up. This will be the united Severnside North website. From there, all one will need to do, is to click on whichever church in the benefice you require.

Films during Lent. The Monday Movie team, together with Michael Kirby, is planning to show (online, of course) appropriate films for Lent. More details nearer the time.

Today is the Saint’s Day of Phileas of Thmuis, a 4th century Egyptian Christian and Bishop. His epistle was originally printed in 1885, the ten-volume set, Ante-Nicene Fathers, brings together the work of early Christian thinkers. In particular, it brings together the writings of the early Church fathers prior to the fourth century Nicene Creed. These volumes are noteworthy for their inclusion of entire texts, and not simply fragments or excerpts from these great writings. The translations are fairly literal, providing both readers and scholars with a good approximation of the originals. This volume harmonizes various fragmentary material. It contains the work of different authors: St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Pope Dionysius of Alexandria, Sextus Julius Africanus, St. Anatolius, Pope Peter of Alexandria, and others. These writings were heavily influential on the early Church, and for good reason, as they are inspirational and encouraging. These volumes also come with many useful notes, providing the reader with new levels of understanding. Overall, Ante-Nicene Fathers, or any part of it, is a welcome addition to one’s reading list. Not a lot of people know that!

The South Glos Council consultation regarding the possibility of extending the footpath on Old Down Hill closer towards Pool Corner, opened officially on the 1st February. Anyone wishing to make a representation should go to the Council’s website for details. The process ends on 21st February. The Parish Council is providing input on behalf of the parish.

And, of course:

The Vicar had stepped in at short notice to take the funeral. At the point where the eulogy comes around he said “I didn’t personally know the deceased. Does anyone here want to say a few words?”

After a short and awkward silence, a voice at the back said “His brother was much worse.”