Appointment of a Healthy Churches Mentor

Posted on the 1st June 2020 in the category Announcements


Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

‘Whit Monday’ 2020

 

Appointment of a Healthy Churches Mentor for the parishes of the See of Ebbsfleet

 

On 5 March 2016 the Ebbsfleet Lay Congress at Coventry Cathedral was addressed by the then Archdeacon Missioner in the Diocese of Coventry, Morris Rodham, who talked about strategies for church growth and evangelization, and especially about the 8 Essential Qualities which underpinned a programme for Growing Healthy Churches that he had introduced, very successfully, across the Diocese of Coventry. That same day was also addressed by Bishop Rowan Williams, on the theme of ‘Growing the Catholic Community’.

 

Subsequently Archdeacon Morris proposed to make the programme available to parishes across the See of Ebbsfleet too. With Bishop Jonathan’s support the Diocese of Coventry included the See of Ebbsfleet in a funding bid to the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund, which obtained funding for a full-time post to undertake the work of supporting Ebbsfleet parishes in the aspiration to grow the church using the Healthy Churches Programme.

 

At last the scheme can begin, and Bishop Jonathan is delighted to announce that The Reverend Canon Gary Ecclestone SSC has been appointed to this new role available to the parishes under his oversight.

 

Fr Gary has been Vicar of Hanslope & Castlethorpe in the Diocese of Oxford since 2003 and is Area Dean of Newport. He is no stranger to the wider Ebbsfleet Area having been born and brought up in Lichfield diocese, came to faith as a student in Exeter diocese, completed a PGCE living in Truro diocese, trained for ordination in Oxford diocese, and served his title in Salisbury diocese:  all dioceses in the area served by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

 

Fr Gary’s role will include supporting and mentoring incumbents across the Ebbsfleet area, working with PCCs and key lay people to reflect on the wider life and health of their church communities, introducing the 8 Essential Qualities and supporting parishes in surveying their church life, identifying both things to celebrate as well as areas for future development, and helping implement the Society Bishops’ agenda of ‘Forming Missionary Disciples’.  He will be part of a network with others in the Catholic movement who are engaged locally in similar roles 

 

Fr Gary says, “I am hugely excited, albeit slightly trepidatious, at being called to this new post which will take me to a hugely diverse set of parishes from the Fal Estuary in Cornwall, to the very north of Derbyshire. I hope I can bring with me a genuine enthusiasm and passion for growing the church and I am really looking forward to working with priest colleagues and committed lay people, as together we look to take stock of where we are, and discern what the Spirit might be saying to the local Church in each context.”

 

Bishop Jonathan says, “I am delighted that the efforts and creativity of so many colleagues in the dioceses Coventry and Oxford and the Strategic Investment Board have made this role available to those under my oversight; and I encourage parishes and clergy to embrace it with joy. I’m even more pleased that Fr Gary, who is both a faithful and creative parish priest, is to be the colleague who will share this aspect of my own ministry for and with them. This appointment could not have come at a more opportune moment as the future opens up before us in an unexpected way. It is clear now, as we contemplate life beyond the pandemic, that whatever lies ahead in the design of God for his Church, she has to be herself, serving God, living out all the Gospel reveals. For that, Christians, and Christian communities, need to grow in confidence and holiness, as well as in number from every age group. I look forward to making the most of the time we have with Fr Gary in this role, and thank him for taking it on.  May the Virgin Mary, ‘mother of the Church’, accompany with her prayers the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel to the people of our time.”


Healthy Churches Mentor for the See of Ebbsfleet


Novena - Pentecost

Posted on the 31st May 2020 in the category Resources


PENTECOST


The Coming of the Holy Spirit Acts 2.1-4 

 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

 

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

 

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

 

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability

 

 

Sequence Verse

10       Here thy grace and virtue send:

Grant salvation to the end,

And in heav’n felicity. 

 

Amen  Alleluia!

 

 

Closing prayer

Grant Lord, that by your Holy Spirit present in us to give life and between us to give unity, we may know those things we have the power of Christ to do in our daily lives, and, knowing them, we may do them, for your glory.  Amen. 

 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore.  Amen.


2020 Novena of the Holy Spirit


Novena - Day Nine

Posted on the 30th May 2020 in the category Resources


DAY NINE        SATURDAY 30 MAY

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Opening Prayer

‘Close your eyes to all the noises of the world, enter into your soul, then say’:

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me; and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will.

 

Sequence Verse

9         Fill thy faithful, who confide

In thy power to guard and guide,

With thy sevenfold mystery.

 

Scripture Passage

Hope carries us forward        Romans 8.22-27 

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves: we who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen isn’t hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 

Reflection and Response

The Spirit is a generous ‘down payment’ which God himself has given us ahead of time and at the same time guarantee of our future inheritance (cf. 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13-14).

 

R./   Renew your wonders, Lord, in the Church of today, and in each one of us, ‘as by a new Pentecost’.  Lord, hear my prayer.

 

Intercession

Pray for Ebbsfleet affiliated clergy and parishes in the Diocese of Salisbury

 

Closing prayer

O Heavenly King, O Advocate, Spirit of Truth, you who are everywhere present, filling all things; Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life;  come and dwell in us,  cleanse us from all impurity, and, O Good One, save our souls.  Amen.


2020 Novena of the Holy Spirit


Novena - Day Eight

Posted on the 29th May 2020 in the category Resources


DAY EIGHT FRIDAY 29 MAY

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Opening Prayer

‘Close your eyes to all the noises of the world, enter into your soul, then say’:

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me; and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will.

 

Sequence Verse

8         Make the stubborn heart unbend;

To the faint new hope extend,

Wounded souls, their hurt allay.

 

Scripture Passage

Spiritual worship is a living sacrifice Romans 12.1-3, 9-10 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.

 

Reflection and Response

The Holy Spirit influences not only a Christian's actions but his or her very being. In fact, he says that the Spirit of God dwells in us (cf. Rom 8:9; 2 Cor 3:16) and that ‘God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts’ (Gal 4:6).

 

R./   Renew your wonders, Lord, in the Church of today, and in each one of us, ‘as by a new Pentecost’.  Lord, hear my prayer.

 

Intercession

Pray for Ebbsfleet affiliated clergy and parishes in the Diocese of Oxford

 

Closing prayer

O Heavenly King, O Advocate, Spirit of Truth, you who are everywhere present, filling all things; Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life;  come and dwell in us,  cleanse us from all impurity, and, O Good One, save our souls.  Amen.


2020 Novena of the Holy Spirit


Novena - Day Seven

Posted on the 28th May 2020 in the category Resources


DAY SEVEN    THURSDAY 28 MAY

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Opening Prayer

‘Close your eyes to all the noises of the world, enter into your soul, then say’:

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me; and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will.

 

Sequence Verse

7         Sinful hearts do thou make whole

Bring to life the arid soul,

Guide the feet that go astray.

 

Scripture Passage

One Spirit begets one body         1 Corinthians 12.13-14, 18-20, 24b-26 31

In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.

God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.

God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.

 

Reflection and Response

When Paul lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit, mentions love first: ‘love, joy, peace,’ etc. (Gal 5:22). Love unifies; and the Spirit is above all creator of the Body of Christ, communion, within the Christian community. 

 

R./   Renew your wonders, Lord, in the Church of today, and in each one of us, ‘as by a new Pentecost’.  Lord, hear my prayer.

 

Intercession

Pray for Ebbsfleet affiliated clergy and parishes in the Diocese of Lichfield

 

Closing prayer

O Heavenly King, O Advocate, Spirit of Truth, you who are everywhere present, filling all things; Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life;  come and dwell in us,  cleanse us from all impurity, and, O Good One, save our souls.  Amen.


2020 Novena of the Holy Spirit


 

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