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‘God is light. In him there is no darkness at all.’



Vicar’s blog: broken and beautiful Jesus tells a story about two men praying at the Temple in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee thanked God that he was a spiritual superstar; God I bless your name that I am so totally awesome! The other man, the tax collector couldn’t even bear to look in the direction of heaven, beat his chest with sorrow, and simply prayed for mercy. Consider for a moment which of these two Jesus would have the church be like, and you’ll probably quickly reject the Pharisee, and select the chest-beater; well done, there is significant truth in that. God would have us be honest, realistic about any mess that decorates our lives, and the Bible isn’t a big fan of those who exalt themselves. However the church is probably called to be the Tax Collector just a few moments later, after God has lifted him up—those who humble themselves will be exalted. For us, the story never ends on Good Friday. I mention this because to be a vicar is to see both the incredible brokenness and the incredible beauty of the church. Just read any of Paul or John’s letters

to their congregations and you will get that pastors-eye view; in fact reading 1 Corinthians is a particularly shocking experience that should put anybody off being a vicar for good. The Corinthian church was a mess with St Paul himself running it—what hope do you lot have? And 1 John 2 begins with these uplifting words…’my dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.’ Don’t sugar coat it John, tell it to us straight. Broken. But the church is also breathtakingly beautiful; a body functioning perfectly with each part valued, a building with each stone carefully placed, a light to the world. God exalts the humble church; humility is a gateway, not a dead end. It is always moving as a vicar to see endless acts of quiet faithfulness and service continually sustaining and shaping the life of the church. Beautiful. I write this with the year ahead of us as a fresh invitation to join with the imperfection and bring yours along too. Serving alongside one another, whether in a choir or on a skatepark, whether in prayer or in the café, whether in Junior Church or in a small get the picture. We aren’t called to work, we are called to each other, and then together, on our better days, we’ll be the light the world is looking for.

Abbey Diary SERVICES TODAY: JANUARY 12th 8am BCP Communion 10.30am Holy Communion 4pm Informal Worship, Junior Church & Trax 6.30pm BCP Choral Evensong EACH DAY 9am Morning Prayer TUES 14th 9.30am Women Alive! WED 15th 10.30am Holy Communion 7pm Pipeline THUR 16th 10.30am Time for a Chat 4pm Evening Prayer 7pm Choir Practice 8pm Men’s Basketball SAT 18th 10am Healing in the Streets NEXT SUNDAY: JANUARY 19th 8am BCP Communion 10.30am Holy Communion 4pm Informal Worship, Junior Church & Trax ADVANCE ABBEY DIARY Feb 11th Glory! Feb 19th- Malmesbury Abbey Skate Feb 21st 2014 April 15th Glory! April 17th Riding Lights ‘Inheritance’ April 20th Bishop Lee preaching June 2nd Glory! June 20th- Church Weekend Away June 22nd (Paul Langham & Bishop Lee) July 2nd Music for Autism July 15th WOMAD at the Abbey Aug 3rd New Wine Sep 13th Archbishop in Malmesbury

1 John 1:5-2:2 5

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.


If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Additional Reading: John 1:1-9 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

January 5 January 12 January 19 January 26

God is here God is light God is love God is not

1 John 1:1-4 1 John 1:5-2:2 1 John 2:3– 2:14 1 John 2:15-27

small group resource + 1. 2.

3. 4. 5.

What was the thing that stood out to you from Sunday’s teaching and worship? God is light. Looking back on 2013, share together when was your experience of his light at it’s most intense? Should we therefore be grateful for times of darkness? Summarise 1 John 1:5-7 in one short phrase. Also 1 John 1:8-10; and then 1 John 2:1-2. What might a person use to argue that the church is wrong, that God isn’t light, but actually God is dark? Which single sentence form our 1 John passage would you use to prove that Christians, after they are born again, can still struggle with sin? What is John’s word to us as we find ourselves in that place? How might the light come into our darkness?

daily readings MONDAY Psalm 32 1 John 1

TUESDAY Ps 119:161-end 1 John 2

WEDNESDAY Psalm 18 1 John 3

THURSDAY Psalm 33 1 John 4

FRIDAY Psalm 24 1 John 5

Junior Church Newsletter Mary Barnes, our Interim Children’s Minister writes : From January 2014 the Junior Church team will be providing a termly newsletter to keep all parents and carers up to date with the exciting and challenging things that our under 11s are getting up to in their groups. It can be hard to discover what our children are actually doing in Junior Church, especially when our questions are met with ‘don't know’, ‘I've forgotten’, ‘its a secret’, ‘tell you later’, ‘ugh mum’ type answers (or is that just in my house?!). We hope this newsletter will redress the balance! It will include overviews of what we are learning, questions and ideas to help us as parents engage with our children on a spiritual level and encourage them in their journeys of faith, key dates, expectations, and other useful bits! Watch out for it in January and e-mail to make sure you are on her e-mail circulation.

Abbey Guild Our first meeting of 2014 will take place in the King's Church, Abbey Row on Tuesday 14th January @ 2.30pm. The title being These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things where we would encourage you to bring along something special to show, and share a brief 2 minute talk on why it is precious to you. All are welcome; young and not so young, men and women.

Time for a Chat Please join us at Time for Chat. A new event taking place in the Abbey each Thursday morning from 10.30am-12noon. All welcome to come and share coffee, meet with familiar faces and make new friends. For more information please contact Revd Mandy Churcher.

Israel 2015 We are currently exploring the possibility of a 10-day Abbey trip to Israel in 2015 led by James & Ruth Cole with Neill & Marilyn Archer. Anybody interested in this is invited to meet at the Parish Office at 8pm on Monday 27th January. Attending this meeting does not commit you to anything.

Noticeboard Malmesbury Abbey Skate 2014 Hi lovely people of Malmesbury Abbey from the MAS 2014 team. February is fast approaching and it’s nearly time for Abbey Skate. Yay! The team have upped their caffeine intake and begun our detailed planning and we need your help. Are you free during the week of 17th -21st Feb 2014 during half term? We need volunteers (heroes) for set up, catering, accommodation and supervision. For more details and to sign up right now speak to Sarah McGrory, 07767744167 or Clare Cork at the Abbey Cafe. Hospitality is a key value at Malmesbury Abbey and this is great opportunity for us to work together and welcome the young people of our town and their families into the Abbey in a creative and exhilarating way. God loves them, we love them and we’re going to work hard together to show this. Why not get on board (excuse the pun!) and join in. Exhausting, exciting and a worthwhile opportunity to serve the young people of Malmesbury.

Contact ABBEY OFFICE Mon &Tues (9.30am-12noon) Weds, Thurs ,Fri, (9.30am-2.30pm) 01666 826666 Staff members can be contacted by NORMAL CAFÉ HOURS Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 9am-3pm Wednesday and Sunday: Closed all day

The 4pm, January 26th—be there! In two weeks time at 4pm we're going to be doing 'church with a twist'! There will be a 'mystery tour' for the adults, and a fab surprise for the kids, so cancel everything else in your diaries that afternoon, come with a sense of expectation to meet with God, and we will see you all in the Abbey at 4pm!

Listening to People with Dementia Two sessions led by the Acorn Christian Listening Trust on 1st and 8th March 10.30am - 1pm. An opportunity to explore listening to people with dementia. More information to follow next week but if you are interested in attending please contact Revd Mandy Churcher.



Abbey News Sheet Jan 12th