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‘Where can you get this living water?’



7th-20th April

Vicar’s blog: baptism The great turning point in my life spiritually was somebody else’s baptism. Three years at a left-wing, modern university and a childhood in the Church of England had convinced me entirely of the non-existence of God. So when Marilyn and I had 8lbs of screaming called Sally Anne Archer suddenly placed in our lives there was absolutely no way the kid was being Christened; in fact you wouldn’t get me into church again, unless you paid me. (And, as I worked as a singer, I was frequently paid to sing in church.) If God had a plan at this point, and my theological understanding now causes me to believe that He did, it was this: as a general rule husbands do what their wives tell them. So not long after declaring that no child of mine was going to be baptised I found myself sitting in a baptism class at my local church surrounded by horrendous smiling people, in atrocious sweaters, serv-

ing instant coffee. In a very ordinary, naffly-carpeted room, a pretty unimpressive presentation of the Christian faith was inflicted on all those gathered and then after a final prayer the victims were released back into the wild. Marilyn turned to me at the end and asked me this question: ‘what did you make of that?’ And her atheist husband looked her in the eye and said: ‘well it all seems true to me.’ Mmmm. In John 3 Jesus says to Nicodemus you don’t see wind. It comes from somewhere, breezes through you, and blows on. And He says so it is with the Spirit of God. Sometimes the Spirit breezes through and leaves holy chaos in the life of an individual—it’s as if they’ve jumped back in the womb and been born again. Suddenly I believed in the virgin birth, the death of Christ on the cross for the salvation of humanity, the resurrection and the ascension. Suddenly I stopped swearing and blaspheming and gave up my life of crime. (Actually, I had no life of crime, but the story is so much more dramatic that way.) And nine years later I was ordained in the Church of England. That was some breeze. Today is a really good day as Sophie, Agatha and Matilda are being baptised at the Abbey, at 10.30am. But a warning to you all—God is in the room.

Abbey Diary THIS SUNDAY: MARCH 23rd 8am BCP Communion 10.30am Morning Prayer & Baptisms 4pm All-age Communion EACH DAY 9am Morning Prayer TUES 25th 9.30am Women Alive! 7.30pm Parenting Course WED 26th 10.30am Holy Communion In Le Flambé THUR 27th 10.30am Time for Chat 4pm Evening Prayer 7pm Choir Practice SAT 29th 10am Healing in the Streets 7.30pm Malmesbury Singers NEXT SUNDAY: MOTHERING SUNDAY 8am BCP Communion 10.30am Holy Communion 4pm Informal Worship & Junior Church activities ADVANCE ABBEY DIARY April 7th Labyrinth opens April 8th Stations of the Cross begins April 12th Josh Flowers & the Wild April 14th Phantom of the Opera April 15th Glory! April 16th God & Dinosaurs 2 April 17th Riding Lights ‘Inheritance’ April 18th Fauré’s Requiem April 19th BBC Wiltshire Easter Service April 20th Bishop Lee preaching April 27th Vision Sunday/AGM June 3rd Glory! June 20/22 Church Weekend Away July 2nd Music for Autism

John 4:1-26 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptising more disciples than John – 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptised, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’ 11 ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’ 13

Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’


He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ 17 ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’

daily readings MONDAY Psalm 5 John 6:60-70

TUESDAY Psalm 111 John 7:1-13

WEDNESDAY Psalm 38 John 7:14-52

THURSDAY Psalm 56 John 8:12-30

FRIDAY Psalm 22 John 8:31-59


‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’ 21 ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’ 25

The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ 26 Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you – I am he.’

Additional Reading: Romans 5:1-11

small group resource + 1.




The ancient Athanasian Creed of the church declares that Jesus Christ is both of his Father, perfect God, before the worlds, and born of his earthly mother, perfect man, born of the world. Which verse in the John 4 passage might you use to show that Jesus was fully man? And which to show that Jesus understood himself to be divine? Read these two short passages from Paul: 1 Corinthians 13:12 and Philippians 2:6-11? Did Jesus see through ‘a glass darkly’ ‘but a poor reflection’ like the rest of us? How did Jesus ‘see’ as he describes in John 5:19 and what is he doing in John 4:16-18? See verse 9. ‘God is relentlessly trying to break down barriers between us and people we don’t associate with.’ Do you agree? Who do you least associate with? How does Jesus break down the barrier with the Samaritan woman? Is the living water (verse 10) that Jesus describes simply an illustration for a woman at a well, a profound theological understanding, or a spiritual experience? Does it beg a response from us in some way?

Posies on Mothering Sunday Message from Diana Crowe: We would like to have posies to give out at the services on Mothering Sunday, and I need a willing team to put these together as well as donations of flowers and some greenery. I suggest a workshop in the Abbey on Saturday morning, 29 March, from 9.30am to midday. Please let me know if you can help in any way, so that I can see if the exercise will be workable. Diana Crowe 01666 825470/07805793687 or leave a note in the 'Wardens' pigeon hole or with the Stewards.

Vision Sunday/AGM Our annual Vision Sunday and Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday April 27th. There will be a Festival Communion at 11am, a picnic lunch together and then the Annual Meeting from 1.30pm-2.30pm. During that meeting we will be electing our churchwardens for the year ahead and also seeking to elect 4 people to our Deanery Synod and PCC, and 4 others to our PCC. Please talk to Neill if you are interested in serving for 3 years on this important decision making body for our church.

5.25pm A reminder to parents and carers of children in Bubbles & Splash, at our 4pm service, that they now need to pick up their children at 5.25pm and bring them back to the Abbey.

Baptism by the Archbishop The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be with us in Malmesbury on Saturday 13th September at 4pm for an outdoor celebration with baptisms in the river by Daniel’s well. Anybody who is interested in being baptised, or reaffirming an earlier baptism, is asked to e-mail at this time to register an interest. Registration forms will be available soon and the Pilgrim course, which will be the preparation for the baptism, will take place at 8pm on July 7, 14, 21, 28 and September 1 & 8. Neill will be leading this with Lee Barnes who is coordinating candidates for the North Wilts Deanery.

Noticeboard Come to New Wine, 3rd-9th August There are already 20 or so Abbey folk on their way to an inspiring, refreshing and fun week together of deepening friendships with each other, and with God. As an Abbey we want to encourage as many people, young and old, to come and join us. You can caravan, camp, commute, or get accommodation nearby in Shepton Mallet. If you're interested in going, please let me know. To book on-line go to: See you there!!! Revd John Monaghan

Giving All the ministries of Malmesbury Abbey, and our Mission Giving, are sustained by the regular generous giving of our congregations. If you would like to enquire confidentially about setting up a standing order/giftaid please e-mail or phone 01666 823778. Thank you.

March 9 March 16 March 23 March 30 April 6 April 13 April 20 April 27

John the Baptist Nicodemus the Woman at the Well Mary, Mother of Jesus Lazarus the Crowd Mary Thomas

John 1:19-34 John 3:1-17 John 4:1-26 John 19:25-27 John 11:17-45 John 12:12-16 John 20:1-18 John 20:19-31

Real Lives

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: 12-3pm Sunday: Closed all day

Friday e-Mailing If you would like to receive an e-mail every Friday from the Parish Office, with a link to this News Sheet online and other additional notices and links, please contact Sandie Brown at

10 years On Easter Day, Neill will be celebrating exactly 10 years as vicar of Malmesbury Abbey. At the 10.30am service that day, Bishop Lee will be saying a short prayer for Neill as the next 10 years begin(!) Later in the day, at 8pm after Choral Evensong, Neill, Marilyn and the girls will be at the Whole Hog for a celebratory glass together. All, in party mood, are very welcome to come along.



Abbey News Sheet 23rd March

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