Sermons for Ordinary 6 2020 – Letter and Spirit

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S. Edward Shaugh Prior 9.30am
S. Mary, Bickleigh 11.15am

Matthew 5:20-22,27-28,33-34,37

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court. ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.     ‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’

Homily for Ordinary 5, Year A – Light in My Darkness

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Matthew 5:13-16

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men. ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ

Discussion on Plate Giving and Collections

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This is the start of a discussion about how we might make donations on the Collection Plate a little less difficult and a lot more efficient. It also starts to raise the frequent questions about how much we give and why for everyone. This is not meant to be the final word, but some groundwork to help us discuss it.

Why change Collections?

It is important that we regularly reflect on our giving, and make giving as easy as possible for people, many of whom might not regularly come to Church and are intimidated by the traditional passing of the plate at the Offertory.

“I don’t carry cash anymore”

common comment by many people, not just young people

When an Offertory is announced and the plate appears, many are embarrassed and/or flustered: the hand dives into the purse or trouser pockert and a collection of loose schrapnel – including recently polo mints, sweet wrappers, 1 Euro Coins and a rndom collection of pennies almost not worth counting up. If people had more time, more preparation and more creative ways to give, then they might give more generously.

SumUp Card Reader

Our experiments with the card machines (the giving machine) have been fruitful, especially from those whom we might not see frequently, and this has been much more generous. At baptisms i has long been my practice to take a collection at the end, and this has resulted in better amounts received. I am now wondering if this should not be adopted across all out churches.

The single best method of regular giving

is directly through your bank via a Standing Order. It is easily setup, not affected by your Church attendance and easily gift-aidable. It also means that the Church Treasurers do not have to handle large amounts of cash which are proving increasingly more difficult to bank as branches close and banks demand full bags of ready-counted coins. All collections should be banked in order to maintain a proper audit trail so it is not practical or ethical to keep the cash unbanked.

What prevents people from moving to direct giving (despite making cards available for this) is the social pressure of being seen ‘not putting anything on the plate’. That doesn’t matter, because giving is a matter between you and God, not dependent upon what other people think (remember the story of the Widow’s Mite).

If the Church was to receive your regular offering directly, then it would make planning, budgeting and paying bills much easier because there is not so much of a “cashflow” problem.

Most people pay the majority of their bills using a mixture of Direct Debit (initiated by the Company) and Standing order (initiated and entirely controlled by you) and so this becomes just another one for you. It also makes it easier for you as you don’t have to find money for the envelope each week – given that the number of cashpoints are diminishing, few are local and cash is less commonly carried by everyone.

Please consider moving to Direct Giving – the Treasurer will happily provide you with details and help to make this happen.

However, if you wish to remain giving by planned giving envelope, we thank you for your kindness and will continue to support that form of giving along the donations from irregular/infrequent/new members of the congregation.

Arguments for a ‘Retiring Collection’ (ie at the end)

  • If the Collection is signalled during the Service, and people are pointed to the plate and the giving machine then they have time to find cash, or make the choice to give by card
  • There is no pressure to “put something on the plate” or risk fear of judgement if you pass the plate on. Some people might not be able to afford to give, some give very generously by the best method possible: directly through their bank. No one sees what you are doing, whether you drop a planned giving envelope in, cash, make a card donation or leave it.
  • Sidespersons are free to help welcome and settle the congregation and not be the bailiffs or rent collectors.
  • Offertory is focused upon the gifts of bread and wine and not the cold hard cash.

Arguments against a ‘Retiring Collection’ (ie at the end)

  • Someone can easily ‘forget’ to give and choose not to do so.
  • It relegates giving to an afterthought, not one of the key Christian responsibilities of Stewardship. The donations might not get blessed by the Priest.
  • It might distract from the Coffee and Fellowship times, especially if someone needs help with the giving machine.
  • There might be problems with the Giving Machine and we might not get any money that way.

“We don’t know how to use the Giving Machine”

At the moment we have one complete Giving Machine status, which in this pilot phase has been moved around. However, we have two complete tablet and card reader sets (one the giving machine, another spare). There are also Card Readers for each Church and a spare.

The donations are taken via an App – GiveALittle which can run on any Android or Apple Device and connects to the card reader by bluetooth. S. Cecilia can access the School WiFi and another SIM-card based tablet might need to be obtained for S. Anne. Alternatively, members of the congregation might allow us to put the App on their phone, logged into our account and able to take donations that way. However we do this, we are happy to provide training for people to use/help others use the machine.

Such Training will be necessary whether we move to a Retiring Collection or not, because we will still need to make this form of giving available for people at the beginning and/or at the end of a Service regardless of what we do with the plate: this form of giving will not be going away.

Full Instructions on Setup of the Reader (a little more advanced but unlikely to be needed)

Where next?

This is a discussion. It has not been decided, but I hope this will start a discussion in the Parishes. At the same time we need to reflect on our own giving. The costs of running and maintaining our beautiful churches continue to rise, and giving needs to match that. If we are to grow the Church, then we must invest in mission and actively seek growth. This does not come to us cost-free. Please consider both the method and amount you are giving to your church regularly and consider upping it if you possibly can.

Emergency Help Numbers

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The Samaritans
116 123 24/7
Welsh Language: 08081640123

Lifeline (Northern Ireland) – Crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair.
0808 808 8000
24/7 Provides localised information including NHS and private sector therapists.

C.A.L.L Mental Health Helpline For Wales (English+Welsh Language)
Phone: 0800123737
Text: 81066

Support Line
020 8554 9004

0845 122 8622
Mon-Fri 10am-1pm, 7-10pm


0300 123 3393
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

0845 456 0455 or 0207 840 3188

0845 767 8000
6 – 11pm daily. Offers multilingual support

NHS Direct
24 hour Self Injury Support

Rape & Sexual Abuse Support
0808 802 9999
Daily 12 – 2.30pm, 7 – 9.30pm

Survivors UK for male abuse victims
0845 122 1201 Mon, Tue, Thur 7 – 9.30pm

National Self Harm Network
0800 622 6000
7 – 11pm

Anxiety Alliance
0845 296 7877
10am – 10pm

No Panic 0808 808 0545

Anxiety UK
08444 775 774 Mon-Fri 9.30am – 5.30pm

Depression Alliance
0845 123 23 20

B-eat Eating Disorder Association
08456 341 414
12 noon-5 or 8.30

Crossline National Christian Helpline
0300 111 0101
9am – midnight

OCD Action
0845 390 62 32
10-4 Mon-Fri

Young Minds for parents
0808 802 5544
Mon-Fri 9.30am -4pm

Hearing Voices
0845 122 86 42
Tues 1 – 4pm

Premier Lifeline (Christian)
0300 111 0101
Daily 9am – 12mn

Chinese Mental Health Association
0845 1228 660
Mon-Fri 4-6pm

BPD World Support for Borderline Personality Disorder
08700 053 273

Bipolar UK
0333 323 3880 or 020 7931 6480

Domestic Violence
0808 2000 247
24 hour

Survivors of bereavement by suicide
0844 561 6855
9am – 9pm daily

Cruse Bereavement 0844 477 9400
9 – 5pm

Alcoholics Anonymous
0845 769 7555

Frank (drugs)
0800 77 66 00 24 hours (Multilingual)

Narcotics Anonymous
0300 999 1212

Alzheimers Society
0845 300 0336

Dementia helpline
0800 888 6678
9.00 – 21.00 Mon-Fri
9.00 – 17.00 Sat-Sun

Post-Natal Illness
020 7386 0868
office hours

0808 800 2222

Muslim Youth Helpline
0808 808 2008
Mon – Fri 6pm – 12mn
Sat – Sun 12noon – 12mn

Muslim Community Helpline
0208 904 8193, 0208 908 6715
Mon – Fri 10am – 1pm

Jewish Helpline
0800 652 9249
Sun-Thurs 12-12mn
Friday 12-3pm (winter) 12-6pm (summer)

Rethink – Asian mental health helpline
0808 800 2073
Mon & Wed 4 – 7pm, Tues, Thur 12 – 3pm

National Debtline
0808 808 4000
Mon – Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-1pm

ASIST Gypsy and Traveller suicide and depression helpline

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) Help for men with a variety of issues 0800 58 58 58
5pm-midnight 365 days a year. Web chat:
5pm-midnight 365 days a year.

National Breastfeeding Line
0300 100 0212

NCT Breastfeeding Line
0300 330 0700

Shelter – housing and homelessness advice
0808 800 4444.
It’s free and available 365 days a year.

HopeLineUK for under 35s
0800 068 4141
text 07786209697
10am – 10pm weekdays, 2pm – 10pm weekends and 2pm – 10pm bank holidays

The Mix for 13-25 year olds
0808 808 4994
4pm – 11pm every day

Switchboard for LGBTQ+
0300 330 0630
10am – 10pm every day

Mindout – Online support for LGBTQ+ folk Mindout Online Chat
Mon-Fri 17.30 – 19.30
Sun 14.00 – 17.00

Blue Cross Pet Bereavement helpline

Lifelink [Scotland – Glasgow only]
Self-referral service for counselling and 1-1 support.

Crisis Text Line
Text SHOUT to 85258

Women’s Aid
(Website has guidelines for hiding the fact you have been accessing help if you are in danger here.
Also has large EXIT SITE button to take you to google quickly if needed.
Women’s Aid Live Chat
Email (response within 5 days)

Breathing Space (Scotland Only)
0800 83 85 87
Mon-Thur 18.00-2.00
Friday 18.00 through to 6.00 Monday [24 Hour Sat/Sun]
BSL translation relay service

StepChange (debt advice)
0800 138 11118
Mon-Fri 8.00-20.00
Sat 8.00-16.00

PDSA (emergency line for animal/pet medical treatment – support given for low income etc.)
0800 731 2502