Dear Friends

Recently I have been re-reading one of the most famous religious books of recent times. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen is a reflection on a powerful Gospel story, viewed through a celebrated painting of the same title by Rembrandt.

As well as being a best-selling writer, the author, Henri J. M. Nouwen, was an inspiring pastor of an inter-faith community in Toronto, Canada called L’Arche Daybreak. L’Arche is now a worldwide community, helping adults with disabilities grow in faith surrounded by love and support.

You might be familiar with the Gospel story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11–32). In brief, a father has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance and goes off and squanders it. He must return empty handed and beg his father to take him on as a servant. However, when he was still some distance away his father spots him and runs to him. He is welcomed home with open arms and a lavish celebration. The older son is furious and envious. After all, he has been working diligently with his father the whole time. But the father tells the older son: “you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours, but your younger brother was lost and now he is found”.

Nouwen’s book invites us to see this rich story from three perspectives: the younger son; the older son, and the father. As such it reveals the heart of this Gospel story—that God our Father is more forgiving and merciful than we can ever comprehend. Offering and receiving forgiveness is never easy, but God sees it as a cause for celebration. What a challenge for us to love in the in the way the father did, and to accept that love like the son.

The themes in this parable will resonate with all of us. We have all felt dejection, jealousy, loneliness and anger. We would not be human if we didn’t. Yet Jesus’ story of The Prodigal Son reminds us that the love of God brings healing, reconciliation and peace. That forgiveness is ours to receive when we take a few tentative steps towards God. Then he comes to meet us, even when we are ‘still far off’.

Yours in Christ,

Prayer Our Contemplative Prayer Group will meet in St Andrew’s, Chew Stoke on Monday 3rd June and Monday 1st July

2024 at 10.00am.

Community Choir

The next Community Choir session will be held on Wednesday 12th June 2024 at 7.00pm in St Mary & St Peter’s, Winford.


Midweek Holy Communion Holy Communion with intercessions for Healing is celebrated in our group of parishes on the first and third

Wednesdays of each month at 10.30am.
St Katharine’s, Felton at 10.30am

Revd Dr Ian Mills, Rector & Area Dean

The Rectory
4 Parsonage Lane Winford
BS40 8DG (01275) 474504

Revd Fran Smettem, Curate

(01934) 340682

Wednesday 5th June 2024 Wednesday 19th June 2024

St Andrew’s, Chew Stoke at 10.30am

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:18)

Fran’s Ordination & First Celebration of Holy Communion

Our Curate, Revd Fran Smettem will be ordained Priest by Bishop Michael in Wells Cathedral on Saturday 29th June 2024 at 3.00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend and support Fran on this important step.

One of the joyful duties of a priest is to celebrate Holy Communion (Eucharist). Fran’s first celebration of the Eucharist will be at St Andrew’s, Chew Stoke on Sunday 30th June 2024 at 10.30am. This will be the only service in our group of parishes on that (fifth) Sunday, so please come along and celebrate with Fran as we worship God by gathering around his table. Tea, coffee & cake will be served after the service.

Mind & Spirit

The next meeting of Mind & Spirit will be held at 10.30am on Wednesday 12th June in Felton Village Hall. These sessions are intended to support those living with conditions affecting the memory and those who care for them through conversation, Bible study and prayer. For more information, please contact Revd Fran: