Journey Through Holy Week

We stand on the threshold of Holy Week 2020.  A Holy Week that will be very different from that we planned for a few weeks ago, and also very different from any Holy Week that has taken place to date.

Much creativity has been happening across the world to ensure that as the Church we are able to journey together through our remembrance of all that led up to Jesus death; before we celebrate his resurrection next weekend.  There are an abundance of downloads, podcasts, live streams and other resources available through the miracle of communication the internet is proving to be.  There are also lots of ideas of things for people to do in their own home, but together.

Whilst our regular daily "Prayer during the day" will continue all week, there will also be other times for us to know that we are worshipping together.  These will include:

10am on Sunday morning when we will remember the events of Palm Sunday. 

8.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when Compline will be said. 

7pm on Thursday when we remember the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest. 

2pm on Friday when we will take an hour to reflect on the story of Jesus' death on the cross.

9pm on Saturday when we carry the new fire of light into our homes as our celebration of Easter begins to dawn.

There are resources for all these events and more in this week's resources booklet, available on the resources section of this web-site.

 

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Closed....but very much alive!

Tuesday morning saw the closure of all our church buildings for the time being.  It is sad that those who find solace and peace in our ancient churches will be unable to do so for a while, but we must take all precautions to keep people safe as the Coronavirus continues apace.  Hopefully the weather will remain clement and, as part of their daily exercise, people can walk through our churchyards and enjoy the beautiful primrose carpets and the bird chorus from the trees and hedges.  Please remember in your prayers those who are temporarily deprived of their well-loved special places and remember too to give thanks for the beauty of creation which surrounds us.

Our buildings may be closed, but the church in the benefice continues to thrive. Many people have been in touch to say that they joined in with last Sunday's worship on the radio and some also found the Sunday Worship Resources helpful too.  These will appear each week, by e-mail to those on the mailing list, and also on this web-site.  I know that some people placed a lighted candle in their window on Sunday evening as all churches in this country came to the end of a day of "Prayer and Action" and that others joined in today with the 11 o'clock Lord's Prayer.  These acts of united prayer help us to remember that we are part of a wider church, which is active across the world.

On Wednesday we launched our "Telephone Tree" which will see twenty-one households linked by phone calls on five out of the seven days of the week.  It is still possible to join in with this project either by volunteering to phone someone, or as someone who would appreciate the opportunity to chat.  To take part please phone or e-mail the Vicar (01508 558479  chapman.lynn@btinternet.com)  Lots of other help is going on as people share shopping deliveries, pick up essentials and prescriptions and generally look out for one another.

As this new pattern of isolated living becomes more familiar, I encourage you to continue to actively strive to be the Church in our villages.  Please keep praying - it really can move mountains and doing it together, sharing the load, has been proved time and again to be beneficial.  Please keep safe and follow the guidelines that we have been given, so that you don't put yourself - or other people - at risk.  Do offer help, where you can (remember staying at home is a way to help our NHS and other people) but don't be afraid to ask for help yourselves.  We will all do our best to ensure that no-one is alone or in need in our community.

 

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Suspension of Public Worship

Following advice from the Archbishops all public worship in our churches will be suspended until further notice.

Arrangements are being made to make it possible for us to continue the work of prayer which lies at the heart of our faith and further details will be posted in the coming days.

The Archbishops are encouraging us to consider how to "do church differently" in the coming days and weeks and emphasise the importance of our roll as "bearers of hope" to our communities.

Plans are being put into place in our villages to ensure that people are cared for and helped in this period and it will be important that we support these efforts in any way that we can - whilst maintaining proportionate concern for our own well-being.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Vicar (Lynn 01508 558749, chapman.lynn@btinternet.com) if you have questions or need help of any kind.

I'm sure that we will all be keeing all those with the virus, those who care for them and those who are making important decisions in our prayers.

 

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Vicar's letter February / March 2020

Although church-going plays little part in most people’s lives these days, many people continue the tradition of  “giving up” something for Lent.  These acts of self-denial often include going without chocolate or alcohol and some people give the money that they would have spent on these things to charity, remembering those who are in need of help or support, in this country or abroad.  There is something to be said for the feeling of success when we manage to keep up the discipline for the full forty days before Easter.

Somehow, in the midst of this tradition, the original intention has been lost for many people.  When the custom began, the act of “going without” was to create a greater awareness of the need for God and to make extra time to spend in prayer and study.  It was not intended to be an act of self-discipline but a time of deepening spirituality and faith. 

In an attempt to return to this intention many Christians now choose to focus their attention during Lent on God’s love and to take action to make this a reality in the world.  The forty days, for them, are filled with attempts to help other people to feel valued and significant.  Some people choose to carry out forty “random acts of kindness”, which can take their recipients by surprise, whilst others take time to catch up with friends or neighbours they haven’t seen in a while, either in person, by letter or on the phone.  For some their Lenten discipline takes the form of being positive about one thing each day, or ensuring that they spend time with family members during the week  -  no “devices” allowed.  Some people do something to love our planet and turn their hand to recycling, reducing their carbon footprint or conserving our wildlife.  There are those who have found their Lenten project to be so life-giving that they keep it up all year!

Sometimes it is good for us to mark out a period of time when we live a bit differently to the rest of the year.  Lent begins on 26th February this year  -  perhaps there is something you could do for forty days (until Easter Day on 12th April) that will make your world, or someone else’s, just a bit brighter and more loving.  You may even find that it begins a whole new way of life……

 

With every blessing,

Lynn

 

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