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Vicar's Letter for this month
will soon be upon us.
On Sunday we will be celebrating the Presentation of Christ in the
Temple, also known as Candlemas. The day we remember Mary and Joseph taking
Jesus to the Temple, and meeting the old man Simeon – a man who epitomises
faithful waiting. He is the one who had been promised by God that he would see
the one God was sending – the Messiah – before he died. That special day in the
temple, as Simeon takes the Christ child into his arms and blesses him, he
knows God has kept his promises – recognising Jesus as the Light of the World.
Candlemas marks a turning point in the Christian calendar – our
focus changes. At the end of the Candlemas celebration, we turn away from the
Christmas crib, and prepare ourselves to walk with Jesus the way of the cross
through the weeks of Lent to Holy Week and Easter.
begins on 17 February. Do join us if you can for our Ash Wednesday
services – either in the morning at 10am, or in the evening at 7.30pm. Our
usual mid-week service will be on Wednesday that week. Sadly, this year, as our
services will be via zoom, there will be no imposition of ashes - a great
shame. I know many of us find receiving the mark of the cross in ash at that
service, a very meaningful way of beginning Lent.
Lent should be a time for growth.
The actual word ‘Lent’ comes from an old English word for the season of
spring meaning ‘lengthening’. We see the natural signs around us – the days
drawing out, dark giving way to light; new life beginning all around us as the spring
flowers burst into life. Spring is a season of hope, and my goodness, we need
to hang on to hope at the moment as we continue through yet another lockdown
with the variety of ways that impacts on all of us. Let’s try to travel
hopefully through this season of Lent.
Look upon these weeks ahead as a gift from God – a time to be
cherished and used. Do something, if you can, to help you grow in your
relationship with God. Below are three suggestions:
I would love you to join us
for the Bible Course we are starting in February. There are already about 14
people signed up. It is not specifically a Lent course, and it is longer than
most courses we run – 8 weeks. This is why we are starting early. Don’t worry,
we will take a break for a week or so if we need to! Don’t let the thought of 8
weeks put you off. This course is for anyone and everyone – whether you read
the Bible regularly, occasionally, or just don’t know how or where to begin –
this course is for you. No-one will be put on the spot – that’s a promise!
If you haven’t got time to join us for The Bible
Course, I would recommend a Lent leaflet produced by the Archbishops called
‘Live Lent – God’s Story, Our Story’. The booklet provides a daily Bible
reading, a short reflection and a prayer. It should take about 5 minutes each
day. Just the thing for those of you with very little time at the moment. We will be ordering some booklets, but you
can also get the daily input via a free app or emailed to you (see the link below)
I also hope to offer a Quiet Morning or Afternoon via
zoom during Lent. Look out for further details.
usual, we are encouraging adults in the congregation to use Lent to support our
mission partners, Mark and Rosalie Balfour, and their work for CMS in
Guatemala. We have set up an online giving page through JustGiving with
a link on our church website. If you would prefer not to give on-line, we can
provide collection boxes or a special gift aid envelope. Please let the Church
Office know and we will deliver these to you. There will also be special
activities for our children and young people to do at home during Lent, with an
opportunity to support Street Kids Direct in Guatemala. This supports work that
the SKD team are doing amongst the street children in Guatemala – work that Mark
and Rosalie see first-hand.
Wishing you all a holy, blessed and hope-filled Lent.