2nd February 2016

IMG_0968Dear Friends,

We had a lovely mass for Candelmas on Sunday morning and it was great to see so many people in church. Who says the Church of England is on its knees?! Christmas and Epiphanytide are now behind us, the crib is away for another year and our eyes start to turn to Lent and Holy Week and Easter; a journey which begins of course on Ash Wednesday, which is on Wednesday 10th February this year. There are two masses on Ash Wednesday: 9.30am (Spoken) and 8.00pm (Sung) – I very much hope that you might be able to come to one of them to start your Lent journey and be ashed… “Remember, man (or woman), that you are dust, and unto dust you will return”. You might want to put one of these services into your diary.

Lent is one of the most moving and profound seasons in the Christian Year. A time of fasting and denial and introspection on one hand for many, but above all of growing ever deeper into relationship with God. Some of us will give up alcohol and chocolate, some sugar or puddings. If these denials bring you closer to God then good on you but make sure you are doing them for the right reasons. For many Christians, Lent is a time to take something up rather than stop doing something and I’m thinking here of more time in prayer or meditation, looking out for our neighbours or spiritual reading. Last year a friend of mine resolved to do one act of random kindness every day during Lent; she felt very uplifted at the end of the forty days. A number of years ago, my Lent was much enriched by getting up fifteen minutes early and reading a psalm and reflecting on it. This year you could do a lot worse over the next few weeks than read one the books written by our wonderful February Conversational Evensong guest Fr Tim Radcliffe OP. If you want to get a glimpse of Tim’s spirituality and what it means to be a follower of Christ then I would highly recommend his books “Why go to Church?” and “What is the point of being a Christian?”. They will give you much food for thought and might even give you a question or two to put to him on the 21st February.

On a separate point, the decision has been taken to discontinue the Parish Magazine in its current format, at least for the time being. On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank the Editor, Donald Maxwell, for all his hard work on the magazine over many year and also to thank Christabel Ames-Lewis for her work with distribution of the magazine and collecting subscriptions.

Finally, the death of Sir Terry Wogan has moved many people. The outpouring of sadness and affection for him reflects the very high esteem and love that he was held in by so many of us. He was a part of the fabric of our lives for literally decades. If you have a moment have a look at his final sign-off from his morning radio show here – he truly was a class act.

With every blessing,

Fr Andrew