28th February 2018

Dear Friends

It’s always good to have a couple of books on the go and particularly at this time of the year. When selecting a short daily read for Lent, I was drawn to a small book by Sister Wendy Beckett – The Art of Lent. It’s a wonderful little book. Sr Wendy has selected an art work for each day of Lent and has written a short commentary, her selection ranges from abstract to Old Master. Yesterday’s offering was an abstract by Robert Natkin entitled Epiphany. Sr Wendy encourages the reader not to try and understand the picture, but to “be still and enter into the silence, to let the holiness of mystery take possession of us. We do this not in the absence of thought but beneath thought.” I love that phrase beneath thought, it encourages us to understand the purposefulness of silence, opening our heart to the activity of the divine. Further, it challenges our notion of control, in contemplation we let go into God, it is essentially God’s activity in us. It’s not always possible for us to enjoy this kind of silence, but it is important.

Last Saturday some members of the PCC gathered at St Mary’s Convent for an away day. Its purpose was to set an agenda for future parish growth and development. We created three headings: Finance, Outreach and Buildings. Watch this space. We will be sharing our new action plan with you shortly.

Simon


Dear Friends

I hope that some of you will have purchased our suggested Lent book (for details see later in this bulletin), and by now have read the first chapter. Whether or not you have read this, you might be interested to read the Final Thought at the end of the chapter which I reproduce below:

Without God there is nothing. Or perhaps we would better say of our society, without God there is everything, but it loses its value, it fails to satisfy. We gorge ourselves more and more on what the world has to offer, but it does not quench our thirst.  Letting go of this, learning to put it in its place as secondary to God, not only restores balance to our lives, but actually helps us to enjoy the good things of the world even more.

In order to deepen our understanding of Lent, whether or not we have read this chapter, I reproduce a couple of the questions for reflection at the end:

How might fasting put us back in touch with some basic realities of life?

Are there some simple, practical ways we can fast during this Lent, and monitor what difference it makes?

I have been greatly saddened by the recent revelations from some of our major charities, although I prefer not to comment further just now.  My mother worked tirelessly for Oxfam for many years and I am pleased she has not lived to see this news.

A parishioner approached me last week to ask whether I had a suggestion as to which charity she should donate money to as she preferred not to give to one of these larger charities at this time. There are, of course, any number of smaller charities doing amazing work, both in this country and abroad. It did occur to me, however, that in view of the fact that we are reading Bishop Cottrell’s book ‘I Thirst’ we might wish to support his diocese’s Lent charity. It is very appropriate as it is raising money for a water bowser for their link diocese in Kenya. and I think we can rest assured that all contributions will go directly to this cause:

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/lentappeal2018

With every blessing as we journey on together through Lent

Mother Eileen