28th January 2021

Dear Friends

January seems to have dragged its feet a little this year, that said, I am conscious that Lent is just around the corner. Ash Wednesday is Wednesday 17th February. During Lent we will be holding a Lent course on Zoom every Tuesday evening at 8pm beginning on Tuesday 23 February. The course should last no longer than an hour and we will be looking at how we understand God and how we maintain faith during difficult times of crisis. I do hope you will consider joining us. If you email either me or the office we can set you up each week with a zoom link. We will also be holding Stations of the Cross each Sunday evening at 6.00pm beginning on Sunday 21 February, this is something of an experiment, because we also are using Zoom. Again you can receive the link from either me or the office.

You may remember my thoughts about the future of our community post COVID in last weeks e-bulletin. Fr Alan has produced some really excellent questions which I hope you might find useful – so here they are. Please let me know the results of your thoughts.

1. What is our task as the parish church of St Nicholas? Please read John 21:15-17. Who are God’s sheep for our purposes? How do we feed them?
2. How do we know how well we are doing at our task? Please read and consider Matthew 25:31-40. What criteria will God use when he looks at what we are trying to do?
3. What is our reward for engaging in these tasks? Please look at 1 John 3:18-24 What do we gain from our task?

I hope all of this helps.

Stay safe, take care.

God Bless

Simon


Dear Friends

Wednesday of this week was Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). The Holocaust, Nazi persecution, and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur had specific impacts on some faith communities, meaning HMD has a special resonance for many faiths and can be marked by all faith communities. A special prayer has been written for this day. 

Lord God and Father,
We remember before you all those who bear the inner and outer scars of the
Holocaust and of subsequent acts of genocide.
Let them not be overwhelmed by the horrors that engulfed them.
Be close to them.
Help them to see that you suffer with those who suffer,
and that no wickedness can ever extinguish your infinite love.
Restrain those who are filled with hatred and use violence to pursue their ends.
Change their hearts.
May remembrance make us alert to the reality of evil and its deceptive allure.
Help us to recognise our own capacity for evil and allow your Spirit to
purge it from our beings.
Help us also to stand up against evil and oppression, even if that means we have to
suffer ourselves.
Enable us to defend those who are not strong enough to defend themselves,
and to be ready to bring the light of your truth into the dark areas of human
experience.
Deepen our respect for everything you have made, and help us to share in securing
the maximum good of every person who is alive in your world.
We ask this in the Name of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for our sins, carries our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and is risen for our freedom.
AMEN

Wednesday was very much a day for remembering the dead as we received the shocking news of the Covid-19 death toll having reached 100,000. The priest/poet Malcom Guite has written the following reflection for commemoration:

Behind each number one beloved face
A light in life whom no-one can replace,
Leaves on this world a signature, a trace,
A gleaning and a memory of grace.

With every blessing

Mother Eileen