7th April 2022

Dear Friends

As we approach Holy Week I have been reflecting on the readings we shall be hearing at our services on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings next week, in particular the role of Judas in the Passion story. I hope some of you will be able to join our services on these three holy days at 8pm in church.
I would like to share with you the following poem, The Ballad of the Judas Tree, by Dr. Ruth Etchells: former Principal of St. John’s College, University of Durham, as something you might like to consider meanwhile:

In hell there grew a Judas Tree where Judas hanged and died,
Because he could not bear to see his Master crucified.
Our Lord descended into hell, and found his Judas there,
For ever hanging on the tree grown from his own despair.
So Jesus cut his Judas down and took him in his arms,
“It was for this I came,” He said, “And not to do you harm.
My Father gave me twelve good men, and all of them I kept,
Though one betrayed and one denied, some fled and others slept.
In three days’ time I must return to make the others glad,
But first I had to come to hell and share the death you had.
My tree will grow in place of yours, its roots lie here as well,
There is no final victory without this soul from hell.”
So when we all condemn him as of every traitor worst,
Remember that of all his men, our Lord forgave him first.

On a more mundane, but nevertheless important note, I would also like to remind you of our ongoing challenge with regard to our parish finances. Many thanks to the 25 people who have already signed up to our new Parish Giving Scheme, administered at no cost to ourselves by the diocese. Also a big ‘thank you’ to those who have felt enabled to increase their giving to our parish funds, thereby gradually reducing the potential financial deficit for 2022.  For those who have not yet taken decisions on this matter please can I remind you of the message from Susan Welsh, repeated below, who has been driving our appeal.

If you have not yet joined Planned Giving, we urge you to consider contributing to the life of St Nicholas in this important way. Even if you already give to St Nicholas, we respectfully ask that you consider joining our new centralised Parish Giving Scheme, which will help us keep our budget running smoothly and relieve us of extra admin work. You can join via the scheme’s website at www.parishgiving.org.uk or download an information leaflet and an application form. To switch, current givers will need to join and then cancel their old standing orders (but not too soon, please—kindly note when your first payment on the new scheme begins). Information packs including Fr Simon’s letter and some further information about our parish finances are also available at the back of church. Please pick one up! Questions? Feel free to contact Susan Welsh at susanlwelsh@btinternet.com.

With every blessing 

Mother Eileen