Bertie, back here again with another thrilling update. I have spent the day hiding away from the postman in case he brought me a fine from the Met- I have said repeatedly that I wasn’t at the party, I was holding the champagne glass for a man with blonde floppy hair who said ‘Cripes’ and ran away as soon as he saw someone taking photos on their phone. And I am getting quite good at hiding because I have spent the previous week hiding away from those nightmare falcons who everyone seems so keen on. Apart from me. Anyway, on with the news…
The Week Ahead
Don’t forget that Stations of the Cross happen every Friday in Lent at midday in Church- do pop along for half an hour on the 1st and 8th of April.
I am helping to support and encourage Fr Richard on the Reading Half-Marathon- it’s going to be bliss shouting “Make an effort” and “Is this the best you can do- my Great Aunt Ermentrude can do better than this and she died in 1974” in his ear for mile after mile. So I won’t be there on Sunday which is sad because my friend Hannah Higginson will be taking the service. She is the Associate Priest at All Saints and an old friend of mine from when she was on placement here before her ordination. She always saved me some cheese from her picnic and I have liked her ever since. She will take the 9.30 on Passion Sunday, and then Judi will be taking the 11am at St Nick’s.
Chris Cipkin has written this really reflective and helpful guide to the music he is playing before and after services in the next few weeks- what the music is, why he has selected and what to think about. Do pleade
Also, the South Berks Singers have a concert on Sunday evening (3rd) which is a reflective journey into Holy Week, at 7pm in Church. Do please come along.
Holy Week and Easter
Here are the sheets you need to be able to invite people along and to know what is happening yourself too. Do come to as much as you can because Holy Week is truly one of those things where the more you put in, the more you get out. There will also be Midday Prayer on Mon, Tues and Wed in Church but it wouldn’t fit on the page, sadly…
Also, if anyone is happy to play the piano at Woosehill on Wednesday night of Holy Week during the 8pm service, please can you let Louise or Richard know? Thanks.
A Message about Lilies from Sue Davenport: would it be possible for Bertie to mention that donations of £3.00 per lily are welcomed to remember a loved one. Perhaps donations, names etc. could be left at the Parish Rooms, marked for my attention, if Louise and Vanessa are happy with this. Names to be with me Friday 8th April at the latest. We haven’t been able to do this for the last two years and it would be bringing things back to some form of normality.
We will be serving breakfast after the 5.30am service from 7am to 9.15am in the Parish Rooms on Easter Sunday 17th April if you would like to attend there will be a sign up sheet at the back of St Paul’s shortly or you can email Margaret Davies who will add you to the list, this is so we have a idea of how much food to buy. There is no charge for the breakfast but donations to our three charities would be gratefully received. Thanks. Margaret
And Mary Cassidy has helpfully written an explanation for Bertie about why we veil the cross for Passiontide, an intensification of Lent which happens on Sunday:
Other Bits and Notices
Apologies for a slight complication with finding the Livestream on Sunday morning– we know what went wrong and have sorted it out for next week. Thanks for being patient and persistent!
The next annual Sermon Series starts on the 3rd Sunday of May and will then happen in June, July, September, October and November. The sermons will focus on My favourite Psalm and be part of Choral Evensong, starting at 6.15pm. Do put the dates in your diary now, and do come along.
Arborfield and Barkham Churches are hosting an Emergency First Aid at Work course on Saturday 9 April, from 9:30am-4:30pm, at Arborfield Green Community Centre.
There are four spaces left on the course and we are keen to open them up to anyone else from the Deanery who might be interested in coming along, especially if it is in order to help their church. The cost is £45 per person. If people would like to book, they can do so here – First Aid Course booking link. (Anyone wanting to book should talk to Richard or Lyn as well because we will happily fund the course either through your group or directly).
There is an abundance of printed material on the new icon in Church– a description, some questions to think about as you pray with the icon and some postcards for you to keep and pass on to others. Thanks to Mary for organising the last. Much appreciated.
Lesley appealed for people to write short reflections on the last two years and their experience of pandemics and community and church and work during the last two years for the Annual Report. We are just hoping to capture something of the experiences people have been through. Please can you write a few sentences, however old you are, and email them to Louise or Lesley? Thanks.
Churches Together in Wokingham are trying to put together a Youth Group for 11-14 year olds somewhere in town. If you would like to offer to help or find out more, please speak to Richard.
The Lord’s Prayer (Extended Dance Mix), by Nadia Bolz-Weber
Our Father, Our Mother, Our Holy Parent, The Source of All Being from whom we came and to whom we return, You who knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus called you Abba and so shall we, even as we may have an ambiguous relationship with parenthood – Be to us our Holy Parent, the one who loves without condition.
Who art in heaven, Our Father who art in everything. Our Father who art in orphanages and neonatal units, and jail cells and luxury high-rises, who art in law offices and adult book stores, and who art in rooms alone with suicidal people. Our Father who art in the halls of Congress and the halls of tenements.
Hallowed be thy name. Holy is your name. Ever since the beginning we have attributed our own ego and wishful thinking and greed and malice and racism and ambition and manipulations of others to you and to your name – and yet your name remains holy. We print “In God we trust” on the US dollar and then worship that dollar and the power that dollar brings us, and yet still, your name remains holy.
Thy kingdom come, God, right now we beg you to bring more than just a small measure of heaven to earth because, if you haven’t noticed, we are in a global pandemic, and there are unjust wars waged on innocent people in Yemen, Ethiopia and Ukraine – not to mention, the Earth is on fire. It’s a mess down here, Lord, So, we need your Kingdom to speed the hell up. We need wise leaders, and just systems and an extra dose of compassion for all of us.
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Thy will and not ours be done. Forgive us when we use prayer as a self-help technique by which we can get all the cash and prizes we want out of your divine vending machine if we just kind of bug you to death through ceaseless prayer, because when it comes down to it, we know better. You are our Father whose name is holy and whose love is boundless and who – as our holy Parent – wants to hear our prayers.
Give us today our daily bread. Give us today our daily bread, our daily naan, our daily tortillas, our daily rice. Lord, give us real bread, even when we keep reaching for those literal and metaphorical Krispy Kremes. Give us the gift of enough-ness. May our response to perceived scarcity always be increased generosity for we are your children and from you we receive everything. Give us today our desire for the neighbor to be fed. Give us today a desire for a good that is held in common..
And forgive us our sins. As we forgive those who sin against us. Forgive us when we hate what you love. Forgive us when we would rather anesthetize ourselves than feel anything. Forgive us for how much we resent in others the same things we hate in ourselves Forgive us for the terrible things we think about our own bodies, bodies you have made in your image. And this one is hard, but please forgive us for thinking we know the hearts of our enemies.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Deliver us from the inclination that we too do not have evil in our hearts. Deliver us from religious and national exceptionalism. Deliver us from addiction and depression. Deliver us from self-loathing. Deliver us from self- righteousness. Deliver us from high fructose corn syrup. Deliver us from a complete lack of imagination about where you are in our lives and how you might already be showing up. Deliver us from complacency. Deliver us from Complicity.
As Jesus taught us, we are throwing this bag of prayers at your door. We are not asking nicely, Lord. We are your children and we are claiming your promises as our own today. Some of us are holding your feet to the fire, some of us don’t know if we believe in you, some of us are distracted and just going through the motions, some are desperately in love with you….but all of us are your children. Use these prayers to hammer us all into vessels that can accept the answer when it comes. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. And the children of God say, AMEN