It is, whisper it, nearly Easter and I can’t wait to see you in the morning or to be able to wave at you through the camera. It is going to be so good- and there will be some singing outside after the 9.30 Service and also the ever-popular Easter Cheese Hunt around the Churchyard. I wish you a very Happy and Joyous Easter when it comes with the dawn. Can’t wait- here is the news…
Easter Eve and Easter Day
Easter Eve: the service is on the Parish Zoom meeting at 8pm- if you’ve not been before it takes about an hour and the feel of the service is a group of friends sat around a bonfire remembering what God has done to save his people of old. We have lots of Old Testament Readings and begin to look forward in hope to what the morrow might bring.
Meeting ID: 753 2006 4518 Passcode: 024453
Easter Day: 6am and 9.30am
Both Services a) are on YouTube and are easily found through the parish Website (the new and shiny one), b) you will need a noise-making instrument to lead into the Gloria, or a party popper, or an excellent drumming rhythm on the pew, c) the best Easter Bonnet photo page is still a little bare so do come to Church (or join in from home) with a fine hat on and do send photos in to the Parish Office for inclusion on Facebook
6am Dawn Service: do please take a candle on the way in, light it carefully when asked and then carefully blow it out when we get into the Gloria: the Service will start in Church (for a change) in darkness and after we have processed the lit Paschal Candle in we will listen to the Exsultet which is a wonderfully evocative Easter hymn to the Light of Christ, detailing how God has acted to save his people over and over again. Timeless and moving, it is an essential part of Easter Day.
9.30am: at the end of the Service we will listen to the organ voluntary and then carefully and with strict social distancing head outside to the Churchyard through the South Door (railway side). You will be invited to space yourselves round the Churchyard and then to sing our two hymns together, and after that there is the J-Club Easter Egg hunt- find what the phrase is on the eggs around the outside of the Church and then find Penny or her helper in the Porch- give her the right code-word and a chocolate egg will magically appear.
There will only be one Post-Service Zoom Coffee and it will be the Woosehill one, so do log on using this address as a way of chatting to people:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85155759369 Meeting ID: 851 5575 9369 Password: 662208
The Coming Weeks
You don’t need to book to come on a Sunday morning to any service at St Paul’s until further notice- St Nick’s start back on the 18th of April and the 8am BCP Eucharist on the 25th (on 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month).
The Tuesday Night Bible Study starts back this week, with a one-off, before getting into 1 John. It is a warm and varied group of people and you would be very welcome to come along on Zoom. Why not come along, if you’ve been meaning to for a while, or if you are currently free on a Tuesday evening from 7.15pm? Here is some more info:
Parish Study Group on Tuesday 6th April at 7:15pm.
Zoom 861 4762 3913, Password 702050
Lent Reflections from Lee Abbey: Crossing an unknown sea. (YouTube video: 22 minutes)
David Runcorn reflects on five stories of Jesus and his disciples on or around the uncertain waters of the sea of faith. Each reflection starts with some short, introductory prayers and comes with a handout and suggestions for further prayer and reflection.
“For so many reasons, the times we are living through feel to me like sailing across an unknown and often hazardous sea. It is not easy to remember when this journey began. We were suddenly adrift. Nor do we yet know where it will lead. But I notice that following Jesus involved a lot of sea crossings in the gospels. And frequently what happened during the crossings was more important than getting to the other side. There, times of threat, powerlessness and danger became places of encounter, recognition and discovery. Journeys between things – their challenges and vulnerabilities – characterise all faith and life. And never more so than in our present times.”
We will be studying the final reflection called: “Just after daybreak”, set soon after Easter and involving breakfast on the beach. John 21 v1-13. After the video, there will be a time of discussion and study.
There is an Easter Cross by the tower and next to the footpath- please do decorate it as a sign of Easter joy, using ribbons from the porch, or your coloured butterfly from the Good Friday Service, or any picture which makes you think about the Risen Jesus. Be bold, be daring, be colourful, be part of it. And as another Easter Activity, our 6s and 7s Group (which meets fortnightly and is for those in Year 6 or 7) put together an egg-cellent Easter Quiz last week which is attached here- deliver your answers to The Rectory or the Parish Office and have fun!
We had a lovely letter from Councillor Tony Lack, the Town Mayor of Wokingham, who has just been re-selected for a second year as Mayor. It was super to have him in St Paul’s last week, with Claire his wife. After thanking us all for the welcome, he said: “I hope to be able to offer support to those who have been locked down for so long. We have the chosen the theme reconnect for the year. It’s wonderful that reconnection is now well and truly starting.”
And a concerned message by email:
I read this week about the plight of the poor Trappist monks of the Cîteaux Abbey, just south of Dijon in Burgundy, who had a surplus of 4,000 of their raw-milk, semi-soft artisanal cheese rounds. Apparently, after having advertised this fact through ‘Divine Box’, they have very rapidly received orders for all of this cheese.
After the unsettling events of last Friday, I was concerned that Bertie might have been behind this rapid purchase in a therapeutic shopping frenzy on the ‘Whiskernet’ and bought a large number of these cheeses for a post-lent feast next week. Whilst I expect the credit limit on his Cheese Card would have limited his spending, is there going to be a smelly storage problem at the church?
yours sincerely a concerned choir member
Two Collects for this Holy Weekend, from Fr Tony Kemp
Look down upon us, O God; why do you seem so far from us on this day of deep sorrow?
Why does the dark night of the soul linger on into the hopelessness of the daytime?
We weep, our eyes flow with tears of lamentation amid the heaviness of our desolation.
Christ’s lifeless body left in a borrowed tomb – no place to lay his head in death as in life.
Have compassion upon us, O Lord God, and bring us to a place of new joy and consolation;
Come down, O love divine, transform our faithless beings and renew us with your good news⌣
Which banishes our sorrow and allows the true light of your presence to shine upon us.
In the name of our Lord Jesus who gave himself for us on the cross, we pray. Amen.
All praise and glory be to you, O Lord! Your Son Jesus Christ is risen indeed!
Heaven and earth and all creation worship you, we raise our voices in triumphant adulation.
The glorious company of apostles, the holy saints and angels unite to sing your praise;
Give us voice to join in their unending Easter Gloria to you our Lord and King.
For Jesus Christ has risen triumphant in glory; no longer in the darkness of the tomb;
In the golden light of this glorious day he walks with us and meets us by the shore;
His presence transforms the shallowness of our faith into the vibrant Pascal joy of victory;
His robes all red from the winepress are now transfigured into dazzling white
In the blood of the Lamb we are washed clean of our sin, sanctified and justified ⌣
In the name of the Lord Jesus, and called into his marvellous light.
The doors of heaven have been thrown open wide for us to enter into the joy of the Lord.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.