Getting Ready for Lent 2 [211]

Dear friends- Bertram here. I’ve decided to give Richard an email off because he made such a cat’s breakfast of it.. oooh- urgh- that is possibly not, not, not a good thing for a mouse to be thinking about- must cleanse my thoughts with the view across the churchyard to the Parish Rooms, and the crocuses and snowdrops which are dancing like a crowd, a host of, well, crocuses and snowdrops, really. It does feel as if Spring is in the air for a whole host of reasons- so enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the garden and the park and the air of possibility- do keep sending in your comments and photos and reasons for thanksgiving because I love hearing them- and here is what you need to know for Sunday morning:

Richard will preside and preach– Paul Armitage will read and Mary Cassidy do the intercessions. The readings are Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16 and Mark 8.31-end. It is the first time we will use the Lent Livestream Order of Service, which is attached here:

As well, there is Zoom coffee after the service (see invite in email 210) and lots to look forward to this week- let me just mention, in excitement, Morning Prayer and Compline and the Lent Course and the appeal to collect snowdrops, all of which are in recent emails. Do make a note of everything you’re interested in the diary and come along- for as long as we’re on Zoom, you can even wear your pyjama bottoms- as long as you don’t have to answer the door during the call.

Here is the text of today’s email from Bishop Steven which I thought was well worth passing on (I’m full of helpful journalistic coups like this, I am):

The vaccination programme is going well. The Prime Minister gave the country a road map out of lockdown on Monday with five different steps to removing restrictions. There is real hope on the horizon but still some way to go when so many are tired and exhausted. There are fresh challenges ahead for our schools, chaplaincies and parishes but it’s good we can now look forward to being able to meet together physically, God willing. The decisions for parishes on the timetable will need to be taken locally in the coming weeks. We are expecting some further national guidance from the Church of England in the coming days. As a Diocese, we will issue some more substantial advice to guide those decisions locally next week.

A new set of complex decisions can feel daunting – even if things are moving in the right direction. Once again this is a time to be contemplative and gentle with one another: to slow down and pray and listen to one another and to God before coming to a common mind.

Like many of us, I’ve been saying Morning Prayer online in recent months with a group of colleagues from Church House. I found a big lump in my throat as we said Psalm 42 together yesterday: Now when I think on these things, I pour out my soul: how I went with the multitude and led the procession to the house of God, With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among those who kept holy day. Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me? O put your trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Common Worship: Daily Prayer

I was remembering – and longing for – the joy of worshipping with God’s people gathered together but conscious with the psalmist of the journey we still have to make and the demands that will make on those who are already worn down.

Thanks be to God for all that clergy and heads and wardens and musicians are giving in church and the wider community. Just a little further now. Let’s keep going and encourage one another in this next part of this journey.

In Christ, Bishop Steven

Teri has sent this information in as well- BBC Radio 4 also has six 15-minute Lent talks on Wednesday evenings at 8.45pm.  The first one is tonight.

Our Parish Rooms Car park is famous, after it featured in a video made by Esther for the Holt School to meet the challenge of a slow motion video. You can’t tell but she let me drive the car: enjoy the poetry of slow motion balloon popping. As Esther helpfully said at the end, several balloons were most definitely harmed in the making of this film!

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