I’m the suddenly unemployed Watch Officer of a large container ship you might possibly have heard of… [227]

[Spring, sent in by Jean Vaughan]

Dear friends,

It has been an intense and challenging weekend in all sorts of ways. Just to keep you informed about where we are up to- the insurance broker and a project manager came out to look at the damage in Church this afternoon and we will now await their report. The man who came into Church on Friday has been officially sectioned because of the state of his mental health, which really serves to underline how important it is that we keep praying for him, and for those trying to help and support him at the moment, and for those who love him and long for his recovery and healing. We will keep you posted as things develop- what is certain is that we have been given a particularly profound focus for our keeping of Holy Week this year.

Here is the full text of Bishop Olivia’s message, which I read out yesterday:

Holy Week Notices

Don’t forget Stations at 12 on Tues and Wed in Church, the Meditative Service at 8pm on Zoom followed by Compline at 8.30, also on Zoom.

On Maundy Thursday, do come along ready to stay for as much of the Watch as you would like to and can. We are starting at 7.30 with a piece of organ music by J S Bach which will help us to get into the narrative of this amazing night- please either come in time for that, or just before 8, so you don’t interrupt the focus of the moment. Also, please can you bring with you a small bowl and a small bottle of water (and perhaps a towel) so that you can pour the water during the reading of the Gospel. (You’ll also need the same equipment if you are joining in via the Livestream).

There is a lot to join in with on Good Friday– 11am All-age Activity on YouTube, 12 midday is the premiere of the excellent CTW drama, 2pm a Live (and Livestreamed) service in Church and 3.30 the St Nick’s Good Friday Service online.

‘No Exceptions’ – A meditation for Good Friday 2021 presented by Churches Together in Wokingham: Created entirely by Wokingham residents for Good Friday, this short film is a meditation on the person of Jesus, his crucifixion and its enduring meaning for our lives today. With drama and music, the film is striking, moving, yet full of hope. Watch and share with friends and family: You are loved. No exceptions. The video will be available at this link to watch from 12 Noon on Good Friday 2nd April. https://youtu.be/KcLU4PH5vHw

If you know you’re coming to the Easter Eve Service on Zoom at 8pm, and are willing to do one of the Readings, please could you let me know?

And exciting news about Easter Day at 9.30- we are now allowed to sing together in the Churchyard so at the end of the 9.30 those who want to can join together outside to sing a couple of Easter hymns, before the legendary J-Club Easter Egg hunt begins. All of the spaces for the 9.30 have now been taken- if you would like to go on a waiting list, please email Louise.

And in other news…

Gertie writes to reassure those who were concerned about Bertie’s silence since Friday:

Dear Bertie Fans

Since the shocking and sad events of yesterday afternoon. There have been anxious enquiries about Bertie and  his silence since  the fire. I am happy to tell you that he sent me a text to say that although he was a little shaken he is unharmed and not even his whiskers got singed. 

He is now very busy doing an inventory of his cheeses for the insurance  company Disaster Mice.

Apart for a Bavarian cheese which seems to be even more smoked than before and a particularly fine cheddar which seems to now be toasted (but who doesn’t like toasted cheese) all seems to be well.  He plans, once he has ensured that all his cheeses are safe,  to go and help Richard and all the super people who have rallied round to help with making things ready for Sunday ‘s service. That is, once the wonderful police and insurance people  have finished all they need to do.

He sends his love to everyone

Your friend, Gertie

Also, here is a link to an update on what Soulscape have been doing this term: Available on youtube via the following link: https://youtu.be/ZnAdOWlaNhc

And a comment by Andrew Dotchin, from his excellent blog: “The more I read the New Testament epistles to the Early Church the more I realise that we have never yet read them.  Fruit of a faith that is all about change, acceptance, love and forgiveness, sometimes the Church seems to have tradition, rejection, conditions and judgement as her key competencies.  And when this happens we, once again, empty the cross of its power. “

And finally, one of the most glorious poems in the English language, sent out by John Sutton this week and perfect for such a stunning Spring week:

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things – 

   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 

      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 

   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 

      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 

   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 

      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 

                                Praise him.

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