Dear Friends,

I wonder if you can recall significant encounters or conversations that changed the course of your life? Maybe it was a doctor sharing news about
a diagnosis for yourself or for a family member? Maybe it was a parent or teacher sharing thoughts with you about a possible career path you had never considered before? Maybe it was a creative conversation with a friend that became a business idea and changed the direction of your life or an interview which forced you into making a significant choice or decision?
These important encounters so often change everything for us.

I often think the season we are about to enter, the season of Holy Week and Easter is incredibly powerful. If we make the choice or decision to come to some of our Holy Week services there is the distinct possibility that we encounter the Lord Jesus himself in worship and that can change our perspective on everything.

It might be for the first time in a personal way or maybe those occasions act like an ignition switch that reopens our eyes to His significance and importance not just as a historical figure, but
as our Lord and Saviour.

Each night during Holy Week we will be using liturgies from the book ‘Week of All Weeks’ written by the former Bishop of Down and Dromore, The Right Reverend Harold Miller.

I would suggest that if we engage with the events in
the last week of the life of Jesus on earth, they change us in a profound way. They make us think about what is truly important and view the world in a new way.

From Monday to Friday each night at 7.30pm in Holy Week, our curate, Reverend Andy Hay will be leading our devotions.
On Monday 3rd April, he will be thinking about Jesus the Son. On Tuesday 4th April, he will be thinking about Jesus the judge. On Wednesday 5th April, he will be thinking about Jesus the beloved. On Thursday 6th April, when we celebrate Holy Communion, he will be thinking about Jesus the betrayed. On Friday 7th April, the church will be open for prayer from 7am until 7pm and we hope people will sign up to a list at the back of the church and take responsibility for maintaining a presence of prayer throughout the day.

We hope to have a service for children and young people and their families at 12 noon and at 7.30pm we will share the service of Tenebrae. On Easter day, 9th April we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with celebrations of Holy Communion at 9am,11am and 7pm.

I recently met an old boss of mine on the occasion of a surprise birthday party to celebrate a significant birthday. When called upon to say a few words, I spoke about how everyone in the room had reason to be grateful for the kindness and friendship of my old boss. I, however had reason more than most as it was the habits he drilled into me about welcoming strangers and trying to integrate them into church activities that sparked a conversation that led me to meeting my wife. A significant and life-changing encounter indeed, made possible by the influence and friendship of my former boss.

Holy Week and Easter is a similar opportunity for us. Could we invite someone we know to these special services? Maybe someone who is searching for faith or going through a testing time? Maybe a friend who we would love to experience the kindness and goodness of God as we ourselves have received those things?

It’s a great thing to pray for people God may have placed upon our hearts and maybe we can be the facilitator of a life-changing encounter between that person and the Lord Jesus through our personal invitation. It’s a special thing to have a gifted communicator like Andy in our midst unpacking these special events and their significance for us and a great opportunity to enable some special and life-changing encounters with God to take place.

We take this opportunity to offer our warmest congratulations to Andy on the publication of his thesis in The Braemor studies series through the Theological Institute at the end of March. Andy’s publication is all about mission and discipleship in the Gospel of Luke in a modern Irish context and it is a great honour to have his work published in this way. We are very proud of him.

Just as we look forward to the events of Holy Week, we look forward next month to a week of mission and outreach events for the Church and the community to mark the Coronation of King Charles III from 14th – 21st May. Details will hopefully be available early next month as we look forward to different speakers coming to share at church and community events as we pray for more significant encounters and conversations to take place that might draw people to the Risen Lord.

Please do get in touch in the coming weeks if you would like to have communion at home before Easter and it is difficult for you to get out to services. We would be delighted to come and share that special service with you.

With very best wishes,

Jonathan Pierce (Rector)

Telephone 02890 793822