Dear Friends,

I wonder if you have ever waited anxiously for something to arrive. Maybe it’s a gift you have ordered for someone for a special occasion? Maybe it’s a
significant day in your calendar like a holiday or a birthday or a concert for which you have tickets? Maybe it’s a wedding or the birth of a child and there’s a sense that when this day arrives things will never be the same again.

As Christians journey through the season of Lent it can seem like a long season. Although the days are getting brighter, the weather is often cold and wet. You perhaps miss those little creature comforts you may have given up for Lent. You long for the day you believe to be significant, the dawn of
Easter and all that the day means and symbolises in human experience. As we look forward to that day, I wonder what it means for you or to you? Is it
about an opportunity to get together with family and friends? Is it about hope breaking through after a season in the wilderness? Is it about light
breaking through the darkness or about Jesus rising from the dead? What difference does this make to our ordinary everyday lives in 2024? What impact might it have on our children or grandchildren?

If you’ve never thought much about it before or attempted to explain it to
someone else, it can be a bit tricky to unpack. When I talk to other parents at the school gate or people I meet at my children’s sporting activities or chat with neighbours who know what I do, they are conscious in many cases that Easter is a busy time in the life of a church. When I try to describe it, I usually talk about it as an experience. If you have always lived your life without any reference to God or Jesus it doesn’t necessarily make a
great deal of sense to you. It’s only when you come along and try to understand it and why it might be significant, that things start to happen that might be hard to explain.

I read in a textbook that we used to use to prepare young people for
confirmation about a journalist who sought to highlight the irrelevance of Jesus’ teaching to modern life. To research his article he determined to read the New Testament in the Bible and to try to put into practice any of the teachings of Jesus he could find to show how out of touch they were in relation to modern life. As his experiment continued, he found to his surprise that the barriers in his mind about Christianity began to
evaporate. In fact, within 4 weeks he found himself starting to attend a church and, within a few weeks of that beginning, he decided to commit his own life to following Jesus.

In the life of our church, Easter is quite an immersive experience. We can’t force anyone to come on the journey but if people engage with the events of the last week of Jesus’ life (what we usually call Holy Week) they rarely remain unmoved and often they are changed.

Each evening during Holy Week (25th-29th March), there will be special services and liturgies at 7.30pm. These will not only reflect on some of the key moments in that week for Jesus of Nazareth and their significance, they will also offer an opportunity to think about our own lives.

We will be welcoming guests to come and share something of their journey from the Monday to the Thursday evening. They might describe the difference it has made to have a sense of God’s presence or what their life looks like as a result of that decision to follow Jesus.

I’m excited about the people who are coming, not because they are particularly special or eloquent though I think they all are. I’m excited that they are all different and have a unique story to tell and as we hear those stories it often triggers something in us. Wouldn’t it be amazing if those stories awakened something powerful and profound in our own lives?
One of the significant things we can do as Holy Week and Easter approach, is invite someone to come along.

I’m thrilled the way our confirmation class has grown in size in recent weeks. Friends are inviting friends and coming together, some from other
churches or communities but it’s great to have the chance to explore the claims of the Christian faith together.

On Good Friday we have a special short service for children and young people at 12 noon and on Good Friday evening, we have the reflective
service of Tenebrae where we hear a reading of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus from the Gospel of John at 7.30pm.

Good Friday is a day of prayer in our church and we ask people to take responsibility for maintaining a presence of prayer throughout the day from 7am-7pm. There will be some guiding points for prayer if people wish to utilise them.

On Easter Day there will be celebrations of Holy Communion at 9am, 11am and 7pm.

It would be very special to invite people along to some of these services. If you have family members or friends who are curious about spiritual things, church during Holy Week and Easter is reflective, thought-provoking and brings up all sorts of things for us.

We hope many of these services will be live-streamed but nothing quite beats the experience of being there in person if we can. I know many
people who don’t consider themselves to be churchgoers but who make a point of popping in for a while on Good Friday to have some quiet and
thinking time.

Please spread the word and let people know they are welcome.

With very best wishes.

Jonathan Pierce (Rector)

Telephone 02890 793822