Please find a link below to our March 2021 church magazine:
Our churches will be opening back up again for Public Worship from Sunday 14th March 2021, Mothering Sunday. So, much of the magazine reflects a more positive outlook as we anticipate being able to see more of each other in the weeks to come.
You’ll find news and views plus prayers and reflections for Lent. Our March 2021 church magazine also includes this letter from Barbara and Nigel…
Moving forward in hope
By the time you read this, God willing, the ‘Stay at Home’ Covid-19 pandemic rule will be relaxed and we will be well into Lent. Both of these events should allow us to strengthen the feeling of moving forward in hope.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been with us now for a full year. It has taken over the lives of all of us in a way which we would never have dreamed of. Anxiety and fear have hung over us and there has been great sorrow for many. We have had restrictions and precautions imposed on us, not just for our own good, but importantly, for the good of all. The cracks and shortcomings of our society have been exposed.
Thin on the ground
Perhaps it should be no surprise that at times like these hope is rather thin on the ground. But it has also been a time when amongst all the negative there have been positive signs. We have seen lots of good, caring, love, support and concern being shown for those in need. The Christian ethic of ‘love thy neighbour’ has been very evident in our communities. The NHS and many other key workers we perhaps took for granted previously have worked hard to keep on providing their services for the rest of us. Private and public appreciation was much in evidence. In the darkness light has shone, which gave hope amongst the despair.
Church life has seen much disruption during this time. All the day to day activities have had to stop or be severely curtailed. Socially distanced worship, no hymn singing, amended Eucharist procedure, and periods of our buildings being closed altogether. Yet here too we saw light in the darkness; hope in the frustration and despair. We learnt new ways of coming together, of keeping in touch, via the internet, the distribution of printed news sheets and service sheets, the telephone, and the friendly chats at the doorstep or in the street. The body of Christ has had to adapt and re-shape but the church was, and is, still very much in being! We look forward to coming together again soon.
How has all this affected our faith and belief? All this disruption to our previous routine? Have the aspects of hope mentioned above strengthened our assurance of the Christian hope we have in Jesus?
Lent is traditionally a time when we look at ourselves and our relationship with Jesus. It’s a time of renewal, rebuilding and perhaps strengthening those weaknesses we find in our faith. A time of repentance, resolution and repair. A time to refresh and get going again. There is a strong sense of hope in all that.
Come back stronger
During Lent we read again of Jesus spending time out in the wilderness where he looked at his faith and his calling to ministry. A time of self-questioning – what is it all about? What is being asked of me? Maybe we feel that over these last months we have all been out in the wilderness. A time away from the crowd; a time to re-focus. Let our prayer be that we are going to come back stronger; more determined than ever to follow Jesus; ready to move forward in hope.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”Isaiah 40:31
Nigel & Barbara