I hope you and your family are all keeping well.
Prayer lies at the heart of our Christian faith. Prayer is the way in which we both talk to God and God talks to us.
Prayer can take many forms and it doesn’t have to have to be in a particular form or use special words. It is a conversation, and conversations include listening to someone else. Conversations also include times of silence when no words are used. It is enough to be silent and just enjoy the presence of the other.
There have been a number of different requests this last week. With the number of deaths due to COVID passing 100,000, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written an open letter calling upon us all to pray. They ask us to pray for each one of us, as in one way or another we are all affected by the virus. Their letter can be found here:- https://mcusercontent.com/50eac70851c7245ce1ce00c45/files/c04ce5c3-bbc7-459b-ac6e-63aef1f1f31d/20210126_Letter_to_the_nation.pdf?mc_cid=5d6c6a5473&mc_eid=c3af48e8a6. They are encouraging us to set aside time each evening to pray, preferably at 6.00pm. Please join in this example of corporate prayer.
This Sunday is Candlemas which marks the end of the Epiphany season in the Church’s worshipping prayer life. So Lent, 40days of penitence when we pray for forgiveness of our sins and failures, is just around the corner. It starts with Ash Wednesday on 17 February. As I mentioned last week, we shall be having a special live service on the Church’s Facebook page. We have already had a number of requests for the special worship pack which includes a palm cross, ash and a special book of prayer and readings. We shall be beginning to post these out during the coming week. It’s not too late to place your order here:- https://daresburycofe.org.uk/ash-wednesday-pack/ or by emailing [email protected] or by telephoning the Vicarage 01925 740348.
Studying our faith is also part of prayer. Our Bible Study group is going to follow a special Lent study course produced by USPG. The course booklet can be found here https://d3hgrlq6yacptf.cloudfront.net/uspg/content/pages/documents/1605634745.pdf. Please do have a look at it over the next few weeks and join our first session on 24 February at 7.30pm. The Zoom details to join are:- Meeting ID: 873 0988 5456 Password: 011017 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87309885456?pwd=UFJwVkhSc0NkR0lYSFY0b3NaMHplQT09
One of the special prayer spaces in the Churchyard is the Cenotaph. Here we remember those who have died in both World Wars. Thanks to the Daresbury and District Heritage Group, and the Parish Councils for Hatton, Moore, Preston Brook, Daresbury and Sandymoor for arranging for it to be cleaned and the pavement stones relaid. Please have a look at the attached photograph. Unfortunately the wind kept blowing the wreaths around!
The final request for prayer is for ourselves as a Christian community. You will have received yesterday an email from Gill, Steve and Mark about our future direction. It mentioned Thursday night’s PCC meeting when the Archdeacon came to talk about a possible link with the parish of St Berteline, Norton after my retirement in the summer.
I left the meeting part way through and before any decision was made. The Archdeacon emailed me after the meeting and told me he was very impressed by the discussion and the constructive way the PCC approached the suggestion.
The PCC unanimously agreed to look into this very exciting possibility and asked Gill, Steve and Mark to take the next steps by meeting with their counterparts in Norton, following which they will report back to the PCC and Archdeacon. I know that you can be sure that they will explore every avenue as wisely and prayerfully as possible.
Please pray for them as they take on this heavy burden and responsibility. They will need a great deal of support and prayer and I know they will be very grateful for it. There is a great deal of ground to cover before any final decision is made which we all must approach with an open mind and heart. I was very struck by Simon’s sermon last Sunday when he looked at Paul’s First Letter to the Church at Corinth. They were grappling with change, something of which Paul had a great deal of experience. Simon pointed out all Churches are part of the body of Christ and that if a body doesn’t move, it is dead. I shall have you all in my private prayers over the next few months as you reflect on how you are going to move forward to the next phase of your life together as part of the body of Christ.
Finally, tomorrow’s service is attached. It will be led by Gill and she asks that if possible, could you have a candle, a lighter or matches and a cup or small bowl of water to hand. Interesting!
With God’s blessing,