March 2021 message from Revd. Hilary Young
We expect that 9.30 Zoom services will continue indefinitely, to contact anyone from St Mary’s or for service invitations email [email protected]
WHEN I last wrote we were cautiously conducting services in our two parish churches (Everton and Gamlingay) and the New Year was ahead of us, with Christmas in between. We have moved on quite a bit since then!
It seems a bit late to share Christmas activities, which were all on line, but we kept our themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Light going through Epiphany, with some of us keeping our Christmas lights through to Candlemas on 2 February, which saw the end of Epiphany season when Christians celebrate Jesus, light of the world, shown to all nations.
I learned recently a new name for the hardy little harbingers of Spring pictured here – ‘Candlemas bells’ – found in a less-than-visible corner of my garden giving both joy and hope that life goes on, as the days lengthen and the weather warms up – at least some of the time!
My list of Covid learning points looking to the New Year seems a long time ago now too, but the prayer I am praying often and that runs through everything I am doing is worth repeating:
Lord grant to me the courage to change the things I can change, the grace to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen
That prayer continues to be important to me as vaccinations proceed apace, though the pandemic is still in full swing, and this virus looks like being a fixture in our lives. Although we may have seen the peak of infections in this second wave, I am sure we have not, as I write, seen the worst of the personal struggles. To that end, see the work Adrian and I are doing to provide a unifying focus for local support for those in need (could be any of us!). We look forward to working together with all those of good will in and supporting our communities.
We are now in the church season of Lent, the preparation time leading up to Easter, (Ash Wednesday which begins Lent is/was 17 February this year this year). Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Day, spans the end of this month and the beginning of the next.
Last year, we began Lent meeting up in person, but then went into a full ‘lock down’ for weeks, including Easter, when no one, not even clergy, was supposed to enter church. This year is different, we know something of what we are facing, and we have the opportunity to plan differently – we have learned a lot! Our study focus is on Prayer and Listening including Care for Creation. See the church Newsletter for details, or contact me for how to join in. Although we are allowed in church, our services are being broadcast from
church but as I write this are ‘behind closed doors’, as we are avoiding gatherings we cannot guarantee as safe. We very much hope that there will be public services soon, but probably not before schools reopen, we remain committed to the safety of all concerned and await guidance, as more is learned about new variants of Covid-19.
The churches remain open for private prayer on Sundays at least, and at other times as published, watch notice boards and social media for detailed up-to-date information.
Mothering Sunday (14 March), Palm Sunday (28 March), Maundy Thursday (1 April), Good Friday (2 April),
and Easter Day (4 April) will all be celebrated this year, with special provision for ‘virtual’ participation as well as services in churches – we hope to make these available to the public, but cannot say at this point what will be possible.
It could be that we have to operate a booking system – please do be in touch if you are interested to take part and are not already on our mailing lists. (See contact list at the back of this publication).
So what is all this for? Has God gone to sleep, doesn’t care or doesn’t exist?
This Lent will be a time when we examine ourselves and what is driving us and, I pray, have opportunity to grow our relationship with the Divine and Eternal whom Christians see in the person of Jesus and worship (give worth to) in the Trinity, three persons, one God.
May God bless us all in seeking him, love from Hilary.