GRATWICH SERVICES IN APRIL
EASTER SUNDAY 4th 7.00pm Holy Communion IN CHURCH
SUNDAY 11th 11.15am Morning Prayer via ZOOM
SUNDAY 25th 7.00pm EVENING PRAYER IN CHURCH
April and Spring at last, the clocks ‘Sprung’ forward an hour, the days getting longer, birds are thinking of nesting, the grass is growing and the daffodils in the churchyard are beautiful – have a look at the photos on the church Facebook page.
Hopefully by the middle of this month restrictions will start to ease a little and maybe we can start to plan ways to meet together safely.
It is the little things I miss doing – having a cup of tea and a chat in a friend’s house and visiting family members. Other things I miss like sitting on the beach in Llandudno (when there are not many other people there) and having a meal out somewhere, i can manage without if necessary.
We are looking forward to Easter Sunday and 25th April – having the Services in
St. Mary’s Gratwich, live in person and not on Zoom!!
Please come if you can, it will be lovely to see you.
Book first with Jenny (01889 502471) as we only have ten ‘bubbles’ and bring a mask.
100 CLUB – March - drawn at the Zoom Service on 28th March
1st Mia Cotton 2nd Millie Capewell 3rd Julie Bradley
The next draw will be at the service on 25th April – in church too.
After the success of our Zoom Quiz we are having a
CHURCH CRIME EVENING
It should be a good evening – come and test your detective skills
please book in with Jenny by 3rd April.
Can you help solve the crime??
Join Detective Inspector Solvit
On April 10th 2021
Via zoom to interview the suspects
Teams of up to four can enter
Area letter from Revd Charles Dale
Time seems to have flown by since the last letter I wrote in July last year bang in the middle of Lockdown 2, with the hope of coming through that period and getting back to normal and here we are in Lockdown 3.! I think it is more important than ever to ask of oneself ‘how am I really coping and getting on both physically and mentally?’ Life certainly isn’t the same and we’ve gone through such a lot of changes since then as we have got used to the new way of being and doing and adapting to a new norm.
Thankfully for me, what hasn’t changed is my faith and trust in God, times of waiting on him and persevering in prayer and praise; enjoying the natural world around me (although Kingstone woods has been a tad muddy over the winter months!) and the love of my close family. These things comfort my soul. But you might expect that of me! However, I have found these times as challenging as anyone else, with lots of wilderness times.
It has helped for me to reflect on Jesus and of his wilderness experience; of how he felt and what was going through his mind as he negotiated that time in a barren landscape, famished and full of the temptations of earthly life. This, after he had received that wonderful affirmation from God at his baptism, as the Spirit descended on him as he came out of the waters to start his earthly ministry.
Rather though, the Spirit drove him into the wilderness!
I’m sure that experience was not what he was really expecting. Even more so as he entered what we now call Holy Week and the dark and tragic events that led to his cruel death on the cross. The events of the last twelve months weren’t what we were expecting either, with its restrictions and bereavements of all kinds.
You may feel you are in a wilderness place as you negotiate the do’s and don’ts of Lockdown and the consequences of the pandemic; lamenting the days gone by and of untold personal hardships in your life. What are the things that have kept you going?
What brings you comfort?
As well as dry barrenness, wildernesses can though be places of development and growth. Much of the Bible and its times involve desert experiences with times, yes of testing and waiting on the Lord, but also of discovery and blossoming. The people of Israel wandered for 40 formative years, but they eventually crossed over into the Promised Land. Jesus had 40 days of testing and formation after which, as St Luke writes, ‘the power of the Holy Spirit was with him’, just as it was at the baptism. Jesus was strengthened and enabled for his ministry through these experiences, but throughout often went to out of the way places to pray, to continue to be refreshed by God, his Father.
I take heart in the fact that, for Jesus, the wilderness and the dark tragic time of Holy Week culminated in something more glorious. That glory can be yours too, whatever you have personally lamented in these past times.
Easter is a time when we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, promising new life and hope for those who trust in him.
One of the churches canticles is called ‘The Song of the Wilderness’. It’s set as an Advent song of praise, but I think is really appropriate for our times and of the promise of hope that is Easter. Its starts like this:
‘The wilderness and dry land shall rejoice; the desert shall blossom and burst into song. They shall see the glory of the Lord; the majesty of our God.’
On Easter Day, Mary stood weeping at the tomb, but Mary’s tears of sadness soon became tears of joy. To her was revealed the glory of the risen Lord. Whatever you have lamented and mourned these last twelve months, may your tears of sadness turn into tears of joy; may you too know the comfort and glory of the risen Lord.
There are better times coming and we will be together again; times when your own wilderness and dry land shall rejoice and your desert blossom and burst into song. As you journey on may you be comforted and strengthened in the song: ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen.’ May your response be: ‘He is Risen indeed, Alleluia.’
Blessings and peace
For further information about anything in the newsletter, please contact:
Rev. Charles Dale 01889 500428: email: [email protected]
Jenny Talbot: 01889 50241 email: [email protected]
Facebook: St. Mary’s Church Gratwich