WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM THE VICAR FRIDAY 3rd April 2020
I send you greetings in strange and uncertain times.
As you already know the Public worship was suspended by the Archbishops on 17th March but this was strengthened with the closure of all church buildings announced on 22nd March.
In our parish this means:
(i)No prayer or worship can be offered in church until we are advised otherwise.
(ii) Our buildings are locked and a poster has been placed on the door and noticeboard
(iii) Our Churchwardens will do all they can to ensure the security of the building .
This week I feel even more than last the absence of meeting as we begin the very precious commemoration of Holy Week. Below I outline some of the things that we can participate in to keep us connected over these next weeks.
(A) PALM SUNDAY On Palm Sunday we would usually meet outside church to process into church singing All Glory Laud and Honour. This year will be different for all of us. But there are things we can do:
(i) Have you thought about making your own Palm Cross. You can find the instruction video on our website HERE. Why not make one and place it in your window
(ii) There will be a pre-recorded Palm Sunday Eucharist with the Bishop of Manchester will be released on the Church of England’s Facebook page HERE. In his sermon, Bishop David will speak of the strength and mutual support from the crowd that he addressed in Manchester city centre following the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.
(iii) Traditionally we don't have a sermon on Palm Sunday instead we read the extended Passion Reading. This year it is the gospel of Matthew. You can read is on the sidebar PASSION READING FOR PALM SUNDAY where you can also watch an illustrated reading of the text. You might want to listen to a recording of Bach's St Matthew's Passion. It is of course nearly three hours long but what a wonderful way to spend these isolated times.
(iv) Have you seen Matthew Jones' facebook recording of some well loved hymns. I am grateful to him for recording them, Why not listen and sing along
(B) HOLY WEEK
(i) Do you remember when people used to put a poster in their window saying This is Holy Week? I found it difficult to find so I have made my own which I have added to the sidebar. Again you could place in your window, traditionally you fold HE IS RISEN to reveal on Easter Day
(ii )Bishop Guli will give the last BBC Lent Talk. You can listen to the whole series on BBC Sounds or HERE they have been on the theme of Identity. Bishop Guli's will be on the theme of Identity and Community, in particular her journey of identity as an Iranian-born British Christian. . She wrote and recorded it before the Lockdown but I know it is very worth listening to and reflecting on. Again it will be on BBC Sounds or HERE
(iii)As a family, all five of us have been saying Compline (Night Prayer) each evening. You can find a link to the daily services including Compline on the website sidebar HERE
(i) On Maundy Thursday you can join the traditional Liturgy of the Last Supper from Leicester Cathedral at 7.30pm HERE
(iv) I always give some Holy Week or Good Friday Reflections. This year I am adding A Holy Week Reflection.
(v) I have added A Service for Good Friday. I will lead this with my family at 12noon. Will you join us?
Next week I will give some ideas of how we can celebrate Easter in these testing circumstances. I am awaiting special guidance from our Bishops.
(d) PASTORAL CARE I hold each of you and your loved ones in my prayers. This week I have been praying for several areas for which prayer h as been particularly requested. Including our Farming communities, our key workers in the NHS, those gravely ill. We need to keep praying for those who are finding the restrictions on their movement and socializing very difficult. Please let me know if there are areas that I can pray for.
Pastoral Care is based on being alongside people and showing compassion and care for others. It is so difficult to do this under these restrictions, but please know of my intention to provide what care I can particular for bereaved families.
(e) KEEPING IN CONTACT
I send this this Weekly Message from the Vicar and send it by email to all who have requested it. Please forward the link anyone who would like to have it. If you give me their e mail details I will add them to the circulation list. In addition this week I am sending (on Tuesday) an Easter Letter to those on our "housebound list" I will add on anyone who you think would like to receive it, Please let me have their details
Meanwhile I ask for your prayers and assure you of mine
Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani