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News from the Vicarage - April 2015

Dear Friends,

I wrote a little while ago to everyone on our church Electoral Roll asking for help to overcome our financial difficulties of a shortfall in the costs of the church ministry and mission of £12,000 per annum. Most people have responded generously and we have a significant increase in our Stewardship.

I want to thank everyone who has increased their giving and those who still give generously. Some though, have not responded, and it is not too late to do so. Standing Orders, Gift Aid, and Weekly Envelopes are still available and we would most appreciate your Response Forms so we know where we are.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting is on Tuesday 14th April 7.30pm in church. We hope you will attend and hear the work of our church over the last year, hear the financial reports, as well as electing our Church Wardens, PCC members and Sidesmen/women.

We are entering the final week of Christ's life on earth from Palm Sunday to Easter which we call Holy Week. About half of the gospels are about this most important part of Jesus' life, from his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and the crowds waving palm branches, shouting Hosanna and proclaiming him to be the King of the Jews though to his betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection. We at S. Mary's will also follow the donkey into church and be given our palm crosses to be taken home and placed somewhere prominent. Then on Maundy Thursday we celebrate the Last Supper which Jesus held in the Upper Room with his disciples. During the Eucharist we enact the foot washing and at the end of the service the altars are stripped and the Blessed Sacrament, reserved for Good Friday, is taken to S. Anne's Chapel, like going to the Garden of Gethsemane, where the watch takes place, as Jesus did with his disciples until Judas, his betrayer, brings the soldiers to arrest him.

Good Friday is a strange name to give to this awful day when Jesus was tried by Pontius Pilate, flogged and crucified in the most terrible of deaths on the cross but was God's way of our salvation by Jesus' sacrifice for our sins. Nothing happens then until after dark on Saturday night when we gather in church for the most ancient of all the Christian traditions, the Easter Liturgy. Which starts with lighting the Easter fire, the exulted hymn of praise for all that God has done for us, followed by the watch with reading and palms, singing the Gloria when all the lights are turned on and bells are rung, then renewing our Baptismal Vows and followed by the first Eucharist of Easter - a very moving experience. Easter Day sees our celebration of the resurrection with many acclamations of Alleluia! A very Happy Easter!

 

My prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar