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News from the Vicarage - February 2016

Dear Friends,

Lent is early this year starting on Ash Wednesday 10th of February. There is, of course, a Sung Eucharist with Ashing at 7.30pm on that day. But what is Lent all about?

It is a preparation for the events of Holy Week and Easter. Just as Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness thinking about his ministry right after his baptism by John, so Lent is a time to reflect on our lives, to try to be better Christians and to grow nearer to God. It is a time to do better and avoid sin. However, when we use the word sin it is usually misunderstood and is often only used about sexual misdemeanours. When we talk about the virgin birth of Jesus, or the Immaculate Conception we equate sex with sin. This is not the case. Sin is much wider. It is about putting obstacles between us and God. Of not obeying the Ten Commandments, of not loving God with our whole heart or our neighbour as ourselves. Selfishness would be another word we could use instead of sin. Lent is a time when we can look again afresh at ourselves and see what gets in our way of loving God. Do you go to church as often as you can? Do you pray regularly? Do you turn a blind eye to someone who needs your help? To be less selfish you need to be more self-sacrificing. As we prepare for Holy Week and Easter, Lent is a good time to examine ourselves and ponder on the mystery of the self-sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Sometimes we need to give up things that get in our way or are not good for us, like giving up chocolate for Lent. But more importantly we need to do things which actually promote a more holy and godly life.

In lent we have Lent Lunches on Fridays at 12.30pm in church in our parish room, S. John's Room, starting on 12th February up to Good Friday 25th March and the money you give goes to help the Bishop's Lent Appeal for children in need. Also we have Compline (Night Prayer) every Wednesday in Lent at 7pm in S. Anne's Chapel.

We also start the next 'Living Faith' course (formerly the Bishop's Certificate) on Wednesday 3rd February 7.30pm at Criftins Vicarage. This is a joint course I'm sharing with Simon Airey and we would love anyone to join us. Please speak to me if you're interested.

Finally can I commend Confession to you. While this practice is not widely used in the Church of England it is commended in the Prayer Book and many Christians find that confessing their sorrow or guilt to a priest and being re-assured of God's forgiveness can put their sins in the past and help them to move on. Why not give it a go this Lent? Do come and talk to me or any other priest. May you have a holy Lent.

My prayers and best wishes,

 

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar