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Views from the Vicarage - February 2018

Dear Friends,

January has been a miserable month. Not only has it been dark and damp and cold, but many of us have suffered illnesses for this time of year, including myself. As
the days get longer and we look forward to Spring things will no doubt brighten up.

We finish the Christmas/Epiphany season forty days after Christmas with the feast of Candlemas (the Presentation of Christ in the Temple).

This is when two old people, Simeon and Anna, who worshipped continually in the temple, see the baby Jesus and recognize him as the promised Messiah - the Saviour of the World. Do come to our wonderful Sung Eucharist on Friday 2nd February at 7pm, where at the end of the service we process to the font singing the Nunc Dimittis, the song of Simeon, and remind ourselves of our baptism and turn from Christmas to Lent and Easter.

Lent begins just a few days after Candlemas this year on Ash Wednesday 14th February (also S. Valentine's Day) Again there is a Sung Eucharist at 7pm, with the imposition of Ashes to remind us of our frailty (from dust you came and to dust you shall return) and of our commitment to do away with sin and turn to Christ.

During Lent I do hope that you will make an extra effort in your faith, not only by giving up things which are bad for you, but by doing something positive such as Bible Study, extra prayer, greater attendance at Church, and by giving to good causes. To assist in this we have Lent Lunches on Fridays in Lent at 1230pm in S. John's Room and the money will go to the Bishop's Lent appeal. Also on Wednesdays in Lent at 7pm in S. Anne's Chapel we have an Address and Compline (the ancient service of Night Prayer). This year I will be using the Lichfield Diocesan Lent Study - Steps in Discipleship - written by our Archdeacon The Ven. Paul Thomas (who came to preach to us at the beginning of January) and the Dean of our Cathedral The Very Rev'd Adrian Dorber. Our Bishop The Rt Rev'd Dr Michael Ipgrave writes of this study: 'Chad of Lichfield was a man whose humility, energy and holiness inspire us today, and his story is threaded through the geography and history of this precious part of England. As we seek today to answer Christ's call to follow Him in our own time, there is much that we can learn from our first bishop's lifelong response, made at a time when Anglo-Saxon Mercia was as diverse, conflicted and yet full of opportunity as modern Mercia is today. My hope and prayer is that the study (Come follow Christ in the footsteps of S. Chad) will be a way of renewing discipleship, multiplying vocations and strengthening evangelism. Do join us on Wednesdays in Lent!

On another positive note our new boiler seems to be working very well as our church has been relatively warm (but it will never be as warm as your house as we have a very large draughty building). There is still some finishing off to do but I have been pleased so far.

I hope to see many of you at our Hot Pot Supper and Quiz on Friday 9th February 7.30pm at the Town Hall.

My Prayers and best wishes for a holy Lent.

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar