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Views from the Vicarage - March 2018

Dear Friends,

On the 2nd of March we remember S. Chad (d 672) first Bishop of the Mercian's and of our Diocese Lichfield. 'Come follow Christ in the footsteps of S. Chad' is our Diocesan strapline/logo. Our Lent Course on Wednesdays 7pm follows 'Steps in Discipleship' based on following S. Chad.

Mothering Sunday 11th March. The Fourth Sunday in Lent was called 'Refreshment Sunday', when the rigors of Lent were relaxed. It is called Mothering Sunday as a reference to the Epistle reading for the Day (Gal 4:21-31). The Lenten Epistles follow from each other with teaching about our life as Christians and how we are to follow Christ. Thus, Mothering Sunday is about the freedom that we gain through the promise of Jesus Christ delivered through our Mother the Church. People were encouraged to go to their 'Mother Church' (their home church or their home Cathedral) to worship and give thanks. Posies and Cards are given out this day.

Celebrating Easter. The week leading up to Easter Sunday is called Holy Week and Christians focus more deeply than usual on their faith. It begins with Palm Sunday. Services on this day, seven days before Easter, recall Jesus entering Jerusalem triumphantly, cheered by crowds as He rode a donkey. Palm leaves were waved on that occasion, and are still significant in church worship, twisted into the shape of a cross. Four days later is Maundy Thursday, when Jesus' followers remember that on the night before He died He asked them to remember Him by eating bread and drinking wine. Maundy comes from the Latin word for commandment, recalling Jesus' command that day that Christians should love each other in the same way that He loves them. The next day is Good Friday. This is the most solemn day of the Christian year because it is used to recall the appalling death of Jesus. We hold a procession at 11am from the Wharf to the Mere. After our Soup Lent Lunch at 12.30pm, at 2pm we have the Good Friday Liturgy venerating the cross. Easter Sunday recalls the day when Jesus' followers discovered that His tomb was empty. It is the most important and joyful day of the Christian year. Jubilant music is performed, and flowers fill the churches with colour. The centuries-old cry, 'Alleluia! Christ is risen!' is met with the response, 'He is risen indeed. Alleluia!' In the first Christian centuries Easter Sunday was the day on which new converts to Christianity were baptised. More recent, but popular, ways of celebrating include Easter vigils late on Saturday night, which begin in darkness, lighting of a fire and Pascal Candle and first Mass of Easter. We celebrate this Easter Liturgy at 9pm. Do join us!

My Prayers and best wishes.

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar