By the time you receive this newsletter, the Pre-Lent Quiet Day will have taken place and I hope very much that those who took part were able to benefit from Bishop Harries’s thoughts as well as the discussions which followed, and yes even the silence !
We turn now to Lent itself, to the season of penitence and meditation on what Jesus Christ achieved for us and on how we can draw closer to him. Ash Wednesday marks the official beginning of Lent. There are two services on March 5: one at 7.00am for early birds, and the other at 8.00pm with the choir singing the Allegri Miserere. Both services include the “Imposition of Ashes” as an outward sign of our willingness to repent – to turn our lives once more to God and Jesus Christ. Please come to one or the other of these services.
Immediately after that our Lent Groups begin the York Course: “Build on the Rock: Faith, Doubt – and Jesus”. I explained this course in the last newsletter, and in the meantime sign-up sheets are on the noticeboard for you to choose which day you would like to attend from one or other of the five groups being offered. These five weeks are also a good way to test whether you think you might be a part of a group on a continuing basis throughout the year.
On the Sunday evenings in Lent at 6.30 (Evening Prayer) for 7.00pm, we are offering a series of talks on the theme of “Rivers of Life – Streams of Anglican Spirituality”(see also the February newsletter):
- March 9: Gary Jenkins on the Evangelical stream. He has been Vicar of Bermondsey since 2013
- March 16: to be confirmed (liberal/radical stream)
- March 23: Corinne Tournay on the charismatic/Pentecostal stream. She has been Vicar of St Peter, Brockley since 1998
- March 30: Will Cookson on the Fresh Expressions stream. He has been Minister-in-Charge of Springfield Church, Wallington, Surrey, since 2002
- April 6: Ailsa Newby on the Anglo-Catholic stream. She has been Team Rector, Putney Team Ministry, since 2010
This promises to be a stimulating programme, particularly if you come from a different stream from St Mary’s (which one is that, I hear you ask) or from a different Christian denomination.
Finally, when we come to the end of Lent and Palm Sunday (and Simon’s return), we have an interesting offering for Holy Week, especially the ministry of Revd Stuart Hoke, an American priest from the West Coast, who will be preaching at all our services from Maundy Thursday to Easter Day. Watch out for notices about this in due course.
Whatever you have decided to do for Lent (give up something, take something up, read a Christian book), I wish you a prayerful and blessed five weeks.