We are now in the third week of Lent.
A lot of people talk about a Lenten pilgrimage or journeying towards Easter. Bishop Rachel has written an interesting article that’s on the front page of the diocese website at the moment, in which she compares going on a literal walk at this time of year, with the inner journey towards Easter. I really recommend that.
But thinking about Easter, we’ve been wondering how are we going to celebrate Easter this year in our church buildings, trying to keep one another safe, but having the opportunity of being together. So we’re thinking of doing something very similar to what we did at Christmas, which is having our church buildings open and decorated, lighting our Easter candle, and being able to join in with private prayer, receiving communion, and listening to readings and those wonderful Easter hymns. So that some of our churches will be open, some of them on Easter Eve, some of them on Easter Day for that.
In the week leading up to Easter, Holy Week, there’s emerging a rather challenging and exciting opportunity of being involved with other churches from around Stroud and other organisations in a whole week of prayer. Literally 24/7. There’ll be opportunities to be involved in Zoom prayer rooms, of course, to pray at home, to pray when you go walk, to engage in the normal online prayer meetings that we have, the various ones across our churches, and some of our church buildings will be open for private prayer, especially that week too. So, if you can devote an additional hour, perhaps that week, to prayer, could you sign up for a particular slot and let’s make the most of this opportunity of this Holy Week. Having extra time to listen to God and to intercede. We want to pray for healing and for hope, for our friends and our world.
Also, in Holy Week, we are going to be involved in the Easter Comfort and Joy. If you remember at Christmas, we joined in the project across the diocese to deliver bags of comfort and joy that involved frozen meals and some extra goodies to families who are suffering from financial hardship at the moment. And there’s an opportunity, again, to do that in Holy Week, but, of course, this time we want to include Easter eggs and an Easter card alongside those frozen meal If you’d like to take part in this by making a financial contribution towards an Easter egg, then please make a donation to Stroud Parish Churches, either via the website or via a check, or whatever usual way that you do that. But please could you mark it clearly, Easter Comfort and Joy. That would be great. And, if you’d like to actually write in one of the Easter cards, that would be wonderful too. If you’d like to join in by writing a message please let me know, and I’ll get one or more Easter cards to you. Thanks.
We’ve begun to think about how we can open our church buildings for Sunday Worship, every Sunday after Easter. And to that end, the PCCs and the churchwardens have been thinking about it, but we’d still love to hear from you, what you think about Sunday Worship in your church buildings. And, if you’d like to make your views known to one of your PCC reps or to your churchwardens, that would be good. And those views can be taken forward to one of our joint PCC meetings coming up.
But of course, the Christian life isn’t just about what we do on Sundays, Sunday mornings. It’s about our everyday faith. There’s a new initiative that’s come out in the diocese to support us in our everyday faith about how God makes a difference to our lives, every part of our lives. And it’s called Personal Shapes for Living. What this is, is an opportunity, if you’d like to take it, to be linked to a kind of a spiritual friend, a soul friend, a buddy and to arrange to talk with them maybe later on in the year in a personal meeting or over the phone, and just to kind of share about where you are a and they will ask you some questions it’s totally private It’s totally voluntary If you want to find out more about it if you think it might be something that you’d find helpful then again, look on the diocese website under Personal Shapes for Living.
Finally, this Sunday we’re delighted to have Simon back with us on our online service and he’s going to be preaching And then, I’m hoping, with us after the service in the chat room again. So that will be lovely. Looking forward to that very much.
Please join us.
Thanks a lot.