News for April 2019

Dear Friends,

What a delight it has been in these past weeks to see the Spring flowers emerging once again after winter!  The evenings are already drawing out, and we look forward to the clocks going forward on Mothering Sunday weekend. Despite losing a precious hour in bed, at least we can anticipate longer and lighter evenings, warmer weather (we hope!) and the approach of summer. Spring is a season full of hope and promise.

We all need to hang on to that after a difficult start to the year at CHOGS – the death of David Kershaw, following so soon after Alan Cutler’s death. Both dear friends are sadly missed by our church family, and we continue to cherish special memories of them.

Then there is the ongoing political division and turmoil within Westminster, as well as the deep divisions within the UK over Brexit. Having expected to be leaving the European Union on 29th March, however we may have voted in the Referendum, it is an anxious and uncertain time.

There have also been the tragic world situations in the news: the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash where so many lives were lost, and the terrorist attack on the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, with all those men, women and children who lost their lives or were injured whilst at prayer. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and the people of Christchurch, as they come to terms with all that has happened there.

We all need to cling on to our faith and hope in such times.

Amidst all that has been happening we move on in our journey through Lent towards Passiontide, Holy Week and Easter. The most important part of our church year. Without Holy Week and Easter, we would have no reason to be here. We exist as church because of our Christian hope in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

So, now we prepare to walk with Jesus on his journey to the cross. We need to pass through and enter in to the very dark days of Holy Week in order to experience the true joy of Easter Day; for our Alleluias to be resounding affirmations of all that Jesus has done for us on the cross.

Please join us as we keep Holy Week. One of the things I love about church life is keeping the church seasons together – one of the many reasons I would not want to be a Bishop or Archdeacon! Do come and share this time with one another. The special services and activities during Holy Week are all there to help you. Yes, time is very precious, but giving up extra time in Holy Week is an act of love and thankfulness for all that Jesus has done for us – our offering to him.

At Easter we rejoice that Good Friday was not the end. The dawning of that first Easter Day brought wonderful new hope and promise. The power of God’s love was revealed – bringing new life out of sin and death; healing and transformation out of pain and suffering; light out of deep darkness and despair. 

Wishing you a blessed Holy Week, and a joyful and hope-filled Easter.