Friday, 26 March 2010

Approaching Holy Week - and April

The last few days have seen a lot of energy expended - much of it at the desk, but also in church as a good number of people ready the building for our celebration of Holy Week. One of the desk products is our Parish Magazine for April. It's available in print - and the online colour edition is to be found here. For those who like that sort of thing, it includes most of the reports to be given to our Annual Parochial Church Meeting. For those who don't like that sort of thing, I commend it nevertheless: printing them in the Magazine means we don't have to print them separately; and it keeps the APCM short, because we don't have to listen to them.

Because Holy Week falls across the boundary of March and April, we don't have the full details in the April Magazine (but they're  all in the March issue). So here's the Holy Week menu at St. Cuthbert's:

Sunday 28th March: Palm Sunday
 8.00a.m. Eucharist (BCP)
10.00a.m. Procession of Palms & Sung Parish Eucharist
 6.00p.m. Evening Prayer

Monday 29th March: Monday in Holy Week

 2.00p.m. Eucharist - at Derwentdale Court
 7.30p.m. Ecumenical Service with Churches Together
- in St. Cuthbert’s Church

Tuesday 30th March: Tuesday in Holy Week
7.00p.m. Eucharist & Prayers with Anointing for Healing

Wednesday 31st March: Wednesday in Holy Week
10.00a.m. Eucharist & Stations of the Cross

Thursday 1st April: Maundy Thursday
7.30p.m. Sung Eucharist of the Last Supper
followed by a Watch of the Passion

Friday 2nd April: Good Friday
10.00a.m. Before the Cross: All-Age Service
2.00p.m. Liturgy of the Day & Holy Communion

Sunday 4th April: Easter Day
8.00a.m. Eucharist (BCP)
10.00a.m. Sung Parish Eucharist with Easter Ceremonies

May the love of Christ, crucified & risen,
fill your life with his joy this Holy Week & Easter-tide

Monday, 22 March 2010

Passiontide begins...

... Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, never has anything to say. You might wonder about that. I would say, look at how important he is in his silence. Loved by his sisters - and he really needs their love. Silent in the grave - and from the grave Jesus calls him to life. Sitting with Jesus at table - Lazarus stands for all people who are there simply to be served, honoured or cared for in their need. Lazarus is the silent companion of Jesus - so perhaps he stands for us, when we are lost for words.

There is though, something more...

From my homily for Passion Sunday - find it all here.

And there's a reminder that this week sees the 30th anniversary of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, a man who should still inspire us.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

A Run of White Feasts

Today is actually the Feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. But at St. Cuthbert's we've been celebrating St. Joseph instead. I know it's his Feast Day tomorrow, 19th March, but we're using Friday evening instead for our own Patronal Celebration, keeping the Eve of St. Cuthbert's Day. So there's a plug for our Patronal Festival - join us, if you can, for a Sung Eucharist at 7p.m. There are more celebrations to follow. If you can't be there, remember us in your prayers.

The Diocese begins its celebrations the same evening in Durham Cathedral, but for the Feast Day itself moves north for a Pilgrimage to Holy Island off the Northumberland Coast. Pilgrims are to gather at 10a.m. - and there'll be a Eucharist in the Priory ruins. If the weather is inclement, it'll be in the Parish Church next door. After lunch everyone is to move off to Durham and there's an invitation  to walk back across the sands on the Pilgrim's Route (hoping the motorised will pick them up on the mainland). It may seem strange to have the pilgrims walk the return route rather than the approach - but there is the question of tides (and just how early they would want to start!). Anyway it's part of the pilgrimage, because the idea then is to go on to Durham for Choral Evensong - I've said I'll join in at least for that part.

And yesterday of course was St. Patrick's Day. I found myself back in my last parish, presiding and preaching at St. Patrick's, High Spen on the 120th anniversary of the church's consecration. St. Patrick's has the distinction amongst Durham churches of having been consecrated by a Bishop of Newcastle. Bishop Lightfoot had died leaving an episcopal interregnum at the time he should have made his way to St. Pat's. But Bishop Westcott turned up the following year to check that all was well.

The people were certainly in good spirits - with visitors too. But they are themselves in  the midst of an interregnum (the third since I left). Pray for them, and for a speedy and good appointment. This is what I had to say in my homily.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Fables, figs, parables and politics

The title of this post is inspired by the content of the sermon preached by our Reader, Rosie Junemann, yesterday - click here to find, then twiddle the tools to look at it.

This morning in the parish feels like a bit of a lull before it gets very busy... Probably as in most Anglican churches in this country, the emphasis here on the Fourth Sunday of Lent gets placed firmly on Mothering Sunday. So there needs to be thought as to what approach can be taken this year - and prayer that we will get children and mothers/ parents in church on Sunday. Then a certain wistfulness that we've disrupted the flow of Lent.

Or have we? This year the Churches of Orthodoxy and of the Western Rite will celebrate Easter at the same time. So it's worth checking the Orthodox Calendar as we progress through Lent. And you find that the Third Sunday of Lent is observed by the Orthodox as "The Sunday of the Cross." Rather earlier than we begin even the traditional observance of Passiontide, but at least a Lenten theme. But what about keeping the First Sunday of Lent as "The Triumph of Orthodoxy," commemorating the end of the Iconoclast struggle in the ninth century? Or celebrating St. Gregory Palamas on the Second Sunday and St. John Climacus (see above for his Heavenly Ladder) on the Fourth?

In the end, Lent is what we make it. It's certainly not to make us miserable. So let's celebrate Mothering Sunday (10a.m. at St. Cuthbert's - All Age Eucharist with presentations of flowers etc...), but let's not be twee.

And the following week... St. Patrick's Day back in my last parish, St. Cuthbert's Day here and in the Cathedral. Roll on Passion Sunday!