Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Approaching Easter

It’s been a strange Lent - again! Not being able to use the church is something that many of us are feeling acutely. Just being able to go in at the usual times and do what we do in our worship - and the practical things like knowing where the books are, being able to put out the sacred vessels; actually having an altar which is set apart and the place at which we meet with Christ in the bread and wine we consecrate at that altar. I’m missing the church as a place for prayer - it makes me realise how much I want us to be able to keep it open for as much of the time as possible. And for our wider community I’ve felt distinctly uncomfortable. Is the church available for a funeral? - we’ve endured some very cold conditions, but knowing just how important it is that we should be able to use this well-loved place which has been there for the most important parts of people’s lives. And I’ve worried about just when we can offer to host Baptisms and Marriages (why not wait till it’s warmer? - I was asking last year).

Now I hope that the work of getting a new heating system up and running is just about complete. Sorry we can’t be more definite at this point as to quite how much we can promise for Holy Week, but we have a programme of services which we shall celebrate one way or the other! Make sure you are with us - and do travel for the one or two which will be celebrated at St. John’s Church, Castleside.

We began Lent with two shared Ash Wednesday services: the first at St., John’s, because they always have a Wednesday morning service anyway; but then the evening service at Christ Church, Consett. I was grateful that we were invited to be part of these services. This year we couldn’t put them on ourselves. But perhaps in other years we need to work further on just what we can do by sharing with neighbouring parishes - to the benefit of us all.

And I hope we won’t forget what we have learned by out time of worship “in exile” across the road in the Hall. Getting literally closer to each other, the sharing, spontaneity and improvisation. And finally, remember that Easter itself is but a start - of our journey with the Risen Christ.

From the April issue of our Parish Magazine - find it online here 

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