April 2022 Pastoral Letter

STF 309 – Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

See what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes
Tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce Christ is risen!
See God’s salvation plan, wrought in love,
Borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man, for He lives,
Christ is risen from the dead!

Dear Friends,

I sit writing this letter looking out on a sunny Saturday morning in mid- March about halfway through Lent, with Easter fast approaching, and my Sabbatical just over five weeks away. This will be my final letter until I return in early August. My prayers for my Sabbatical will be that I will return refreshed, and inspired by what I have explored and experienced. Having found the time to stop and stand still without my mind racing to the next task in hand before the present one has finished. As well as enjoying quality family time instead of a snatched hour here and there.

Easter morning services are in my top favourite services along with easter hymns such as “See what a morning” and “Low in the grave he lay” Not forgetting Charles Wesley’s Hymn “Christ the Lord has risen today – Alleluia!”. These hymns follow the reflective weeks of Lent as we dig deep and journey toward the cross. We have the soberness Holy week, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. The writers and artists that sing them express the build up and explosion of Joy that Easter Morn brings. With the upbeat refrain of “up from the grave he arose” which explodes into a faster pace after the slow rhythm of the verse. Reflecting the ebb and flow of lent into Easter.

Although that said when Easter falls at the end of March and it falls that the clocks go forward and hour that same Sunday, we would be forgiven for looking slightly less awake at a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. This year the clocks sprang forward on the 27th Mothering Sunday.

What has this first full season of Lent felt like after the last couple of years in and out of lockdown. Have we lamented over what we felt we had missed out on over the last two years or have we given thanks for a different experience and opened ourselves to see how we might adapt and what can be made possible under such circumstances? Have we been excited by the new, has it energised us? Or have we needed to return to the exact point where we were on March 23rd 2020 and feel safe in the knowledge that nothing has changed at all. Is it possible to have a mix

That first Easter morning when Jesus rose and appeared to those first few that witnessed that he had risen from the dead, changed the course and future of the human race. Bringing a new age of Hope, to all those who believe in the resurrected Christ. Death is not the end.

Many churches have closed across the connection over the last year alone and there may be still more, often named as casualties of the pandemic. For all those congregations I pray that this Easter morning God may speak to them and give them the resurrection Hope that there is exciting new experiences awaiting them that God will speak to them and guide and lead them into new a beginning, a new age. Our buildings may have to close but we as people can still live out our faith in our discipleship and our lives. The disciples saw and witnessed first-hand, In our service may we pay witness to God to all we meet, may his light shine through us from us and in us..

I pray that post Lent and Easter you will

Continue to seek the stillness of God,

To see and explore what his call upon you

As a disciple of Christ means, may Christ meet you where you are now.

I pray that you will know God’s love and grace, of the resurrected Christ Jesus

That he is with you always I will continue to hold

You all in my prayers. Amen

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honour and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead

Verse 3 STF 309 – Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

Happy Easter to you all Every Blessing Rev Angela.

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