Tuesday, April 26, 2011

War Memmorial, St George and persecution

I am reliably told that the War memorial at Wadworth is unusual for the speed with which it was erected post war and its size relative to the population of Wadworth. I wonder if the relative of anyone still living was involved with erecting the memorial, perhaps there are some photos that still exist? It would be good to capture the story for posterity. Are you from one of the families who paid for the memorial? Please come forward, I am sure many would be interested in hearing the story of how the memorial was paid for and erected.

The 95th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme takes place at 7:30am on the 1st July this year. I am told that both Wadworth and Loversall villages had men killed at the battle on this first day. We will hold a short memorial service at 7:30 pm on the 1st July by the War memorial in Wadworth. All welcome.

As a Welshman I am proud of my national identity. St David’s day in Wales is always a big celebration. Yet in England more attention seems to be paid towards St Patrick (perhaps largely due to some clever advertising by a notable brewery which has Irish origins). What about St George? As ever this years celebrations were not a grand event. In fact as the traditional date was during Easter weekend, the actual date was transferred to the 2nd May, adding to the confusion. Perhaps we need to think now about a better a celebration next year. Is this what people want? There is a need to celebrate being English without the need for it to be an expression of racism, which is the reason I expect current celebrations are so muted.

England has so much to celebrate, does it really need a Welshman to show you how to do it? If as Vicar I can co-ordinate to get something going next year than I happy to do so. Your views please.

Recent unrest in many Middle East countries has highlighted the ongoing persecution of Christians in these countries. It might surprise some readers that Christians still make the ultimate sacrifice and die for their faith throughout the world each year. Many more are tortured, beaten imprisoned and abused. The parish has, through an organisation Open Doors, had information displayed in church about persecuted Christians for many years. However, over several months, I have been moved by prayer and reflection to suggest that we set up a more prominent area in church to focus and enhance our prayer response for our fellow Christians who suffer because of their faith in Jesus.

Some will notice, the small altar has been moved back to the position in front of the organ. As this is next to the window dedicated to the first Christian martyr, St Stephen, this area seem to be an ideal setting to collect and display information on current Christian persecution throughout the world. Focused services could also take place in this area. We will be discussing this at PCC soon so please make your views known.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When is it going to be Easter this Year?

A little known fact about the year 1928 shows that the date of Easter has been a topic of debate in the past as well as now.   Believe it or not a law was passed in 1928 allowing the date of Easter to be fixed as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. However the Churches in the UK have chosen not to enact the legislation.

The last 3 years have shown that perhaps this needs to be reconsidered with Easter falling on 22nd of March in 2008 and 24th  of April in 2011. This does cause an lot of problems in diaries for schools and hospitals. A March date for Easter also casue the church calendar to be fairly cluttered after Christmas.

So why does the date of Easter vary, you may ask? Let us start with the Spring Equinox which is the 21st March. Then let us take the next  Full Moon after the 21st March, which is the 18th April. Easter Sunday is then the next Sunday, 24th April.

Easy isn’t it?

All this messing around with the date of Easter can easily distract from what it really is all about…the resurrection of Jesus.

Before we get to Easter Day we follow the drama of Holy Week, the story of how Jesus ends up being killed on the cross for us.

The week is full of characters and incidents all revolving around Jesus. Betrayal by Judas, Sentenced by Pilot, Denied by Peter, Arrested by religious leaders, a last supper surrounded by his friends.

The drama starts on Palm Sunday (17th April) with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a Donkey, then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm St Katherine’s we will have 3 services of reflection  as we follow the story and drama of Holy week.  

That takes us to Maunday Thursday and 7pm Wadworth as we move through the highs of the Last Supper and the lows of the Garden of Gethesename. We will continue after the service with an extended time of pray.

We pick up the story at St Katherines  on Good Friday at 2pm for the last hour as Jesus dies on the cross. At 7pm we have a service of darkness at Wadworth, as we reflect on the death of our Lord.

Then we move to Easter Day, when we celebrate the point that human history changed, death was defeated, Jesus -  risen, triumphant and  victorious. We celebrate at 9:30 at Wadworth with Holy Communion and at 3pm Loversall with an Easter Praise Services as we explore the events of the resurrection of Jesus.

If you are reading this and wonder what all the fuss is about? Why so many services, then come along and experience for yourself  Holy Week. Enter into the services, but be careful it may change your life for ever.