As I sit to write this letter, it is just over a year since I (and my family) arrived in Denmead and very nearly a year since I was licensed as Vicar at All Saints. The year has gone by very quickly with so many new activities, events, people and places. Both I and my family are thankful for your warm welcome and support, love and prayers. Denmead is feeling very much like home for us!
As I begin my second year in the Parish I am very much looking forward to the year ahead. As Revd Sandie mentioned in last month’s letter, the PCC at All Saints will be gathering in February to consider what might be next for us all… where would we like to be in five years’ time, and how might we get there. It is a chance for the PCC to think, pray and share together – planning ahead for the church and community, trusting that as we do so, God will lead us, inspire us and shape His plan.
Also, as we enter February we find ourselves again in the season of Lent – a period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. Lent is a time for reflection as Christians prepare to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday 14th February (also Valentine’s Day this year!) with a day of penitence or cleansing of the soul. Many Christians will attend Lent services, and be marked with a cross of ashes on their forehead. This is a sign of mortality, based upon the idea from the book of Genesis that humankind came into the world from dust and will return to it. It is a time to express sorrow over sin, and a reminder that Jesus brings freedom from sin.
This year during Lent, Christians across the village will be reading a Lent book ‘Let Me Go There’ written by Paula Gooder. This book explores themes related to Lent and asks, what does it mean to follow Jesus in our everyday, ordinary lives? This book provides a daily bible reading with a short reflection (just 2-3 pages each day) which can be read privately. It then also offers some questions to think and pray about.
We will be forming several Lent Groups which will meet once a week, for 6 weeks, to share together, consider the questions the book presents, and pray for each other. Finally, each Sunday at our 9.30am service, our talks will be focussed on the topics this book raises.
Both the book, the Lent Groups and Sundays are open to all. If you would like to join in, please come and pick up a book from the back of church and there you will also find signup sheets for the different Lent groups with more details about time and location. If you have any questions do speak to myself, Revd Sandie or ask at the Parish Office.
My hope is that as we read this book together, we will all grow in our faith and trust in God. That we will discover hope, peace and freedom, and hear with joy the invitation of Jesus to ‘come and follow.’
With every blessing in Christ,