JOINING HANDS FOR EASTER
Easter at St Giles’ and the URC was immediately preceded by the Covenant Anniversary. This we jointly celebrated with a Communion Service at the URC, conducted by Bernie with the sermon given by Adrian. Adrian asked what would be a fitting legacy of the first 25 years of the Covenant and proposed a four-point mission strategy beginning and sustained by prayer.
Prayer is the predominant theme of Easter and on Palm Sunday we were given small palm fronds folded to form a cross on which to reflect upon those traumatic happenings nearly two thousand years ago. Prayer continued throughout Holy Week, reinforced by the Prayer Walk in the URC church, when the flower shape of Chartres Cathedral formed the inspiration of a pathway, enabling people to make a journey in their own time and in their own way.
Maundy Thursday started with Holy Communion in St Giles’. Later, in the URC we remembered the Last Supper, followed by a striking performance of Part 2 of Handel’s Messiah, given by the combined church choirs, auxiliary voices and orchestra.
Good Friday commenced with a joint service at St Giles’ where the Walk of Witness set out. This proceeded through the village, returning to the Church Hall to share a frugal lunch, accompanied by a Fairtrade Stall. Later, a Meditation Service with musical accompaniment was held, to ‘watch with Christ’ in His last hour.
Easter Day at both churches was full of the joy of Christ’s Rising, with hymns and prayers of celebration for everyone. Hallelujah!
FROM ST GILES’ CLERGY
2011 is a year of round number anniversaries. 400 years ago the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible was authorised; 40 years ago I became a committed Christian; and 30 years ago Juliette and I got married!
This month, to mark the 4th Centenary of the KJV, we’re putting on a special Choral Evensong. Please note this isn’t in its usual ‘second Sunday of the month’ slot – this time it is on the third Sunday, 15th May, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
Although the KJV isn’t my first choice of translation now, this Bible holds a special place in my story of committing my life to Christ. It is almost inconceivable today, but the present my parents gave me on my 8th birthday wasn’t Scalectrix, Lego, or a football; it was a black book with a few pictures and a lot of words in archaic language – great, thanks mum and dad!
But like many of us when we’re giving presents, we give something that we really value, and the Bible was a valued and important part of their Christian faith. I don’t remember reading my new KJV Bible much without the encouragement of mum, who made sure I was fed spiritually as well as physically! With a dad who was a theologian, did I have any option other than to read the Bible?! Despite all this, what I really learnt from my parents is that being a Christian is a matter of personal choice, and not something I could inherit from them.
I only started reading my Bible for myself after 21 September 1971, once I had decided to let Christ be the centre of my life and to begin that relationship with God. Despite sticking the Bible together with red insulating tape, by the time I was 22, it had fallen apart and needed replacing with a newer model!
The thing that keeps me going as a Christian is that wherever I am, and whatever time of the day or night, I can engage with God who loves me and knows me better than I know myself. I can give you reasons why I believe that the resurrection was an historical event, but what convinces me that Jesus is alive is that when I spend time with him in prayer, and when I endeavour to centre my life around him, I feel more alive – being a Christian works.
Many people need help getting started as a Christian, either because they’ve got questions that make them sceptical or because they just don’t know where to begin. So over the last 5 years, I’ve regularly run ‘Start!’ - a six session course for men and women who wish to explore the Christian faith. We begin the next course on 16th May, led this time by Anne and Mike Whitlam (details on page 5). Please don’t pass up this opportunity to move towards a start - or restart - of your relationship with God.
I’m going to sign off now and spend the rest of the day celebrating our wedding anniversary!
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and bereavement visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 16th May (then Monday 20th June). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.