Holy Week for families: have a look at the file below – children in your family may find this a fun activity during Holy Week, looking at events through their senses
In this difficult time, looking to the future with hope is important for our well – being & walking together in faith. Lent is often associated with giving things up; this year, let’s look at how we can grow together, looking to the future. So this Lent we are asking everyone to join together in a growing project as a church community.
Jesus explained many things to people in stories. He asked them and us to really listen, with our hearts as well as our ears.
This is one story he told….
5 ‘A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some’ fell by the road, and was trodden on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on stony ground, and when it came up it withered, because it didn’t have any moisture. 7 Other seed fell in among thorns, and when the thorns grew up they choked it. 8 Other seed again fell into good soil, and came up, and gave a hundredfold yield.’……….
11‘This is the parable: the seed is the word of God. 12Those by the roadside are people who hear, but then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they don’t believe it, and are not saved. 13Those on the stony ground are those who hear the word and receive it with delight – but they don’t have any root, and so they believe only for a time, and then, when persecution comes, they draw back. 14The seed that falls in among thorns represents people who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and they don’t bear proper, ripening fruit. 15But those in the good soil are the ones who hear the word and hold on to it with an upright and good heart, and who patiently produce fruit.’
Our growing project
We are all invited to grow a plant, taking care of it and watering it. We will start them off as part of the service on Sunday February 21st & periodically give time in services during Lent to see how each other’s plants are growing. By Easter Sunday, there should be healthy plants for us all to see.
What to grow?
You may want to grow a herb plant, a vegetable plant, a flower or even grass. You may start with a seed or a bulb. If you don’t have a pot, compost or seeds, there are many gardeners among us who will happily drop these off for you.
A growing prayer
Lord of the seeds,
Blow your seeds of Love and Hope,
Whirl them around by your Holy Spirit
And as the seeds land, bless them,
And bless those who will pick them up. Amen © Ruth Dillon
Activities and services during Lent
Lent Group meetings: our final meeting is on March 29th
You are invited to join the Lent group, with the opportunity to meet on 5 occasions during Lent. As we journey through the challenge of the current lockdown and the impact of the pandemic on our lives, we will discuss the seeds of hope we see – those spiritual essentials that will help us continue to be active disciples in unusual times. We will explore scripture from the Parables, the Epistles and Old Testament prophets such as Hosea, Isaiah and the Psalms, reflect and discuss how these develop our discipleship and sustain us in these strange times. Come to one, some or all!
11 a.m. on February 22nd “Sowing Seeds of Hope” We had a lively and wide ranging discussion on the Parable of the Sower, or is it Seeds, or even Soils? It was lovely to see so many on Zoom and to hear such a variety of thoughts and different Bibles being referenced. Looking forward to seeing you all again next Monday.
As part of developing our discipleship, there are also ‘Thoughts for the week’ to consider in private reflection.
‘Jesus is praying for you‘ was our theme at this Monday’s Lent group meeting. There was a lively discussion about the way Jesus prayed – the hidden detail in the readings about his relationship with God, the time he spent in prayer, where he prayed, the different settings and content of prayer we see in the different gospels and at different times in his ministry. We looked at Mark Cazalet’s painting of the garden of Gethsemane, which introduced a new concept for many on God’s fool. The YouTube link below is for a song related to that theme found since the meeting. Have a listen! Thanks to Buddug for wishing us well on St.David’s Day in Welsh.
We met once more on Monday March 15th. This was a very thoughtful and full of thought session when we spent some time exploring Old Testament prophets. Our session was called “renewing your strength” – taking readings from Isaiah 40: 25 – 31 and Hosea 10: 12 as our starting point. Many of us had not read Hosea, one of the minor prophets of the OT, but in one verse could see the link to the first session in the agricultural metaphor in the verse and the Parable of the Sower. The more familiar Isaiah reading revealed a terrifically broad range of thinking, when we discussed the power of the eagle and its ability to wait, thanks to Jenny’s knowledge, something we all felt we might learn from; that God is with us in the everyday and always if we take time to look; that our response to the COVID lockdown has helped us to change as church in ways we would never have considered or been aware of, and what a marvellous opportunity that gives us to forge our own new way of being church as restrictions are eased.
We met again on Monday March 22nd when we embarked on our 4th Lent group session considering whether we are really Living in Hope. We went back to the New Testament and the writings of those involved in supporting and encouraging the early church to see what we can learn from them to develop our discipleship. The texts from 1 Peter 1: 3 – 12 & Hebrews 6: 17 -20 included a lively debate on what living hope is and different perspectives on an every day living hope or whether it is something to expect at the end of our lives. Some thought was given to what we know in contrast to the OT prophets mentioned in the readings and the stony ground they were trying to cast their seeds of hope in God on to. And the discussion on Hebrews and who was Melchizedek was fascinating. A final note on how we show our joy in our faith: if someone was looking in to church would they think we were joy-filled or a bit gloomy. Everyone shows their faith in different ways and being an individual is to be encouraged and not judged, giving us licence to be joyful in praise and worship in our own way.
Our final lent group meets on Monday 29th March at 11 a.m. during Holy Week. This session is focusing on Joy is coming soon so will pick up on themes from last week and consider how the joy will be seen in Easter Day. Ray Stanyon will be joining us and will lead the closing section of our time together. Notes are available below in preparation for the meeting.
See you on Zoom then at 11 a.m. – do bring a hot drink if you wish when you Zoom in.
March 29th Joy is coming soon.
Our Easter Garden
Our Easter Garden beginning to take shape……………
We will be live online for these services during Holy Week and Easter:
Palm Sunday March 28th: join us to mark Jesus’s entry in to Jerusalem & the distribution of palm crosses. There will be a chance to look at those seeds you planted at the beginning of Lent. If you are feeling creative, prepare some improvised palm branches and have them with you at the service, ready to wave as and when. Why not share videos or photos, sent to Karen in advance of the service, of you waving them for us to include in the images of the service? Or ask children or grandchildren to film their own procession of palms and cloaks for us to include in the Call to Worship?
Thursday 1st April: we will be offering the opportunity to join a short Communion service at 7.30 p.m. culminating in a Tenebrae service. Tenebrae means ‘darkness’ or ‘shadows’. It is a service of readings of the trial, sentencing, execution, death, and burial of Jesus. After each reading, a candle is extinguished. By its conclusion, only the Christ candle is lit. The service will end in silence, with no social time at the end, as we reflect on the impact of Christ’s death and await the celebration of the coming Resurrection.
Good Friday April 2nd: There will be a short reflective service at 3 p.m.
Easter Day Sunday April 4th:
Agape breakfast: Join us at 8.30 a.m. in this very happy time of fellowship to welcome the light that follows the darkness. It is Easter morning and we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord in a short time of prayer led by Christine Allen and then………breakfast & chat!
Easter Sunday morning worship at 10.30 a.m. We celebrate Communion on Easter Day within our service. We will be showing everyone our plants we have been growing & the Easter garden at Beacon Hill. It would be wonderful for this to be a colourful and bright service so you are invited to display some flowers in your Zoom window or an Easter cross; wear flowers or an Easter bonnet; show off your Easter eggs – anything that represents new life.
Thanks to Christine Gibbons from Fleet URC for the Lent logo