Harbour Churches Newsletter 26th March

What a story we have to tell! Last week we recalled Joseph and celebrated his role in the story of faith and, importantly, how resonant his story is for us today. This week we had another ‘feast’ to celebrate – the Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary – nine shopping months to go before Christmas!

It might seem odd that deep into the season of Lent we are talking of having a celebration. Some argue that you can break a fast on a saint’s day celebration – if ever your Lenten fast is getting too much I promise I can find you a saint to celebrate everyday of Lent!

Saint’s days are more than just an excuse to celebrate. I see them as markers, way-makers if you will on the ongoing journey of faith. What a way-maker Mary is!

At morning prayer, we always read a reflection – a meditation –  on the passage of scripture. I was struck by how the celebration of this special day provides a link between the birth narratives and those that tell of Jesus’ death. Moreover, in recognising that Mary’s own journey of faith was not only a profound ‘Yes’ to God but a journey marked by pain and loss, we in our time, have a telling reminder of how often we encounter Christ most forcefully when we are most wounded. It is then we discover the true value of the new life he offers.

I was again blessed this week to read Eric’s blog and a ‘Mary way-maker moment’ he experienced:

‘I remember in Cyprus looking at an icon; in the picture was Mary with the baby Jesus pushing against her face distorting her expression to one of pain yet still love in her eyes. As I meditated upon the picture I understood more deeply the pain of love and became aware of the love of our Lord that filled my life and that I would share this love with others in need.’

Holy Week offers us a time to meditate on the pain of love and to be inspired anew to share the love of God in Christ with others.

From this Palm Sunday there will be a live Zoom mediation each day at 6pm for 10-15mins reflecting on the ‘Way of Sorrows’ walked by our Lord. These contemporary reflections will be rooted in the reality of the Cross for us as Easter people.

On Good Friday there will be four meditations led by various members of the Ministry Team which will be recorded and made available to you to share in throughout the day. Links to the Holy Week reflections will be made available in the coming days.

Yes, we are a people of hope and we trust in God’s goodness but, as the saying goes:

‘Trust in God – but tether your camel first…’

We are still in a time of pandemic. We thank God for nearly 30 million vaccinations, but we are right to remain vigilante with Covid restrictions. In many parts of the world – and closer to home – Covid rates continue to rise.

Your PCCs will review the suspension of public worship following the Govts. announcement on the 29th March. In the meantime, I have made the exceptional decision to hold a simple service of Holy Communion @ 8am on Easter Day in each of our village churches for those who, like me, would wish to receive Holy Communion on Easter Sunday. We hope we may continue to offer this service from then on each Sunday in some of the churches.

You must book in as before if you want to attend and the same covid restrictions will be in place to ensure our safety and well-being (see details below).

We will, of course, be celebrating Easter Day, via Zoom @10am and it would be a joy to have all the church family gathered together as an Easter people!

Hail Mary, full of grace – the Lord is with you…

The Lord also be with you.

Jonathan

Please contact the following to book for Holy Communion on Easter Sunday

Itchenor : Jane Oundjian 07802244445 janeoundjian@me.com

Birdham : Roy Dyton 01243 514639  roydyton@gmail.com

West Wittering : Stella Pendleton 01243 673470 stella.pendleton252@hotmail.co.uk

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