Welcome to our April Magazine.* After three years at the helm, Claire our magazine editor is ready to pass on the baton to someone new. Claire inherited an excellent legacy from Kathleen Graham, our previous editor of 26 years, even so Claire has achieved much with the magazine in the last three years (with the help of Rebecca Morgan in her first eight months): The readership has increased, an online/pdf version is now available, it has moved to full colour, expanded to include more community items (one wondered if that was possible given the community content Kathleen had in place!) and the magazine has expanded to serve Penymynydd and Llanfynydd Churches and communities too. Claire and Rebecca wrote in their first edition of May 2018, “Our mission is to help bring our two churches and wider community closer, encouraging more local connections”. Claire has certainly played her part in fulfilling this mission and more.
Claire we are very grateful to you and we pray every blessing on you as you continue to serve our local community wholeheartedly, not least in your role as Vice Chair of the Hope Community Council. Thank you very much.
Moving forward, I am delighted that we have a new and very able editorial ‘team’ finding their feet who will ensure that our magazine continues to go from strength to strength from May onwards.
Now April 2021, it is difficult to believe that it is more than twelve months since the prime minister first announced, “Stay At Home”. On 23 March, one year since the first national Lockdown began, the day of national reflection was held. We remembered the 125,000+ who lost their lives in some way to Covid. There is much for us to process at the moment – as a nation, as a world, as local communities, as churches, as families or households, as individuals… All of us have been affected by Covid in some capacity. We have emotions to engage with, losses to recognise and lament over, and new realities to come to terms with. Thankfully, as a nation, it looks like however that we have turned a corner and are starting to ‘recover’. New cases are a lot lower than they were, many of you have received vaccinations, schools are reopening and we trust more businesses will reopen soon too. It is wonderful that our church buildings are starting to slowly and cautiously reopen – we will celebrate Easter from our homes and online and some of us in church too. Things are a lot more hopeful than this time last year.
April this year begins in the middle of Holy Week. 1st April (Maundy Thursday) marks the beginning of the ‘Paschal Triduum’ – the three days that lead us to Easter Day. We will journey with Jesus from his passion (suffering), to his crucifixion, death and burial, but we know the story – We will celebrate with the resurrection on Easter Day. “Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
There is a lot, I think, that resonates in the present moment of the first Easter. Holy Week brought despair to the disciples. But Easter Day followed, and Easter Day meant hope. As Christians, we are God’s people of hope and renewal. As we learn to trust Jesus, our claim is that we discover for ourselves God’s promises of new life – a restored life – a re-energised life – a renewed life – for both this life and the next. There is a lot of despair and loneliness and hurt and sadness around us at the moment. I wonder who of our friends and families might value knowing God’s hope at this time too? I heard it put so succinctly recently… “Know God and know hope” (Glen Scrivener).
Many of us I imagine believe in life before death and believe in life after death. As Christians I put this to you too – we also believe in life because of death – because of the death of Jesus. Death happens. This is true. And it is painfully hard when it does. But death does not win. Out the death of Christ came the resurrected life of Christ. Jesus wins. Life wins. Hope wins.
This April, I look forward to journeying to the cross and celebrating the resurrection with you, whether you join us online or in church. May you all know the hope and renewed life of Christ this Easter.
Finally, a practical note. This month, if you do join us in church, please ensure that you reserve seats in advance accordingly (see the flyer of Holy Week and Easter events inside for our services and how to reserve your seats). When you join us please remember that social distancing and the wearing of masks remains compulsory and you are expected to use hand sanitizer before receiving holy communion, of which only the bread is currently being given. Safety measures all in place, it will be good to join with you together to quietly but confidently acclaim, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
In Christ, Adam
*The Rector Writes is also published in our monthly church magazine. To find out more about the magazine (just £6 p.a.) and to subscribe, please click here.
Rev Adam Pawley