Rector Writes - February
When I was a boy I thought Lent was a depressing time in the Church’s year. I started singing in the Church choir aged eleven and I noticed that all the hymns in Lent were in a minor key. “Why do we have to sing these dirges!” I’d ask, “Because it’s Lent!” would be the answer.
But Lenten hymns aren’t really depressing, they can be really beautiful.
Lent Also can be a time of spiritual renewal. We can use our prayer time, to look inwards as well as upwards. We can use the time for renewing our faith in study. Or perhaps taking on a new practice.
During my time at Theological College I would attend Compline with the monks during lent. This was a quiet reflective service just before bedtime. Now of course, Morning Prayer was compulsory for students, so this practice meant that the first and last words I said in any day were addressed to God. Words of Praise. This has stayed with me into parish ministry as I end the day with bedtime prayers and the next time I speak is “O Lord open thou our lips” at Morning Prayer.
This Lent we at S. Cynfarch’s will be taking something on for lent, rather than giving up. As I write this, yesterday we had a wonderful meeting about our ministry to Children and Families. In this meeting we decided to restart Hope4All. I have to say I came away from the meeting enthused about all the Holy Spirit is doing in our community and all the excellent ideas which people had.
I was also equally humbled by how much this work is being held in prayer by the 11:00 congregation at S. Cynfarch’s.
I ask for your continued prayer in our outreach to young families, and to older people as well.
Hope4All, I think is the perfect name for this service.
At a church I used to attend they struggled with what to call their informal service. They didn’t like Family Service as families go to the Sung Eucharist, there were many children in the Choir and some as altar servers. The implication was also that families weren’t welcome at the Sung Eucharist because they certainly were! They didn’t like ‘All Age Worship’ for the same reason, but with no better name that’s the one which stuck.
Here in Hope we don’t have that problem. Families and Young people are welcome at all our services, but come 5th March we will be offering informal as well as formal services for all to have a personal encounter with our risen Saviour in whichever way helps them.
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Fr. Paul Wheeler