As I write this, our country is being battered by storm Ciara. Many areas were left without power and water supplies, and we are receiving yellow and amber weather warnings. Parts of Yorkshire are submerged by floodwater and our thoughts go out to those whose houses and businesses are affected, in many cases not for the first time. Snow and ice have arrived in Northern England, Scotland and Devon, and coastal areas are experiencing tidal waves. Several people have lost their lives in these extreme weather conditions. Now we are bracing ourselves for more as storm Dennis is set to hit the UK at the weekend with more rain and strong gusts of wind. On top of this, many of us are still battling the colds, coughs and viruses that are doing the rounds, and we share our concern about the Corona virus with the rest of the world.
The Church calendar doesn’t take notice of the weather, and on Ash Wednesday, 26 February, the Season of Lent begins. Lent is an old English word that means 'lengthen', and it’s noticeable that the days are getting longer as we look forward to spring. In the Christian calendar, Lent is also the period for reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. As Christians observe the 40 days of Lent, they replicate Jesus’ sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert. In Churches, Lent is a time for prayer and self-examination, reflecting on what may be wrong in our lives. And as a test of self-restraint, a small number of people observe a Lent discipline of fasting, but it is more common nowadays to give up a favourite food, or to give up alcohol or smoking.
But instead of giving up your favourite self-indulgence, you can also “give up” some of your free time offering a service to the church and the community, perhaps taking up voluntary work or support a charity, or visiting neighbours who are on their own.
At St. Peter’s, we are looking for more people to get involved. Perhaps you would like to help shape the future of your parish Church? Are you good at working with children, or would you like to be involved in Café Church? Are you good at teamwork and are you really passionate about mission and ministry and reaching out into our community? We will be welcoming many new residents to all the houses that are being built so it will need to be all hands-on deck. We are also looking for new members to join the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and we are looking to appoint a new churchwarden. The PCC meets 4x per year in addition to the annual meeting, but members need to be willing to get involved in practical aspects of church life and be passionate about showing God’s love in the church and the local community. If this Newsletter is to continue in its present form, we also need a new editor to help with this, please see advert elsewhere in this magazine… There are always lots of expectations about what the Vicar or the Church should be doing, but being Churchis an all-member ministry, and with dwindling numbers we can’t do all the things or be in all the places where we would like to be – we need more helpers to share the workload.
Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” If you feel that any of the above appeals to you, why not get in touch for a confidential conversation?
Yours in Christ, Manette
Rev’d Manette Crossman, Vicar of Great Barton and Thurston
Tel. 01284 787554 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org