From our Minister - February & Lent Arrangements 2021

Dear Friends,

In February we approach Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days in the Christian Calendar & a time for reflection & preparation for Easter. It is associated with an introspective moment for repentance & penitence. For Christians we seek to replicate Christ’s sacrifice & withdrawal into the desert for 40 days which recalls the wanderings of the Israelites for forty years in the wilderness.

Well, already this year you may have had your unexpected fill of more withdrawal & aimless wanderings for exercise. Time in the wilderness! Further lockdown!

But it cannot be said too often, that whilst the withdrawal from one another & into our home for long periods has been challenging at best & debilitating for many at worst, we have enjoyed some shoots of new life. There are some unexpected gifts. Have I not mentioned before evidence of greater neighbourliness, increased involvement in local voluntary projects, the new appreciation health service workers & recognition of our interdependence on one another with local service provision & all that these folk do on our behalf? Has there not been a greater understanding of our impact on the environment when we are finally required to travel less? Whilst surely there has been time to get to know ourselves again.

One of the gifts in our pastorate, has been our continued fellowship & meeting for live worship on the telephone as well as online. Our three churches have continued to meet together to share communion (if not the actual bread & wine), prayer scripture & song (even if not aloud); to worship the God who gives us life & to encourage one another; to laugh & comfort one another, & together seek God's Spirit to enliven & impact our own lives, through Christ.

Covid 19 has kept us apart. But Christ keeps us as one.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches…” John ch 15 v 5

It is encouraging that we have been meeting together with up to 60 or 70 others including those from out of “state” as well as Mary & Sue & friends from Surbiton Care Home. It is lovey to think we can still meet & join together as one. We can all be encouraged by this.

So, perhaps this is a reminder that Lent is also a time to see the world afresh. In addition to reflecting upon ourselves, warts & all, may we also recognize the nature & purposes of God & the never-ending renewal of possibilities within ourselves & the world. Thus, from being together, even when alone in our own wilderness, we have found this in our live morning worship together. So, I am now inviting you to join online or on the telephone each week during Lent for a short bible study & reflection. The reflection will be based on the booklet & material “Holy Habits” by Andrew Roberts.

Walking the Way, Living the life of Jesus today, is the current United Reformed Church focus on encouraging a celebration & exploration about what it means to empower people to be the presence of Jesus through our everyday lives, not only across the denomination but beyond.

"Holy Habits", Following Jesus, is a recommended resource taking participants on a journey looking at Holy Habits in the life & passion of Jesus. We are providing some family resources to include the younger folk & following the Holy Habits Lent material & a weekly reflection.

If you would like to join in these reflections each week there will be two opportunities for a 30-45 minute session, using the same links for the telephone & online as we do for worship. We will share moments of worship, prayer & scripture reading, questions & conversation on each reading.

So please join us either;- On Wednesdays from 17th February at 6.30pm or on Thursday 18th February from at 3pm for a Lent experience as a pastorate (see the Forthcoming Meetings page & follow the URC Calendar before clicking the link to full details of each Lenten meeting).

Lent is a moment for repentance & penitence. Yet, together with God, there are still many opportunities - especially in the current wilderness - to see the world afresh.

God bless,


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