By the time you read this, we will be well into the period of Lent, the run up to Easter when we remember Jesus spending forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, drawing close to God, praying and fasting in preparation for his ministry.
In our Benefice, we began Lent with a Holy Communion Service on Ash Wednesday where we acknowledged our own shortcomings before God and committed to using the following days and weeks, to draw closer to God. As a sign of this, we received the imposition of ashes in the sign of a cross, on our foreheads.
As part of our commitment to Christ, some people have joined Lent groups, looking at, either, the Lord’s Prayer or the Book of Hebrews, where we have shared in discussion, Bible Study and prayer. The groups have been great ways of helping us to grow in faith, by sharing ideas, and by encouraging and challenging one another. If you haven’t joined one of these groups but would like to come along, it isn’t too late, just let Max or me know and we would be pleased to welcome you.
Even if you are unable attend one of the groups, we can all commit to doing something for God in Lent. Recently we were away, as a family, for a few days and, on the Sunday, we attended the local church. In his sermon, the vicar spoke about taking something on, as well as, or instead of, giving something up. He cited a study which was done two years ago asking people who don’t go to church or who no longer attend, what would encourage them to go or to go back. And a large number of people responded by saying that they would go along to church if someone invited them or took them along.
So this is my challenge this Lent: If you are a regular church attender, who do you think God could be calling you to invite along? I encourage you to pray that God might bring to mind the person or people who may appreciate that invitation and then to go ahead and invite them.
And if you don’t normally attend church, please know that you are very welcome at any of our services, whatever your age or wherever you are on your faith journey. As well as our regular services we have a number of special services and events for Holy Week, including Kidz K’nexion, details of which are in this magazine. Or why not join us for Easter day. There is a Sunrise Service at One Tree Hill at 6.30am, followed by a Benefice Breakfast at 8.30am, at the home of Lisa and Phil Anderson, Oxley House, next to the Well House Gallery, Horndon on the Hill. If you would like breakfast, it would help if you could just phone Lisa on 01375 643709, so that she has an idea of numbers in advance. And then, at 10am, we have a joyful United Benefice Holy Communion Service, at Horndon Church, with a range of lively music and worship and where we hope that the young people will show what they have done at Kidz K’nexion the previous day and where they will present the Easter Gardens they have made to be placed in each church.
I look forward to seeing you soon. With my continued love and prayers for you all.
With love and prayers,