News, What's On & Information

Dear Friends

Spring is almost here, and I always feel a sense of anticipation and excitement at the promise of new life, as the days begin to lengthen, and we sense warm and lighter days are on their way and that winter is now finally behind us.

In the Church Year we are officially well into Lent which coincides with spring – reminding us of new life and growth.  At this time, on the 25th March each year, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, when the archangel Gabriel appeared to the young village woman, Mary, to announce that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ.  She is surprised and mystified but accepts all that is to happen, saying ‘let it be’.  It hadn’t struck me before but of course this begins the 9th months countdown to Christmas.  We will be celebrating Lady’s Day in St Giles on 25th March when we host the Mother’s Union Deanery Service, please do come along.

Around this time also falls Mothering Sunday (22nd March), which is a wonderful opportunity to say thank you and to remember those who have ‘mothered us’ over the years.  We’ll hold our special Informal Mothering Sunday service at 10am at St James.

The Annunciation falls just days after the Spring Equinox on 19th March.  At the equinox, the days and nights are of equal length and we can really start to look forward to longer days, increasing sunlight hours and the earlier dawns and later sunsets of summertime.

The lengthening of days is where the word Lent comes in, derived from an Anglo-Saxon word lengthen or lencten meaning ‘spring’.  Spring is of course an important season bringing sunshine and rain, so that the deeply buried seeds will begin to produce greenery and later abundant crops.

Lent is also the season of springtime for us in our Christian journey, which begins on Ash Wednesday.  It’s a time of preparation so that we may blossom and grow.  Traditionally it is a time of soul searching, fasting, penitence and humble openness, just as the new spring growth around us we’re also cultivated so that we are ready to celebrate the Risen Christ on Easter Day!

To help us in our Lent preparations we are holding our Lent course in conjunction with Churches Together in Cam and Dursley on Thursday evenings.  These will be held in the Parish Centre at St James, all are very welcome.

This year the Church of England have published resources and reflections for adults and families in Lent which encourage us to engage with our creator God and with God’s wonderful creation.  #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation.  If you are interested, there are booklets, emails, you can download an app for daily reflections or follow on social media.  There are lots of great suggestions, such as giving up plastic, saving fuel and protecting birds and wildlife.

Whatever you choose to do - may your Lenten springtime journey be one of growth, blossoming and the discovery of new life in Him.

With love

Revd Jane

ST MARK'S

Dear Friends

I write this during storm Dennis with the wind howling and water coming in through the seal of the front window of our house and anticipating the operation on my knee on Monday 17th February at Emerson’s Green. By the time you read this I hope that the former has abated and that I’m on the road to recovery. My thanks to Jenni for stepping into my sessions at the Parish Office at short notice and putting the magazine together and also to Valerie Meares and Marlene Powell for helping to finish the magazine for me.

Last month I said there was no news on St Mark’s possible closure but that the recommendations made and notes recorded by Sally Winterbotham at the meeting would be put before the January PCC meeting. This has happened and it was agreed that they should be forwarded to the Archdeacon, so that she can take this further. I will keep you informed.

Meanwhile the Cross has been moved into the Methodist church for the Lent Services and will be used at the head of the Procession on Good Friday to Cam Peak  and returned to us on Easter Monday. Our usual services continue in March on the 1st and 3rd Sundays.

With all Best wishes

Judith

Diary for March 2020

Sunday 1st                 11.30am Morning Prayer (BCP)

Wednesday 4th          2.30pm Prayer Group meet in the Omega Rooms

Wednesday 11th         2-3.30pm Writer’s group meeting

Sunday 15th               11.30am Morning Prayer (CW), preceded by coffee in the Omega Rooms

Friday 28th                2.15pm Poetry Group meets in the Omega Rooms.

Church opening

St Mark’s church will now only be unlocked on Wednesdays and Fridays.  A notice will be put on the door directing visitors to contact numbers for those who have keys.  If you want to access the church outside these days, please contact the Parish Office.