Curate’s Letter March 2017
The season of Lent is now upon us, but did you know the word Lent is taken from the old English lencten, meaning spring season. It is a time of lengthening days and the promise of summer to come. The sun begins to warm the earth, seeds geminate and fresh shoots break through into the light. Yet as all keen vegetable gardener’s will tell you, it is still a time of waiting, for these are the long weeks of the hungry gap. It is a fitting time to fast. While today supermarket shelves are full of a wide variety of produce all year round, this was not always so. A quick look at the labels tells us much of what is on display at this time of the year comes from Spain, Africa or even South America. Not so long ago our Lent menu would have looked very different and we would have to make do with old potatoes, a few wrinkly root vegetables, endless cabbage and the last of the onion crop! Now I am not about to suggest we subsist on lentils and kale until Passiontide is over, but practicing a little abstinence can help us to draw nearer to God, make us aware of our privilege and open a space for us to reflect on the true meaning of the Easter story.
A Lenten Prayer
By the prayers of Jesus,
Lord, teach us how to pray.
By the gifts of Jesus,
Lord, teach us how to give.
By the toils of Jesus,
Lord, teach us how to work.
By the love of Jesus,
Lord, teach us how to love.
By the cross of Jesus,
Lord, teach us how to live. Amen
Premature Baby Hats
Back in the autumn at our Harvest Supper, our link Mission Partner, Heather Sharland asked me to see if the congregation at Holy Cross would be willing to knit hats for premature babies in Uganda. Her work as a Community Health Coordinator in the Arua area of Northern Uganda, means Heather has experienced first hand the shortage of incubators in the region for babies who need them. Even when incubators are available the power supply to run them is not always reliable. The average age of first pregnancy in West Nile is just 15 years, meaning many mothers are even younger. As a result there are high rates of premature birth, and even babies that are born at full term can have dangerously low birth weights. We might think of Uganda as a hot country, but it can be cold at night, and these tiny babies have difficulty in maintaining their body temperature, meaning infant mortality rates are distressingly high. Something as simple as a little woolly hat can help give these babies a better chance of survival. I am very pleased to say that the Holy Cross knitters rose to the challenge magnificently, and Heather and her husband David were delighted to be given 400 premature baby hats to take back to Uganda with them. Heather was thrilled with our response to her request and sends us all a big thank you. Please remember them in your prayers.
Prayers for Healing
Last month Nigel introduced a time of prayer for healing to our regular, 9.15am, Friday Morning Prayer session in the Lady Chapel. All are very welcome to attend and I would encourage you to do so. Space is left during the intercessions for those present to add their personal prayers to those on our daily prayer request list. Both your silent and spoken prayers for healing would be valued. It may be that someone you know locally needs God’s healing for a current health concern or it may be someone you love who lives far away, you might want to pray for those affected by disease in the developing world, or for those traumatised by war and civil conflicts. Come and join us and pray the prayer for healing that God puts in your heart.
Some dates for your diaries:
Wednesday 1 March – Ash Wednesday: Holy Communion with imposition of ashes at St Lawrence Chapel, Threshers at 12noon and at Holy Cross at 7.30pm.
Sunday 5 March at 6pm Choral Evensong with Litany in Procession
Sunday 12 March at 6pm Evensong at St Lawrence Chapel, Threshers
Sunday 19 March at 6pm Sacred Space at Holy Cross
Wednesday 22 March at 7pm: Safeguarding Awareness Training (C0 – basic level) at Boniface Centre – please register with Parish Office
Sunday 26 March at 3pm Messy Church in Boniface Centre
Tuesday 28 March at 7.30pm Friends of Crediton Church AGM in Lady Chapel