From the Rector - March 2016

Dear Friends,

March this year seems such a full month. The first Sunday is Mothering Sunday and we'd be delighted to welcome you to any of our services. We then quickly move into Passiontide where the church takes us through Jesus’ approaching his last weeks on earth before the Resurrection. The following Sunday sees Palm Sunday with the retelling of the "triumphant entry" into Jerusalem. Yes, we have a donkey! (at Charlton). We then turn in a very special way to walk with Jesus in the week before his crucifixion. Holy Week is viewed as a special time where we make an effort to join part (or all) of that journey. There will be a simple said Eucharist on Monday - Wednesday. This is followed by the Sacred Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. These are all considered "red letter days" in the Church of England where we are all encouraged to take part as fully as possible. These are the highlight of the Christian year (and include two of my three favourite services in the whole year).

Obviously these services are spread around the Benefice of six churches. Maundy Thursday is celebrated in Semley. The Eucharist and foot washing is followed by a watch until midnight ending with a very short Night Prayer. The Good Friday Liturgy takes place in East Knoyle. On Holy Saturday (I wonder how many TV channels will incorrectly call it Easter Saturday?!) we have a beautiful service of the Easter Vigil. When the candidates to become Rector were interviewed by representatives of Semley School Council we were asked the question "What is your favourite service of the year?" Both of us answered that it was the Easter Vigil. This is the most important service of Easter and the first Eucharist of Easter. It is very different to the norm and it is a beautiful celebration. This year it is at Donhead Saint Mary.

I encourage you to take part in these services as fully as possible. Please do move around the Benefice and support each other (and your clergy!)

This is a tiring time for the clergy and may I take the opportunity to thank our retired clergy for all they will do during the celebrations and the rest of the year.

By the time we get to this point in March I can wish you a Happy Easter.