From the Rector - February 2016

Dear friends,

In just a few short days the churches season of Lent will be upon us. i will only just have taken down the decorations from Christmas (we will have been celebrating the season of Epiphany until Candlemas (February 2nd) - we're very modern in our house.

Epiphany is all about a showing, a manifestation. It's the season when we are told who Jesus is. The wise men visit showing the significance of Christ to all the nations. Jesus is acclaimed as the Son of the Father at his baptism and he performs his first miracle of turning water into wine. l suppose there is an appropriate link with the short turn around into Lent and into Easter as this is a season which focuses on why Jesus came to us. in fact there is some evidence to suggest that the church season of Lent originally followed straight on from the Epiphany but soon became attached to Easter as this was the main celebration at which baptism happened and it became a time for examination of conscience, penitence, fasting and study.

It's very easy to imagine that what we are used to is the norm. On the Sunday before Palm Sunday (which I would call Passion Sunday) it was traditional in my home parish church to bless a basket full of nails and distribute them to the congregation as an aid to meditation for the following two weeks. When I was ordained I had to phone a friend and ask where I could find the prayer to bless the nails. Needless to say he was bemused and l was surprised to find the rest of the Church of England did not do this as standard. Our Churchwarden sent one to her son, who was serving in the RAF and stationed in Northern Ireland at the time. The security machines were not expecting them either.

Whatever you're used to you are very welcome to come and experience any of our services as we move through Lent, Holy Week and Easter. Even if you just want to see what we do, you will be very welcome.

During Lent we will be having Lent study groups. These will take place on Wednesdays during Lent starting on the 17th February.

Donhead St Mary at Glebe Cottage, next to the church at 9.30am

East Knoyle     Feb 17th Coopers Ground at 7.30pm
                         Feb 24th 3 Mallet Close at 7.30pm
                         March 2nd Church Cottage, next to the church at 7.30pm

This year we will be looking at a course called The Joy of the Gospel by Dr Paula Gooder based on Pope Francis’ acclaimed book of the same name. Dr Gooder is the Theologian in Residence for the Bible Society and also holds a number of honorary positions such as Canon Theologian of Birmingham and Guildford Cathedrals, Lay Canon at Salisbury Cathedral, a Six preacher of Canterbury Cathedral, Vice president of the Bible Society and Visiting lecturer at King's College, London. She is a Reader (Licensed Lay Minister) in the Church of England and a member of General Synod.

All welcome!

Yours,

Richard