As I write this Lent is well underway and I must turn our thoughts towards Easter and the promise of new beginnings.
Lent gives us all an opportunity (if we wish to take it) to stop, to reflect on our lives, to pray and (for those who came to our services on Ash Wednesday) to be marked with the sign of the cross – a sign not intended simply to remind us of how awful life can be and of our personal responsibility for that, but also a deep symbol of the love and forgiveness that God offers to each and everyone who opens themselves to it.
Easter reminds us of the ultimate price paid by Jesus but also reassures us that even at the darkest moment of our lives, there is always hope. God can, and does, transform our sorrow and despair in a wonderful moment of resurrection.
Last month we all said our farewells to an outstanding servant of St Chad’s church and the Pattingham community, at the funeral of Mary Stubbs. Easter was a time that she adored, with her group of willing volunteers who assembled the palm crosses, to the making of the Easter Garden and the delight of seeing the church filled with flowers once more on Easter Day.
She and Alan would also have been regulars at our Lent Lunches and at the services of prayer and reflection during Holy Week. We will miss her, but rejoice that she is now free from all further pain and suffering and safe in God’s care.
Every funeral we take in St Chad’s is important and unique, but this one really was a bit special.
But to matters more mundane, yet equally important to the life of the church in this place. Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place this year on Sunday 7th April.
Since last year, we have managed to find an excellent replacement for Graham Tritton as Parish Treasurer, in the person of Clive Pendrell. This year’s challenge is to find a new Churchwarden to replace Iain Coleman who steps down after six years in the post. During that time, Iain has worked very hard to change the role and responsibilities of the office, so that it is much more manageable.
Certainly in times past I fulfilled the office of Churchwarden in my sending parish in Oxfordshire while holding down a full-time career outside the church. In Pattingham there seems to be the assumption that you need to be retired in order to carry out the role. While that may be helpful, it is not essential, so please pray that God will move the right person/s to stand for election.
The APCM is open to all parishioners (i.e., anyone who lives in Pattingham, Burnhill Green, Patshull, Rudge etc.) and you can all vote for the post of Churchwarden. PCC members and Sidespeople(Welcomers) are elected by members of the Church Electoral Roll, and we will need some new people for those tasks also.
New beginnings and fullness of life is also something we wish for our political leaders and for this country after all the turmoil of Brexit. At present it is still no clearer what the eventual outcome will be… but whatever way we voted in the past, we know that confusion and uncertainty must eventually give way to direction and purpose. There is always hope!
Wishing you all the joy and blessing of Eastertide