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New Beginnings

Dr Rev Sarah Farrimond

I’m so pleased to be writing this letter, sitting at my desk in the study at the Rectory, where order is starting to emerge out of the chaos of moving. 2018 has so far brought a lot of change for all of us. A new priest in charge for you and new parishes and job and home for me and my family. We have been really touched by the kindness and warmth of your welcome as we moved in. Thank you so much for this welcome. Thank you too for all your hard work during the interregnum, and not just the interregnum. Your work, day by day and year by year keeps the church going, but much more than that is a part of God’s work in this place. As the days move on (really quickly it seems) I’m looking forward to establishing a pattern and a rhythm for life and work here; to get a sense of the rhythm of life at All Saints (as well as at St Augustine’s and on the Clergy Ministry Development team) and how I fit in to that and how we can best work together over the coming years.

 This is my priority to begin with: getting to know people and getting to know the place where we live and serve God. I will try to get round and visit all church members, but realise (somewhat to my frustration) that this will take several months. I hope this seems more of a promise than a threat and if you would sooner come to the Rectory or meet for a coffee elsewhere that’s completely fine by me. Meanwhile feel free to get in touch or drop round: if you fancy a chat or think there is something I need to know. And if there is someone it would be good for me to meet or somewhere it would be good for me to go please let me know that too.

 Of course all these practical changes and new beginnings have taken place, for the most part during Lent; that season in the Churches year where we prepare for Easter by fasting and reflecting on our priorities as we live our Christian lives. In one way ordinary upheaval can seem like a bit of a distraction from these spiritual sounding activities. But an important part of our faith is that God became a human being and lived among us: not in some holy bubble, but a real every day life with its joy and its suffering, its extraordinary and also ordinary upheavals. God is with us in all of it. This is not just a message for Christmas, but for Easter too. In times of testing: God is with us. In the darkest hours of pain and suffering God is with us. And when everything seems to be – and indeed has been - lost, this is not, it turns out the end at all, but the dawn of a new beginning.

 At Easter we celebrate Christ, crucified and now risen to new life. We are his people. People of new life. People of new beginnings.

 Happy Easter!

May 2018

Don’t hold your breath, but it looks like winter has ended. I hope you have been enjoying the lovely spring weather now that it has finally arrived. By the time this issue of the All Saints’ Review is out the weather may of course have taken a turn for the worse. But Spring is here anyway; it can’t be put back or put off. The leaves are opening and the daffodils giving way to bluebells as the year turns.

In church things move on too and we are now well into the season of Easter; the seven weeks that begin on Easter Sunday. For these weeks the focus of our Sunday worship is on Jesus’ resurrection; what this meant for his first followers and its significance for us in our life of faith today. The weeks immediately following the resurrection were a time of great joy as those who had given up everything to follow Jesus discovered that after all seemed lost, there was in fact new hope and new life.

But those weeks were also a time of waiting for what was to happen next. This big next event was we call the Ascension, when disciples saw Jesus rise into heaven. We celebrate the ascension this year on May 10th. Next and, as inevitable as the turn of the year was what we refer to in church as Whitsun or Pentecost, which this year falls on May 20th. Pentecost is one of the Jewish harvest festivals, and therefore an occasion for Jewish people (including the disciples) to gather to celebrate.

For the first Christians that first Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection was a critical turning point. As they met and prayed together they shared a profound experience of the Holy Spirit working in them and among them; empowering them to continue the work of Jesus in the world, to be the people and the community that Jesus had called them to be. We, as Jesus’ followers today in Clayton West are called in the same way: to live in fellowship with one another and to live out the good news of God’s love in our community. As we move into the summer I look forward to finding out ways we can work together to do this.

With my prayers and Best wishes Sarah

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All Saints’ Church

A Lenten Prayer

Be silent.

Be still.

Alone

Empty

Before your God

Say nothing.

Ask nothing

Be silent.

Be still.

Let your God

Look upon you

That is all.

 

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