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Dear all,

Hope you are well.

Lent is about to start.

On Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) there will be pancakes in the church hall from 3.30pm (50p for a pancake and topping and a cup of tea/squash).

In the past, people would give up all animal produce during Lent. Pancakes were made on the day before Lent to use up any milk, butter and eggs that were left over. On the continent, this weekend tends to be called Carnival -- last chance to eat meat before Lent starts. These days, it seems to be mostly an excuse to dress up in fancy dress and drink a lot. In the UK, we tend to keep things a bit more low key and just have pancakes on the Tuesday. Do come and join us in the church hall for one (or more) pancakes.

On Ash Wednesday (1st March) there will be a toddler service at 9.10am and there will be a Eucharist at 10.30am.

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. It is also a time of re-evaluating our life: what are our priorities? Do we have our priorities right? How do they fit in with our calling as Christians? Are we putting God first in our lives?

At the start of Lent, we begin this period of reflection and of trying to change our life around by having the shape of the cross made in ashes on our forehead. Some churches have started doing this away from services in church as well now. Those with big railway or tube stations may stand near the exits/entrances of those and offer ash crosses to passengers. If you work in central London and travel by train/tube, you may come across some of my colleagues as they do this. In our parish, in the absence of big transport hubs, we will stick to offering the imposition of ashes within our services: toddler service at 9.10am and Eucharist at 10.30am. There will be an act of Collective Worship at CC School at 1.30pm, also with the imposition of ashes.

As mentioned above, it used to be traditional to fast during Lent, not dissimilar from the way Muslims fast during Ramadan. Christians used to fast by avoiding animal produce (meat, eggs, dairy) for 40 days. These days, it is more common to give something up during Lent: chocolate, biscuits, Television, something you like that is not necessarily good for you. Giving up exercise or vegetables is not included in this, for obvious reasons. The purpose of giving something up is twofold: 1) to help us focus on God (every time we are 'tempted' to have or do the thing we have given up, it will help us focus on God) 2) to save money that we can then give away to charity.

As a church, we have decided to support the USPG Lent Appeal, this year.

USPG are focussing on their projects in Malawi, this year. Sue Peach and I visited two of those projects, last year, and were very impressed by them. The projects are simple, but very effective. They are mostly run by volunteers, which means that a little money can go a long way. The projects focus on simple things such as access to safe drinking water (they teach communities to make their own biosandfilters, which purify water without the use of chemicals) and on keeping girls in school (many leave school when their periods start, because of lack of pads and changing facilities, but keeping girls in school will not just benefit those girls themselves, but also any children they may go on to have). The Pilgrim service on 5th March will focus on the USPG appeal. I would encourage you to be as generous as you can be. Many thanks!

Another way to 'fast' though is by taking something on rather than giving something up. This year, we are being encouraged to take up filling bags.

As a church, we are supporting GRACE (Greenwich Refugee Action and Community Enterprise).

They collect clothes for refugees in camps in France and Greece. Please, this Lent, would you go through your wardrobes and chests of drawers and see if there are clothes that you could donate? GRACE are looking for modest and warm clothes (please, no bikinis or very skimpy skirts). Please, bring them to church and we will make sure they are passed on to GRACE. Many thanks!

During Lent, we will be doing the USPG course Living An Authentic Life: discipleship in the World Church.

There will be sessions on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings (although these will depend on attendance, if attendance is too low future sessions may be cancelled). See below for the exact dates.

We will also be having Taize services on Sunday evenings during Lent -- see below for exact dates.

During Holy Week there will be at least one service a day, each day.

I would encourage you to attend as many of these as possible, as it will help with preparation for Easter -- the most important festival in the church's year, when we remember how Christ rose from the dead and gained eternal life for us.

God bless,

Mtr Ariadne

Before Lent:

Tuesday 28th February:

3.30pm (hall): Pancakes

During Lent:

Ash Wednesday, 1st March:

9.10 (hall): Toddler Service with ashes

10.30 (church): Eucharist with imposition of ashes

1.30 (school): Collective Worship with ashes

Saturday 4th March:

11am-noon (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 1

Sunday 5th March:

6pm (church): Taizé Service

Tuesday 7th March:

8-9pm (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 1

Sunday 12th March:

6pm (church): Taizé Service

Saturday 18th March:

11am-noon (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 2

Sunday 19th March:

6pm (church): Taizé Service

Tuesday 21st March:

8-9pm (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 2

Sunday 26th March:

6pm (church): Taizé Service

Tuesday 28th March:

8-9pm (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 3

Saturday 1st April:

11am-noon (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 3

Sunday 2nd April:

(Parishioners’ Meeting & APCM at 10.45am)

6pm (church): Taizé Service

Tuesday 4th April:

8-9pm (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 4

Saturday 8th April:

11am-noon (vicarage): USPG Lent Course, Session 4

Sunday 9th April, Palm Sunday:

9.30am Eucharist; 11.30am All Age (no evening service)

Monday 10th April

7.30pm Service

Tuesday 11th April:

7.30pm Service

Wednesday 12th April:

7.30pm Service

Maundy Thursday 13th April:

7.30pm Eucharist with watch

Good Friday 14th April:

10am Toddler Service

11.30am Stations of the Cross

2pm Good Friday Liturgy


Saturday 15th April:

7.30pm Easter Vigil

Sunday 16th April:

9.30am Eucharist

11.30am ‘Messy Church Lite’

No Evening Service

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