Welcome to my Holy Week update for the parishes.
Please do circulate to those that you know, and therefore apologies if you receive this more than once.
Holy Week in the Two Shires Benefice
This is obviously a Holy Week with a difference. It is natural to ‘mourn’ what we won’t be doing this year that we would normally be doing; but do also use this time to reflect on the journey of Holy Week for you now. During this week every year we are entering into the journey that Christ and his followers went through from Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, through the Passion, and onto the Resurrection. In many ways this year, like no other in recent times, our own times follow this form. We are on a painful journey, but in the midst of that there is hope and there will be resurrection.
‘In house’ there are a number of things that you can access to help observe Holy Week this year.
Do keep looking at
https://twoshires.wordpress.com to see new content. There is a special page for Holy Week, and the content relevant for the day will appear on the Prayer page also.
· Compline – there is a recorded service of Compline that can be used any evening.
Maundy Thursday – There will be ‘An Invitation’; an order of service you can follow at home in your own time whilst you have your main meal of the day.
It uses prayers, songs and meditations before, during and after your meal as we remember the Last Supper together.
It will be available to download from Wednesday night at:
· Good Friday – There is a meditative Stations of Cross prepared using images from local hedgerows and the Good Friday Reproaches you can join in with. It will be available to use from Friday morning on the website here
Easter Sunday – I will be pre-recording an Easter Sunday service in my garden which will include sharing in the breaking of the bread.
I will also be blessing and lighting a candle to put in our Easter Garden at home which, once our churches are open again, I will use to take the Light into each church as part of that rejoicing when that happens.
The Easter Sunday service will ‘go live’ on the site at 10am on Easter morning here:
Do also have a look at the Deanery website;
https://ilminsterdeanery.uk/ where there is content being made available all the time.
Particularly you might want to sing some Easter hymns with our own Pamela Everitt who has recorded a hymn for each day.
Thank you, Pamela.
If you are in Winsham and on your daily exercise, you might want to take the footpath through the churchyard as there will be Stations of the Cross lining that path. Thank you Chloe.
Also, whilst on your excursions, do keep an eye out for people’s Palm Crosses in windows, and also the rainbows people have been displaying. In Tatworth, for example, local children have been using chalk to write messages of support and hope, and drawing rainbows, on the road and wall near the school.
In the Diocese, do have a look at
www.bathandwells.org.uk where you will find reflections from the Bishops to view, along with other content.
www.churchofengland.org for live streamed national services and further information.
We do not know how long we will be under current restrictions.
Our job at this time, if nothing else, is to stay at home, stay safe, and not do anything that places greater strain on our national services who are doing an amazing job to combat this virus.
That said, we should be taking notice of those things that are blessings in our time.
In so many conversations I hear people tell me of things that are pleasant surprises, new things, and even thoughts about what is hoped will not be returned to.
Make notes, write reflections, be attune to the things that give you pause to smile and to wonder.
These are the places where God is working, and it will be our calling to emerge from the crisis building on those foundations and not just restarting where we left off.
When, on Easter morning, we reflect on the wonder and glory of the resurrection, ask yourself what that might look like for you today, and us as a church, today and tomorrow.
A Prayer of Blessing for the journey:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
With every blessing for Easter,
The Reverend Philip Butcher Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie) The Vicarage 3 Home Farm Tatworth Chard TA20 2SH 01460 221286
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