Lent – Ash Wednesday Service

Dear Friends

A Lent Special…

This poem, Lent, from Jean M Watt provides a vivid imagery of Lent as a season, by coupling it with the typical weather season we normally experience it in.  It provides a good analogy of the spiritual journey we undertake as we prepare for Easter.

Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,

Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep,

All unadorned. Unlike Christmas which decrees

The setting-up, the dressing-up of trees,

Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,

A starkness after all has been withdrawn

Of surplus and superfluous,

Leaving no hiding-place, only an emptiness

Between black branches, a most precious space

Before the leaf, before the time of flowers;

Lest we should see only the leaf, the flower,

Lest we should miss the stars.

Lent should not be about busy-ness.  It should be a time of simplicity, of seeking to see the wood for the trees.  It is traditionally a time set aside for self-examination, penitence, self-denial, study and preparation. 

We find ourselves entering this season this year in the strangest of times, and I am under no illusions that during the 40 days of Lent we will be presented with new challenges again, and we pray that with the vaccination progress that those challenges are of a positive nature.

As we embark on the season we are unable to do the things we are used to doing.  We cannot share an Ash Wednesday service in person; there will be no Lent Lunches; we cannot meet for a Lent Course in our houses.

But we are together in Spirit and in the bond of Christ, and the journey we travel to Easter we do so together. 

Our Lent theme this year is Story and Pilgrimage, and this will be reflected throughout the services and events we are holding during the season.

Ash Wednesday


Zoom service Wednesday 17 February at 7:30pm. 




Meeting ID: 760 8881 9201

Passcode: twoshires

During the service I will be self-administering some ash.  I invite you to do the same as you are able, or have with you something that represents, for you, the symbolism of Ashing – that is the reminder that without God we are nothing for, ‘from dust we are made and to dust we shall return.’

I have made 5 small wooden Crosses and marked them with ash made from burnt palm crosses.  I have placed one outside each church in the benefice to symbolise the start of Lent.

ursday evening Zoom services

During Lent our usual Thursday evening Zoom sessions will all be focussed on our theme of Story and Pilgrimage and will include a pre-recorded reflection.  We will also endeavour to produce those reflections in written form to circulate to those offline.


All services at 7:30pm on the following dates:


25 February

4 March

11 March

18 March

25 March




Meeting ID: 761 0841 9112

Passcode: twoshires

Sunday Worship

During Lent all our Sunday services will be live on Zoom and a video uploaded as soon as possible afterwards.

All Sunday services will be at 10am on the following Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 759 1823 9934

Passcode: twoshires

All Service videos will be available at:





NEW – Virtually Coffee

We all miss our fellowship after services.  With our theme of Story this year I thought we could try and have a virtual coffee time after our Sunday worship, where we can just have a chat about anything we want!

When the Sunday service finishes there will be a short break of a just a few minutes and you are very welcome to bring along your cup of something for a chat on this link:



eeting ID: 762 4993 3369

Passcode: twoshires

No agenda, just a space to share.

Lent Study Courses

As a Benefice we will not be running a study course this Lent.  However, if you would like to join a study course then there are courses being run in the Deanery as follows:

·        The Poet’s Gospel – A weekly 5 part course on Zoom at either 3:30pm or 7:30pm from 24th Feb.  Contact Rev Phil Denison for access details. denisonphil15@hotmail.com

·        The Prayer Course, also on Wednesdays on Zoom.  11:30am each week – contact Rev Christabel Ager on   crev1951@gmail.com

·       Shining as Lights, Thursdays 7.45pm from 25th February for 5 weeks on Zoom.  To join email Rev Jo Stobart on vicar@ilminsterpc.org.uk


You may like to follow the national church Lent initiatives.  Do visit www.churchofengland.org where you will find information on #LiveLent.

 The recommended reading for Lent this year is ‘Living his story’ by Hannah Steele.  https://spckpublishing.co.uk/living-his-story.  


 All churches continue to be open during the week for an hour at 11am for private individual prayer. 

 Wednesdays – Tatworth, Cricket Malherbie at 11am

Thursdays – Chaffcombe & Winsham at 11am

Sundays – Thorncombe at 11am

 At this time we are asked to particularly focus on Prayer for the Nation.  Here is a link that guides you through the week:



A Prayer for Lent:


Holy God,

our lives are laid open before you:

rescue us from the chaos of sin

and through the death of your Son

bring us healing and make us whole

in Jesus Christ our Lord.



We also pray for those we know who are sick, and those we don’t know, including those we are asked to pray by name for:

 Bishop Peter Hancock; Hannah Knott; Rob Allen; Lynne and Bruce Applegarth; Phyllis Baker; Margaret Bandy; Sue Bennett; Sue Cheese; Terry Conway; Nick Frankau; David Goodwill; Mike Heywood; Joy Howard; Ann Jarvis; Frank & Celia Long; Peter McHugh;  Diana Rowlands; Ann Ricketts; Jim Tucker; Rosemary Walley; Rosemary Walton; Vivien Wheaton; Alan Wills, Anna Woodward; Pamala Young; Milly granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin; Gillian Muggeridge; Chris Gould; Brian Griffiths; Peter Hathway; Dorothy Down; Max Woehrle; Michael Mutch; Kelvin Yendell; Winnie Barge; Fi Lillington; Di Nicholls; Izzie Luty-Wells, Janet Smart, Tracy, John Harris.

We remember all those whom we love but see no longer, and pray for all those bereaved.  We remember Jackie Sprague, Molly Strawbridge, Iris Warren and Peggy Larcombe and hold their families and friends in our prayers.   




Wed 17 Feb:  Gen Is 58:1-12; John 8:1-11 (Ash Wednesday)

Thurs 18 Feb:  Deut 30.15–end; Ps 1; Lk 9.22–25

Fri 19 Feb:  Is 58.1–9a; Ps 51.1–5, 17–18; Mt 9.14–15

Sat 20 Feb:  Is 58.9b–end; Ps 86.1–7; Lk 5.27–32

Sun 21 Feb:  Gen 9:8-17; Mark 1:9-15

Mon 22 Feb:  Lev 19.1–2, 11–18; Ps 19.7–end; Mt 25.31–end

Tues 23 Feb:  Is 55.10–11; Ps 34.4–6, 21–22; Mt 6.7–15

Wed 24 Feb:  Jonah 3; Ps 51.1–5, 17–18; Lk 11.29–32


Focus passage: – Mark 1:9-15

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[a] with you I am well pleased.”

12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news[b] of God,[c] 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;[d] repent, and believe in the good news.”[e]


The Prayer for this week (Church of England):


Holy God,

you know the disorder of our sinful lives:

set straight our crooked hearts,

and bend our wills to love your goodness

and your glory

in Jesus Christ our Lord.




Blessings to you all




The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286
PASTORAL EMAILS – please to: twoshiresrector@gmail.com
HOME PRAYER & WORSHIP:  https://twoshires.wordpress.com
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