Friday 3rd April

April 3rd: Bishop Rachel: Living through a prolonged ‘Holy Saturday’

We have already become ‘a different sort of church’ in unprecedented ways. The very place in which the body of Christ finds its identity, offers prayer, and receives solace in time of crisis—that is, the church building—is not available to us, and, as in the early days of our faith, public gatherings of Christians outside the home are forbidden. Nevertheless, we are finding ways to join in prayer and intention; to cry ‘Abba, Father’; and to recognise we are all buried with Christ by baptism into his death, that we might walk in newness of life. The present situation does not nullify the joy we have been granted in the resurrection, but it will be lived out this year in different ways.

Holy Week and Easter, in particular, will give us opportunities to reflect on all of these matters. In the annual commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we explore who we are and our relationship to the God who loves us. We are enabled to realise, quite counter-culturally, that everything that we have that is good is a gift, and not a right. We, as humans, do not always have the answers.

We can reflect that, even in the hardest of times, even in the prolonged ‘Holy Saturday’ of emptiness in which we find ourselves, there is always hope. God, whose nature is mercy, sent his Son, who experienced the fullness of our own human suffering and makes all things new. We are still called to serve those inside and outside the church, and to have care for the most vulnerable. Our historic structures still place us at the heart of the community and of public life, and as spokespeople for our ecumenical partners and for those of other faiths who are experiencing similar difficulties to our own.

In these dark times, when it is not possible to recall the death and resurrection of Christ in our church buildings, we have the opportunity, through marking Holy Week at home, of discovering how what we are now experiencing may contribute to our own ongoing journey as God’s people. The homes to which we are primarily confined offer us a place in which our faith can be discovered afresh, where we can find ‘the Church within’.



Luke 10. 38-42    Jesus with Martha and Mary at their home

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ 41But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’


Listen to Taize’s              Jacques Berthier (1923-1994)    based on Matthew 26. 36-42

Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray, watch and pray.

Please listen on:



Prayer from Marjorie Holmes

    You, who said, ‘Come unto me all ye are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest,’ I come to you now.

    For I am weary with anxiety. Mentally and physically I am bone-tired. I am all wound up, locked up tight with tension. I am too tired to eat. Too tired to think. Too tired even to sleep. I feel close to the point of exhaustion with worrying..

    Lord, let your healing love flow through me.

    I can feel it easing my tensions. Thank you. I can feel my body relaxing. Thank you. I can feel my mind begin to go calm and quiet and composed.

    Thank you for unwinding me, Lord, for unlocking me. I am no longer tight and frozen with anxiety, but flowing freely, softly, gently into your healing rest.

This poem was written to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS by Michael Rosen

These are the hands

These are the hands
That touch us first
Feel your head
Find the pulse
And make your bed.

These are the hands
That tap your back
Test the skin
Hold your arm
Wheel the bin
Change the bulb
Fix the drip
Pour the jug
Replace your hip.

These are the hands
That fill the bath
Mop the floor
Flick the switch
Soothe the sore
Burn the swabs
Give us a jab
Throw out sharps
Design the lab.

And these are the hands
That stop the leaks
Empty the pan
Wipe the pipes
Carry the can
Clamp the veins
Make the cast
Log the dose
And touch us last.


A church notice from Steve Riddock, Severn Vale Deanery Secretary

In case you have not already heard via your PCCs, Bishop Rachel has now approved a general delay to the deadline for this year's APCMs to 31 October 2020.


As this is a Deanery Synod election year, this means that elected members of Deanery Synod as of 20 March will now remain in office until 30 November 2020. Of course I hope as many of you as possible will put yourselves forward for re-election, but anyway any newly-elected members will only take up office from 1 December 2020.


This is also the year for elections to General Synod, and the current plan is for that to continue. I do not currently have any information on that front, but will provide it to anyone interested in due course.

I hope you are all keeping safe and well, Steve

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