Flowers and Ashes

Dear all

Isn’t it lovely to see already the Spring flowers arriving with the snowdrops and crocuses as well as all the wonderful flowering winter shrubs, some of which have such a beautiful smell. Just last week at the Women’s breakfast held at Ockley Cricket Pavilion on the green, we had table arrangements with a winter type of honeysuckle with a wonderful scent. I am sure you gardeners will tell me what it is! The women’s breakfasts are a good thing to try to go to when you see them advertised as are the men’s ones. And they even have a mixed one!! The Women’s Breakfasts are at Ockley Cricket Pavilion and the Mens and combined men and women are at Okewood Hill Village Hall. There is an excellent breakfast included of course (!). The main event though is the always very interesting speaker who has been invited to tell those there about their work or area of interest. For example last Saturday we had a talk from a fundraiser from the Chestnut Tree House hospice in Sussex which was very informative and gave us a real feel for the wonderful work children’s hospices do. So do look out for them.

This month at our two churches leads us into Lent at the end of the month and of course it is a Leap Year this year. You will see on the list of church services for February that there are a couple of new services. First of all I will be doing a service for Ash Wednesday on the 26th at St John the Baptist beginning at 10 o clock. For those who don’t really know what happens on Ash Wednesday this special day marks the beginning of Lent having eaten lots of pancakes the day before on Shrove Tuesday! The phrase ‘sackcloth and ashes’ may come to mind but actually it is a really nice thing to come to. It will be a spoken service only within a service of Holy Communion, but again don’t let that put you off if you are not familiar with taking the bread and wine in our services. We offer a prayer of blessing for those who wish to join us at the rail. Ash Wednesday offers us all a chance to come before God and to prepare ourselves for Christ’s Passion and of course his amazing Resurrection on Easter Day.

Lent is a time of what the church calls penitence but it is better termed as a time to think about where we are with God, to slow down a bit and appreciate the good things around us, to take time out to think about what is important in life and to regain balance therin. The ashes which are a mixture of last year’s palm crosses burnt down and mixed with oil, are in fact a symbol of our mortality. The words that are used when a small cross is traced in these ashes on your head ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return’ remind us that our lives are indeed a gift and we all wish to be able to reflect at the end of our lives that we have lived our lives well. Of course there may well be things which we wish we had done differently – hindsight is a great thing; but we can have space to change our attitudes perhaps, to ponder anew. And if that sounds like too much naval gazing for you, then take up a more practical challenge?!

With both of these thoughts in mind there is a new course beginning at St Peter’s Newdigate which is the other new inclusion in our calendar. The course is called Discipleship Explored and will be held in St Peter’s Church Newdigate on eight Wednesday evenings in February and March, 7.30 – 9pm. You can go just once, twice or to all eight sessions, whatever suits. There will be light refreshments with a DVD presentation and group discussion. The course is for anyone who wishes to know more about following Jesus Christ, who wishes to make the most of their Christian lives or to find out more about the Christian faith. Please do contact our team rector Andrew Coe for more information or to sign up on 01306 631469 or <>.
I hope I may see you there!
With my love and prayers as ever

Revd Liz

Post expires at 7:20am on Saturday January 23rd, 2021