Vicars Letter - March 2018

JEREMY'S JOTTINGS

Dear Friends

The season of Lent has just begun and it was encouraging that we had nearly 100 people come to St.Mary's for our two Ash Wednesday services this year. If you have joined one of the Churches Together Lent groups, I hope you are finding it helpful. As I mentioned in my last letter, I hope that you are able to find some time and space to listen to God this season, though I appreciate this is not necessarily an easy thing for us to do! 

Two of the ways I find helpful in order to make space for God are by having a monthly quiet day and going on an annual retreat. Each month I try to find a day to take some time out from the usual busy schedule in order to evaluate how my life and ministry is going, and offering that to God. I often go to St.Joseph's Prayer Centre in Formby, a Catholic retreat centre,where I can begin the day by joining in their communion service, have time to pray, read and reflect,  and also enjoy the beauty of God's creation on the surrounding coastline. For some of us this might prove difficult to do, and if so, I wonder if there is a  quiet place at home where we might pray, read  and reflect instead? The other thing I try to do is to go on an annual retreat. Due to family circumstances, this did not happen last year, but I am pleased to say that (due to Emma's lymphoma now being in remission-thank you for your prayersI have felt able to book to go away to Bardsey Island, off the Llyn Peninsula, during the first week of July. Bardseyhas been a place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages and there used to be an Augustinian community of monks based there. Sadly, the Abbey is now longer in existence, but what does exist there for me is a very strong sense of encountering God's presence in that wild and rugged landscape. If you have never been on retreat before, I commend it to you and can suggest a number of different places that you might like to try. Retreats don't have to take place in total silence (or in islands!) and these days it is possible to experience a number of different types, ranging from painting, walking  and pottery to the more traditional reflections simply on scripture, for example. Again, I appreciate that going away on retreat may not be possible for all of us, but it is also possible to make a retreat in daily life, and I can offer you some details about this if you would like.

So as we make our way through Lent to the events of Holy Week and Good Friday at the end of this month, I pray that God would speak to you, whether it be through our weekly worship, Lent groups or maybe even a quiet day or retreat (whether that be now or later on in the year). And as we make space for God in our lives, so we open ourselves up to discovering more of His purpose for us and how He may be calling us to serve Him. With that in mind, may I remind you that our Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place on Sunday 22 April at 11.30 am this year. As ever, we will be looking for people to serve God through being on our PCC and the Deanery Synod.

Yours in His service

 

 

Jeremy Tear

Pioneer Team Rector

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