Letter to parishioners, 19 March 2021

Friday, 19 March 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

I feel that I should begin this week’s letter with an apology. As I begin to write I know that this letter is going to be much longer than usual because there is so much to say … Please be patient with it as there is information for everyone this week.

Services for Holy Week and Easter

This time last year we were already lamenting the fact that our churches had been closed for both private prayer and public worship. This news came as a great shock, and particularly when the Archbishop of Canterbury added the additional caveat that even clergy were not allowed to enter their own churches. That moment of first lockdown meant, of course, that we would not be able to celebrate Holy Week and Easter 2020 in anything like a ‘normal’ way. One year on we are very aware that, whilst churches can now be open for public worship, the concept of ‘normal’ will have to be re-thought, re-shaped and re-invented in a radical way. We will not be going back to the way things were before the pandemic struck for many reasons, not the least significant being our need to remain mindful of the welfare of all who attend and engage with our churches. Having said all that, I would like us to focus on what can be done this year.

There will be services throughout Holy Week & on Easter Day, furthermore, some of those services will be attended and co-celebrated with the Bishop of Grantham. This is great news for the Benefice as we enter this most solemn, holy and joyful moment in the Church’s calendar.

The services in our Benefice will be as follows:

Palm Sunday28 March10.30am
Holy Communion, Irnham  
Palm Sunday28 March4pmZoom Evensong
for Palm Sunday
Monday of Holy Week29 Mar7.30pmHoly Communion,
St John’s, Corby Glen
Tuesday of Holy Week30 Mar7.30pmHoly Communion,
St John’s, Corby Glen
Wednesday of Holy Week31 March10amHoly Communion,
St John’s, Corby Glen
Wednesday of Holy Week31 March7.30pmHoly Communion,
St John’s, Corby Glen
Maundy Thursday1 April8pmMaundy Thursday Liturgy,
St John’s, Corby Glen
with The Bishop of Grantham
Good Friday2 April12 noon – 3pmVigil, meditation and
Good Friday Liturgy,
St John’s, Corby Glen
with The Bishop of Grantham
Holy Saturday3 April8pmEaster Vigil and First Communion of Easter,
St John’s, Corby Glen
with The Bishop of Grantham
Easter Day4 April10.30amHoly Communion,
St John’s, Corby Glen
Holy Communion,
St Andrew’s, Irnham
Easter Day4 April4pmHoly Communion,
St Mary Magdalene, Bitchfield
Holy Communion,
St Nicholas, Swayfield
Easter Day4 April6.30pmHoly Communion, St Thomas’ Church, Bassingthorpe
Holy Communion, St Thomas’ Church, Burton-le-Coggles

The first two hours of the service on Good Friday will be structured in a way that allows people to come and go if they would rather not stay for the whole service.

Please remember that prayers and reflections are still available on our website every day.

Easter Charity donations

Last week I announced that I was inviting people to make a donation towards the work of St Barnabas’ Hospice in Grantham. The Hospice, which does such valuable work in the provision of palliative and end-of-life care for people in our communities, has struggled with fund-raising over the last year and is great need of our support.

Some people have already sent their donations to me, but it would be great if more were to come. The deadline for our Benefice donation will be Easter Day itself … the cheque will go in the post the next day.

Please give serious consideration to supporting this important local charity, and send your donations to The Rectory in time for us to send a generous communal donation immediately after Easter.

Weddings in our Benefice

The last year has been one of great uncertainty for those who have been planning their weddings. The government’s road map to coming out of the restrictions we have been living under remains unclear and uncertain. Whilst it is hoped that some sense of ‘normality’ will be resumed after 21 June, it is by no means certain. As well as our awaiting confirmation of that date, it does not necessarily mean that large numbers of people will be able to gather in our churches from 22 June. In addition to this uncertainty, the government’s long-heralded changes in marriage registration law will be coming into effect from the beginning of May.

Some wedding couples have now postponed their weddings several times, while others have declared their intention to go ahead no matter what! Wherever you sit on this broad spectrum I must now ask all couples who have weddings booked in our benefice to make contact so that we can talk through the current situation and how it might affect the weddings you have booked with us.

Please email me with some dates and times when you might be available for a Zoom meeting. I will do my best to accommodate your first choices as best I can … but, do give me some flexibility because there will be a lot of requests coming in at the same time.

And finally …

This week’s letter is twice as long as usual and it has focused on many administrative issues. But, we must not forget that we are now entering Passiontide, and that our journey through Lent is marching relentlessly towards its climax. Our eyes are now firmly focused on the Cross, but we must not forget the hope and joy that lies the other side of Calvary. Despite the horrors of the last year, we are able to gather in prayer, worship and celebration this year. Let us give thanks for that as we continue to walk with Christ, sharing his light and love with all whom we meet.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen