from the Editor ... Welcome to our March edition of ‘Crosstalk’. This year, March covers the later part of Lent, and includes Mothering Sunday, Palm Sunday, the rest of Holy Week and Easter Day. There are plenty of opportunities to come along to worship, pray quietly and enjoy with others the full celebration of the Easter season across the parishes. Please see the service and events pages to find out what your church has on offer; there are events suitable for all ages in all of the churches. Lent, which is the 40 days leading up to Easter Day, is used as a time of reflection and is not just about ‘giving something up’. It’s more about learning how to introduce change into our lives as we move towards our yearly renewal, on Easter Day, of the discipline of following Jesus. Easter Day brings a lovely and joyous service when, as a whole church community, we renew our baptismal vows together. Not least, we enjoy the light sprinkling of holy water enthusiastically administered by the clergy using a fresh sprig of rosemary!
All of these wonderful customs are symbolic of so much about our church life together and it is wonderful to be able to rejoice and laugh and sing together our Easter praises at the end of Lent. The next magazine* will be a double edition for April and May and the theme we are working around is ‘Music and Dance’. We hope to cover all kinds of music and dance but I, for one, would like to read about those Christian cultures in which dancing forms a big part of their worship. Details of the planning meeting are on page 13. May I wish everyone a Happy Easter*. With love and God Bless,
* The next magazine will be available on Easter Day, 27 March.
The Vicar Writes “Thank you for still believing in me”
St Hild’s, our church primary school, has just hosted a ‘Prayer Spaces’ event. For three days the main hall had 10 different spaces for prayer and reflection: a cardboard box where the children (and adults) could imagine what it is like to have to live in a cardboard box as home; an inflatable boat where people could imagine having to cross the sea in such a frail thing, to find safety; a tent where people could write on a bit of torn up cardboard something about which they were sorry, which was then hung up and thrown away like rubbish, so we could know that God had forgiven and forgotten! And so on... Several of us “manned” the prayer spaces and found ourselves caught up in very moving conversations with the children – and adults. One of the prayer spaces invited people to write letters from God back to us. We often ask children to write letters to God but this exercise really required imagination – and faith and understanding and theology!! One of the letters blew my mind. The child wrote from God: “Thank you for still believing in me.” I have no idea which child wrote this and that must remain secret but what is going through this child’s mind? Why might she/he imagine that God would be grateful that this child still believes in God? Is it because the world is a mess? And lots of people – including lots of folk who say they don’t believe in God – blame God for the mess? It’s interesting to think about why we think that. It’s not a new thought. There are many Psalms where the psalmist asks God where he has gone and why he is letting them suffer so much, and so unjustly (see Psalm 44 for instance). Or there is the Book of Job where Job suffers unjustly and argues with God about this. See what you make of God’s answer in chapters 38-41. Or there is the Book of Ecclesiastes where the writer describes life as being a vanity, like chasing after or feeding on the wind. That is a statement of deep frustration and despair. The Bible is always honest about how we feel during life’s troubles. So whilst many of our Jewish and Christian ancestors would simply have said, “God is sovereign, God’s will be done”, or “suffering is our fault not God’s because we are sinful”, others have said to God, “Why?” And I find myself from time to time asking God, “why?” because I can make no sense of what I am seeing or experiencing. For me – and this is a personal view – part of what happens on the Cross is God taking back into himself the pain and the cost of the universe, of the great experiment of making a free creation. It is, in 3
part, God saying to us, “I do care and I too am caught up in the pain of making a universe which can make choices”. So in the face of the chaos and suffering of the world, and the hiddenness of God much of the time, I can understand why a child could imagine God saying: “thank you for still believing in me”. And that is even more true for those – perhaps this child – who may have been let down by others and may feel let down by God. Sometimes we hope and ask for things and they don’t happen – and we can feel as if God is not listening. In the face of great personal suffering, it is possible to lose faith in God, though most people I meet who have suffered greatly have kept their faith, even grown it. Nonetheless, I can imagine God saying to some people I know: “Thank you for still believing in me”. Or perhaps this is nothing to do with suffering at all. Perhaps this child is aware of the many atheist arguments against the existence of God and imagines God saying back: “Thank you that despite all these arguments, you still believe in me”. We do live in a world where some influential people are very opposed to faith, to the very idea of God, and use every means at their disposal to undermine faith. This is a constant seen and unseen pressure on believers. Perhaps this child is imagining God saying, “Well done for sticking in there with faith in this complicated world.” Who knows what this child was thinking? All I know is that I am very grateful that she/he had the courage to write it down. As the old Bible translation says, “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes praise…” [Matthew 21:16] Rev’d Canon Dr Alan Bartlett Vicar of St Giles’ and Priest in Charge of St Cuthbert’s and St Mary’s
But what would you write in your letter from God? And, in advance, may I wish you a deep Holy Week and a joyful Easter. Your friend and vicar,
At St Giles’ if you wish to book a Baptism (Christening) or Wedding, or to have your Banns of Marriage called, please come to the Church on FRIDAY evenings between 6.00 and 7.00pm
Enquiries regarding Baptisms, Weddings or calling of Banns for both St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s should be made by calling at St Mary’s Vestry on TUESDAY evenings between 6.00 and 7.00pm
Bits and Bobs from the Vicar .... Esther Not our Parish Administrator (this is getting confusing!) but Esther the book of the Bible. We’ve had a lot of fun studying this book and at least two good parties. There’ll be a film night as well at some point – and another party! And someone said to me: “People have been coming to church looking forward to the sermon!” Now that feels like a very good thing – and thanks to the team of preachers and Bible study leaders who helped to make it happen. Lent By the time you read this, Lent will be well underway. (I do hope the Archbishop of Canterbury succeeds in getting all Christians to agree on a fixed date for Easter. It is hard work when Lent is this early!!!) As well as our study groups – and I am sorry that we have had to delay the start of two of them because of staff illness – Lent is also a time, with God’s help, to tackle those things which will hinder our celebrations of the great party which is Easter, to toughen up our spiritual muscles, to set our priorities again – but to do it all with a smile. That’s what I have learned from Esther – to do some of our spiritual stuff with a lightness of touch. Previous ordinands I know folk enjoy hearing news of previous ordinands. Petrica will be ordained to serve as a deacon in Silksworth this July. Dan Pierce has finished his curacy and has moved to be a vicar and pioneer minister in Billericay. And of course our Richard will be ordained priest in Durham Cathedral on
Saturday 2 July at 5pm and will preside at Communion for the first time on Sunday 3 July at 10am in St Giles’, when, as with Ruth and Julia, all three of our churches will gather together for this service. Annual Church Meetings Yes it’s that time of year again! Sherburn and Shadforth APCM is on Sunday 13 March after a 10am service at St Mary’s. NOTE CHANGE. St Giles’ APCM is on Sunday 10 April at 11.15 (or as soon as possible thereafter). To help prepare for this would all those who wish to make a report of their group’s activities please get their reports to the PCC Secretaries (Jacqui Robinson and Wendy Martin) asap. In any event no later than Sunday 28 February. As well as our chance as church communities to take stock of what we have been doing and where we hope to go, there will also be vacancies for membership of our church councils. This is where accountability is held in our churches, so if you want to make a difference, this is where to get involved. To stand for election or to vote you have to be on the electoral roll of the church (our membership list). The current ones will be posted on our church noticeboards soon. It is up to you to check that you are on there and that we have your full details. (Every year we ask people to include phone numbers and e-mails…if you don’t supply these and you need a visit, YOU MAY NOT GET ONE!) If you need an application form, please contact our Electoral Roll Officers.
St Cuthbert’s and St Mary’s Services in March .... Services for Holy Week are all listed on Page 7 6 March 9.00am 10.45am Gospel for the day
Mothering Sunday Service with a Difference at St Cuthbert’s All-Age Eucharist at St Mary’s Luke 2. 33-35
13 March 10.00am NB Gospel for the day
Passion Sunday United Sung Eucharist at St Mary’s followed by APCM No service at St Cuthbert’s John 12. 1-8
20 March 9.00am 10.45am 6.00pm Gospel for the day
Palm Sunday Sung Eucharist with Procession Sung Eucharist with Procession St Cuthbert’s Patronal Festival Luke 19. 28-40
27 March 9.00am 10.45am Gospel for the day
Easter Day Sung Eucharist at St Cuthbert’s Sung Eucharist at St Mary’s Luke 24. 1-12
3 April 9.00am 10.45am Gospel for the day
Easter 2 Sung Eucharist at St Cuthbert’s Sung Eucharist at St Mary’s John 20. 19-end
Regular Activities at St Cuthbert’s and St Mary’s Tuesdays 6.00-7.00pm Wednesdays 9.00am 9.30am 6.30pm Fridays 7.00pm - 8.30pm
Vestry Hour at St Mary's Morning Prayer at St Mary’s Holy Communion at St Mary’s Holy Communion at St Cuthbert’s SCUFFS Youth Club at St Cuthbert’s
St Giles’ Church Services in March .... Services for Holy Week are all listed on Page 7
6 March 8.00am 10.00am 6.00pm Gospel for the day
Mothering Sunday Holy Communion All-Age Service of the Word Evening Prayer Luke 2. 33-35
13 March 8.00am 10.00am 6.00pm Gospel for the day
Passion Sunday Holy Communion Choral Sung Eucharist Evening Prayer John 12. 1-8
20 March 8.00am 10.00am 6.00pm Gospel for the day
Palm Sunday Holy Communion Sung Eucharist with Procession Patronal Festival at St Cuthbert’s Luke 19. 28-40
27 March 7.00am 10.00am 6.00pm Gospel for the day
Easter Day Easter Vigil and Ceremonies Festal Eucharist Evening Prayer Luke 24. 1-12
3 April 8.00am 10.00am 6.00pm Gospel for the day
Easter 2 Holy Communion Service of the Word Evening Prayer of the Annunciation Luke 20. 19-end
Regular Activities at St Giles’ Morning Prayer in Church 8.45am Tues, Weds, Thurs, Fri - all welcome Holy Communion in Church every Wednesday at 10.00am Little Lights in Church every Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am - 11.30am Bereavement Drop In every Friday 10.30am to 12 noon 1st Saturday in month: Coffee morning 10-11.30am 1st Wednesday in month: Broth & Bun Lunch 12 noon - 2.00pm 2nd Wednesday in month: Mothers’ Union 2.00pm (except July/August) 2nd Thursday in month: Lunch Club at 12 noon at Queen’s Head Last Sunday in month: 4forAll 4.00pm
Stations of the Cross Every Friday during Lent we walk the Stations of the Cross in St Cuthbert’s Church between 6.00pm and 6.30pm. This is a very moving experience and everyone is welcome to join in.
Services for Holy Week 21 March Monday of Holy Week St Giles’ 7.00pm Said Eucharist Gospel for the day John 12. 1-11 22 March Tuesday of Holy Week St Giles’ 7.00pm Said Eucharist Gospel for the day John 12. 20-36 23 March St Mary’s St Giles’ St Cuthbert’s St Giles’ Gospel for the
Wednesday of Holy Week 9.30am Holy Communion 10.00am Said Eucharist 6.30pm Holy Communion 7.00pm Said Eucharist day John 13. 21-32
24 March St Mary’s St Cuthbert’s St Giles’
Maundy Thursday 3.00pm Said Service: Stripping of Altar and foot washing 4.30pm Said service: Stripping of Altar and foot washing 7.00pm Sung Eucharist with foot washing followed by Watch until 9.00pm Gospel for the day John 13. 1-17, 31b-35 25 March St Cuthbert’s St Mary’s St Giles’ St Mary’s St Giles’
Good Friday 9.00am 10.00am - 12.00pm 10.00am - 12.00pm 2.00pm 1.45pm - 3.00pm
Stations of the Cross All Age Workshop All Age Workshop Good Friday Service Good Friday Service
.... at St Mary’s and Ludworth Jesus, the Bread of Life Continuing our series on Who is Jesus? we looked at John 6:35 ~ Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life". As people arrived for Messy Church, many commented on the lovely aroma. We were in fact baking bread in a bread maker, ready for the meeting. We wanted everyone to understand that just as bread is a staple part of our diet in order to keep our bodies healthy, so Jesus is a necessary part of our spiritual diet to keep our spirits alive and healthy and to enable us to have the true and wonderful life that God has planned for each one of us. We had lots of bread from around the world to taste as well as making more bread, this time in the microwave. The children had an opportunity to make their own sandwiches with lots of yummy fillings and they made models of things that you would find in a bakery out of salt dough. All in all, it certainly was messy but also a great time for everyone to learn more about Jesus. We hope that you will be able to join us next time on Tuesday 1 March at 3.30pm at St Mary's and on Tuesday 8 March at 3.15pm at Ludworth School. .... and at Sherburn Hill January’s theme was Joseph in the Old Testament. Sixteen children attended and after juice and biscuits listened to the story of Joseph told in three parts - the young Joseph, then his time in Egypt and then about his brothers. The group answered questions. Games and colouring activities followed so that a book could be made. The song was ‘Father in Heaven’. After Messy Grace it was time for tea. Easter Wordsearch These words all appear in the grid on the right - can you find them all?
News from St Cuthbert’s .... St Cuthbert’s 150 Club January 1st Julie Collins 103 2nd Josie Morris 74 3rd Sue Pringle 55 Thank you for your support
60’s Night of Nostalgia
.... at St Cuthbert’s on 13 February What a great success this night proved to be. Jack and the Lad provided a trip down memory lane for all, singing songs made famous by well-loved bygone performers like Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochrane, Buddy Holly and, of course, Elvis Presley, to name but a few. Song sheets were available and audience participation was paramount. Some even remembered how to hand jive. The refreshments were on a ‘bring and share’ basis and provided a proverbial banquet. Thanks must go, first of all, to the guitarist and singer who did a sterling job all evening, to those who made table decorations, supplied bunting and raffle prizes and to everyone who brought the food and took part. It was a magical evening and gave us a chance to reminisce. Forthcoming events - Fashion Show Thursday 14 April at 7.30p.m. in St Cuthbert’s Church - (for both males and females) sponsored by Edinburgh Woollen Mills
Ludworth Community Centre - regular events
Mondays Mondays Tuesdays Wednesdays Wednesdays Thursdays Fridays
10.00-11.30am 7.00-8.00pm 7.00pm 4.00-5.15pm 6.00-7.15pm 10.00-11.30am 6.00-8.30pm
Mothers and Toddlers Pilates British Legion Arts and Crafts Bingo Mothers and Toddlers Youth Club
News from St Giles’ .... 4 For All in January January’s theme was ‘promise’ – God’s promise to Noah. We were led by Alan, and we started by trying to remember what we did in December. The children have very good memories. We watched an animated film of Noah and the Ark/Flood – made by Andrew and narrated by Jen – an excellent film, enjoyed by everyone. Our tag-line was: God is faithful – said by Alan, to which we replied: He keeps his promises. (This got louder as the afternoon went on.) We sang some action songs and learned a new one about Noah…lots and lots of verses telling the whole story in song. The actions were superb (some of us moved parts of our anatomy that hadn’t been used in a while!). Brilliant!! At activity time we went off around the church to see the various things to do. Animal biscuits were iced and decorated – brilliant designs. Rainbows were made with all the lovely colours and put together, complete with clouds, and were free standing – amazing results! Water colour rainbows were made using coloured paint and water spray bottles on to filter papers. The results were great – what fun!! Floating candle prayers at the altar, with written prayers to take home. Always popular, and so nice to have a quiet moment amidst the hustle and bustle… Animal shapes ‘two-by-two’ were coloured in for the prayer tree – with a prayer on the reverse side – good work. The ringing bell tells us that it is time to gather together in the side chapel for Alan to close the ‘meeting’ with the 4-For–All song, prayer, offering and a blessing. Then we were treated to a splendid tea party for our 4-For-All 2nd Birthday. Cheryl made us a beautiful cake with ‘all things Noah’, and complete with a rainbow on the top in coloured icing – such talent! We all enjoyed a delicious tea with so much to eat – put together by the lovely Jean and Jacqui – thank you both. We will be learning about Abraham next time – why don’t you join us? Love, Jen K 11
News from St Mary’s .... St Mary’s Number Draw January 1st 2nd
H Murray J York
Mothers’ Union St Mary’s Coffee Morning Next meeting 2.00pm
Sherburn21 Village Community Centre on Monday March for Stations of the Saturday 26 March Cross. 9.00 – 11.30am
Tea, coffee and bacon butties
Come along for a cuppa and a chat
Thursday 17 March ALL WELCOME! 7.00pm Come and join us for an evening of traditional Irish Music and Supper of Bacon, Colcannon, and Baileys Cheesecake Tickets £5.00 ~ available now!
Mini – Minors Monthly Toddler Group 10.30am Wednesdays 2 March with crafts for parents and tots
Fashion Show - Saturday 21 May (please note revised date from that shown last month) The show in October of last year was a great success and we have received several requests for another. So we hope you will support us once again in our appeal for new and good quality pre-loved clothing and accessories in readiness for this event Tickets £ 5.00 includes refreshments
Jolly Boys’ Show in memory of Harry Brass 7.00pm Friday 11 March Sherburn Village Working Men’s Club Entry £2 - includes buffet All proceeds to St. Mary's Church
Óscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador Óscar Romero was born in El Salvador in 1917. His father trained him as a carpenter and he had great talent for this. However, he wished to train for the priesthood and, after studying at the seminary in San Salvador, went to university in Rome. He was ordained there in April 1941, but travelling back to San Salvador with a friend, he was detained in Cuba and spent several months in an internment camp before being allowed to continue his journey home. During the next twenty years Romero worked as a parish priest promoting Christian ideals and social fairness. He was very active in the community and held various church positions too. Although he was very conservative and traditional in his approach, he was heavily committed to working for the poor and under-privileged. In 1977 Romero was made Archbishop of San Salvador. Three weeks later, a friend who had been working to help the marginalised form self-help groups was assassinated. The death affected Romero greatly; he realised that his efforts on behalf of the poor could mean that he would suffer the same fate. Nevertheless, he pestered the government to investigate the death. They refused. The heavy-handed approach of government officials saw catholic schools closed and priests side-lined in the political life of the country. This provided a stimulus for Romero to speak out against the poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture which he so frequently encountered. He was vocal in condemning both the military Junta which came to power in 1979 and the US government which provided military support. His protestations and commitment to the poor earned him wide acclaim. Through speeches and sermons, radio broadcasts and his diocesan newspaper he reported cases of ill-treatment – in three years fifty priests had been attacked, six had been killed, catholic institutions had been raided, people were threatened, tortured, killed (especially those who supported and defended the poor). The authorities had noticed him. On 23 March 1980, Romero preached a sermon calling on soldiers to give up carrying out government orders to repress the people and to violate their human rights; instead he encouraged them to follow God’s way of love. The next day, whilst celebrating Mass in a small chapel, he was shot dead. The perpetrator has never been brought to justice. Archbishop Romero was declared a ‘Servant of God’ in 1997, recognised as a martyr by John Paul ll in February 2015, and beatified (the last step before being made a saint) in San Salvador in May 2015. He is commemorated on 24 March, the day of his death. PAM 14
The Old Testament and Easter When Jesus said ‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?’ on the cross, he was using words from Psalm 22. (In fact Psalm 22 v1) Like much of the gospel story, as told by any one of the four gospel writers, the story is soaked in Old Testament images, and words, and ideas. That’s because all the New Testament writers believed that what God had done in Jesus was both ‘new’ and ‘old’: it was the same God, still loving humankind, with unfailing and generous love. Now newly revealed in Jesus. This Easter we might reflect, therefore, on how our Easter story is also found in the Old Testament. When Jesus quotes Psalm 22, does he also call to mind the fact that Psalm 22 ends with a joyous affirmation of life beyond death? Look at the Psalm’s last three verses: they seem to say that so wonderful is God’s salvation that the ends of the earth cannot contain it, and nor can death – even those who ‘go down to the dust’ will still praise God. Psalm 118 talks of the annual procession up to the ‘horns of the altar’, offering sacrifice in the temple. All the gospel writers seem to apply this to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Other songs of praise were seen in the light of the resurrection: Psalms 110 and 132 for example. More generally, the Jewish tradition always hoped for life beyond death. The reason was simple. God was a God of life. If death has the final word then God is defeated. So the rabbis affirm the resurrection. And the Old Testament looks for us being gathered together after death. The details are not clear. But the hope is. On Easter morning, suddenly, the details became clear too. God had done a new thing: Jesus had died and was risen – not ‘come back from the dead’ but ‘gone through death and come out the other side’. So that was what had been promised all along! The God of life, now fully revealed in Jesus. With the benefit of hindsight, the apostles realised that this had always been the message of scripture. The most famous example of that hindsight making clear what had been a rather obscure passage comes with Isaiah 53. Read Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 today and notice how it becomes for us a clear portrait of Jesus in death and yet, mysteriously, still present to us as we read. In our reading of the Old Testament, we could look for signs of that hope and life everywhere. Sometimes it is there ‘through a glass darkly’. Other times it jumps out and surprises us. Like at the end of Psalm 22 (see page 19). We have so many things to give thanks for each Easter. Let’s make sure the Old Testament is one of those things! Rev’d Richard 15
The Easter Story When Jesus was born, people living in the Holy Lands lived under the rule of the Roman emperor but they were allowed to keep their own local leaders and religious practices, as long as everything was done within the Roman law. As a child he took great interest in the scriptures and the family went, possibly regularly, up to the temple in Jerusalem. We don’t know much more about him until his baptism at about the age of 30 when his public ministry began. His life was devoted to showing people God’s love for them, and showing that they can love God in return. As his ministry progressed some of the senior Jewish leaders didn’t like what he was preaching and teaching because they thought that he was leading people away from the old laws which Moses had been given by God through the Ten Commandments. But Jesus was trying to explain a different way of understanding the way God wants us to live together. Jesus told them that he had God’s authority to teach them in this way. About three years into his time of teaching and preaching he again went up to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast with his Jewish friends and neighbours. They did this every year, but this particular year he had become so famous and popular that when he arrived in Jerusalem, a few days before the festival, people greeted him and applauded him and waved palm leaves in the air. They shouted out that he was their king. But they already had a king, called Herod, and it looked as if Jesus was trying to take over his position. The religious leaders felt threatened by this and wanted to arrest him and bring him to trial, for blasphemy – by behaving as if he was God’s son. Jesus and his disciples, who were his closest followers, ate the Passover meal together and, as a part of the tradition of this meal, they shared bread and wine. During the supper he told them something shocking, which was that one of them was going to betray him to the authorities that very day. After supper they all went out into the garden, which was more like an orchard of olive trees. As the sun went down and night came, Jesus spent his time praying to God because he knew that the time was coming very soon when he would have to face the leaders who hated him, and endure a ghastly death. And so it was. Judas, who was the disciple who betrayed Jesus, had gone off to find some soldiers to come and arrest him. Judas told them where Jesus was, so the soldiers would know where to find him. They arrested Jesus in the garden and took him to Pilate, 16
who said he found no crime in him. So Pilate sent him off to be tried by Herod who was in charge of the whole region for Rome. Herod, thinking that this was a local matter, sent Jesus back to Pilate to arrange for him to be judged by the chief priests and lawyers. During his trial, Jesus did not deny that he was the son of God, and this was enough evidence to condemn him to die. It was the custom at Passover time for Pilate to release a prisoner. He brought Jesus and another prisoner out in front of the crowd and asked them whom he should release. They all shouted for the other man, Barabbas. These were the same people who just days before had been hailing Jesus as king. But now they turned on Jesus and shouted ‘crucify him’. So Jesus was condemned to die a horrible death. He was led out and made to carry a big heavy wooden cross all the way through the streets to a hill outside Jerusalem. The soldiers who gave him the cross mocked him by putting a crown on his head, because he had claimed to be a king. But they made the crown out of prickly thorns and it dug into his skin and hair. When he got to Calvary, which was the place where he was to die, he was nailed up on to the cross. Two condemned men were crucified next to him at the same time, and while they still could, they talked to Jesus. Jesus said that this afternoon you will be in paradise with me. Jesus died at three o’ clock. Because the following day was their Holy day of rest, his family and friends were allowed to take his body down on that same evening and bury it. They were very kindly given a new tomb, or cave, in which to lay him and this they did. His friends prepared oils and spices so that they could go back on the following day to cleanse and anoint his body. So on that day they went early to the tomb to do their work. The next part of the story is the exciting moment in which our faith in Jesus as the Son of God is rooted. The tomb was empty and Jesus had stopped being dead. He talked to Mary Magdalene in the garden and over the next few weeks, we read in the gospels that he joined different groups of his friends on several occasions. His followers must do all the teaching and preaching for him, and follow his example of how to live together in love. He told his followers that he would never leave them. Jesus wanted God’s message, which he had been teaching them, to live on forever, and said that it was now time for his followers to make sure that everyone tells everyone else that he is alive in a way which will last for ever. Rev’d Ruth 17
Fonts in churches A religious, or baptismal, font is a receptacle with a water basin used in many Christian traditions for the ordinance or sacrament of baptism. It should not be mistaken for a holy water fount or stoup at the entrance of a Catholic church, used to make the sign of the cross when worshipers enter. Holy water is blessed by a priest or a deacon, and many Christians believe it to be a reminder of the baptismal promises. Different denominations use different types of fonts. So what is the origin and significance of the font? Starting in about the fifth century, Catholic baptismal fonts became common as people began to erect buildings meant explicitly for Christian services. Before conducting a baptism, the priest blesses the font with a liturgical prayer. Priests use these baptismal fonts to provide baptism by water for both infants and adult converts. Baptismal fonts are particularly important in Catholic churches because baptism is required for salvation in the Church. Protestant baptismal fonts in churches that practice both adult and infant baptism are similar to Catholic fonts in size and structure. Still, they tend to be less decorative and more functional. This is in part due to Protestantism's general iconoclasm (i.e. destruction of images etc), and its revised understanding of the meaning and purpose of baptism. The fonts of many Christian denominations are intended for baptisms using a non-immersion method. The simplest of these fonts has a pedestal (about 1.5 metres tall) with a holder for a basin of water. The materials vary greatly consisting of carved and sculpted marble, wood, or metal. The shape can vary. Many are eight-sided as a reminder of the new creation and as a connection to the practice of circumcision, which traditionally occurs on the eighth day. Some are three-sided as a reminder of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Fonts are often placed at or near the entrance to a church's nave to remind believers of their baptism as they enter the church to worship, since the rite of baptism served as their initiation into the Church. In many churches of the Middle Ages and Renaissance there was a special chapel or even a separate building for housing the baptismal fonts, called a baptistery. The earliest baptismal fonts were designed for full immersion, and were often cross-shaped with steps leading down into them. As infant baptism became more common, fonts became smaller. Denominations that believe only in baptism by full immersion tend to use the term "baptismal font" to refer to immersion tanks dedicated for that purpose; however in the Roman Catholic tradition a baptismal font differs from an immersion. 18
Calvinist baptismal fonts tended to be wooden and austere. Baptism could also be an ordinance reserved for adults who chose to demonstrate their personal commitments to Christianity before the congregation, as in the Baptist and Anabaptist traditions. The latter, even more iconoclastic, traditions never really bothered with baptismal fonts at all. Baptists used bath-sized pools for immersion, and Anabaptists simply used pitchers of water. The quantity of water is usually small (usually a litre or two). There are some fonts where water pumps, a natural spring, or gravity keeps the water moving to mimic the moving waters of a stream. This visual and audible image communicates a "living waters" aspect of baptism. Some church bodies use special holy water while others will use water straight out of the tap to fill the font. A special gold or silver vessel called a ewer can be used to fill the font.
Psalm 22 vv 1-12, 22-end (NRSV) 1My
God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? 2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. 3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame. 6But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people. 7All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; 8“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!” 9Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. 10On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God. 11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. 22I
will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him. 25From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. 26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise theLord. May your hearts live forever! 27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. 28For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. 30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, 31and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it. 19
The Paschal Candle The flame of the Paschal candle symbolises the eternal presence of Christ, light of the world in the midst of his people; he who is the Second Person of the Trinity, the Alpha and Omega. The Paschal candle is sometimes referred to as the "Easter candle" or the "Christ candle." The term "Paschal" comes from the word Pesach, which in Hebrew means Passover, and relates to the Paschal mystery of salvation. For congregations that use a Paschal candle it is the largest candle in the worship space. In most cases today the candle will display several common symbols: 1. The cross is always the central symbol, most clearly identifying it as the Paschal candle 2. The Greek letters alpha and omega signify that God is the beginning and the end (from the Book of Revelation) 3. The current year represents God in the present amidst the congregation 4. Five grains of incense (most often red) are embedded in the candle (sometimes encased in wax "nails") during the Easter Vigil to represent the five wounds of Jesus: the three nails that pierced his hands and feet, the spear thrust into his side, and the thorns that crowned his head.
In the mediaeval church, Paschal candles often reached a stupendous size. The Paschal candle of Salisbury Cathedral was said to have been 36 feet tall. Today, in the United States and countries in Southern Europe such as Italy and France, the candle is approximately 2 inches in diameter and 36 to 48 inches tall. In Northern Europe, the candle tends to be shorter in height (19 to 24 inches) and wider in diameter (3 to 5 inches). On Maundy Thursday the entire church is darkened by extinguishing all candles and lamps. This represents the darkness of a world without God. For churches that celebrate the Easter Vigil on the night of Black Saturday, the ceremonial lighting of the Paschal candle is 20
one of the most solemn moments of the service. At dawn on Easter Day a "new fire" is lit and blessed. The minister will trace the symbols (mentioned above) on the Paschal candle, saying words similar to: "Christ, yesterday and today, the beginning and the ending. To Christ belongs all time and all the ages; to Christ belongs glory and dominion now and forever. Amen." The Paschal candle is the first candle to be lit with a flame from this sacred fire, representing the light of Christ coming into the world. This represents the risen Christ, as a symbol of light (life) dispelling darkness (death). As it is lit, the minister may say words similar to: "The light of Christ, rising in Glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.â€? A procession takes place behind the Paschal candle and a hymn of praise called the Exultet is sung before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word. It used in Anglican and various Lutheran churches, as well as other Western Christian denominations. The Exultet concludes with a blessing of the candle: Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God. (For it is fed by the holy melting wax, which the mother bee brought forth to make this precious candle.) Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night! May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all humanity, your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen The candle remains lit at all worship services throughout the Easter season (or in some traditions until Ascension Day, when it is extinguished just after the Gospel), during which time it is located in the sanctuary close to the altar. After the Easter season, it is frequently placed near the baptismal font. Before 1955, the option existed of blessing the baptismal font on the Vigil of Pentecost, and this was the only time the Paschal candle would be lit at services after Ascension. The Paschal candle is also lit during baptisms to signify the Holy Spirit and fire that John the Baptist promised to those who were baptised in Christ. During the baptismal rite in many traditions, a small lit candle will be given to the newly baptised by a member of the community, with words similar to, "Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father." During funeral services, the Paschal candle is also lit and placed near the coffin. This is to signify the hope of the resurrection into which Christians are baptised. 21
Early Christian Customs What did the early Christians get up to? Are there any customs that we still incorporate into our lives and act of worship today? Pliny the Younger (right) (61 – 113 AD) was an author, a lawyer and a magistrate. He was made governor of a province in Turkey. He wrote to the Emperor Trajan, seeking advice on how to deal with the ‘nefarious’ deeds of these people who called themselves Christians. Pliny’s report detailed that these Christians assembled on a specific day each week before dawn (but was this time significant for their religion, or was it a way of keeping their meetings secret?); the meetings were not held in a temple (again, was this to show that their religion was not part of any existing beliefs but was something new, or was it a way to keep themselves out of public view?); they worshipped Christ as God; when they met, they ate together; the intensity of their worship was considered to be ridiculous superstition and they were very zealous in spreading the Gospel. Well, in England, we don’t often meet so early in the morning, and we do have buildings purpose built for worship and ‘eating together’ at the Eucharist. Baptism is recorded in the New Testament and is one of the fundamental rituals used in Christian churches today, as both an external and internal sign of an individual’s commitment to membership of Christ’s Church. There is also a very old text, The Didache (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles) which dates from the first century AD, with additions in the second century AD. Part of the text sets out how to baptise;
in running/’living’ water cold or warm water if there is a shortage of water, then pour water on the head three times before baptism, the candidate and the one to do the baptism must fast at least one or two days beforehand.
It is interesting to find that both immersion of the full body and pouring of water on the head were both in common use. Fasting is a common ritual or custom in many belief systems. Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is an example many Christians try to follow in some way especially during Lent. A second century text, the Shepherd of Hermas, gives some guidelines to follow for fasting:
eat only bread and water reckon up the cost of the food you would usually have eaten and give the amount to a widow/orphan/someone in need (What a brilliant idea!!) do no evil serve God with a pure heart keep his commandments believe in God let no evil desire arise in your heart
However you performed your fast, you were to make sure that no one knew that you were doing it. So, you had to carry out your daily routine and work with a smile on your face, etc!! Kissing in the early church has been researched by Professor Michael Penn of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. In the Ancient World kissing was used as a symbolic gesture in various situations: romantic, a familial gesture, a way for the men in a family unit to check whether the womenfolk had been helping themselves to the wine, a sign of friendship, politicians would kiss their constituents to keep them sweet, kissing the hand of rulers and those in high office, to seal a contract and as an exchange of spirit. Professor Penn has found evidence that, in the first six centuries of the Christian era, Christians kissed during prayer, the Eucharist, baptism, ordination, funerals and in greeting. He believes that the early Christians used kissing to show that: they belonged to a new family – that of Christ; to offer mutual forgiveness; as a transfer of Spirit – i.e. exchanging the Holy Spirit with one another and so it became part of baptism.
So, how did members of the Church community kiss each other? Lightly, lip to lip. As St Paul wrote: “greet one another with a holy kiss” (This has been translated in some Bibles as “greet one another with a hearty handshake”!) In modern day, kissing the Pope’s ring is taken as the norm amongst Catholics. The Orthodox kiss icons and the hands of priests and monks.
Well, the early Christians appear to have done things with more gusto than we seem to in our modern age. The images above and on the right show the greetings between Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Rowan Williams
The Scoppio del Carro (explosion of the cart) .... a spectacular Easter tradition from Florence When we were in Florence at Easter one year, my husband and I were strolling along a side street taking in the atmosphere and admiring the views. Suddenly round the corner, accompanied by much cheering, flag-waving, drumming and men dressed up as mediaeval soldiers, came a huge, intricately-carved tower on a cart pulled along by four white oxen. Intrigued, we joined the procession which ended up in front of the cathedral. We heard the Gloria being sung during Mass inside the building, after which a dove-shaped ceramic figure bearing a flame sped down a wire from inside the Duomo (cathedral), crashed into the tower on the cart and, amidst cheers and whoops of delight from the assembled throng, ignited a huge display of fireworks. Spectacular! But what was it all about? Because my expertise in Italian is very limited and the locals we tried to speak to didnâ€™t have much English, we had to wait till we got back to the hotel to find out what was what. It appears that the tradition dates back to at least 1699, when the three-storied cart was built and this ritual in its present form began. It recalls a youth named Pazzino de Pazzi, born into a noble Florentine family, who went off to fight in the First Crusade in 1099. He was a brave lad and was the first, during a prolonged attack, to scale the wall of the city of Jerusalem and hoist a Christian banner. To reward his bravery he was presented with three flints taken from the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus had been buried; these flints are now kept in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Florence. The flints are taken out on Easter morning and struck together to make a spark which is used to light the Paschal candle. The candle is used to light a small pile of coals on the cart and the procession heads off to the cathedral where the coals are handed over to the Archbishop. During the singing of the Gloria, the Archbishop uses the coals to light a dove-shaped rocket (symbolising the Holy Spirit) which zooms down a wire from inside the cathedral, bumps into the tower on the cart and sets off an amazing display of fireworks. A good display ensures a good harvest and good luck for the citizens of Florence during the year. PAM 24
Easter Quiz Holy Week is the week Christians celebrate the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first Sunday in the week is called Palm Sunday and the second one (the day Christ arose) is called Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday. Test your Bible knowledge with these questions related to Easter Week. 1. What was the Jewish feast which was being celebrated the week Christ was crucified? 2. When Jesus entered Jerusalem during what is known as His Triumphal Entry, what animal was He riding on? 3. Why is the Sunday before the Resurrection called Palm Sunday? 4. Which disciple cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in an attempt to protect Jesus from being taken as a prisoner? He is not here: for he is risen, 5. What was the name of the high priest’s servant who as he said. Come, see the place had his ear cut off by the disciple and subsequently where the Lord lay. (Matthew reattached by Jesus? 28:6) 6. How many times did Peter deny Christ after the abandoned the Lord? 7. How many pieces of silver did Judas trade the life of Jesus for? 8. How did Judas identify Jesus to the soldiers? 9. In repentance Judas returned the money to the priests that he was given as the price of betrayal of the Lord and then did what? 10. The priests took the money that Judas had returned to them and did what with it? 11. Who was surprisingly released before Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death? 12. What did Pilate’s wife counsel him to do concerning Jesus? 13. A man named Simon was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. In Mark 15 we are told the names of Simon’s two sons. What were their names? 14. What was the inscription above the cross? 15. Can you quote 4 of the 7 statements recorded in the Bible that Christ said from the cross? 16. Following the statements of Jesus on the cross, there was a statement by a Roman soldier concerning Christ. What was it? 17. What happened in the Temple as a sign that the death of Jesus had made way for the individual believer to approach God? 18. When Jesus died there was darkness in the land. How long did it last? 19. In John 19 two men helped prepare the body of Christ for burial. One is said to have been a secret disciple and another secretly came to Jesus early in His ministry to ask questions. Who were these men? 20. Who was the first person to see the risen Christ? Answers are on Page 30. Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/easter-bible-quiz20-trivia-questions/#ixzz40XS6LkKb
As We Were in March 1916 .... Sherburn Hill. “153 men out of 400 There were some sad stories concerning the military in the Durham Chronicle this month. Many had been killed or died of their injuries and although the lists rarely contained information about the victims of war, some local men could be identified. Among these were: Pte Carr, recently killed in action, whose mother received a kind letter from Cpt Bryant 10 DLI. Pte George Reed DLI, a slater from Gilesgate Moor, aged 30. Pte J Wynne DLI, a former miner from New Durham who was killed after returning to the Front having been wounded by shrapnel in a previous attack; he left a widow and two children. Pte Jonas Hylton DLI, a former miner from Front Street, Sherburn Hill had a son born shortly before his departure for France. Pte Thomas C Wilson of Gilesgate and Pte John P Keeney of Shadforth, both DLI men, also lost their lives. Pte Thomas Ellwood (East Surrey Regt), a former miner whose family lived in Margaret Street Ludworth, had eight children. An article entitled ‘A Patriotic Mining Village’ praised the community of
houses – Sherburn Hill’s contribution to the personnel of the Army – is not an insignificant one.” In addition there was a large percentage of Sherburn Hill workmen awaiting their call. Two families were mentioned by name; William Harper and four of his sons (John, William, Christopher, and James) were all serving in the army whilst Mr R Dodds (local secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association) had sons John, Robert and George at the Front. Mr Dodds was father-in-law to Jonas Hylton, mentioned above. As a direct result of the war, the Durham Miners’ Gala was officially abandoned for the summer, the decision having been taken this month. Also, the Durham Chronicle was to be reduced in size to 8 pages because of the Government’s restriction of paper supply. And in March 1966, Gilesgate Junior and Infant School was visited by a fire engine as part of a project to learn about other people’s jobs. There was a photo of Robert West and Tony Hinde wearing fireman’s helmets and holding a huge hose (not turned on!) Later visits to the school included a police car, an armoured military vehicle and a helicopter. A new building had been provided for St Hild’s School after 100 years in the old premises. Staff and pupils moved to the new site at Gilesgate Moor, where the Head, Miss M E Aspinall, announced they were pleased with the larger, wellplanned building, despite some ‘teething problems’. A photo of Gilesgate Modern School showed with the trophies Left:pupils Front Street, Sherburn Hillthey had received at Prize-giving Day. Nine pupils had stayed on in 5th form (leaving age was 15 in those days) to take the
bottomed trousers, but what were courrege boots? If you know, please get in touch with your magazine rep.
new CSE exam. Edith Oliver, who is known to some of us, passed with a grade1 in history.
Shadforth was suffering from an increasing number of car rallies in the village; these were causing noise and disturbance and vehicles were crossing the Village Green, damaging the amenities. Mr J Gatenby, who brought the matter to light, suggested small trees and shrubs be planted on the verges of the Green ‘to improve the pleasant aspect of the area’.
Among the Spring weddings this month were those of Miss G Mollon and Mr B Webster, Miss S Morris and Mr R Morris, Out of school, the Boom Boom Beat Club Valerie Arkless and Mr R B Cummings opened in North Road. On the first night, and Audrey Knox and Mr G T Burrel. All “hundreds of teenagers danced in the Thanks as always to Michael were celebrated at StArchive, Giles’. Richardson, Gilesgate ultra-violet lit room to the pounding of for the images used in this the groups’ music. Short, short skirts, article bell-bottomed trousers, op art cravats WLM and courrege boots” were all on show. I remember the short skirts and bell“Christ died for us according to the Scriptures. He was buried and He was raised on the third day.”
Broth & Bun Lunch at St Giles’ first Wednesday of every month in St Giles’ Church Hall from 12 noon ‘til 2pm Come along to our free lunch – a bowl of broth with a bun and a cup of tea. Plenty of time to sit and chat.
The next lunch will be on: Wednesday 2 March We’d love to see you there
Answers to the Easter Quiz on page 25 1. Passover (Luke 22:1); 2. A young donkey (Matthew 21:1-7; Mark 11:1-7; Luke 19:2835; John 12:12-15); 3. When Jesus entered into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week the people welcomed Him as king and Messiah. They covered the road with their garments and palm fronds as a symbol of their worship and acceptance of Him as king (Matthew 21:8; Mark 11:8; Luke 19:35, 36; John 12:12, 13); 4. Peter (John 18:10); 5. Malchus (John 18:10); 6. Three times (Luke 22:54-57; Mark 14:69, 70; Matthew 26:73-75; John 18:13-27); 7. 30 (Matthew 26:15); 8. By giving Him a kiss (Matthew 26:47-49); 9. Hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5); 10. Bought the potter’s field with the money which is where strangers were buried (Matthew 27:6-8); 11. Barabbas (Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:18; John 18:40); 12. To leave Jesus alone because He was a just man. She had a bad dream concerning the Lord and she probably felt it would bring bad luck on the household of Pilate (Matthew 27:19); 13. Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21); 14. “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (Luke 19:19); 15.“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34); “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43); “…he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26, 27); “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34); “I thirst.” (John 19:28); “It is finished:” (John 19:30); “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:” (Luke 23:46); 16.“Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Slightly different statements, but the same idea are found in Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47; 17. The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51); 18. Three hours (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45). From noon to 3 pm; 19. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38-42). Interestingly, these two men did not follow Jesus as He travelled through the region, but they were there when all the other disciples had abandoned the Lord; 20. Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9)
Against All the Dark (A Poem for Easter Vigil)
Against all the dark: empty waste without form surrounding the church, where all liturgy starts, A fire is lit to rekindle our hearts and harkens us back to the Word that was then and comes throughout time in events of the lives of God's Holy People: in water that pools in basins of earth there beneath the sky's dome, a ram that is offered, a holocaust sent to save a first born and to promise a world, and wind like the Hand of the God who will save that makes of the waters a wall and a path for God's chosen people to enter the waste, a baptism, Lord, to encounter with you in covenant ties. At the fire we bless; your people, the candle: the Light of the World, and trek in with tapers: a sign of our lives, we light from the source we acknowledge in you. And all of those fires are one and the same. We sing our Exultet. We marvel at how one light shared by many can brighten the world as One. (We have been unable to trace the author of this poem if you know, please let us know so that we can acknowledge the writer)