April’s letter from the vicar

The Vicarage, 11 Jasmine Close

I am writing this letter on 21st March on the day when my grandfather would have been 101. In his honour I am going to continue the family tradition of believing that it is the first day of Spring, although I now understand that this is dependent on the vernal equinox, not on my grandfather at all, and that this year I am a day late. Either way, the sun is now feeling warmer and our garden at St Mark’s and churchyard at Whittington are looking more colourful. By the time you read this we shall be enjoying lighter evenings as well. Spring is definitely a season of hope and joy.

In the Church, Lent is almost over and Holy Week and Easter are rapidly approaching. Please do take note of our services. There will be a Team service at Chelmsford Court on Monday 30th March, Compline at Whittington on Tuesday 31st and Holy Communion with a Watch at Whittington on Maundy Thursday, all at 7.30pm. St Mark’s will have an Agape meal on Maundy Thursday at 7.00pm in church so please join us as we recall the events in the Garden of Gethsemane.

On Good Friday there will be a children’s workshop at 10.00am at St Mark’s for members of the ICT (In Church Together) group. An Hour at the Cross will be held at Whittington at 2.00pm and this year’s meditations will be led by Peter Fitzjohn, a Reader based in Kempsey. Tenebrae will be held as usual at St Mark’s at 8.00pm and I’d like to remind you all that this has always been a Team event. We’d love you to join us for this moving service. On Easter day we shall celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with family Communions and Easter eggs for all ages.

The annual meetings for our own churches will be held on Sunday 19th April after each of the morning services. Please note the date and have a think about whether you’d be prepared to stand on one of our church councils. It is always good when we can welcome new members so please don’t think that there isn’t an opportunity for you to make a contribution, whatever your age or experience.

Members of both churches have been thinking about our individual and corporate development over the past months. Whittington District Church Council held a very valuable mission and evangelism training day at the end of January with Captain Roger Horsley from the Church Army, as we seek to engage with our community and new housing developments.

St Mark’s are holding their patronal weekend from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th April when we shall provide a warm welcome and outreach to our community. There will be an open church with music played by our excellent organist Ian Griffin, an abundance of floral decorations and bugs made by the children. There will be a Sunday evening service for those in our Team who are not involved in annual meetings that night.

We held a joint Pilgrim Course on Turning to Christ which ended just before the Team Lent groups began. This year our Lent groups also used a Pilgrim Course on the Creeds when members of all our churches joined together in different settings. Looking to the future there will be a confirmation service in the Cathedral on Sunday 22nd November, the Feast of Christ the King. Rev’d George Davis and I are intending to run classes together for older children and teenagers from St Matthew’s, St Mark’s and Whittington. Separate classes will also be run for adults who wish to be confirmed and those who are starting to explore the possibility. Classes are offered without commitment to confirmation on either side. It may seem early but please have a think about whether you wish to take this step later on in the year.

I want to finish by paying tribute to Louis Huband who very sadly died at St Richard’s Hospice on 16th March. Louis was a retired engineer, a verger at the Cathedral and a member of the Guild of Vergers. He was a lifelong valued member of Whittington church, also a great supporter of St Martin’s church and known by clergy and churches everywhere. Louis was very much a part of what might be regarded as old Whittington, he knew the families and the places and he was a great source of historical information. Above all he was a true Christian and his faith was an inspiration until the end. I know that I shall miss him very much, as will so many others. Louis’ funeral will be held at Whittington Church during Holy Week, on Wednesday 1st April at 1.30pm.

May I wish you all a very happy Easter, filled with the joy of the resurrection and with hope for all that is to come.

With very best wishes, Clare