Newsletter 8th April 2022
I was involved in a bible study this week, contemplating the Palm Sunday account recorded by St Luke. The participants were exercised by two things. Were the disciples stealing the animal on which Jesus is to ride into Jerusalem? And how would the colt, which Luke says had never been ridden before, cope with blankets and a rider on his back and with the massed crowds shouting loudly?
I find the first question easier to answer than the second. The gospel accounts seem to suggest that as Jesus drew nearer the cross, so his foresight grew in parallel. He knows there is an upper room, ready for him to share the Last Supper. He knows that Judas is going to betray him. He knows in the garden of Gethsemane that the Father’s will is for him to drink from the cup of suffering.
The important thing for us to grasp from this is not that it gets the light-fingered disciples off the hook, but that all that happens during Holy Week, not least the Cross, is the working out of God’s pre-ordained plan. As for the behaviour of the colt, why not attend the Passion drama at St George’s on Sunday and see for yourself?
We will be running an Alpha course at The Deanery on Tuesday nights, commencing 2nd May for 10 weeks. The course is aimed at anyone who wants to explore the Christian faith or is new to the faith or simply wants to brush up on the foundations. If you yourself or you know anyone who might be interested, do let us know. We are limiting places to 12, but still have plenty left. We will also need help with catering. If you would be willing to help prepare a simple meal for 15 people once or twice during the 10 week course, please speak to Fran for further details.
Please note anyone attending the Palm Sunday passion performance on April 10th should congregate in the Deanery forecourt at 10.30.
House for Duty Priest
Shortlisting for the House for Duty priest position will take place this week on Weds. Please pray that we will have good candidates to shortlist.
The Church Council decided this week to reinstitute the common cup (or shared chalice) at communion services where the presiding priest feels comfortable doing so. We will be also inviting the congregation to kneel at the altar rail. We continue to be mindful of the very high Covid infection rate, so the priest will be masked when distributing the bread and wine and the congregation will be free to receive bread only (one thing we have learnt over the last two years is that this is still ‘proper’ communion). The congregation will not be allowed to dip wafers into the wine, although the priest may do so. As a general principle, we suggest that no one takes the cup who has a cold, stomach upset, cold sore etc.
We are in the midst of the annual meeting season. Still to come:
Habberley April 19th at 2 p.m.
Hope/Shelve April 20th at 6 p.m.
Pontesbury April 24th at 11.30
The second meeting of Oasis will take place at Minsterley Methodist Chapel from 12-1.30 on Tuesday 12th April. This is for anyone who has suffered recent bereavement.
St George’s Explorers
On Tuesday April 12th at 2 p.m. we are holding the first gathering of St George’s Explorers. This is muddy church by another name and on this occasion will include an Easter Egg hunt and the retelling of the Easter story. It’s aimed at all ages who connect with God through the outdoors.
St George’s is looking to host a repair shop on Saturday mornings in July. If anyone has any repair skills to offer (clothes, machinery etc.) please contact Greg who will pass on your details to the Pontesbury Climate Change Group who are organising this event.
On Tuesday, The Rea Valley Foodbank was formally constituted with representatives from 5 different churches (three denominations) in Pontesbury and Minsterley. There is still a lot of work for the management board to do to ensure the successful delivery of food to those in need in our villages, so please do pray for them over this next period.
Includes a wide range of services:
On Tuesday April 12th, there will be a Passover Supper for the whole group at 7 p.m. hosted by St George’s. This event is part service and part meal. We will use the liturgy with which Jews will be familiar, while exploring how Christians have come to reinterpret its meaning. And there will be plenty of food and wine! This is not a symbolic meal. As such, you will only be able to attend if you have reserved a place (limited to 30) on a first come-first served basis. Please contact Greg or Fran to reserve a place.
On Wednesday, there will be a Taizé service at Holy Trinity at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, there will be Maundy Thursday services at both Pontesbury and Minsterley, including footwashing, holy communion and a vigil. These services will also commence at 7 p.m.
On Good Friday, the annual pilgrimage of walkers will take place. The walk starts at Middleton at 9.30 a.m. Walkers are welcome to join in at any point along the route or just come to a service. A poster detailing the route and programme is attached.
There will be a family service at St George’s at 10 a.m. and Tenebrae at 7 p.m.
Easter Day services will take place at 9 a.m. at Hope and Snailbeach and at 10.30 at Habberley, Minsterley and Pontesbury
Calendar for the Week
Fri 8th April Prayer at HTM 9-10 a.m.
Coffee morning at St George’s 10-12
Sun 10th Holy Communion at Minsterley at 10.30
Palm Sunday Passion Play at 10.30 at Pontesbury
Evensong at Habberley at 5 p.m.
Tues 12th Oasis at Minsterley Methodist Chapel at 12 noon
St George’s Explorers at 2 p.m.
Passover Supper at 7 p.m. at St George’s
Weds 13th Café at HTM 10-12
Lent Lunch at St George’s at 12 noon
Shortlisting at 5 p.m.
Taizé at Holy Trinity at 7 p.m.
Thurs 14th Maundy Thursday services at Pontesbury & Minsterley at 7 p.m.
Fri 15th Good Friday pilgrimage starts at Middleton at 9.30 a.m.
Family Service at St George’s at 10 a.m.
Tenebrae at St George’s at 7 p.m.
Sun 17th Easter Communion at Snailbeach & Hope at 9 a.m.
Easter Communion at Habberley, Minsterley and Pontesbury at 10.30