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Vicar's Letter

May 2018

Dear Friends & Neighbours,

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Our Easter celebrations were kicked off beautifully by the hard work and efforts of our Schools. Both the Pupils and the Staff did so much to retell the story of Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. It really did feel like the telling of the Good News of the Gospel. The timing of the School Celebrations was interesting too. Just like bottles of water that are given to those competing in a marathon, the Schools' telling of these historical events in between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday was refreshing, and served as a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel as we travelled geographically across the Churches of the Benefice to spend time in thought and in prayer on the Key events of that time.

After the great celebrations of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, we came together on Thursday for a simple meal in Hinton. This was to remember both the People of Israel and their protection from tragic events in Egypt, and the Last Supper. There was a lovely atmosphere of prayer, friendship and remembrance. The next day we met in St Mary's, Bishopstone. The plan was to carry a wooden cross from there to the Ridgeway. Pausing fifteen times on the way we hear the story of Jesus' condemnation, and His payment for the times when we weren't, aren't and won't be, the best that we can be. On our arrival, we normally sit with drinks and Hot Cross Buns, along with any pet dogs that accompany us, enjoying the views and trying to work out how many counties we can see from our vantage point.

The rain this year had different ideas. Instead we stayed in Church and lit and held a candle at each stage of the story. Some us then walked without pause to the Ridgeway, planted the Cross and went back to a warm church to dry out and eat and drink there. There was still a sense of divine purpose and achievement despite the rain, and seeing this years lambs only added to the occasion. Saturday evening saw the lighting of our Easter, or Paschal Candles, one for each Church. Drawn from a fire at the entrance to St Swithun's, the light of the Candles lead us into a darkened Church. Holding candles of our own, we hear of our shared history and the divine plan. With bells ringing, hymn singing and electric lights on, we go on to celebrate the fact that Jesus has conquered death and opened the door to life after this, next time forever.

And so the gathering of so many Parishioners on Sunday Morning and the sharing of The Meal like the one we will get to share in our Heavenly Home completed our journey. For some, it was all the more complete after a hunt for chocolate eggs! These unlike the tomb that they represent were solid rather than hollow. The presence of Children near the beginning and at the end of our Holy Week, coupled with the simple joy of an Easter Egg, only serves to remind us that we are all God's children and that His love for us is simple, unconditional and to be enjoyed. Delivering acts of random kindness simply, and without fuss to those around us is both our calling and a lovely way to respond.

The Ridgeway Link is an example of this, as is the hospitality that they extend at their Annual General Meeting. Unfortunately due to the need to be at another meeting, held at the same time, I was unable to enjoy this and the sense of achievement that is a regular feature of their meeting. If you have time to take someone to a hospital or doctor's appointment, or perhaps to take someone out to get a few groceries please do call Rachel Hale on 791192. Especially if your vehicle can cope with snow! With banks and hedgerows blooming, I pray that a wonderful Spring and Summer are now well on their way.

With best wishes and prayers

Bill

If you have anything that you would like our village prayer group to pray for please telephone 790088 or
email :villageprayers@gmail.com