For eight years I taught in a girls’ school, and for six weeks of each of those years I used to hear students regularly say to each other: ‘I have given that up for Lent.’ In no other place I have ever heard so many people use those words with such consistent regularity. I am not sure how many of them knew exactly what they were saying. I often wondered if they even knew what Lent was. Nevertheless each year, on Ash Wednesday, there began the regular use of that phrase: ‘I have given that up for Lent.’
This year, because of the strange way in which the Church’s calendar sets the date for Easter, Lent begins early. Ash Wednesday, the official first day of Lent, is on the tenth of February. If I was still teaching in that school in Sussex I know, that from the morning of that day, all those students would be denying themselves of something because they had given it up for Lent.
Since those days I have become more aware of how often people do say that they have given something up for Lent. I often ponder on whether they realise that Lent is, historically, so much more than an annual dieting opportunity, or an annual period of detoxification. That, of course, is usually what is at the heart of all that self-denial. All those students were usually denying themselves nothing more than chocolate, or sweets, or some other fattening substance; all those other people were often denying themselves of alcohol. If only they knew that they were getting it wrong.
The exciting biblical story of Jesus Christ has been retold in 18 songs with narration, in a new musical entitled The Jesus Story. The musical was written by Richard Rice-Oxley, now a retired priest living in Swinstead, South Lincs. The first performances, given by a local choir and musicians in Swayfield and Corby Glen, were warmly received by packed audiences.
We have been invited to perform The Jesus Story again in 2016:
GRANTHAM Methodist Church, Harrowby Lane, Friday 18 March at 7.30p.m.
Here we are again – at the beginning of another year!
For some this will be a time of wondering why the beginning of 2015 feels as though it was only the day before yesterday. For some the beginning of another New Year is a moment to dread; for others it will be the opening of an exciting door of challenge and opportunity. However you approach the dawning of a another New Year – 2016 is upon us!
The village of Bitchfield stands on either side of the valley of the West Glen river.
The Norman church is located in Lower Bitchfield. It has three small bells dating from the 1700s which have been rehung for chiming.
Services are held monthly with two in three being Morning Prayer, or Evensong in summer, and the third being Holy Communion. We also have special services for festivals including Christmas, Easter, our Patronal Festival and Harvest.
The church is normally open daily throughout the year for visitors and private prayer.
Burton-le-Coggles is a small, pretty, traditional village located south of Grantham in south Lincolnshire. Originally “Byrton-en-les-Coggles” – named for the path of cobbles (or coggles) which ran through the area – the village is mentioned in Domesday, when it had several farms, extensive woods and a mill. Today the village is still mainly an agricultural village with a population of about 100 spread over 48 households.
The church usually has 12 services a year, with every third service being Holy Communion. The Church holds a Harvest Festival each year (a Harvest Service followed by a Harvest Supper) as well as an annual Carol Service.
The Church is open daily throughout the year – hours are advertised outside the Church.
Irnham is still set out as our medieval ancestors would have understood. St. Andrew’s church dominates the top of a small tree-lined hill; to its south side is the medieval Irnham Hall (restored following a fire in Victorian times) and, beyond, two of the original three fishponds that would once have been reserved for the squire, the priest and villagers. Clustered around the base of the church’s hill are cottages and a few larger homes.
A service is held at St Andrew’s every Sunday morning, starting at 11 am. Our worship may be summarised as traditional, middle-ground and dignified. Our praise veers toward the muscular, being neither Evangelical nor Anglo-Catholic. We use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for Matins and Common Worship for Holy Communion.
St John’s prides itself on being an inclusive church in which people from across the whole spectrum of Anglican churchmanship (and beyond) can feel welcome and comfortable.
Services are normally held in St John’s every Sunday, except when there is a fifth Sunday in the month when a Group Holy Communion is celebrated elsewhere in the Benefice. All Sunday services start at 11 am.
A midweek service of Holy Communion is held each Wednesday at 10 am.
Services of Morning Prayer (9 am) and Evening Prayer (5 pm) are offered every day except Monday.
Church and Churchyard are open daily for visitors and private prayer.