God Bless xx
Reverend Jonathan’s Letter
I am writing this letter you just after Holy Week and Easter. This is a time when we contemplate the suffering of Jesus and celebrate his resurrection. There was a quote given to me a few years ago which read: ‘He came to pay the debt he didn’t owe for us who owed the debt we could never pay’, which I think sums up the sacrifice of Jesus perfectly.
The debt we owe was paid by the death of Jesus and the consequence of that death was forgiveness and eternal life. It’s the resurrection which makes all things new and that resurrection starts a new beginning between humanity and God. This message has never been more needed in the world. The Covid 19 pandemic is still with us, there are many wars raging and common love and humanity seem to be in short supply. The message of Easter enables us to take stock of our faith and our interaction with our fellow Christians and our community.
Jesus gives us a unique opportunity to celebrate the triumph of life over death, certainty over uncertainty and love and peace over hatred and conflict. It is up to us to build on his legacy to us and enable the love of the resurrected Christ to radiate from us as we come alongside those in our community who may need us. The past year has been difficult for a great number of people. It is a little known fact that I myself contracted Covid 19 near the beginning of the first lockdown and I know from experience that it is not an easy disease to suffer from, and to get over easily. Lots of people have had worse to deal with from the loss of loved ones to the loss of work and livelihoods. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope in a life which is everlasting and in a love which is greater than anything that the world may throw at us.
Our Holy Week and Easter services this year have been different from usual. Last year we were unable to meet together and this year we have held services in our churches following government and Church of England guidelines. Both years I have tried to keep in touch with people via videos being distributed by Whatsapp and Facebook. I know that some people have been dissatisfied with our ministry via these outlets, but we are doing the best we can under the current circumstances. The videos for worship are also available on our website which is lowtonandgolborneteam.co.uk, some people have been looking for the old individual parish websites but they are not active anymore. We have been a Team Ministry for several years and we need to understand that it is as a Team that we are moving forward together.
Our Holy Week and Easter services were very well attended, and I have been much encouraged by the amount of people who have returned to church and by the positive messages I have received regarding our worship and witness. The videos being sent out are touching people in our community and also in the rest of the country and in other parts of the world and I will continue to provide these, in conjunction with our weekly worship in our churches for the foreseeable future.
The month of May this year includes Ascension Day, Pentecost Sunday and Trinity Sunday. Three significant events in the life of the Church. On Ascension Day we remember the ascension of Jesus into heaven. On Trinity Sunday we celebrate the glory of the Trinity and on Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the fulfilment of the promise of Jesus to send His Spirit onto the Church. This event is the foundation of the Church, and we celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of the Church. Not just our own church, but the whole Church, in all its colour and diversity. Diversity is an important concept in our modern church. Christians come in all shapes and sizes, with many differing backgrounds , beliefs and understandings. In light of this, we, as a Diocese, have been asked by Bishop Beverley to hold a special course from Pentecost entitled ‘Living in Love and Faith’.
This course explores Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. We will be starting a daytime and an evening course in the week after Pentecost. This is a five session course and we will be asking people to sign up for it from the beginning of May. More information is available under the Living in Love and Faith link on the Church of England website.
I hope as many people as possible will be able to join us for this course and I hope and pray that the message of Pentecost will enable us to restore and grow our churches. Hopefully, in line with the roadmap for recovery from the Government, we will be able to be at full strength from 21st June. Then we will indeed be able to start our work for renewal and be inspired by the Spirit of Pentecost to re-energise our Church.
Your friend and Team Rector