Dear Friends,

We come to the end of another week of grim news, but also to the beginning of Holy Week. As the story of Jesus’ last days on earth unfolds, the mood swings quickly, from celebration and triumph, to anxiety and fear. Far more than usual, this year we can identify with such a mood swing, and perhaps more easily imagine ourselves on the road that leads to Golgotha.

I hope you will be able to take part in the service on Palm Sunday tomorrow (at 10.30, as is becoming our custom). I hope you’ve been able to procure a palm cross of some description; but if not, don’t worry; please ‘tune in’ anyway. The words for this and all our services will be available from the church website here

On Monday, 6th April at noon, please remember Joan Lumley and her family, as Norman’s funeral takes place at noon at West Road Crematorium in Newcastle.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Tim will lead a short service of Compline on our Youtube channel (click here)
This will be ‘live streamed’, so if you wish to take part, please go to the Youtube channel just before 8.45pm. This service won’t be otherwise available. The service sheet is here

Similarly, there will be a short service for Maundy Thursday, broadcast at 8.45pm. The usual service for Maundy Thursday would commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. We would finish by stripping the Communion Table, turning out the lights, placing a wooden cross in the chancel, and departing in silence. The service concludes with the words, ‘Christ was obedient unto death. Remain in his peace’.

In the past, our pattern on Good Friday has been to have a meditation for about an hour, both in Holy Trinity and in St Cuthbert’s churches. We can’t now do this, of course. Instead, we plan to broadcast a service based on the Liturgy for Good Friday at 2.00pm that day.

I had hoped, even a week ago, that some sort of open air service might have been possible on Easter Sunday (though I am still scarred by the memory of an Easter Day Sunrise service on Southsea Common in 1985. It was pouring with torrential rain, and we swiftly retreated to a church building, and dripped!). But the archbishops are very clear that we should set a good example and not flout the advice to maintain our social distancing. Nevertheless, the service at 10.30 on Easter Sunday will include contributions from members of other churches that are part of Allen Valleys Churches Together. Despite our varied habits of worship, and despite all the sad news and the difficulties we face, we will celebrate together the Good News that Christ is risen indeed.

Say safe.
With prayers, and very good wishes,

Jon Russell

4th April 2020

Prayers for when you can't get to church

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.