For the last few years, the March magazine has been published as we begin Lent. Once again we have an opportunity to use this month as a preparation for the great festival of Easter, with the powerful theme of death and resurrection. A theme that we see in life around us.
We have seen the dismantling of the old church, with the main part of the building coming down very quickly. I would like to say thank you to those who came to the outdoor service on February 9th, despite the appalling weather. A number of people have asked for copies of the service and these are available at the church centre. As people shared memories, we heard of a couple who had to get married in the crypt because an air raid was going on. I later got a letter from someone who was married in 1945, but was only discharged from hospital the night before, and had to report to hospital in Blackpool on his honeymoon. We would like to keep a record of peoples memories and photos and have some of them exhibited in church.
As the old church is taken down we are breathing new life into the church centre. We have just been able to lay new flooring, due to the support of local funders, and the effect is a dramatic improvement. As I said in last months letter, we are looking for ways to transform its identity from a school so that it is clearly a place of Christian worship as well as a place to serve the community in other ways. This is another opportunity for the community to work together and achieve something that we can be proud of and serve future generations.
Death and resurrection is a theme we see in nature, partly through the changing seasons, but also through cultivation. Cutting back plants is a way of encouraging growth, as is digging out weeds and spreading fertiliser. In our spiritual life there are many ways of applying these principles. Cutting back can give us a positive reason for giving things up. Jesus was particularly good at spending time in prayer so he knew what to say no to. The digging up of weeds can also be a picture of cutting out things in our life that are not helpful.
Let this Lent be a time for growth, as we ask the Holy Spirit to make us restless till we change, and prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter.
Rev Bill Henderson