Our themes for Lent
We begin Lent with a meditative Ash Wednesday service when we can reflect together on 5 habits and attitudes which undermine deep and honest relationships, and seek God’s forgiveness for where they occur in our lives (February 17th, 7.30 pm, on Zoom. Link will be on website.)
On the Sundays in Lent we shall have a course of sermons, shared through services in all the different media we use, on Understanding the Bible. These will be followed by discussion groups on Zoom at different point in the weeks following them, and we hope you will sign up for one of the groups if you can. All this is by way of preparation for discussions we hope to share later in the year using the Church of England’s material, Living in Love and Faith.
Some of you may know that the Church of England has been grappling for a long time with the controversial issues of sexuality, identity and the future of marriage. These matters too often create heated disagreement both in society and in the church. The C of E wants us to face them together, to listen carefully and be inclusive of each other even when we disagree, so that our disagreements can be ‘good disagreements’, expressing that we are Living Together in Love and Faith.
The topics have been discussed by a selected national working group of people with different theological backgrounds and experience, who have now prepared a lot of materials to open out the conversation to people throughout the dioceses and parishes. The clergy and Readers feel we should open this conversation to you – but probably not while we are still in lockdown. The topics of sexuality, identity and marriage are sensitive, and it would be far better to discuss them in groups where we could be physically present with each other, (though if current conditions persist for a long time, we may have to consider having the discussions on Zoom after all). If you want to see a video about the ‘Six Pastoral Principles’ which should guide the church when it discusses sensitive matters, you can find it here.
Meanwhile, we can do a little preparatory reflection this Lent, and both the themes of our Ash Wednesday Service and our Lent Sermon and Discussion Series can contribute to this, whilst also being worthwhile subjects to think about in their own right.
Ash Wednesday Service, 17 February at 7.30pm on Zoom
The link to register for this service.
Our calling from God is to love one another, to live together deeply in love and faith. On Ash Wednesday, we traditionally stop to reflect how we have failed, and seek God’s forgiveness.
In our Team service, members of the clergy and licensed lay ministers will lead a meditation on five things – Prejudice, Silence, Ignorance, Fear and Hypocrisy - which make deep and honest relationships between people difficult, and we will begin Lent considering what place they have in our own lives and communities. There will be an opportunity for participants to express penitence through the use of ashes at the conclusion of our service, and suggestions as to how to make suitable ash at home will be in next week’s pewsheet.
Lent sermons and discussion groups
When Christians discuss important or difficult things we naturally use the Bible to guide us. But how do we use the Bible faithfully and well? It isn't always straightforward. Our Lent Course of sermons (which can be downloaded) will explore some of the wisdom of the past about how the Bible can be used to enlighten the church. All the sermons will be shared in our Zoom services, our paper ‘Virtual services’, and our Facebook Live Eucharists, and there will be weekly discussion groups after the sermons available for you to join led by Ian Fisher, Michael Wilcockson, and Maggie Guite. We hope that members of our different Team churches will join each other in the groups at the time best suited to themselves.
Understanding the Bible - Sermons at Sunday Services
February 21st - How Jesus understood the Bible (Michael Wilcockson)
February 28th - How St Paul understood the Bible (Michael Wilcockson)
March 7th - How the early Church understood the Bible (Malcolm Guite)
March 14th - The Anglican tradition of understanding the Bible (Maggie Guite)
March 21st - Understanding the Bible in a scientific age (Ian Fisher)
Discussion questions for week 1 are available here and on Facebook and will be added to each week.
Discussion questions for week 2 are available here.
Please contact one of the discussion leaders for an invitation to the weekly Zoom meeting that suits you best.
Monday 3pm - Ian Fisher. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 7.30pm - Maggie Guite. email@example.com
Thursday 11.15am - Michael Wilcockson. firstname.lastname@example.org
Services in Lent
Sunday, 21 February - There is an order of service for those worshipping at home and supplementary material to accompany this order of service.