Rev Jo’s Letter – Mar 2022

We all need good news to cheer us up when life seems bleak and winter has us in its clutches. Ryhall church had a piece of good news when we were told that at long last we have been granted a Faculty by the Chancellor of the Diocese to replace our worn out and leaky roof with a brand new one. No more drips on your head, bowls on the floor or lights going out with a bang. We hope to start work on February 23rd so please be aware that the footpaths through the churchyard may be obstructed from time to time. I hope we will not need to close the church for services; the contractors are well used to working with churches and understand the need to hold Sunday services, funerals and other events. 

Something else to cheer us up was to see our church school children back in church for Candlemas on February 2nd. You can see photos of this on page 4. For our Reception children and those in years 1 and 2 this was a new experience and really brought home to me the effect Covid has had on our schools. So much that we take for granted was removed from our lives. 

Covid restrictions have certainly taken their toll of Christian teaching in schools. 

I spoke recently to a SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) Inspector, who had undertaken an inspection in a school where it was clear that good Christian worship and teaching took place every day. The Inspector spoke to a group of children. ‘What is your favourite Bible story?’ she asked. After a silence a small girl replied ‘I don’t think we have them in this school.’ They actually heard one every single day. 

Our school children know a lot of Bible stories and will soon know even more as we commence Open the Book. Thank you to those who have volunteered for this. We have a good team and a range of skills represented. 

This year Lent begins on March 2nd, Ash Wednesday. For the last two years our Ash Wednesday service of Communion with the imposition of ashes has not taken place because of Lockdown or Covid restrictions, but we will make up for it this year with a service at Essendine at 7.00. If the thought of having the sign of the cross marked in ash on your forehead with the words ‘Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return’ fills you with horror, be assured that you don’t need to take part in this. Come anyway as we revive this ancient practice of the church and begin Lent properly, as the Church had done for centuries. Just miss out the ashes! 

While Ryhall church has been so cold and damp our PCC meetings have taken place in the Methodist school room, where it is wonderfully light and warm. We are very grateful to them for allowing us to do this, and glad to be joining with them at 10.30am on Good Friday, April 15th, for the Walk of Witness, which has not taken place for the last two years. More details of Holy Week and Easter services will be in the next issue. 

The Collect for Ash Wednesday 

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen 

With best wishes