The Church of England Parish of

Kirdford with

Plaistow & Ifold

St John the Baptist,

Kirdford

Holy Trinity,

Plaistow

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LETTER FROM THE VICARAGE

On this page we reproduce the monthly letter from our Vicar (or occasionally from our Licensed Reader Janice Taylor) as it appears in our parish magazine, the Parish News.

Letter from the vicarage

Gleanings from the Parish News

Facilities improvements

for our churches

FROM THE VICARAGE - MAY 2019

Dear Friends,

I trust you all had a good Easter, and are enjoying the warmer weather.  For me the month of May signals a joyous turning point in my year, when I might just be brave enough to put away the winter coat and hook out the summer sandals.  And I love how the longer days give me more energy to be out and about either in the garden or out in the beautiful countryside we can enjoy on our doorstep.  Can you tell I rather like the month of May!

In April we held our annual meeting where we looked back and gave thanks for the past year, and started to look ahead to the coming year, and it's going to be quite a year!   I trust by now we all have the weekend of the 20th and 21st July in your diaries ready for our big summer community event 'Because we Care'.  This is perhaps the biggest and most ambitious event we as a church family have arranged, but then so is our vision of re-ordering Holy Trinity to become a better equipped flexible space not just for the church family, but for the whole community.  Keep praying for this event, that it will indeed be a joyous weekend for our community, and that we may also be blessed with good weather.  All the funds raised will go to community projects; mainly to the re-ordering of Holy Trinity, but also to Kirdford Parish Council for play equipment in the village, and to the Guides for the extension work on Micklem hut.  It's going to be a great weekend.

Our annual meeting is also an opportunity to thank everyone for the amazing support they give throughout the year to keep our church functioning day to day, support that is done lovingly and quietly and without fuss, not least by our Churchwardens.  I know neither of them expect to be thanked, but tough, I'm going to do it anyway!  Kate and Jeremy, thank you so much for all you do on our behalf. And our particular thanks go to Jeremy as he stands aside as Churchwarden after many years of loving service to our Parish, especially at Holy Trinity.  Jackie bravely steps into this role and we assure her of our love and support as she does so.  We should also thank Jonnie and the team at The Foresters for welcoming us into the pub for our meeting, it made for a good social evening as we addressed the business of our Parish, thank you.

May is a month of looking forward and of hope, not least because during May we continue to celebrate the Easter season.  For me, one of the most moving and powerful accounts of Jesus' resurrection is in Luke 24, 'The Road to Emmaus'.  It always struck me as a bit strange that the two men didn't recognise Jesus quicker than they did, but when we read the account more closely, we see that the men were so busy looking down, absorbed in their own thoughts and grief, that they were seemingly oblivious to anything and everything going on around them.  These days we have a perfect illustration of how this can be.  Ever walked behind someone absorbed in their smart-phone?  And I'm sure we've all had a conversation with someone who was not really listening!

Even a stranger joining these men on the road wasn't enough to pull them out of their own thoughts.  They even manage to recount all that had happened, including recalling the women telling them that Jesus was alive, and yet they still stay absorbed in their despair.  For them, all had ended in disaster.  For them, Jesus, the man they had pinned all their hopes on was dead, and their despair prevented them from hearing the good news from the women, or even from seeing the risen Jesus walking beside them.   We are left wondering if they had really listened to Jesus' teaching at all.  Had he not told them that he would have to die, but that he would rise again?   Perhaps they had heard but not really understood – don't we all!  Perhaps because they hadn't expected to see Jesus, they didn't.   Until ….

And it's that 'until' that for me encapsulates the joy and hope of Easter.  I, like all of us, cannot help but have my own image and expectations of Jesus that I carry around in my head and my heart, they are after all based on a lifetime of learning and experiences, but they can inadvertently become a bit fixed.  That is, until something prompts me to open my heart and mind to encounter Jesus afresh.  The joy and hope of Easter means that Jesus never fails to reach out and embrace us afresh, even, or perhaps more so, when we're least expecting him to.

The beauty of the account of the risen Jesus on that road to Emmaus is that it's so ordinary, quite understated really.  Jesus doesn't make a grand entrance, or blasts them with a big booming voice 'Monty Python' style.  He knows their need of him, and he simply walks beside them and quietly encourages them to open their hearts and minds.  In his gentle way, Jesus gives them the time and space to encounter him afresh when they are ready.  As they reach their destination, Jesus goes to move on.  He only stays at their invitation.  And it is then that they 'look up' for the first time on that journey and see who it is that has raised their spirits.

The joy and hope of Easter is that Jesus still walks beside us today, and patiently waits for us to invite him into our lives more and more.  We may not see him physically as those disciples did, but we can still encounter him afresh – even in the ordinary and often in the unexpected!

May is indeed a month to be joyful as we continue to celebrate the joys and hopes of Easter – especially if we still have an egg or two to enjoy!  So keep celebrating, keep looking forward, and keep an eye out for people absorbed in their phones!

May the blessings of Easter continue with us as we journey together this coming year.

Pauline