Hope Parish Website

Hope Parish Website headerChurch in Wales cross

Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector Writes

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Happy Saint David’s Day! Which this year of course also coincides with Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

It was about this time last year when Rachel and I treated the children to breakfast in Sainsbury’s, Wrexham (no fasting story for Lent here). We were just tucking into our bacon, sausage and beans, when there at our table appeared from Heart FM Wales, ‘Spence and Rachael’. Heart FM mike in hand Spence leaned over and asked me, ‘Did you know it is Random Acts of Kindness week?’ – I answered ‘No’, (perhaps just as well I didn’t have my collar on), and he replied, “Well it is and we would love to buy you breakfast!” It’s a true story – they are after all based only up the road in Gwersyllt. And I recall one of the boys shouting, “Dad! That was so kind of them!”

This simple act of generosity challenges me about how we observe Lent as Christians. It reminds me of Jesus’ words, “Freely you have received – freely you shall give” (Matthew’s gospel, chapter 10, verse 8).

Lent is the period of 40 days (not including Sundays), that begins on Ash Wednesday (this year 1st March) and leads up to Easter Day (16th April). It’s the time of year when the days begin to ‘lengthen’ (the clocks will change soon) and the 40 days are used to give us time to reflect upon and build our own relationships with God and our friends, families and neighbours.

Lent too is often a time where we think about ‘giving up something negative’ (chocolate seems to be the most commonly talked about) but equally – and not least as I reflect on last year’s meeting with ‘Spence and Rachael’ – Lent can be thought of as a time for ‘taking up something positive’ too.

Do you find it difficult to set aside time to pray or think through your faith? Then why not now make the time to take up prayer or have a go at reading a gospel (they can be read in 4 minutes a day over 40 days). Or you could commit to coming to church for six weeks or come along to our Lent Course?

Our Lent Course this year is a look at ‘Faith through hymns’. Pam Attree our new reader (and also an organist/pianist) will lead it. Please read the Lent flyer, that can be found in both the magazine and website.

Do you find it difficult to make time for your close friends or family? Then now is a time to put that right. Perhaps make one night a ‘date night’ with your spouse or partner, another day could become time for the family, put in a date to catch up with an old friend or even set aside time to visit someone you know who is lonely, bereaved or unwell. Making such commitments can be sacrificial but are very often worth it. You could pray for and or with them too. Unique ideas on how to bless others can be found at https://40acts.org.uk.

Finally this month, and on another note I would like to include a thank you and an important request. Thank you to our two excellent churchwardens in Hope, Blodwen Ellis and Margaret Marsh (not forgetting Jane and Helen in Emmanuel too). Margaret having served six years as warden and Blodwen having stepped in at the interregnum in 2013 to serve just one year (but my apologies to Blodwen for having her serve three!), they are due to step down from their roles at the beginning of April. I’ve been delighted with Blodwen and Margaret as churchwardens, they’ve made my role very much simpler and they give tirelessly to the church – and I’m pleased they will be carrying on as pastoral assistants and Mission Area Conference Representatives until 2019. I suspect they will carry on doing much of what they already do so well too – they will make our new wardens’ roles simpler I’m sure!

In light of 2020Vision the role of a warden and the appointment process for a warden is changing – it’s becoming more ‘mission-focussed’ than ‘administrative’ (no legal obligations to the buildings anymore) and the church committee rather than the vestry meeting now becomes responsible for one of the appointments. I continue to choose the other. If this is a role that would interest you or you can think of someone who you think would do the role well then please do pray about it and come and talk to me. More information on ‘the changing roles of churchwardens’ is included in the latest Teulu Asaph magazine on page 12, available to pick up free from inside both churches.

In short, if seeking to bless our local community and helping others to find and grow in their faith in Jesus Christ is important to you, then you may well make an excellent new churchwarden.

In Christ, Adam.

See full archive of The Rector Writes articles